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Normal Oppression

By Jane

Tel Rumeida- Today, 28th March 2006, at the Tel Rumeida check point, an Israeli soldier lashed out injuring a Palestinian man by kicking him and hitting him with his rifle.

Everyone is saying that it is tense here in Tel Rumeida. As today is the Israeli election the settlers are not at work and the children not in school. In Tel Rumeida this translates into a high possibility of settlers on the streets, encouraging their children to throw stones at the Palestinian children going to and from school.

Things were quiet and calm at the check point through the morning. I said hello to the 2 soldiers on the check point to establish some contact and they were polite and pleasant. They were allowing Palestinians to pass the check point with relatively little hassle. The children came out of school through the check point, or up the hill to their homes. At about 12.30 pm the teachers approached the checkpoint. They have established with the soldiers previously that they will not pass through the check point portacabin with the doors remotely controlled a soldier behind a glass screen. They use a small metal gate at the side.

Three young Palestinian men were being kept waiting, leaning against the wall by the gate, on the other side of the check point. One was Abu Shakhdam. After the teachers had passed by, the gate was not completely shut.

One of the soldiers said something to the 3 Palestinians waiting the other side. Abu Shakhdam
responded. The soldier shouted, Abu Shakhdam banged his hand on the gate. In a flash the soldier erupted. He rushed up to Abu Shakhdam shouting, pushing his gun a hairs breath from Abu Shakhdam’s face. Abu Shakhdam backed off, running back into the street, his side of the
check point. The soldier yelled, following and threatening him by aiming his gun. The soldier made him kneel down in the middle of the street. The 2nd soldier ran up, forcefully kicking Abu Shakhdam before swung his rifle and hit him on the side of his head. Meanwhile I’m
shouting ” I’m filmimg you, stop hitting him”. One soldier shouted “shut the fuck up”. The soldiers bring Abu Shakhdam through the gate, he has blood flowing down the side of his head.

Abu Shakhdam was taken away in an army vehical. At the Police station he was accussed of attacking the soldiers. Hageet, from Machsom Watch, made a complaint about the soldier’s behaviour. She informed the Police that we have on film the soldier attacking Abu Shakhdam but
still they refuse to release him.

A soldier attacking a person is just a part of a “normal” days events here. A call came shortly after to say that settler’s children were throwing stones at Palestinian kids. Children under 14 year of age are not arrested or dealt with by the Israeli criminal justice system, as an adult would be. It is an incredibly sad sight to see little Israeli children, as young as four or five, throwing stones at little Palestinian kids, while their communities adults stand behind them.