FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
A mob of 30 female settler teenagers rampaged through Tel Rumeida on Thursday, January 12. Ten of them wore black ski masks to hide their identities, and attacked everyone they encountered, including IDF soldiers and Israeli police, with spit, paint bombs and insults, and surrounded an HRW, violently stealing the battery of his camera.
Six male settlers have begun attempts to illegally occupy an empty Palestinian home located on the path near a Palestinian girls school. Settlers entered the home on Tuesday, the 10th of January, cleaned out two rooms and broke a hole in a wall to access other rooms. Police were called and made the settlers leave but they have returned periodically to continue their preparations to occupy the house. Palestinian girls are already routinely stoned and harassed on their way to the school located near this home. But the attacks would only increase if they had to pass directly in front of a settler-occupied home.
HRWs who live in Tel Rumeida witnessed the arrival of approximately 60 settlers on Wednesday, the 11th of January. They are the first to respond to a call by Hebron’s settlers for Israelis “to flock to Hebron” to resist the planned disengagement of the illegally occupied Palestinian wholesale market in Hebron’s Old City. Settlers arrived with belongings meant for a long stay in response to the settler call sent out by email to “bring sleeping bags, warm clothing for an extended stay and a strong spirit.”
Brian, a Human Rights Worker (HRW) living in Tel Rumeida, said “It is a very dangerous situation. Many of the settlers who live here are members of Kahane, an organization which Israel has declared racist and illegal. We see their violent hatred on a daily basis. We call on the international and Israeli community to pressure the police and IDF to enforce the law against violent settlers immediately; stop them, arrest them and prosecute them.”
Israeli Defense Minister Shaul Mofaz stated that the removal of the settlers from the wholesale market will be completed by the 15th of February. Settlers were ordered to leave the Palestinian-owned shops by January 15, or face forcible eviction. Settlers have already clashed violently with police and the IDF when eviction orders were issued on January 3rd, injuring 4 police officers, including a policeman who was hurt by a liquid that burned his eyes. Violent resistance from the settlers between these dates is expected and could be worse than the Gaza pullout due to Hebron’s religious significance to settlers. This is a threat to both Palestinian residents and IDF soldiers in the area. Press are invited to join human rights workers in Tel Rumeida to witness the settler violence first hand during this period.
For more information:
David, International Solidarity Movement – 054 651 7234
Luna, Tel Rumeida Project – 054 557 3154 www.telrumeidaproject.org