Home / Reports / Israeli Soldiers Treat Palestinians like Animals at Beit Iba Checkpoint

Israeli Soldiers Treat Palestinians like Animals at Beit Iba Checkpoint

Human rights worker is dragged by Israeli police

by M.W.

On August 5, seven Palestinian men were caged in a detention structure at Beit Iba checkpoint outside Nablus. They included 6 students and one assistant dean from Al-Najah University. All 7 men were given no reason for their detention, and were detained for periods ranging from 30 minutes to 2 1/2 hours in duration. The assistant dean was placed in detention after objecting to an Israeli soldier describing the Palestinians waiting to pass through the checkpoints as “animals”.

Three international activists, including one woman from Sweden and two women from the United States, attempted to negotiate with soldiers to obtain a reason for detention or a time of release. They were unsuccessful, and were told by soldiers to leave the checkpoint. The internationals stated they would not leave until the Palestinians were released, and were then told that the police would be called if they did not leave. After speaking with the detainees, the internationals entered the detention area, which is a metal roof held up by posts and surrounded with barbed wire, and sat down as a statement of solidarity with the Palestinians being held without charge.

After approximately 30 minutes, border police arrived and demanded to see the internationals’ passports. The police were told by the internationals that all three passports had been left in their hotel, and that they weren’t attempting to cross the checkpoint without passports, but merely to inquire as to why the Palestinians were being held for so long. The police stated that the internationals had to leave, and the internationals again stated that they would not leave until the Palestinians were released. The police and soldiers then forcibly removed the internationals from the detention center, dragging them over dirt, rocks, and barbed wire. The police stated the internationals were under arrest for not having passports; however, when the internationals offered to retrieve the passports, they were denied. The internationals asked where they were being taken and were again denied this information. It was during this time all seven Palestinians were released from detention.

The internationals were put into the back of a green army jeep, and were driven to the opposite end of the checkpoint where the soldiers put them back in detention. The soldiers began shouting, “There’s a terrorist with a bomb. Get down!” while aiming loaded guns at Palestinians waiting at the checkpoint and shouting at them. The police had left the scene, and the internationals again asked to be released to obtain their passports. They were denied. The internationals then attempted to leave the detention center, and were physically stopped by soldiers, who threatened to tie them up and drag them back into the detention center if they did not comply. The internationals continued to slowly walk away with their hands in the air, and eventually left the checkpoint.