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IDF demolishes Hebron orphanage's dairy factory

The Hebron dairy is the primary source of income for an Islamic organization that runs two orphanages and nine schools.

The remains of the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory after the Israeli army demolished it. (Photo by Youth Against Settlements)

The remains of the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory after the Israeli army demolished it. (Photo by Youth Against Settlements)

Israeli army forces arrived to the outskirts of Hebron Tuesday morning and demolished the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory. The factory is owned by the Islamic Charitable Society (ICS) of Hebron and is the primary source of income for the organization, which runs two orphanages, nine schools and provides handicapped and impoverished populations with work and stipends. The organization directly aids 4,000 needy people in the Hebron area. Without the factory it will be have great difficulty continuing its charitable activities.

I visited the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory about two months ago, during Operation “Brother’s Keeper.” As I wrote at the time, ICS staff told me that during the operation soldiers raided their offices and seized computers and files containing information about all those who receive aid from the organization. Soldiers also came to the factory and delivered a demolition order.

A solidarity visit to the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory two months before the demolition. (Photo by Haggai Matar)

A solidarity visit to the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory two months before the demolition. (Photo by Haggai Matar)

The demolition order lists administrative reasons — a lack of building permits. However, in light of the fact that the factory has been operating for years without any interference, inside Hebron, and in light of the timing and claims made by the soldiers who raided the offices, ICS staff and management understood that the raid and demolition order came as revenge following the kidnapping (and murder, we would later discover) of three Israeli youths.

During the tour the organization’s staff told us that, indeed, it did once have some Hamas members. For the past five years, however, the Palestinian Authority has been operating the organization and it long ago switched out the management with its own people who oversee its activities to this day. The staff asked us to tell Israelis that they want peace and independence for both peoples, and they asked to spare the factory and the orphans who are dependent on it.

A request for comment about the — then pending — demolition sent to the army over two months ago remains unanswered.

It should be noted that ICS filed an appeal against the demolition two months ago but I have been unable to understand what came of it. I will update this post if I receive more details.

The remains of the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory after the Israeli army demolished it. (Photo by Youth Against Settlements)

The remains of the Al-Rayyan yogurt factory after the Israeli army demolished it. (Photo by Youth Against Settlements)

Let’s assume, just for the sake of argument, that some of ICS’s members are affiliated with Hamas. If all that the organization does is support orphans, the handicapped and poor — whom nobody else is helping — then there can be no justification for shutting it down.

Hamas, let’s remember, is not exclusively comprised of suicide bombers and rocket squads. It is also the largest political party in the Palestinian territories today, which has a political echelon and charitable undertakings that truly only engage in charity. It has full array of civil society activities that are unrelated to any type of terror, and has various factions with varying political approaches. Of all places to target, there is no justification for shutting down an orphanage in Hebron.

All of that remains valid even if there is a valid administrative justification for the demolition, as stated on the military order. Without even getting into the policies of occupation that don’t even allow Palestinians the possibility of getting building or planning permits (while Israel usurps nearly 1,000 acres of land for a new settlement), is there no room to make an exception for a factory upon which thousands of needy people are financially dependent?

Now that the Israeli army bulldozers have left, activists from Hebron are asking whether Israel is ready to assume responsibility for the orphans.

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This article was first published in Hebrew on Local Call.

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    1. Generally when anti-Zionists claim Israel is committing a genocide I tend to disagree.

      But when I read something like this report I think that Israel is doing something that is at least akin to genocide: a slow strangulation of a people, an extensive series of often barbaric acts designed to make Palestinian life as difficult as possible, possibly in the vain hope that said Palestinians will ultimately just give up and move away.

      The wanton destruction, for whatever reason, of charitable infrastructure like this is positively Naziesque.

      Many Zionists claim Zionism = Judaism. If that is so then incidents like this one would make many anti-Semitic and with reason.

      Reply to Comment
      • Kolumn8

        “Charitable infrastructure” run by Hamas operatives which solicits donations, grants income to Hamas members and works to take orphans and turn them into future Hamas suicide bombers should be closed down and should have been closed down a long time ago.

        Haggai is right. Hamas is not just suicide bombers and rocket squads. At its core it is a political/social organization with branches all over the territories that provides welfare services in order to ideologically prepare the population to murder Israelis while recruiting resources and members for its attacks against Israel. There is no way to defeat Hamas on a battlefield. They will just scatter and launch terrorist attacks. Hamas, the Islamic fundamentalist terrorist organization, in all its forms, must be removed root and branch from Palestinian society.

        Reply to Comment
        • Cobii

          Did you actually read what was written here? Good luck with that.

          Reply to Comment
        • Josef

          This reminds me of the US bombing the Iraqi powdered milk factories because they were alleged to be depots for weapons of mass destruction. As we now know, the people who make these kinds of claims are either evil or willfully ignorant and given to justifying any act of barbarity with comically stupid rationalizations.

          Reply to Comment
    2. Whiplash

      No quarter should be given to Hamas terrorists in the West Bank. Hamas cannot be allowed to operate charitable operations or businesses as a means of laundering money for its military purposes, selling its extreme brand of Islam or for recruiting terrorists. Hamas is a criminal, terrorist organization which has no rights to operate business or charitable fronts for their illegal activities any more than the Mafia or Boko Harem. Any business or organization tainted by affiliation with Hamas should be dismantled.

      There is no difference between the military and civil wings of Hamas. They both operate under the Hamas charter which calls for the destruction of the Jewish state and the genocide of the Jewish people. Hamas states that it is the duty of every Muslim to fight the Jewish people until there are no Jewish people. Hamas’ schools, mosques and charities are fronts for terrorism and breeding extremism. They have no right to exist.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Tell your boss, Daniel Seaman, that his hasbara campaign is pointless. No one on this site, or any other pro Palestinian site will ever be swayed in any way, shape or form by you hasbarists. If anything, you make me even more disgusted with Israel than I normally would be.

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          Danny, what makes you think you and your ilk of Israel-hating Hamas supporters are the target audience for comments left here in the first place?

          I did enjoy the fact that you admitted that this is a pro-Palestinian site.

          Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            I’m proudly pro-Palestinian, as are millions of people all over the world. I take your insinuation as a compliment.

            Reply to Comment
          • Kolumn8

            Ok, based on your response to me you have now admitted that being pro-Palestinian = pro-Hamas.

            Reply to Comment
          • Danny

            Are you admitting that being pro Israel = pro Netanyahu?

            Reply to Comment
        • Whiplash

          Tell my boss? Who?

          Telling the truth is never pointless. Violent resistance by the Naqba loving Palestinians is futile and has not worked for them over the last 66years. They have missed every opportunity for a state since their decision in 1947 to reject peace and embark on a war against what they thought was a weak civilian population. What the Arabs could not win by war fare in 1947-48 the Arabs thought they could win by terrorism. How has that worked for them?

          Reply to Comment
          • ryan

            You are talking about History or His Story. The Story of Israel has many narratives. The fact is the “Israelites” are killing “Palestinians” . The “Israelites” claim through their Bible that Yawheh gave them this land. Thus the Palestinians must submit to Yaweh’s command. Off course their claim is another Story.

            Reply to Comment
      • Which part of:

        ***During the tour the organization’s staff told us that, indeed, it did once have some Hamas members. For the past five years, however, the Palestinian Authority has been operating the organization and it long ago switched out the management with its own people who oversee its activities to this day. ***

        … didn’t you understand?

        Reply to Comment
        • Kolumn8

          The part where the speaker has every interest in lying to a friendly audience of anti-Israeli reporters who will valiantly pass on his message. The ICS was the social welfare branch of Hamas in Hebron until at least 2008 (not ” it did once have some Hamas members” as the author states). The Americans froze donations to the “charitable organization” because it had obvious ties to the Hamas organization. Its leaders were explicitly Hamas members and arrested as such at various points by both Israel and the PA. It is possible that the PA had a hand in replacing the management with more “agreeable” Hamas members, but it is pretty unlikely that the PA managed to root Hamas out from a group that is fundamentally ideologically associated with Hamas.

          Reply to Comment
          • If this is so why wasn’t it dealt with a long time ago?

            Why was due diligence not applied?

            Reply to Comment
    3. Jan

      Were it not for Israel’s brutal military occupation of the West Bank and Gaza there would be no Hamas.Hamas did not come into being until after 20 years of occupation. In those 20 years Israel imprisoned, deported or killed thousands of Palestinians, demolished thousands of Palestinian homes, destroyed Palestinian olive and fruit trees, built illegal Jewish only settlements that began to spread across the West Bank and Gaza like a virulent and deadly cancer eating up the land.

      It is more than obvious that the intent of the occupiers was to make life miserable for the Palestinians of the Occupied Territories in hopes that they would leave.

      Any non-violent resistance to military rule was met with violence, imprisonment or deportation by Israeli authorities . In the early 1980s three Palestinian mayors called for non-violent resistance to occupation. In return bombs were placed in their cars by Jewish settler terrorists. Two of the mayors lost legs while the third mayor was also badly injured.

      In 1983 the Israeli government deported Mubarak Awad, a Palestinian American who had been born in Jerusalem. Awad established the Palestine Centre for the Teaching of Non-Violence and as the Israelis wanted no resistance to occupation Awad was deported in spite of protests from the Reagan State Department.

      What message did this give the Palestinians? The message was if Israel doesn’t want non-violence we will have to resort to violence to gain our freedom.

      The words of President John F. Kennedy were prescient.

      “Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.”

      In this case the word “resistance” can be substituted for “revolution.”

      And so Israel got Hamas just as the British occupiers got the Jewish terror groups, the Irgun and Stern Gang.

      What Israel needs to learn is that if you occupy a people you need to accept the terrible consequences that come with that occupation. Many lives on both sides would have been saved if Israel had less hubris and greed.

      Reply to Comment
      • Whiplash

        Jan you got it wrong again. Hamas grew out of Israeli liberal policies in allowing freedom of speech, religion and association in Gaza and the West Bank in the 1970s. Israel permitted fundamentalist Islamic organizations to run mosques, schools and charitable institutions. Shiek Yassin established a religious organization in 1973 which started out with non-violent activities. By the mid 1980s Yassin’s organization was involved in some violent acts and Yassin was jailed but later released. In 1988 Yassin and others then transformed the religious and charitable group into an extremist jihadi group based on their interpretation of the Qu’ran and Hadiths and Muslim Brotherhood ideology which sought the destruction of the Jewish state.

        Reply to Comment
        • Liz

          The growth of Hamas had nothing to do with “liberal policies” emanating from Israel. It had everything to do with Israel believing that Hamas would be a useful rival to Fatah which it then considered the enemy.

          Reply to Comment
          • Exactly, Liz.

            Classic ‘divide and rule’. Nothing to do with ‘liberal policies’ whatsoever.

            Reply to Comment
          • Whiplash

            Hamas did not exist until 1988 and carried out its first attack in 1989 at which time Israel exiled hundreds of Hamas fighters to Lebanon. It was the Oslo peace accords which enabled them to get back and prevent any chance of the Oslo Accords being successful.

            Reply to Comment
      • Jenny bush

        Thanks for this very informative comment. I notice the hasbara mob have shut up since your post!

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bruce Gould

      What amazes me is the amount of information that’s out there which clearly shows what’s going on – for example the two recent documentaries “The Gatekeepers” and “Five Broken Cameras”, as well as the “The Law inThese Parts” – and yet there are folks who still can’t absorb it. A few years ago I met Jeff Halper who runs the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions, and he estimates that since ’67 roughly 25,000 Palestinian homes have been bulldozed into rubble – almost all of them for building violations! (for some reason no Jew gets their home demolished…).

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        Ethnic cleansing by any other name.

        Israel hopes that a family whose home has been bulldozed several times (or in some cases, many times) will eventually get the message and pack their bags and leave. This is what Benny Elon once called “voluntary transfer”.

        We can only hope that when the time comes, Israel will be forced to compensate all the home owners it has made homeless throughout the years.

        Reply to Comment
    5. Average American

      Israel was created by Zionists to control all of Eretz Israel for The Jews. It wasn’t a milk factory folks, it was really making Weapons of Mass Destruction in a huge basement under the milk factory, just like buildings in the Iraq War, where American sons and daughters were maimed and killed to protect Israel over false intelligence, showing Americans pictures of rusted drainage pipes as containers for WMD to be used against Israel. No bother with any “evidence” in Gaza.

      Reply to Comment
    6. reality

      palestine never existed and never will.

      Reply to Comment
      • Freedom

        Are they aliens from out of space? Dumb asses, but we all know those Jews in Palestine are from Europe, most of them are converts, Israel never existed before 1948 it’s a fact u can’t hide, even after 500 years later, you can lie about history but we are not blind

        Reply to Comment
    7. David Marley

      These acts ,theft of land, destruction of infrastructure seem deliberately designed to provoke an intifada. Collective punishment (for an admittedly horrible crime) by individuals was a tactic of the Nazis.Revenge may be sweet but it leaves a bitter taste in the mouth, and poisons the body.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        By the way, the American Friends Service Committee (those notoriously anti-semitic Quakers!) have just put out a pamphlet “Forced Displacement in Palestine and Israel” – just go to their website and type ‘palestine’ in the search box. As for how the IDF treats Palestinians, why debate the point when they will tell you in their own words? Go to Breaking the Silence” and start watching the soldiers testimonials.

        Reply to Comment
      • Rachamim Dwek

        How ignorant can you possibly be? Try actually researching about “al Rayyan” and its parent NGO “ICS.” It is a HAMAS institution. BBC did a fair documentary on it and its background in terrorist activities. That was a decade ago yet here you are accusing Israel of being Nazis. You should be ashamed of yourself, really. Seems Israel alliwed it a full decade to change its ways which is a hell of alot more than the nation you live in would do. Shall we lanel you a Nazi?

        Reply to Comment
    8. Rachamim Dwek

      Sadly the author omits and obscures important facts. First, he does not mention that the entire staff and governing body of “Islamic Charity Services al Khalil,” aka “ICS.” ICS is comprised of high ranking HAMAS functionaries. He mentions that the PA assumed control in 2009 but interestingly forgot to tell readers WHY it happened.

      In 2004 the IDF raided the NGO’s headquarters and discovered that it was laundering cash for the UK-based Islamo-fascist NGO “Interpal,” as well as the fact that its commission from that laundering being Islamic Charity Services’ main source of support- not its yoghurt factory, sewing shoppe or storefront bakery (there are zero cows and no farms owned by the NGO or any of its facilities).

      The author discusses the NGO’s support of schools and orphanages. Aside from his error in mentioning “nine schools” when there are only two, one for each gender, each attached to a respective orphanage, he omitted that all are Islamic Charity Services institutions. The NGO is not handing out money to any orphanages or schools. Rather, an organisational arm of HAMAS that launders cash from Western-based Islamo-fascist “charities,” happens to administer one boys orphanage with attached classrooms , and one of the same for girls, end of story.

      The author ALSO did not mention Islamic Charoty Services’ direct link to multiple “Suicide Bombings,” two of which involved its “orphans.”

      Finally, on his omission of why the PA took over the NGO, he also failed to note that the PA only “promised” to supervise the NGO’s financial affairs to avert a total dissolution of Islamic Charity Services. It did not replace personnel, and most importantly never oversaw any area of its administration, including its financial affairs. It merely entered into a quid pro quo deal with HAMAS to earn the release of 3 Fatah and six al Aqsa Martyr Brigades prisoners held by HAMAS in Gaza.

      The author lashes out at Israel over its demolition of an illegal structure on unowned land- a structure repeatedly demolished since its first illegal construction in 1991. He criticises Israel while omitting all the crucial information. For those truly interested in facts? The boys facility is:

      “al Dura Boys Society” and attached “al Shari’a Boys School A and B.”

      The girls is:

      “al Khalil al Rahman Girls Society” and attached “al Shari’a Girls School.”

      There is nothing wrong with opposing Israel and/or its policies but facts are important and should always be fully offered so that readers receive information as opposed to propaganda.

      Reply to Comment
    9. Some are starting to act like a very bad group of people in Germany in the 1930s-40s. Some will continue, until the unspeakable word “Genocide” is introduced, uttered,or brought into the conversation. Occupying people and where they live, will only be tolerated for 66 years. This stuff is not the way.New thinking is truly needed.

      Reply to Comment
    10. SomeGuy

      So, where did all of the production equipment go…??

      What the Zionist wants, the Zionist takes.

      Reply to Comment
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