Clashes in Hebron

On the morning of Monday, August 26, Israeli soldiers raided the Qalandia refugee camp to make an arrest. As the soldiers moved through the camp, crowds gathered, and protests, which included stone-throwing, began. In response, the Israeli military killed three Palestinians and injured 15. The events in Qalandia created waves throughout the West Bank. That afternoon clashes erupted in Hebron.

Crowds of men and boys had gathered near a checkpoint in H1(the part of Hebron under full Palestinian control).  When CPTers arrived, the crowds had already begun throwing stones.  Israeli soldiers were stationed on roofs.

A few blocks from the checkpoint (still in H1, where Israeli soldiers are not allowed to be), soldiers had set off sound bombs.  As CPTers approached, the soldiers were retreating back towards the checkpoint; while most of the soldiers seemed relatively calm, one soldier was clearly agitated and momentarily focused his anger on CPTers.  Only for a moment; his companions urged him on and they continued their retreat back towards H2.

As clashes escalated, taxis and collective taxis left the area, some businesses closed, vendors packed up their carts and rolled them away, and the number of women and young children in the streets dwindled.

Stone- and sometimes firecracker-throwing.  Sound bombs. Tear gas.  From time to time soldiers came into the streets, shot sound bombs or tear gas near the protesters, and retreated.  Protesters burned boxes in the streets, then tires. Taking advantage of the open streets, several men sped their cars through the area, tires squealing.   A few drove in tight circles before speeding off. Later, some of the protesters brought water tanks into the streets to form a barricade.

In the early evening, the streets began to clear. Remaining protesters continued to burn things in the streets. They moved the water tanks into a pyramid formation.  Soldiers continued to shoot sound bombs and tear gas, but finally the clashes stopped for the night.

On Tuesday afternoon, clashes recommenced.  Stone-throwing began in H1 and within one minute of the first air-born stone, a sound bomb went off.   This time Palestinian police in riot gear and Palestinian Authority (PA) officials intervened. With their presence in the streets, the crowd moved into H2, where the PA is not allowed. Clashes were not as volatile as the previous day, nor as long.  However, they still involved rocks, fires, sound bombs, and teargas.  During lulls in the action curious boys and young men approached CPTers to talk.

At one point the crowd of protesters retreated for reasons not immediately obvious.  Later CPTers heard that an Israeli settler had fired on the crowd from a rooftop.  Israeli soldiers had stood nearby, doing nothing. Slowly, the clashes moved back into H1, where eventually the PA dispersed the remnants of the crowd.

On Wednesday afternoon without provocation Israeli soldiers set off a sound bomb in H1.  PA authorities were again present there. Clashes again erupted, but only in H2, and still less volatile than the previous days. Israeli soldiers were stationed on rooftops.  When the stone-throwing began, some soldiers came out into the streets.  They closed some streets to foot and vehicle traffic for about 3 hours.  CPTers observed the back and forth of stones and sound bombs for several hours.  No tear gas was used when CPTers watched, but when they patrolled later in the evening, the street was littered with used sound bombs and tear gas.  Sting-inducing gas lingered in the air.

Thursday saw a break in clashes, but on Friday, clashes erupted again in H2.  No clashes have occurred since that day, Friday, August 30.