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UK charity Oxfam concerned over apparent attack
Published Thursday 29/10/2009 (updated) 01/11/2009 11:06
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Hebron – Ma'an – The British humanitarian aid group Oxfam International is investigating reports that Israeli forces in Hebron may have intentionally destroyed an EU-funded water reservoir built by the charity.

"We understand that beneficiaries have been attacked, as well as the water system, and that networks were destroyed," Oxfam spokesman Michael Bailey told Ma'an on Thursday. "We are very concerned for the farmers, who have lost every important source of income."

Bailey added that the organization was "following these reports closely," but could not immediately confirm that Israel's army had destroyed the EU-funded infrastructure.

But locals told Ma'an earlier on Thursday that ten Palestinians, including a 70-year-old woman, seven women and two journalists, were attacked by Israeli forces south of Hebron during the course of the demolition.

Reports from the Israeli settler news agency Arutz Sheva quoted a right-wing activist bragging that the infrastructure, which he said was built by Oxfam and funded by the EU, was ripped apart due to its proximity to a Hebron settlement.

"Among the structures destroyed were several built with money from the European Union-funded organization Oxfam," said the report, which quoted the settler activist saying local Palestinians, who "had been given money by Oxfam to improve the water supply in their village," had built on land "owned" by the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.

The incident apparently began when Israeli soldiers and armored vehicles demolished a water reservoir belonging to Al-Baqa'a resident Mohammad Mustafa Jaber. His family said a bulldozer also destroyed irrigation networks used for crops.

In an attempt to stop the demolition, the family notified the press and tried to block the demolition crew as it approached, according to residents. Soldiers responded by beating the family members and two journalists who responded to the scene, they said.

An eyewitness said soldiers kicked and hit the residents and journalists with army rifle butts and batons.

The two injured journalists, identified by medics as Abed Al-Hafith Al-Hashlamun with the European Press Agency (EPA) and Najeh Al-Hashlamun of "ABA," were reportedly injured as they attempted to document the demolition and subsequent attacks.

Seven of the injured residents were identified as:

Mari Jaber
Najah Jaber
Kawkab Jaber
Rudeina Jaber
Najah Fadel Jaber
Ibtesam Rashed Jaber
Izdehar Falah Jaber
Amenah Jaber, 70

Approached by Ma'an, an Israeli spokesperson confirmed that an "illegal water foundation" was demolished, but refused further comment. A spokesman for Israel's Civil Administration had no immediate comment.

On Saturday, the Palestinian center for land research issued a statement condemning the actions, explaining that the Israeli bulldozers had destroyed ten dumums of land and destroyed water infrastructure that was used to irrigate another 17 dunums of agricultural land planted with vegetables.

The organization interviewed one of the land's residents, Rudeina Jaber, who said a female soldier hit her with a baton and rifle butts.
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1 ) Sander / the Netherlands
29/10/2009 22:05
The saddest thing is that these things happen every day. How can anyone support Israel and still consider him or herself as a human being?

2 ) Shmuel Gordon / Israel
29/10/2009 23:21
Sander "How can anyone support Israel" well they don't. While Israel commits injustices the rest of the world is NOT standing idly by. Nations worlwide are promoting the Goldstone report & are recommending that all Israeli war criminals are tried in each nation - independent of the ICC and the UN!

3 ) Hans Schneid / Switzerland
29/10/2009 23:29
eventually they (Israelis) will get what they deserve.

4 ) Elaine / USA
30/10/2009 01:38
How can Jews -- of all people -- behave this way towards another people? Do we not learn from history?

5 ) Mark / UK
30/10/2009 08:22
"The incident apparently began when Israeli soldiers and armoured vehicles demolished a water reservoir belonging to Al-Baqa'a resident Mohammad Mustafa Jaber. " Another fine example of Israelis 'defending themselves' against the Palestinians.

6 ) Sander / the Netherlands
30/10/2009 15:54
Hey Shmuel,
Yes, it seems that more and more governments are finally realising who is the real or big agressor in the conflict. But unfortunately still nothing changes since America and the EU are to much of cowards (or maybe even slaves) to really stand up and say or do anything about it.
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