By Geoffrey Cook, MMNS
Despite the recent ceasefire brokered by Egypt between Hamas and Israel in Gaza, the persecuton continues of Islamic Charities who work with Hebron orphanages on the West Bank.
Israel had killed 1,020 Palestinian children between 2000 and 5/1/2008, while the Palestinians have killed, tragically, 124 Israeli children.
On April 23, a program on French TV Channel 5 highlighted a tragedy occurring in the West Bank city of Hebron.
The news highlighted on Francophone television is not even discussed in the United States: The Israeli military is about to close down schools and orphanages run by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) there.
More than 240 boys and girls, aged five through eighteen, live at the orphanages, while thousands of other children, many of whom have lost at least one of their parents, receive schooling, food and clothing from the charity.
The Israeli military has already seized $157,000 worth of goods–including rice, oil, sugar, clothing and first aid kits–from the ICS warehouse.
Israeli soldiers entered the Brahma Bakery, owned by the Society, on April 14th, destroyed the oven, and confiscated more than $43,000 of equipment–including all the display cases, refrigerators, fixtures, and most of the inventory. Upstairs, the soldiers destroyed heating ducts.
All this for a bakery provided bread for the orphanages.
The charity appealed to the Israeli High Court of Justice.
The Israel Defense Force (IDF) claims, on its part, that ICS is supporting the Hamas movement. The Charitable Society, founded in 1962, argues that ICS is a purely Palestinian charitable organization, with no political agenda, which is monitored regularly by the Palestinian Authority (PA).
Israel and its supporters in the U.S. and Europe have targeted almost every charity that is trying to keep Palestinians fed, clothed, and educated.
By closing this charity and others, Israel will complete the economic strangulation and even ethnic cleansing of Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza.
Israelâ€™s Walls and checkpoints are already preventing Palestiniansâ€™ access to their jobs, fields, medical care and schools.
If the Israeli army shuts down the Islamic Charitable Society and its projects in the city of Hebron, this will merely increase the extremism within the Palestinian community.
Harassment by the Israeli authorities leaves Palestinians angry and hopeless. Several raids by the army on ICS-affiliated businesses and schools have severely weakened the charityâ€™s ability to continue its beneficial projects in Hebron.