FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
After three consecutive days of numerous acts of settler violence in Tel Rumeida, Hebron, the IDF and Police are doing very little to stop or arrest settlers who violently oppose the removal of settlers from the illegally occupied Palestinian wholesale market in Hebron’s Old City. Some soldiers do nothing while the settlers attack Palestinians or the Human Rights Workers (HRWs) who live in Tel Rumeida to support them, whereas other soldiers do intervene at different levels. This disparity shows that the IDF has not issued clear orders to protect the Palestinian or international population of Tel Rumeida. During an attack a police car drove by, and HRWs asked for help, the police said “we will not defend you. It is not our job. You choose to be on the street, so this is your own responsibility.” HRWs explained that Palestinian families were constantly threatened, insulted, hit and had their homes and shops attacked and that this is why they must remain on the street to intervene in settler attacks.
On the 14th of January, settlers, some in black masks, hit a Palestinian man walking home on the back of the head with a rock thrown from the roof of their building as Human Rights Workers accompanied him. Shortly thereafter a mob of approximately 40 settlers, averaging 15 years of age, attacked a small group of Human Rights Workers kicking, punching and hitting them with sticks. Soldiers did not effectively stop them. Then settlers began to try to kick the door to a Palestinian home. The owner opened the door and the settlers began kicking him and trying to enter his home. One HRW got past the settlers and blocked the door to prevent the settlers from entering the home. Settlers then kicked him violently. Soldiers then removed the HRW instead of removing the settlers. Settlers, not wanting their violence captured on video tape attempted repeatedly to steal and break the HRWs video cameras. Settlers kicked an HRW in the face, cutting his chin, because he would not let go of his camera. HRWs called police for assistance three separate times during this attack but police did not arrive till 45 minutes after they were originally called. Police cars have been hit by settlers throwing purple paint bombs, and others have been throwing light bulbs filled with paint.
On the 12th of January, a Palestinian resident of Tel Rumeida, reported that a group of young settlers attacked a relative. Led by Baruch Marzel, a notorious settler, they were punching and kicking her until she fled to the nearby checkpoint. During this attack, she called out to soldiers near the Beit Hadassah soldier’s post who did not respond. No HRWs were present for the beginning of the attack, but one HRW did witness the woman running, screaming towards the checkpoint in fear.
PRESS ARE INVITED TO JOIN HUMAN RIGHTS WORKERS IN TEL RUMEIDA TO WITNESS THE SETTLER VIOLENCE FIRST HAND. VIDEO AND STILLS OF SOME INCIDENTS ARE AVAILABLE.
Luna, Tel Rumeida Project: 054 557 3154
David, International Solidarity Movement: 054 651 7234