On March 20 at about 11:00 in the morning the Al Atrash family was hosting a group from FIDA (the Palestinian Democratic Union) who were visiting the neighborhood in solidarity with the families there, when 18 Soldiers and Border Police accompanied by an armed settler kicked the unlocked door to announce their arrival and then swarmed into the home without permission. Only women of the family were home at the time, along with several small children.
The soldiers and settler invaded the family’s home in order to access the Al Sharif building which is next door. The Al Sharif building has been vacant for many years, and settlers are now claiming they have bought the building, however it is extremely doubtful that all of the many members of the Palestinian family who own the house would have signed sale documents as is required by Palestinian property law. The soldiers and settler moved through the Al Atrash family home and into the empty Al Sharif house, then came back through the family’s home to exit.
Later the same day Border Police and two settlers entered the Al Atrash home and again gained access to the Al Sharif house. The settlers were later seen leaving the block of buildings through a door which opens onto the street below the Ibrahimi Mosque near several Palestinian shops. The settlers appeared to have been working.
Attempts by settlers to gain control of the Al Sharif Building are part of a larger effort to acquire a string of properties in Hebron. Several of the properties in dispute are near the Ibrahimi Mosque, and together they advance settler efforts to link existing settlements, thereby cutting off large Palestinian neighborhoods from access to education, health services and commerce. Click here to see the properties on a map of Hebron.