More Settler Vandalism in Hebron

Israeli settler youth have continued to trash an internationally funded project intended to make it safer for Palestinian girls living in the Tel Rumeida section of Al-Khalil (Hebron) to reach their elementary school.

The project, funded by the international monitoring group Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), involves several improvements to a staircase and pathway the girls have to take to reach the Qurtuba School, which is located opposite the Beir Hadassah settlement. Workers have recently bricked in the path and built a low cement-block retaining wall alongside it to protect it from erosion of the hillside above it.

On June 22, 2006, settler youth began vandalizing the wall, using bricks and boulders to smash the cement blocks. Israeli Police summoned to the scene refused even to get out of their jeep to assess the damage.

Human rights workers witnessed a second attack on the wall by the settler youth the next day, and there have apparently been at least two (probably more) subsequent attacks. As of June 27th, the top row of cement blocks has been completely destroyed along most of the length of the wall, and the bricked-in pathway is littered with fragments of broken cement.

Meanwhile, the workers on the job have not returned to the site since June 22 when an Israeli military officer ordered them to stop work, on the grounds that they lacked a permit for the construction of the retaining wall. The officer issued this edict a few hours before the first attack by the settler youth.

In fact, according to TIPH, the work is completely in line with the permit for the project issued by Israeli authorities.

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