Musa Abu Marya, a peace activist from Beit Ummar, was again detained by the Israeli army on Sunday June 19. A group of five Palestinians and international peace activists were traveling along the settler road 137, which borders the Gush Etzion settlement bloc. At about 7 p.m. we were stopped by soldiers and told to leave, except for Musa who they said would be arrested.
The two internationals refused to leave and took pictures of the soldiers surrounding Musa, tying his hands behind his back, blindfolding him and putting him in the Jeep. The soldiers attempted to take away one international activist’s camera, wrestling with her until finally giving up. Inside the Jeep a soldier interrogated Musa, threatened to take him to prison, and beat him on the back of his head with his gun.
After an hour and a half, they let Musa go and forbade us from going to Jab’a, our destination.
This is the second time in two weeks Musa was detained and beaten by the military while walking with internationals in the area. There was no clear reason for his detention in either case and an order to stop people who were in the area was never provided. Both times Musa was stopped near settlements and questioned about what he was doing with internationals.
A lawyer from Machsom Watch commented on the detention, saying that the army was fully within their rights under the military law that rules Palestinians in the region to do everything they did, except beat him. “It is a police state,” she said.
B’Tselem, an Israeli human rights group, reports on the difference in civil right between Palestinians and settlers living in the same region, “Israeli civilians living in the Occupied Territories are not subject to military or local law, like the Palestinians, but are prosecuted according to the Israeli penal law. This situation is extremely grave: in a single occupied territory, Israel is operating a system of separation with discrimination by law.”
The presence of the settlers in the region threatens the rights of Palestinians. By law the Israeli army can stop Palestinians from nearing settlements, and detain and arrest them, even on their own land.