On 23 February 2014, four Israeli soldiers entered the al Atrash family home in Hebron’s Old City from the rooftop of an adjacent building at 4:00 p.m. In the middle of the previous night, soldiers invaded the house in large numbers, as they have on numerous occasions recently. These incursions began after settlers started to work on the Al-Sharif house in recent weeks, which is adjacent to the Al Atrash family home.
An 11 February invasion was particularly traumatic for the family. The oldest son of Al Atrash family noticed eight Border Police with a dog on the roof of their house started to take photos. The Border Police began screaming at the sixteen-year-old to stop. The mother went up on the roof to ask the Border Police why they were there and why they were screaming at her son. At this point, the Border Police unleashed their dog. (Dogs are considered unclean in Muslim culture.)The mother began screaming, “This is our house; you must leave!” A female Border Police officer responded by saying: “No, this is our house, you leave!”
Fifteen members of the Al Atrash family live in that house, twelve of them children (one daughter is eighteen-years-old.) They are currently living in fear of both the Israeli military raids and the possibility of settlers taking over the house next door (one of their doors gives access to the Al Sharif house). The family noticed on Sunday that it looked like someone had been working in the derelict al Sharif house. The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee (HRC) had locked the entrance to al Sharif house from the Ibrahimi Mosque side to hinder settler activity there, but settlers pried it open. Afterwards HRC sealed the entrance with stone blocks and cement.
The area remains a hotspot in an already highly tense area of Hebron. The possibility of a new settlement outpost in the heart of Hebron can only lead to more displacement, dispossession, and human rights violations for Palestinians who live, work and worship in the H-2 area of Al-Khalil (Hebron).