FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Between 2pm and 5pm today, a hostile mob of between 100 and 150 Israeli settlers visiting from outside Hebron besieged five Human Rights Observers (HROs) and one photo-journalist inside the HROs’ apartment in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. Palestinian families, who were the main target of the settler’s hate, were also besieged in their homes. Other settlers attacked Palestinians throughout the city on a day that was advertised as a “mass prayer” for Jews only in the Ibrahimi Mosque. ISM and Tel Rumeida project volunteers alone recorded six assaults on Palestinians and twelve assaults and five stonings on HROs. The police were called on eight separate occasions and the army/DCO 4 times, but most of the time they did not arrive.
In one such incident on Tel Rumeida street, two HROs were present when settlers threw stones at Palestinians on the roofs of their houses, as well as at the HROs. Local Palestinian Basem Rajeb Abu-Aisha’s solar panels were broken by the stone throwers. In another incident, an HRO was violently pushed by one of a group of three settler girls who were trying to attack a Palestinian school girl the HRO was accompanying.
The HROs spent the morning spread along Tel Rumeida street and Shuhaddah street ready to observe the situation in anticipation of settler violence. Many were doing their usual accompaniment of Palestinian children returning home from school. Palestinian children in Hebron are regularly attacked by settlers with stones and other forms of violence.
They heard of a disturbance near to their apartment which is about 100m from Tel Rumeida settlement. They arrived to find a mob of about 150 settlers nearby throwing stones at a small group of Palestinian youth on the street. Israeli soldiers prevented the settlers from following the Palestinians. Police and soldiers picked one settler out of crowd to arrest him. He was detained for about five minutes before he escaped into the crowd of settlers. The soldiers ran after him but the crowd surrounded them and scuffles broke out between the settlers and soldiers. One of the HROs tried to take pictures of this confrontation but was met with hostility from the settlers and soldiers. The HROs were still trying to accompany Palestinians despite the hostile mob. One settler with an M16 automatic rifle threateningly followed one of the HROs, so he decided to come inside. Others from the small group of HROs also sought refuge in their apartment, fearing for their safety if they were to leave. At first they retreated to the roof where they could continue their observations, but were soon driven down when the settlers began throwing stones up at them. The settlers stayed outside singing in Hebrew and chanting slogans like “No Arabs” in English.
Other quotes from settlers throughout the day: “death to the Arabs”, “we hate all the Arabs”, “Palestinians are animals who should be in cages”, “they shouldn’t be caged just in Hebron but everywhere”, “I hope that God burns all the Arabs in hell… they are not men but dogs”.
According to Israeli Police and military, around 3000 Israeli settlers from around the West Bank and Israel have come to the Palestinian city of Hebron today to show “solidarity with the pioneers of Hebron” as they stated in their advertising for the day.
For more information:
David: 054 651 7234
ISM Media office: 02 297 1824