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Israeli Army Harrassment in Hebron Continues

Eyewitness reports from two days in Hebron by Missy

Soldiers violently attack Palestinian man in his home: August 25th, 2006

To watch video of this event, click here. To download it, click here.

There were two cameras filming most, if not all, of the following incident. A few soldiers are easily recognizable by Human Rights Workers (HRW) given the number of times they have been present while soldiers have been invading numerous Palestinian homes.

At approximately 5:15 PM, an HRW posted at the Tel Rumeida checkpoint heard yelling and screaming coming from up the hill. The HRW moved up the hill, and a Palestinian woman was able to point out the house and medical facility from which the screams were issuing. The HRW asked Israeli soldiers immediately inside the building’s door what was going on. They refused to answer, and the soldiers physically prevented the HRW from entering the house. At this point, Dr. Taysir, the building’s owner, broke free from the soldier who was holding him, and pulled on the HRW’s arm while begging him to enter. The HRW managed to enter the door, and saw two, elongated contusions high on Dr. Taysir’s left arm. While being pushed out once again, the HRW negotiated with the soldiers to leave the door open on the condition that he remain outside.

Shortly thereafter three more HRWs arrived. The HRWs managed to enter the building. Three HRWs demanded access to Dr. Taysir, who was now out of sight, while a fourth video taped the encounter. Dr. Taysir could be heard yelling and crying out in pain from a room further in the house. The HRWs attempted to move past the soldiers in order to prevent further injury to Dr. Taysir, but were repeatedly forced back. The soldiers refused to explain why the doctor’s home had been entered, why he had been struck, or why the HRWs could not see him. Throughout this time, the soldiers were physically and verbally aggressive towards the HRWs, repeatedly shoving them towards the door, and yelling at them to get out, shut up, etc.

At this point, an Israeli major arrived with approximately six more soldiers. The major entered the building and began speaking with Dr. Taysir’s brother, who had observed some, but not all, of the incident; this conversation is filmed almost entirely. The major spoke briefly to the soldiers already on site, who quickly became considerably less aggressive toward the HRWs. After approximately ten minutes, the major and all soldiers departed the house without speaking to anyone else. The HRWs then videotaped interviews with both Dr. Taysir and his brother regarding the incident.

Dr. Taysir told the HRWs that he gone to open the door for the soldiers when almost immediately they began shoving him around and pinned him against a wall by pressing on his chest. The doctor told the soldier not to push him, and the soldier responded by punching him in the temple. Other soldiers joined in, and Dr. Taysir received blows to his arms, legs, and torso. At least two blows, those to his left arm, were strikes with the butt of a rifle; these injuries are documented with video.

Dr. Tayseer’s injury from the soldiers as it looked the next day.

Seeing that Dr. Taysir was being attacked, a female patient who was present attempted to intervene, putting herself between the doctor and the soldiers. She was struck by a soldier, and fell unconscious. The patient was later placed on a medical exam table with an oxygen feed to help her recover, where she was videotaped (with permission) by the HRWs. Dr. Taysir’s adult
daughter was also beaten at some point during the encounter, though the events are not clear to us what happened. Dr. Taysir and his brother both stated repeatedly that soldiers used and regularly use foul language towards him and his family, including his wife and small children.

Later that evening, before sunset, soldiers could be seen on the roof of Dr. Taysir’s house. HRWs were standing on their own roof, and when they looked in the direction of the soldiers, the soldiers used their arms in a gesture to say ‘fuck you’ to the HRWs. The soldiers were laughing the entire time. The HRWs did not respond.

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Soldiers invade yet another home in Tel Rumeida, Hebron : August 20th, 2006

At approximately 12 PM HRWs arrived at a house being invaded by IDF soldiers. HRWs found the the door blocked by two soldiers, who refused to let them in the house; these soldiers did not tell the HRWs to not film them. After a few minutes of attempting to negotiate our way into the house, HRWs walked around the soldiers, and were met with little resistance. One HRW went to the family and asked if they were OK; the family appeared to be nervous but unharmed. Other HRWs proceeded to come into the house and look around, seeing if anything was disrupted or broken. None of us could see evidence that the soldiers had done this, unlike the previous week, in which the neighbor’s house was destroyed from the inside.

An HRW approached the commander of the unit with her camera on and asked him what they were doing; his face is clearly seen on film. The commander told the HRW that if she and her friends wanted to stay in the house, she should turn the camera off. The HRW told the commander that she could film and that if the soldiers weren’t doing anything wrong, it shouldn’t bother them. The commander then stepped closer to the HRW and said, “Look, i’m in control of this house now. If you want to stay and watch us search, then turn the camera off. If you don’t do that, then I will make all of you go outside, lock the doors, and you can wait for us to finish outside.” The HRW put her camera down and proceeded to follow the soldiers through the house. They did not break or take anything that was obvious. The soldiers left about ten minutes after HRWs had arrived. As the soldiers were leaving, one HRW said to the commander, “Hey, see you later, Yosi.” The soldier then replied, “You have a lot of guts saying that to me.”

The family told the HRWs afterwards that the soldiers come frequently to their house. The soldiers always tell them they’re looking for weapons, but have never found any. An HRW asked the family if the soldiers ever break or steal things, and one of the women replied, “Sometimes yes, sometimes no; we are always at their mercy. Today they behaved very well, and I think it was because all of you came.” The family thanked the HRWs repeatedly as we sat and drank tea with them.