Hebron Rehabilitation Committee
Ten years ago, the Old City of Hebron was regarded as the poorest part of town. It suffered from social and economic problems. A third of its buildings were desolate, abandoned or crumbling. Infrastructure was lacking. Israeli soldiers and settlers harassed the occupants. Closures, curfews and shortages caused residents to leave, bringing commerce almost to a halt.
In the face of this discouragement a Presidential Decree was issued by the late President Yasser Arafat on August 12, 1996, ordering the creation of Hebron Rehabilitation Committee with members from the district's institutions and establishments. This initiative acknowledged Hebron's religious and cultural status. It recognized the determination of the people of Hebron, their institutions – municipal, communal and academic – and the Palestinian leadership, to cherish the cultural heritage of the city and to protect it.
In its constitution, HRC set for itself the following goals and strategies:
-Reviving the Old City by renovating buildings, reusing abandoned houses and rehabilitating the infrastructure while preserving its cultural heritage and the city's architectural fabric
-Improving living conditions for the population by restoring homes, enabling unity between the Old City and the new one, and providing various services to enhance living and working conditions
-Boosting trade and the economy, and promoting local and foreign tourism
-Launching projects to combat unemployment and poverty, and to provide jobs for local people
About the Legal Unit:
In 2004 Hebron Rehabilitation Committee set up its Legal Unit to provide protection the freedoms and human rights of Palestinian civilians in the Old City. It has been expanded and the legal functions undertaken by the Legal Unit use all available legal mechanisms at the local level and international level to ensure the human rights of the citizens and to protect their property. The Legal Unit has the following objectives:
-Dealing with all Israel military orders in all forms, especially orders for closures, confiscation of Palestinian property and to prevent the restoration of housing and historical or religious sites.
-Raise awareness among the Palestinians of their human rights and ways to resist attacks by the Israeli army and settlers against them.
-Documenting violations of the Israeli occupation authorities and settlers against Palestinian citizens and to expose their practices at the local, regional and international levels.
-Taking legal action against any injustices and human rights violations occurring in the Old City of Hebron by using the legal mechanisms available at the local and international level.
Partners of the Legal Unit:
TIPH, Foundation Acre (civil rights), the Peace Now movement, B'Tselem, the UN Office for Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA), Al-Haq, the Red Cross, the Independent Commission for Human Rights Legal Clinic / University of Jerusalem, the Peace Movement, the Christian Council of Refugee/ Norway.