Dismantle the Ghetto: Take the settlers of out of Hebron
Letitia James, New York State Attorney General
A call to action from the Hebron Defense Committee, Human Rights Defenders, International Solidarity Movement, Good Shepherd Collective, Protection and Sumud Committee and the Christian Peacemaker Teams.
Non-governmental organizations like the Hebron Fund have historically served as key contributors in settler-colonial regimes. Before the establishment of the State of Israel, the Zionist movement--composed of numerous organizations and groups--funded and instituted a program of settler-colonialism. This program carries on today, and with it, the elimination and erasure of indigenous Palestinian communities.
During the 1948 War, Israeli paramilitary operations destroyed approximately 530 villages, killed 13,000 Palestinians and displaced another 750,000 from their homes to become refugees. Since then, the Israeli government and non-governmental settler organizations have methodically enacted programs of physical and structural violence, using forced transfer as a central tool for the colonization of Palestine. Through the manipulation of legal regimes, alongside the military and settler communities, the Israeli government continues to orchestrate a system of perpetual forced displacement, arbitrary and indefinite incarceration, violence, and killing as a means to push the indigenous communities into ethnic enclaves and expand illegal Israeli colonies.
The Israeli government and settler organizations, including the Hebron Fund, continue to carry out these methods of settler-colonialism in the Palestinian city of Hebron. What began with a Zionist rabbi, Moshe Levinger, and a handful of settlers taking control of the Park Hotel in the Old City of Hebron in 1967 has now expanded into an entire illegal Israeli community in the heart of Hebron, encircling the Ibrahimi mosque and housing some 7,000 settlers.
In securing control of the land for illegal settlement expansion, the Israeli settler movement—bolstered by the government and its policies, as well as the military--has forced the Palestinian communities into small, disconnected ethnic zones. As a result, the center of Hebron is physically separated by 121 closures, including 21 permanently-staffed Israeli military checkpoints. The approximately 5,600 Palestinians in these neighborhoods must navigate this labyrinth during their daily affairs. Additionally, 6,200 Palestinians cannot reach their homes by vehicle. Israel's intentional design to minimize Palestinian space while maximizing settler control of Hebron has led to a mass exodus of the indigenous communities.
The Hebron Rehabilitation Committee reported in 2015 that out of a total of 3,369 housing units surveyed in this area, almost a third (1,079 housing units), were empty. Israel's utilization of military orders under the guise of security has also forced the closure of 1,610 shops. Of the 650 shops in the old market, just 10% are functioning.
In imposing this system of oppression and displacement against the local communities, the Israeli military and settler communities utilize state-sanctioned violence to maintain control. From January 1, 2001, to December 31, 2019, the Israeli military and settler community have injured an estimated 8,157 Palestinians--3,482 of which were children at the time--and killed 182 people, of which 42 were children. The most well-known example of this state-sponsored terrorism is the Ibrahimi Massacre.
On February 25, 1994, American-Israeli Baruch Goldstein--a member of the terrorist organization Kach--entered the Ibrahimi mosque and opened fire on Palestinians during prayer. Targeting unarmed worshippers, Goldstein killed 29 Palestinians and injured another 120. The Israeli response to Goldstein's act of terrorism was to impose a curfew on the Palestinian community and implement closure to critical economic zones, such as the shutting down of Shuhadah street and the old markets.
This system of oppression is cultivated and maintained, in part, by the Hebron Fund, a US-based charitable organization that exploits weak tax enforcement mechanisms to bolster the Israeli settler community in Hebron. The Hebron Fund is the largest known funder of the settler movement in Hebron. In 2013, it provided $1.7 million to Hebron communities. In 2003, it provided 45 percent of the community income, which ballooned to 55 percent in 2008.
Contrary to US tax law, the Hebron Fund directly sponsors:
Violence, through the financing of military and paramilitary activity.
Intimidation of the indigenous community through criminal activity, such as vandalism, including assault and battery.
Racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in housing, freedom of movement, racial and ethnic discrimination in education in violation of the clearly defined public policy of the United States.
Propaganda activities with no educational benefits.
Furthermore, individuals in connection with terrorist organizations could benefit from funds disbursed by The Hebron Fund.
We call on the New York State Attorney General, Letitia James, to open a formal investigation into the Hebron Fund’s charitable status, knowing that US taxpayers are shouldering the burden for the tax-deductible donations given to this organization for the purpose of continued violence against Palestinians.
Hebron Coalition Members
|Good Shepherd Collective FB: @goodshepherdcollective Twitter: @Shepherds4Good Instagram: @goodshepherdcollective||Christian Peacemaker Teams cptpalestine.org FB: @cptpalestine Twitter: @cptpalestine||Human Rights Defenders humandefenders.com FB: Human Rights Defenders تجمع المدافعين عن حقوق الانسان||Hebron Defense Committee FB: لجنة الدفاع عن الخليل Hebron Defense committee|
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|International Solidarity Movement palsolidarity.org FB: @ismpalestine Twitter: @ism_usa Instagram: @ismpalestine||لجنة الحماية والصمود Protection and Sumud Committee FB: @لجنة الحماية والصمود Protection and Sumud Committee||Youth of Sumud FB: @Youth Of Sumud / شباب صمود|
Letitia James, New York State Attorney General
From: [Your Name]
For generations, the US-based organization, the Hebron Fund, has exploited mechanisms in US charitable law to finance illegal settlement activities in Hebron. As the Hebron Fund subsidizes (1) military and paramilitary activity; (2) intimidation of the indigenous community through criminal activity, such as vandalism, including assault and battery; (3) racial, religious and ethnic discrimination in housing, freedom of movement, racial and ethnic discrimination in education in violation of the clearly defined public policy of the United States; (4) propaganda activities with no educational benefits; and (5) individuals in connection with terrorist organizations could benefit from funds disbursed by The Hebron Fund, we call on the Letitia James, the New York State Attorney General to investigate the charitable status of the Hebron Fund and hold them to the standards of charitable giving laid out in the US tax code.