UPDATE: This morning (6th December), the Tel Rumeida Project HRW was released from Kiriat Arba police station without conditions. He was never brought to Jerusalem as the police had threatened.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
One Human Rights Worker from The Tel Rumeida Project was arrested in Tel Rumeida, Hebron, at 17:10 earlier today. He had been asking soldiers from the Israeli military why they had blocked a Palestinian pathway with barbed wire – a pathway that has been opened by an Israeli court order 4 months ago.
The soldier responded by physically assaulting the HRWs, taking their passports, and confiscating two video cameras that were legally being used by the HRWs to document Israeli military’s violation of the previous court order. Soldiers were holding one of the HRWs in a headlock as they ripped the camera away from him. The HRWs called the Hebron Police, who immediately arrested one of the HRWs and took him to the Kiriat Arba Police Station. They did not inform him of any accusations against him.
After having deleted the contents of the tape, the soldiers later returned one of the cameras and two of the passports, but kept one video camera and one passport. The HRW without a passport was informed by the police to come and collect her passport and the camera at the Kiriat Arba Police Station. When she got to the police station, the police would not let her in, telling her that the Israeli soldiers had her passport.
At 19:40, soldiers returned the passport and the second video camera to the HRWs in Tel Rumeida, after having deleted that tape as well. The Israeli military specifically deleted the evidence that incriminated the soldiers, the documentation of the assault and the theft. Other recordings were left intact.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) and the Tel Rumeida Project provides an international presence to support the daily Palestinian non-violent struggle against attacks from Hebron’s violent settler community. During the last 3 months, The Israeli military and the Police in the area have repeatedly been trying to get the Human Rights Workers out of Tel Rumeida, by arresting them without reason, issuing false Closed Military Zone Orders and trying to break in to their apartment without a warrant.
Another one of the HRWs who was arrested a few weeks ago, and later released without charge, was threatened with deportation by a Police Officer. He said: “We were there last week when you were arrested. That was strike one. This would be strike two. Strike three and you’re going back to your home country.” Threats with deportation are a common part of the daily harassment that HRWs have to endure in Tel Rumeida from the Hebron Police and the IDF.
ISM Media Office +972 2 297 1824 www.palsolidarity.org
Tel Rumeida Project +972 54 557 3154 www.telrumeidaproject.org