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You and Whose Army?

by Sholmo Bloom. Journal entry providing further insight to a previously published report on the same incident.

It’s Shabbat, the Jewish holy day, also the day when the settlers cause the most trouble in Tel Rumeida.

I was sitting on Shuhada street with two human rights workers when a Palestinian woman came walked by and told us there were settlers throwing rocks up on the path leading to the girls school. Many Palestinians use this path to go to and from their homes. We went over to check it out and, sure enough, there were about 15 kids tearing up the cement from the path, probably to use as projectiles.

We called the police and and T.I.P.H (Temporary International Presence in Hebron). The Police and TIPH arrived but the settlers remained on the path. At this point there were approximately 25, an intimidating number even with police present. So we began escorting Palestinians up and down the path until they were safely past the settlers.

After a few rounds of doing this, the settlers began to physically block our way as we tried to walk down the path. There were about 15 of them doing this and when we approached, they did not move out of the way. The police did not tell them to move, so I walked straight into the center of them and kept walking despite them calling us Nazis, grabbing, kicking, clawing and trying to prevent me, my friends and the Palestinians we were escorting to get through.

The police of course, just sat there and did nothing.

This charade continued for a few rounds, we’d bring a Palestinian with us, push through the crowd, return back, and take the next person through.

Then a police officer stopped me and asked me if I had assaulted a settler girl. I said no of course not and he informed me that a girl had accused me of scratching and pushing her.

At this point I was taken to the police station on suspicion of assault.

No, I couldn’t quite believe it either, but after being in Hebron for so long, it doesn’t really surprise me.

Upon examining some of my documents, the cops discovered I am Jewish. He told me I should not tell any of the settlers I am Jewish because they will see me as a traitor. I asked him if he saw me as a traitor. He smiled condescendingly at me and said “well, we all make mistakes in our lives.”

I was detained and questioned at the police station for about 4 hours, then released.

I asked the police why didn’t they arrest the settlers who kicked, pushed and blocked our path. They said “We would need an army to arrest them.”

They have an army, don’t they? They call it the Israeli “Defence” Force.