International Solidarity Movement » Border Police http://palsolidarity.org Nonviolence. Justice. Freedom. Thu, 21 Aug 2014 20:58:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.9.2 Palestinian judge assassinated by Israeli soldiers at Allenby bridge borderhttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/03/palestinian-judge-assassinated-by-israeli-soldiers-at-allenby-bridge-border/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/03/palestinian-judge-assassinated-by-israeli-soldiers-at-allenby-bridge-border/#comments Thu, 13 Mar 2014 10:06:39 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=38388 13th March 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus Team | Nablus, Occupied Palestine

On Monday March 10, Raed Zeiter, a 38 years-old  judge originally from Nablus, was assassinated by the Israeli forces at the Allenby Bridge Border.DSCN1791

The man, who has been working in Amman since 2011, was going out of the bus to pass the border to Palestine at around 8am when the border authority ordered him to go in the “humiliation sas” for  “security reason”. Excessive force was used against Raed Zeiter to bring him to this interrogation room, what would have brought him to push back the soldier. The Israeli forces immediately shot three bullets at Zeiter’s chest and didn’t let anybody get to the injured man for at least twenty minutes.  Raed Zeiter died before the ambulance could arrive, one hour later.

Zeiter was buried the day after in Nablus, leaving behind a wife and two young children, one of whom is in a coma in hospital.

This murder occurred in a dramatic bleeding time. Indeed, in the same day, three others Palestinians, Ismail Abu Judah, 23, Shahir Abu Shanab, 24, and 33-year-old Abd al-Shafi Muammar suffered the same fate in Gaza after an Israeli airstrike. Fidaa Muhye Addin Majadlah and Ibrahim Adnan Shukri died  in Tulkarem area after a car chase by Israeli police.  And Saji Darwish for his part, was also shot by Israeli soldiers nearby Ramallah. He was 18 years.

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International activists physically and verbally abused in detentionhttp://palsolidarity.org/2014/01/international-activists-physically-and-verbally-abused-in-detention/ http://palsolidarity.org/2014/01/international-activists-physically-and-verbally-abused-in-detention/#comments Wed, 15 Jan 2014 07:34:46 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=37586  

15th January 2014 | International Solidarity Movement | Occupied Palestine

On Wednesday 8th January, Vincent Mainville and Fabio Theodule were arrested by Israeli border police in Khalil (Hebron).

The two actvists were handcuffed and taken to Jaabara police station where they were forced to kneel on the concrete floor for approximately 30 minutes. Fabio was blindfolded with his own keffiyeh and while kneeling he was pushed against the wall by Israeli border police officers and kicked in his legs.

After an hour passed, the makeshift blindfold was removed although their hands remained cuffed behind their backs for the next four to five hours.

Fabio and Vincent were questioned by Israeli forces, both refusing to sign documents that were written in Hebrew. They were taken to Kiryat Arba police station, fingerprinted and then interrogated once again. Several hours passed and it was only at this point that they were allowed to call their legal representative.

They were transferred to a police facility near Ben Gurion airport where they were made to wait outside in a prison courtyard for two hours. Fabio asked for water and was told by a border police officer, “If you want to drink, you can drink my piss.”

Fabio and Vincent repeatedly asked for jackets or a blanket due to the cold weather, but they were both ignored.

They were taken inside this facility for 30 minutes before being transferred back to Kiryat Arba police station in Khalil. Their handcuffs were removed at 12:30 at night and they were placed in a cell to sleep.

In the morning, on Thursday 9th January, Vincent and Fabio were awakened and handcuffed at 6:30 in the morning. They received no information about their situation and were not informed they had a court hearing that morning. When they arrived at court in Jerusalem they were allowed to speak to their lawyer for approximately four minutes outside the courthouse, with Israeli border police present.

After they had the short conversation with their lawyer they were taken to the immigration office in Tel Aviv. The two activists tried to refuse to enter this building as they knew their lawyer was attempting to argue against their arrest [which was eventually declared illegal]. It was at this point Israeli forces became extremely aggressive, dragging both Vincent and Fabio by their handcuffs causing their wrists to bleed.

Vincent attempted to resist as they were both dragged up a set of stairs and it was at this point a man from the immigration center kicked him in his ribs and his face. They were taken into a room and after one hour, were able to contact their lawyer, though they were not allowed privacy for this phone call.

Vincent asked if he could file charges against the man who had beat him, and he was told he was not allowed to do this.

At this point Vincent and Fabio were given food for the first time in 25 hours.

The activists were then taken to Giv’on prison in Ramle, close to Tel Aviv. They were unable to contact their lawyer again and received no information about their case, until they were finally able to be contacted by ISM two days later.

Vincent and Fabio are very likely to be deported within the next few days. Their arrest has been ruled illegal by an Israeli court but this has not made any difference to their situation. Vincent and Fabio, as internationals, have received far better treatment then Palestinian prisoners. It should be remembered that the brutal treatment of Palestinian prisoners echoes throughout Palestine and serves as a daily reminder of the Israeli occupation.

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Viscous crackdown on unarmed protesters against the Prawer Plan just outside Ramallahhttp://palsolidarity.org/2013/12/viscous-crackdown-on-non-violent-protestors-against-the-prawer-plan-just-outside-ramallah/ http://palsolidarity.org/2013/12/viscous-crackdown-on-non-violent-protestors-against-the-prawer-plan-just-outside-ramallah/#comments Mon, 02 Dec 2013 09:02:14 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=37031 2nd December 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Ramallah Team | Occupied Palestine

Over 100 Palestinians and international activists took part in a non-violent demonstration on the 30th of November to protest against the Prawer Plan. The demonstration began at the al-Bireh municipality building in Ramallah and proceeded onto the Bet El settlement nearby. Demonstrators were met with stones then live ammunition from settlers before the Israeli army and border police arrived, employing violent tactics to disperse the demonstrators and arresting three Palestinians in the process.

Protesters gathered at the municipality building at around 2pm to protest the Prawer Plan (Israel’s planned removal of up to 70,000 members of the Bedouin population living in the Negev) before travelling by bus to the Bet El settlement. On arrival protesters made their way up a side entrance of the illegal settlement whilst under attack from stones thrown by settler youth. This did not deter the demonstrators who chanted slogans and attached banners to the settlement fence. This brought the attention of settlers armed with automatic firearms. After a brief period of pushing on the chain linked fence the armed settlers fired a volley of live ammunition in the air in an attempt to intimidate the non-violent protesters. Shortly after this Israeli forces began arriving on the scene.

This prompted those present to continue demonstrating on the main road adjacent to the settlement. The Israeli army and border police were initially passive due to the large presence of journalists and photographers, which led those present to believe that this non-violent protest would be allowed to continue without violent intervention. However it quickly degenerated into a brutal crackdown on all peaceful protesters present. The security forces initially fired a flurry of tear gas canisters whilst advancing 30 meters before breaking into formations with riot shields to obstruct the road. Numerous stun grenades were then thrown at the feet of protesters in an effort to disperse them. However it was only once arrests began to take place that this occurred. One of those arrested was slammed to the ground and held there by up to 12 soldiers and border police before being led away to an undisclosed location.

By this point a good deal of the demonstrators had dispersed but a small number headed towards Jalzaun refugee camp and created road blocks to attempt to disrupt the advance of the Israeli soldiers. Some also began to throw stones up the road where the lines of army and border police remained, at which point tear gas was fired in vast quantities towards the Palestinian protesters. Some protesters were forced to leave the area due to the thickness of the tear gas in the air and the unbearable conditions that this created. However those that did remain, as well as the residents of the refugee camp, were shot at with both rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition even after the demonstration was clearly finished. Despite this, no serious injuries were reported although many people were treated on the scene for tear gas inhalation.

Protests against the Prawer Plan have taken place across Palestine, but also worldwide over the last few days including in the Negev itself where up to 1000 people attended. However despite this Benjamin Netanyahu described the Prawer Plan demonstrations as “riots” and stated, “We shall continue to advance the Prawer Bill.”

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Tear gas in Hebron school leads to cancellation of classeshttp://palsolidarity.org/2013/10/tear-gas-in-hebron-school-leads-to-cancellation-of-classes/ http://palsolidarity.org/2013/10/tear-gas-in-hebron-school-leads-to-cancellation-of-classes/#comments Sun, 27 Oct 2013 10:42:50 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=36289 27th October 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

Two school children suffer from the effects of tear gas

Two school children suffer from the effects of tear gas

In the Israeli controlled H2 area in the center of Khalil (Hebron) children are used to tear gas canisters being fired after them before going to school.

Usually the teaching is delayed for at least half an hour, as many children are afraid of walking along Shalala Street where the school is, and with good reason. This morning, eight Israeli soldiers and two members of the Border Police were present as the children made their way to school, and they responded with no hesitation when four young children threw a hand full stones towards the checkpoint. At first one stun grenade was thrown from behind the checkpoint where the soldiers held their position, but they moved immediately out of the checkpoint towards the school.

From this position, another five stun grenades were thrown and six tear gas canisters were fired, one of which was fired carelessly down the street, nearly hitting a Palestinian woman on her way to work. This would have required hospitalization.

One stun grenade was purposely thrown at two international activists who were taking photos of the episode. After around half an hour the soldiers and police decided to go back to the checkpoint where two of them remained to check the ID’s of Palestinians and internationals. The rest of the soldiers and police left in a jeep while teachers and pupils walked back home since the school yard and classrooms had tear gas hanging in the air.

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Dozens injured and hundreds of arrests in intense Hebron clasheshttp://palsolidarity.org/2013/09/dozens-injured-and-hundreds-of-arrests-in-intense-hebron-clashes/ http://palsolidarity.org/2013/09/dozens-injured-and-hundreds-of-arrests-in-intense-hebron-clashes/#comments Mon, 23 Sep 2013 00:42:06 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=35200 23rd September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

On Sunday 22nd September, heavy clashes took place across Hebron, leading to the injury and arrest of numerous Palestinians as well as the death of an Israeli soldier. Hebron is currently declared a military zone with a curfew imposed and all entrances to the city sealed off. Throughout Sunday evening and night, the Israeli army has been raiding houses, searching all males and arresting hundreds in several neighbourhoods near the scene of the attack.

On Sunday, as part of celebrations of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, the street outside checkpoint 56 leading to Yatta was closed by Israeli military and border police. Last Friday the army announced by military order that all shops on the street would have be closed and cars would have to be moved between 11am and 3pm, to ensure safe passage for settlers and Jewish visitors for a pilgrimage to what the settlers consider the cave of Otniel ben Knaz, located on said road.

The clashes in Bab Al-Zawiyeh began around 11.30 am when Palestinian youths began to throw stones at the invading Israeli army and border police. The occupation forces shot tear gas canisters, stun grenades and plastic-coated steel bullets at the protesters. Within the first few hours, internationals witnessed border police violently grab two young men from the crowds and drag them into checkpoint 56; it is unknown if they were detained or arrested. Internationals also witnessed several injuries in these clashes, including a Palestinian youth shot with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the back of his head. When his friends proceeded to carry him towards medical treatment, Israeli border police responded by firing more plastic-coated steel bullets at the wounded youth and his friends as they were crossing the street. The clashes in Bab Al-Zawiyeh continued well into the evening and became progressively more violent and volatile. Live ammunition was used against resisting protesters and there are reports of several Palestinian men being treated for gunshot wounds.

Meanwhile, clashes also took place outside checkpoints 209 and 29 in the Quatoum and Salaymeh neighbourhoods. As part of the preparations for the Sukkot celebrations and in order to accommodate the large flux of Jewish tourists, the Israeli military had moved the roadblocks outside these two checkpoints approximately 200 metres further down the road and re-directed Israeli tour buses down this route. This move effectively enlarged area H2 under Israeli military control and disrupted life for Palestinians, as well as constituting provocation and humiliation. During the riots, stone-throwing youths and children were confronted with large amounts of teargas, sound grenades, rubber-coated steel bullets and several rounds of live ammunition shot by the Israeli military, who also invaded several roofs of Palestinian houses to fire from there. During the clashes, one man was beaten by border police, and two youths were arrested and released after about an hour.

At around 6pm, international activists saw soldiers who had been shooting at the protestors suddenly run back up the road towards checkpoint 209 (Abu Rish/Quatoum). When they followed them, they saw a soldier lying on the ground unconscious and bleeding from his neck. After attempts to resuscitate him failed, the soldier, identified later as Gabriel Kobi, was rushed to a Jerusalem hospital in a helicopter, where he died of his wounds sustained. The Israeli army claims he was hit by a bullet shot by a suspected Palestinian sniper, however none of the international activists present at the scene heard any gunshots.

Following the soldier’s injury and later death, hundreds of soldiers invaded the neighbourhoods surrounding checkpoints 29 and 209, conducting searches throughout the evening and into the night, apparently in an attempt to find the sniper they claim killed the soldier, and in retaliation for his death. International activists witnessed the army combing through house after house, forcing out all males above the age of 16, and frisking them one by one. They also saw a group of about 50 detained men with their hands behind their heads being marched down towards checkpoint 29. International activists also accompanied an ambulance which took a woman in labour to the hospital after it had initially been blocked by the army. Meanwhile, clashes continued in the area, and the army heavily used rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition against stone-throwing youth.

Hebron has been completely sealed off, with all entrances to the city being controlled by the army, and a curfew imposed within Hebron. Tomorrow, 50,000 Jewish settler visitors were expected to descend upon Hebron for Sukkot celebrations and a music festival, according to the settler community’s spokesperson; however the events of today will most likely lower this number. In any case, it is clear that Monday 23rd September will be yet another intense day for Palestinians, as they face high levels of army violence and settler attacks in retaliation for the soldier’s death.

Israeli soldiers and border police before the clashes began

Israeli soldiers and border police before the clashes began

Click here to view the embedded video.

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Tension rises in Khalil during Sukkot celebrationshttp://palsolidarity.org/2013/09/tension-rises-in-khalil-during-sukkot-celebrations/ http://palsolidarity.org/2013/09/tension-rises-in-khalil-during-sukkot-celebrations/#comments Sat, 21 Sep 2013 21:36:36 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=35195 21st September 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

Sukkot is a joyful festival in Judaism; however its impact upon day-to-day life in Khalil has only caused greater problems for the Palestinians. Many residents of Khalil have commented that it is during this holiday period every year where daily life in the city becomes all the more difficult.

Last week soldiers began preparations for taking over a house next to the container checkpoint 209 (Quatoum/Abu Rish), which belongs to a Palestinian family. The family received a military order informing them that this house would be occupied by the Israeli army until Tuesday 24th September, the end of Sukkot. Due to the large number of Jewish tourists visiting Hebron during Sukkot, reinforcement brigades have been sent to Hebron, and due to lack of accommodation for these additional soldiers, the army decided to take over this Palestinian house and use it as a military base for the duration of the holiday. Residents of this area have stated that since the soldiers began occupying the house, child detainments and arrests have increased, and there are further concerns that checkpoint 209 may be moved in an attempt to increase control in the surrounding area.

Today, Saturday 21st September, several clashes and attacks took place between settler youth and Palestinian children and teenagers in Tel Rumeida. Additionally, as on every Shabbat, settlers invaded the roof of the Abu Shamsiyeh family and verbally attacked international activists who, at the request of the family, were monitoring the entrance to the roof as it is often entered without family permission. In the past, settlers have attacked the family by throwing stones, spitting at, beating members of the family and urinating into their garden.

On Friday 20th September, clashes erupted in the afternoon as Palestinian youths threw stones at checkpoint 56. After the PA (responsible for this area of Hebron which is part of H1) chased away the stone-throwers, the clashes moved into the OldCity and souq of Hebron, which is part of H2 and thus under Israeli military control. Throughout Friday evening and most of Saturday, Palestinian youths were throwing stones and Molotov cocktails, whilst Israeli soldiers responded with sound grenades, teargas and rubber-coated steel bullets. International activists witnessed border police shooting teargas canisters directly at protesters, as opposed to shooting it in an arch as they are supposed to under Israeli army regulations. Further clashes are expected tomorrow as settlers and Jewish tourists invade area H1.

On Sunday 22nd and Monday 23rd September, tens of thousands of Jewish tourists are expected to descend upon Hebron for Sukkot celebrations. On important Jewish holidays, there is a tradition of the settler community, alongside Jewish tourists, visiting a house in H1 (the Palestinian-controlled part of Hebron) which they claim used to be the home of a rabbi and thus holds religious significance. The Israeli military has ordered the closure of the road outside checkpoint 56 leading to Yatta between 10am and 3pm on Sunday 22nd September. The house that the settlers and Jewish tourists pilgrim to is located on said road, however it is the first time ever that the Israeli military has formally ordered the closure of the road and the shops located there. This order is a clear violation of the Hebron Agreement, signed in 1997 by the Palestinian Authority and the Israeli government, which divided the city into areas H1 and H2 under Palestinian and Israeli military control respectively.

Soldiers preparing to take-over house by checkpoint 209 (Photo by ISM)

Soldiers preparing to take-over house by checkpoint 209 (Photo by ISM)

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Live ammunition shot at Youth Against Settlement house in Hebronhttp://palsolidarity.org/2013/07/live-ammunition-shot-at-youth-against-settlement-house-in-hebron/ http://palsolidarity.org/2013/07/live-ammunition-shot-at-youth-against-settlement-house-in-hebron/#comments Fri, 26 Jul 2013 12:48:19 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=34328 26th July 2013 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine

Last night at 10 pm, a live ammunition bullet was fired at the headquarters of the human rights organisation Youth Against Settlements (YAS) in Hebron.

Live bullet shot at YAS house (Photo by activists)

Live bullet shot at YAS house (Photo by activists)

The spokesperson for YAS, Damer Atash, explains that a group of activists were sitting in front of the house headquarters when the bullet was fired. The bullet was shot  from the nearby olive groves making it impossible to see the shooter, although two voices were heard. Luckily, the group of activists were not hurt, instead, the bullet bounced off the window right behind them. “At first we thought it was a stone but instead we found a bullet”, said one of the activists.

At 22:15 pm, the group called the Israeli police, who arrived some 40 minutes later at approximately 11 pm, after the police arrived the military joined them and stayed for about 20 minutes. However, none of them searched the premises for the bullet canister.

The shooter was not seen, but it is likely that it was an attack from one of the neighbouring settlers, as the bullet was bigger than those used by the army. Even though this is the first incident of shooting against YAS, this would not be the first time the house has been attacked by settlers. They have previously tried to burn the house, set the kitchen of the headquarters on fire and uprooted trees. In these incidents the Israeli army or police have not taken any action against the settlers.

Israeli army and police also participate in the harassment of YAS and its human rights organizers. On Wednesday alone, the army invaded the house three times during the evening and night for what it is believed to be a training exercise for the army.

The despair and fear this causes is not uncommon for the 35,000 Palestinians living under complete control of 1500 Israeli soldiers and police officers, and the constant harassment and violence from the 500 settlers illegally living in the Israeli controlled H2 area of Hebron.

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Israeli Border Police violently attack Palestinians and Intl’s in Hebronhttp://palsolidarity.org/2012/04/israeli-border-police-violently-attack-palestinians-and-intls-in-hebron/ http://palsolidarity.org/2012/04/israeli-border-police-violently-attack-palestinians-and-intls-in-hebron/#comments Wed, 11 Apr 2012 22:48:08 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=24949 by Abir Kopty

11 April 2012 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

For more photos click here

Twelve were detained and Three were injured after Israeli forces attacked participants of the Bili’n Conference on the Popular Struggle who toured Hebron.

Click here to view the embedded video.

Israeli Border Police officers attacked a group of Palestinians and Internationals who participated in the 7th International Bil’in Conference on the Palestinian Popular Struggle this afternoon. The incident took place during a tour of the Old City of Hebron. Eight Palestinians and four internationals were arrested and at least three people were injured by the blows they suffered at the hands of police. One Italian woman suffered an injury to her shoulder that required hospitalization.

About 200 Palestinians and Internationals attended the second day of the Bil’in Conference, which today took place at the old city of Hebron. After lunch, which was held at a school off of Shuhada Street, participants began to gather at the entrance of the Old City to begin a tour of the area. Settlers who passed by in their cars noticed the gathering and aggressively honked their horns at the group, but continued without incident. Two minutes later, Israeli Border Police officers arrived in the area and arbitrarily detained a three of the Palestinians. A second group of settlers then arrived at the scene in large numbers and began inciting the police against the conference participants, calling on the police officers to “eliminate” the them. the Border Police officers, now joined by regular police, then began pushing and beating the conference participants – men and women alike.

During the attack, the officers arrested eight Palestinians and four internationals. While most were released without charge shortly after, two Palestinians and two internationals are still held at the Hebron police station. Among those still held are two Italians and Issa Amro, a well known grassroots activist from Hebron, who was clearly arrested for who he is rather than anything he’s done. Amro has only recently spent nearly a week in detention after the army evicted Palestinians from a house in the city. The eviction took place despite the fact that the activists had legal claim to the house, which eventually forced the authorities to release Amro unconditionally.

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CPT: Masked Israeli settlers chase schoolchildren, give directions to Border Policehttp://palsolidarity.org/2011/02/cpt-masked-israeli-settlers-chase-schoolchildren-give-directions-to-border-police/ http://palsolidarity.org/2011/02/cpt-masked-israeli-settlers-chase-schoolchildren-give-directions-to-border-police/#comments Tue, 08 Feb 2011 02:54:13 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=16865 8 February 2011 | Operation Dove & Christian Peacemaker Team

On the afternoon of 7 February 2011, three Israeli settlers from Havat Ma’on outpost chased a group of 12 Palestinian schoolchildren who were walking home from school. The Israeli military had failed to arrive to escort the schoolchildren, forcing the children to take a longer path without the army’s escort.

Shortly after the schoolchildren and Christian Peacemaker Teams(CPT) volunteers set out on the path towards Tuba and Maghayir al-Abeed villages, Israeli settlers, two of whom were masked, emerged from the grouping of trees which encompasses Havat Ma’on and began moving towards the children. Upon seeing the settlers, the children turned and sprinted to distance themselves from the settlers. Several children began crying and screaming in fear as they ran away from the settlers, one young girl began shaking uncontrollably as soon as she stopped running from the settlers.

The Israeli Border Police, who were located on an adjacent hill for the duration of the incident, arrived at the scene after the Palestinian children had safely distanced themselves from the settlers. The Border Police stopped and spoke with the settlers, two of whom remained masked during the entire conversation with the authorities.

The Border Police then approached the edge of At-Tuwani village where the children, CPT volunteers, and Palestinian adults had gathered. Border Police officers spoke with a CPT volunteer and an At-Tuwani resident, seeking to understand what had happened. After hearing their accounts but refusing to hear the role the settlers had played, the officers suggested that the Palestinian children, internationals, and At-Tuwani villagers were the ones causing problems, rather than the settlers.

Before the children had set out on the longer path without the military escort, CPT volunteers had called the Israeli military four times inquiring as to the whereabouts of the escort. During CPT’s final call to the military – more than 30 minutes after their initial call – the military dispatch office said that they hadn’t yet called the soldiers, who were to provide the escort, because they were too busy and had more important duties to perform.

Operation Dove and Christian Peacemaker Teams have maintained an international presence in At-Tuwani and South Hebron Hills since 2004.

Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal. Most settlement outposts, including Havat Ma’on (Hill 833), are considered illegal also under Israeli law.

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Settler guard murders Palestinian in East Jerusalem; police fire gas at his funeralhttp://palsolidarity.org/2010/09/settler-guard-murders-palestinian-in-east-jerusalem-police-fire-gas-at-his-funeral/ http://palsolidarity.org/2010/09/settler-guard-murders-palestinian-in-east-jerusalem-police-fire-gas-at-his-funeral/#comments Thu, 23 Sep 2010 16:10:50 +0000 http://palsolidarity.org/?p=14634 23 September 2010 | ISM Media

A Police car set alight by Palestinians in Silwan

On the morning of Tuesday 22 September a privately-hired Israeli settler security guard shot and killed a Palestinian man in the neighbourhood of Silwan in Palestinian East Jerusalem (Al-Quds). The killed man, Samer Sarhan, was aged 32 and had five children.

Eyewitnesses say the shooting followed a verbal disagreement between Sarhan and the security guard.

Palestinian outrage at the murder precipitated a general strike in the Silwan neighbour, with hundreds of people gathering in the street, chanting and shouting “Allahu Akbar”. Hundreds of Israeli police, border police and soldiers occupied the area in anticipation of the funeral. Silwan residents created makeshift roadblocks trying to slow down forces entering the area. Some youths threw stones towards the occupying soldiers, exasperated by the impunity with which settlers are allowed to shoot at Palestinians. They set fire to one Police vehicle.

Funeral procession

The funeral procession left the Al-Aqsa Mosque and soon came under fire from Israeli settlers living in their outposts around East Jerusalem. Mourners at Sarhan’s burial found themselves confined inside the Bab al-Rahma cemetery, the exits blocked by the Israeli authorities. The border police then proceeded to open fire with tear gas canisters at the trapped people, the gas inducing severe breathing difficulties in some cases.

The private security guard was released on bail the day after the killing. Silwan resident Abu Nasser said: “We are sure that the murderer will not be punished and perhaps even be given a medal for his crime.”

Israeli and international activists joined the Palestinians in solidarity, documenting the police’s and soldiers’ activities throughout the day, hoping to discourage human rights abuses with their presence. Some activists volunteered at the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre, helping produce Hebrew and English-language media updates.

Click here to view the embedded video.

One international activist commented: “the brutal occupation and illegal demolition of houses in Silwan was inevitably going to lead to this kind of situation with the settlers, who are heavily armed. It’s unbelievable: they’re kicking people out of their homes to build car parks. Classrooms and roads have collapsed into the ground because of subterranean excavation. It’s archaeological terrorism.”

Silwan is a neighbourhood of around 45,000 in Palestinian East Jerusalem. A small number of Israeli settlers have moved there, occupying Palestinian houses or living in the illegal Beit Yonatan settlement building. There are currently twenty-two houses with outstanding demolition orders – prohibited by international law. An archaeological theme park has begun excavating beneath a large area of Silwan; this has already caused land to collapse.

Palestinian road block

News on Silwan can be followed at the Wadi Hilweh Information Centre.

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