Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign


Welcome to the Exeter Palestine Solidarity Campaign Website. Last updated: 17 January, 2010

Close Down Orphanages? – You Must Be Joking   17 April 08


I have been visiting friends in Hebron. In the centre of town one is confronted by a huge poster put up by the council to draw attention to the threatened closure of orphanages and schools by the Israeli army.

On 6th March, Israeli Occupation Forces raided a warehouse, two bakeries, and small shops belonging to the Islamic Charitable Society, removing 15 (fifteen) lorry loads of equipment and stores. These included two large deep freezes containing meat gifted during Ramadan for orphans for the coming months, other food, clothing, school supplies and two school buses. The value of the things seized was $300,000.

The Israeli military ordered that two orphanages caring for 130 boys and 110 girls, and three schools with a total of 1700 pupils, all run by the Society, were to be evacuated by 7th April.


Poster about threat of closure of orphanages and schools by the Israeli Occupation Forces.  The organization being targeted, the Islamic Charitable Society, provides schools for 7000 children, looks after 4000 orphans and helps 5000 needy families in and around Hebron.


Relatives of the orphans, members of the Christian Peacemaker Team based here and other internationals slept with the children in one of the orphanages on the night of the 6th. Fortunately the Israeli army did not come that night.

On the 7th the Israeli High Court ordered the Israeli military to delay closure of the schools and orphanages until they provide justification for doing so.
However, on the night of 14th April, soldiers entered the one of the bakeries which provides bread for the orphanages, wrecked an oven and took away display cases, refrigerators, and other equipment.

The Israeli Occupation Forces claim that funds given to the Islamic Charitable Society are being passed to Hamas and used for terrorist activities. In fact the Society is a well respected organization dating back to 1962, which is supported by the local community and donors in Europe, the US and the Middle East. I have been told that the independently audited accounts, which are published and made available to the Israeli authorities, show that the income is used for the purposes for which it has been donated.

The Israeli army claims that the children the charity cares for are being indoctrinated against Zionism. However, the curriculum followed in the schools is the same as in Palestinian state schools. According to an international, pupils and teachers deny that there is indoctrination or that pupils are taught to hate Jews. It is the behaviour of Jewish Israelis that causes people to hate them.

If only the heartless campaign against this valued Palestinian charity with an untarnished reputation, or the recent attack on El-Wafa Rehabilitation Hospital doing wonderful work in Gaza, were exceptional events. Unfortunately they are but two examples of Zionism’s relentless attempts to destroy Palestinian society. But no crime is

A member of staff of the boys’ orphanage showed a friend and I round with justified pride

too despicable for Zionism to stoop to. Here is the list for the 24 hours to 8 am on 16th April:

3 air strikes – 14 attacks – 37 raids – 4 beatings – 5 dead – 17 injuries – 21 taken prisoner – 24 detained – 103 restrictions of movement
Hospital & school shelled & damaged
Two houses destroyed – one by bulldozer, the other shelled by tanks
Resistance activist murdered in targeted missile strike
Beached fishing boats under Israeli Navy fire
Extensive sabotage of crops & farmland
Home invasion – man beaten, his home vandalised
Man beaten & hospitalised by annexation Wall gate troops
Two 17-year-olds abducted by Israel soldiers
Businesses, charities & study centre plundered
Home invasions in 11 towns, villages & refugee camps

Details of these and the horrific day by day tally of crimes being committed by the Israeli military and settlers can be found at www.sapienspromise.org/modules/news  

Once again we see the Israeli army involved in collective punishment of Palestinian civil society. In any other country this would be considered a war crime and be prosecuted through international courts. It is only the powerful protection of the USA and Britain that allows Israel to get away with such blatant crimes against humanity. Please do whatever you can to pressure the Israeli government and your own government to change these inhuman policies.