HEBRON, WEST BANK – The Israeli army entered the offices of the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee on July 2, 2003 and issued a military order that all building, rebuilding and rehabilitation work must cease immediately in the city, Committee members said.

The Israeli army returned to the offices on July 3 and repeated the instruction. The army failed to produce any written documentation.

Committee members said the army stated any employees found working would be arrested.

In a meeting with the Committee, Christian Peacemaker Team learned the work stoppage affects 300 workers and their families, at a time when unemployment is extremely high due to repeated curfews in H2, (most of the Old City area which is under complete Israeli control).

The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee also said several main business streets have been closed down, including Shuhada Street, Haram Street (by the Ibrahimi Mosque), Old Shallala Street and New Shallala Street. The army forced all shops on New Shallala Street to close, including the banks, indefinitely.

Mr. Tawfiq, the committee lawyer, pointed to the irony that, on the same day as they received the stop building order in the Old City, the Israeli High Court granted permission for the continued building of the Israeli settlement on Tel Rumeida. The Tel Rumeida construction had previously been stopped two years ago by the Israeli High Court, due to archaeological finds under the proposed site. The construction will replace temporary housing with four permanent settlement buildings.

Donor funding for the restoration of the Old City comes from the Arab Development Bank and the United Nations Development Fund, with specific donations from Spain and Germany.

Sue Rhodes July 4, 2003

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