From the Rabbis for Human Rights"IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT ASPIRES TO EXPEL THE POPULATION OF CAVE DWELLERS, TO REINFORCE ITS OWN SETTLEMENTS IN THE AREA, AND TO EVENTUALLY ANNEX THIS TERRITORY TO ISRAEL"
Dear Members and Friends,
In spite of all of our efforts, it looks as if the Government is determined on September 10th  to push their demand that the Israeli High Court cancel their March 2000 restraining order which determined that the cave dwellers of the South Hebron Hills must be allowed to live in their homes unless the Government can prove that they are not residents of the area. The army's Civil Administration has stated clearly that this is a political, not a security decision, and that Defense Minister Benyamin Ben-Eliezer must determine what the Government will demand. Ben-Eliezer has sent mixed messages, even saying at one point that he has no interest in expelling long term residents, but only those "hitching a ride." Unfortunately, he has not defined what he means by this, and the prosecutor's office continues to demand full evacuation of at least some of the generations old cave settlements. We must therefore do everything we can to request Ben-Eliezer to do the just thing and obviate the need for a High Court discussion.
Please take a look at the additional information, sample letter and addresses below. Please write a letter and send us a copy both of the letter and any responses.
Editor's note: When I originally received this Email in August 2002, I suggested that a letter to these entities would do no good at all judging from past experience. Therefore, if you want to help these victims of the Israeli government remain where they have lived for at least decades, then make everyone you know who has the internet aware of my boycott against Israeli settlers' products and companies which support Israeli government atrocities toward the Palestinian people for that is the only way in my opinion to end actions such as this.
Urgent International Letter Campaign
Stop the Expulsion of the Palestinian Cave Dwellers from the South Hebron Hills
After a few times in the past, we launch again a letter campaign to stop the expulsion of the cave dwellers south of Hebron. Our efforts resulted in the government's request to postpone deliberations in the High Court of Justice. Their intention was to hold the deliberations when public attention was diverted. We believe that this terrible act of expulsion can only be achieved when there is no public attention. Therefore we appeal to you again to write to Israel's ministers, to Israeli Embassies in your countries, and to your own Foreign Ministries demanding that no expulsion of Palestinians from the South Hebron Hills be allowed. Your assistance is very important to the struggle.
In the first third of the 19th century (1830s), poverty-stricken Palestinian families left their villages in the South Hebron region and went to eke out their livelihoods in the surrounding hills and fields on lands they could afford to purchase on the outskirts of the existing villages living in the numerous and spacious caves spread throughout the area (today the south West Bank). In the generations that followed these families developed a unique culture and way of life based on their sheep herding, agriculture and cave dwelling. The occupation led to expropriation of the Palestinian farmer's land due to establishment of military bases, declaration of certain areas as "drilling zones," closed military zones. From the early eighties, the israeli government confiscated more land as it began building settlements in the area. Today this scattered pastoral palestinian population numbers a few thousand - but their very existence is now in danger. THEY ARE FACING IMMINENT EXPULSION BY THE ISRAELI AUTHORITIES.
In November 1999 the decades-long harrassment of this population reached a new level when the Israeli army violently expelled some 750 inhabitants (mostly children and women) from their homes and land. Israeli peace and human rights organizations mounted a major public campaign to return the cave-dwellers to their homes, and the High Court of Justice issued an temporary injunction to this effect in March 2000. As a result of the Court ruling things remained relatively quiet until July 2001 when, without any warning, the Israeli army and Civil Administration tore through a wide area with bulldozers - destroying caves and other dwellings, stopping up water wells with rocks and dirt, mowing down crops and livestock, and expelling hundreds of people. Since then Israeli and Palestinian peace and human rights organizations have mobilized in defense of this vulnerable population WE NEED YOUR HELP!
IT IS CLEAR THAT THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT ASPIRES TO EXPEL THE POPULATION OF CAVE DWELLERS, TO REINFORCE ITS OWN SETTLEMENTS IN THE AREA, AND TO EVENTUALLY ANNEX THIS TERRITORY TO ISRAEL.
Lately we have been hearing from Palestinians who have been repeatedly harassed and harmed by settlers. Their complaints to the police receive no attention and are ignored. Complaints to the military authorities and to the government are no more successful. It must be remembered that even now the settlers continue to build new settlements in the region, as they do in many parts of the occupied territories.
PLEASE WRITE TO ISRAEL'S PRIME MINISTER, DEFENSE MINSTER AND FOREIGN MINISTER, TO THE ISRAELI AMBASSADOR IN YOUR COUNTRY, AND TO YOUR OWN FOREIGN MINISTRY - DEMANDING A STOP TO THE HARRASSMENT AND EXPULSION OF THE PALESTINIANS FROM THE SOUTH HEBRON HILLS.
A sample letter:
I am saddened [you may want to use the word outraged instead] by the ongoing strife between the Israelis and the Palestinians and by the many victims it has created.
I find it difficult to understand Israel's intention to expel the Palestinian population - many of whom live in caves - from the South Hebron hills. I was amazed to learn that the Barak government expelled 750 residents from this area at the same time that it was promoting the Peace Process. Other expulsions committed by your government between July and October of 2001, as well as the construction of new and expansion of old settlements throughout the period do not lend credibility to Israel's desire for a cease fire and for peace.
I consider the expulsion of defenseless civilians as contrary to the spirit of Judaism and a violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention.
Israeli organizations active in defense of the South Hebron Hills Palestinians include: Alternative Information Center (AIC)
Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI)
Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)
Public Committee Against Torture in Israel
Rabbis for Human Rights
Ta'ayush - Arab-Jewish Partnership.
We do it in cooperation with the Palestinian Lend Defence Committee.
Addresses of protest letters (it is preferable to send faxes):
Israeli Defense Minister, Binyamin Ben-Eliezer
Ministry of Defense
37 Kaplan st.
Tel-Aviv 61909, Israel
Fax: ++972-3-696 2757 / ++972-3-691 6940 / ++972-3-691 7915
Israeli Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres
Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon
fax:(+972-2) 566-4838 or 651-3955 or 651-2631
US Secretary of State Colin Powell,
"Secretary of State, Colin Powell"
President George W. Bush