Home / Israel steps up repression in Bil’in

Israel steps up repression in Bil’in

1. Israeli Army Rounds-up Non-violent Activists in Bil’in
2. Bil’in Defiant in Midday Sun
3. Israel Arrests Bil’in Journalist
4. Two Roadblock Removal Actions in Three Hours
5. March of Grapes Brutally Attacked-6 Arrested, Many Injured
6. Settlers steal fruit in Kufr Qallil during olive harvest
7. Stones and fire in Kufr Qallil – yet the olive harvest continues
8. Palestinian Resident of Hebron Detained for Sitting on the Street
9. Armed Israeli Colonists Move Freely While Army Restricts Palestinian
Movement

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1. Israeli Army Rounds-up Non-violent Activists in Bil’in

UPDATE, 2pm: As this release was in the process of being published, the
Israeli army entered the village again. It is currently unknown if they
will capture more villagers or not. More details to follow.

UPDATE, 2.10pm: The remaining three captives have now been released. It
is sitll unknow why they were captured.

Last night in Bil’in, the Palestinian village near Ramallah that has
become a symbol of non-violent resistance to the apartheid wall, the
Israeli army invaded the village at around 2am and kidnapped eight
villagers. Five of the villagers were later released, but three remain
in captivity in the Ofer military prison, west of Ramallah. The
kidnappings were carried out on the western side of the village near
Wajee’s house.

The names and ages of those kidnapped are:

* Ferhan Burnat (24)
* Th’er Burnat (19)
* Mohammed Wajee Burnart (17)

Mohammed was released two weeks ago from a previous four month
captivity by the Israelis. The Israeli army gave no reasons for last
night’s kidnappings and it is currently unknown why they are being
held.

For more information:

Bil’in Popular Committee Members:
Abdullah Abu-Rahme: 054 725 8210
Mohammed Katib: 054 5573285
Iyad Burnat: 054 784 7942

ISM Media office: 02 297 1824 or 0599 943 157

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2. Bil’in Defiant in Midday Sun

UPDATE, Saturday 7th – A few hours after the demonstration yesterday
Israeli soldiers eventually managed to invade the village shooting
rubber bullets and firing sound bombs at Palestinian children who threw
stones at them to defend their village. Three houses were damaged.
Reuters cameraman Emad Bornat (who is also a resident of the village),
who was the only person present filming this, was arrested and beaten.
He was taken to hospital in Jerusalem and then taken back to the police
station where he was questioned until 1am. He is currently being held
at Ofer detention center near Ramallah. Emad was originally charged
with assaulting a border policeman and throwing stones but the assault
accusation was later dropped. Emad has been documenting the non-violent
resistance to the Wall in Bil’in and his video footage has often
refuted the false allegations of the Israeli military and helped to get
those detained or arrested released. He has made a film called “One
Year of Peaceful Resistance to the Wall”, made up of the hundred of
hours of footage of the demonstrations he has taken.

* * *

As on every Friday for the last 20 months, the villagers of Bil’in,
supported by international and Israeli activists, marched from the
village mosque after prayers to the apartheid wall, which has stolen
around half of the village’s agricultural land.

Following the pattern of last week’s demo Israeli forces didn’t
hinder the marchers on their way to the gate in the Wall. The IOF
declared the area a Closed Military Zone and banned the villagers
accessing their land on the other side of the Wall. At the gate the
villagers chanted resistance slogans, reminding the occupiers that
their spirit of defiance and demand for justice won’t be suppressed.

As some villagers attempted to climb onto the gate, soldiers hauled
them off onto the other side. Two villagers, Ayad and Iyad Burnat, were
detained in this way.

Not deterred by the intense midday heat and their empty stomachs, many
villagers decided to continue the protest by marching down the slope
along the wall and were immediately attacked by Israeli forces firing
multiple rounds of tear gas. Around 20 protesters suffered from the
effects of the gas and were forced to disperse into the olive groves
where they watched as the IOF turned their attention to children in the
olive groves on the opposite side of the road. Snipers took up
positions and started firing rubber bullets at children in the groves
who responded by throwing stones.

As the IOF prepared to invade, villagers blocked the road with rocks
and the village youth once again successfully managed to prevent the
world’s fourth largest army from invading, armed only with what they
could find on the ground.

For photos see
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/06/bilin-06-10-06/

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3. Israel Arrests Bil’in Journalist

UPDATE, October 10th: At a hearing today at Ofer military court the
judge ordered Emad to be released, but the Israeli military appealed
this decision and said he should be held for a further 72 hours. The
judge gave the army 24 hours to mount an appeal, which will be held
tomorrow.

Emad Mohammad Bornat of the village of Bil’in, video photographer for
Reuters and documentary film maker, was arrested on Friday October 6th,
2006 by a Israeli Border Police unit that entered the village, firing
rubber bullets and sound grenades. Emad is being held in Israeli
military custody and will be brought in front of a judge at Ofer
military base tomorrow Tuesday the 10th of October.

Emad, who was filming at the time, was arrested by an Israeli Border
policeman. When Emad arrived at the police station in Givat Zeev, he
was wounded. The Border Police soldiers claimed a radio “fell” on
him in the jeep, on the way to the station. He was taken to the
Hadassah – Har Hatzofim hospital and was then taken back to the
police station in Givat Zeev. After he was interrogated, the police
refused to view the tapes that Emad filmed. Emad is accused of
“assault on an officer” and of stone throwing and was sent to the
Etzion prison. Israeli Border Police have in the past been rebuked by
military judges on false testimonies towards arrested Palestinian
demonstrators and their Israeli supporters.

Emad has tirelessly documented the struggle of his village against the
wall and settlements, and is known by many other professionals with
whom he works and cooperates, giving them video material for their
films and reports. He is a man of peace and a dedicated and responsible
video-photo-journalist. His video footage has been broadcast throughout
the world, showing the demonstrations against the wall Israel is
constructing on his village’s land. It shows the routine, and often
brutal, violence of the Israeli military in general and the Border
Police in particular on the demonstrations, especially as used against
Palestinians.

For more information:

Attorney Gaby Laski: 054 449 18988
Mohammed Khatib: 054 557 3285
Shai Polack: 054 533 3364

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4. Two Roadblock Removal Actions in Three Hours

by PSP, October 6th
This afternoon, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists
carried out two non-violent demonstrations focused on two illegal
roadblocks in the al-Khalil (Hebron) region. Roadblocks in al-Jab’a
and Beit Ommar were chosen, and while the demonstrators were unable to
open the first roadblock, the barrier in Beit Ommar was successfully
opened. Large forces of occupation soldiers amassed at both
demonstrations, and brutally beat many present.

Following Friday prayers in the village of al-Jaba, thirty five
internationals and Israelis, and more than forty Palestinians, marched
from the village mosque to the earth mound roadblock. The
internationals represented the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP), the
International Women’s Peace Service (IWPS), the Christian Peace
Makers Team (CPT), while the Israelis were from Ta’ayush, and
Anarchists Against the Wall. This demonstration marks the third time in
three weeks that demonstrators met at the al-Jaba’a roadblock to
dismantle it. Last week, the demonstrators were successful in their
efforts and were able to open the roadblock. This week however,
soldiers and police with the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) preempted
the action and attacked demonstrators.

When the non-violent demonstrators reached the roadblock separating the
village of al-Jab’a from the village of Surif, they were met with
numerous IOF army jeeps, police jeeps and one car carrying officers
with the Shin Bet, the occupation’s secret intelligence service. The
military interfered in the demonstration, but the activists were able
to work for approximately forty-five minutes, before IOF soldiers began
to attempt to make arrests. At their peak, over thirty soldiers, eight
police, and two Shin Bet agents were present. Along with the soldiers,
two police jeeps, six army jeeps, and one Hummer were present. The
soldiers took various attack positions, including placing three
soldiers on the roof of a Palestinian house, armed with machineguns and
tear gas launchers.

With the IOF present, the activists used shovels, pick axes, and hoes
to remove rubble, dirt, and heavy boulders forming the roadblock.
Following forty-five minutes of roadblock removal, the IOF accelerated
their violence. Because of the IOF’s massive presence, and their high
quantity of ‘less-than-lethal’ weapons at the ready, the
demonstrators decided to disperse rather than begin a confrontation
with heavily armed soldiers. As they started up the hill to al-Jab’a,
the IOF attempted to arrest one Palestinian man but he was successfully
de-arrested by international and Israeli activists.

After leaving the al-Jab’a roadblock only partially removed, and not
wanting to waste the remainder of the day, some of the Palestinians,
along with the entire international and Israeli group traveled to the
village of Beit Ommar to remove a second roadblock, consisting of four
concrete blocks weighing two tons a piece. This time the activists were
able to arrive undetected, and work for a short while before IOF
soldiers and police responded. The demonstrators used thick ropes and
metal carabineers to harness the blocks, and utilizing the strength of
more than forty people, moved three of the blocks, opening the road. In
order to move each block, ropes were attached to hooks implanted in the
blocks, and while approximately thirty people pulled on the two ropes,
others pushed from behind. Through this method, the demonstrators were
able to move three of the four blocks, creating a path for cars and
tractors to enter the village. By opening this road, residents of Beit
Ommar are able to enter their village without passing through the
checkpoint which includes an observation tower and a metal gate.

After moving two of the concrete blocks, soldiers with the IOF arrived.
More than forty IOF soldiers and police assembled, along with six army
jeeps, one Hummer, two police jeeps and one army transport. Quickly the
soldiers began to attack the non-violent demonstrators. During these
attacks, the following injuries were sustained:

– Palestinian man, struck in the abdomen with a rifle butt, piercing
the skin.
– Swedish woman, deliberately pinned between a concrete block and an
army jeep. She jumped away and narrowly escaped being crushed. She was
later assaulted, and thrown against a concrete wall.
– Swedish man, punched in the head and thrown to the ground via his
head, injuring his neck.
– English man, struck several times on the forearm with a rifle butt,
causing severe swelling.
– Danish woman, struck in the head with a rifle butt and stomped in the
feet, causing immediate bruising and swelling.
– Swedish woman, bitten on the forearm by a soldier, causing localized
swelling.

Besides these specific and remarkable injuries, many demonstrators
present were punched, choked, pushed, thrown to the ground and
otherwise assaulted by occupation forces. International activists
witnessed at least three Palestinian men being beaten, though the
details of their injuries are unknown. During these encounters, IOF
soldiers attempted to arrest three Palestinians but were unsuccessful
thanks to the efforts of international and Israeli activists who were
able to successfully de-arrest the Palestinians through non-violent
intervention.

After these initial attacks, IOF soldiers focused on a Palestinian home
bordering the roadblock. IOF soldiers threw at least one concussion
grenade, and fired what appeared to be a rubber-coated metal bullet
through the window of the Palestinian home. When the shot was fired,
several women and children were peering out of the windows at the
soldiers, but were luckily not hit by the bullet or glass.

The roadblock in Beit Ommar was removed and the road opened, though it
was soon blocked by four army jeeps who attempted unsuccessfully to
replace the concrete blocks. The IOF soon learned how heavy the blocks
were, as their armored jeeps were unable to budge the barriers. Though
the roadblock is still open at the time of writing, it is likely only a
matter of hours before the IOF replaces the illegal barrier,
bottlenecking Beit Ommar, and forcing residents to travel through the
militarized checkpoint. Just as the earth mound in al-Jab’a will also
be replaced soon after its dismantlement, its partial removal is yet
another act of resistance in a long chain of actions opposing the
occupation. Palestinian, international and Israeli activists will
continue to remove such manifestations of oppression which create
closures, and restrict the free movement of the Palestinian people.

For information on the previous actions in al-Jab’a please visit:

www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/09/21/jaba-roadblock-action/
www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/09/30/jaba-roadblock2/

For more information on the Palestine Solidarity Project, please visit:
palestinesolidarityproject.wordpress.com

For photos see
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/07/jaba-roadblock-3/

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5. March of Grapes Brutally Attacked-6 Arrested, Many Injured

by PSP,
October 8, 2006-Today, Palestinian, international and Israeli activists
joined together to demonstrate against land theft, road closures and
economic isolation by bringing two tons of the surplus Palestinian
grape harvest to an occupation checkpoint along Route 60. In a display
of civil disobedience akin to the North American Boston Tea Party, the
demonstrators hoped to dump the surplus harvest onto the road, but were
viciously attacked before they were able to reach the checkpoint.

Al-Khadr is a center for vineyards, as is the Bethlehem area in
general. Every year its fertile lands yield 11,000 tons of grapes. Not
long ago, these grapes were marketed to the entire West Bank, as well
as Jordan, Gaza and Israel. Nowadays, with some roads blocked and
others closed, and with new decrees restricting the delivery of grapes,
the local produce has no market. The prices have dropped so low that
the farmers can no longer earn their living. Many are forced to just
leave the fruit to rot on the vines. Soon the Apartheid Wall will reach
the site of the demonstration, and the Ghettoization of the area will
be complete. Where grapes are the prime source of income and
unemployment rates soar, this maneuver will effectively strangulate the
already fragile local economy.

The wall in the Al-Khadr region will annex 20,000 dunums of Palestinian
agricultural land, while the expansion of Betar Illit, Neve Daniel and
Elazar colonial settlements will similarly steal additional lands. The
Wall in the Al-Khadr and Bethlehem area will also imprison 19,000
Palestinians in between the concrete barrier and the 1967 West Bank
border line, known as the “green line.”

For these reasons, local Palestinians, Israeli activists with
Anarchists Against the Wall and Tay’ush, as well as international
activists with the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP), joined for a
morning of civil disobedience with the intention of dumping a portion
of the ample, though unmarketable, grape harvest onto Route 60 in
protest. Approximately fifty demonstrators marched on Route 60,
blocking northbound traffic, en route to Al-Khadr checkpoint, but were
preemptively attacked by Israeli Occupation Force (IOF) police and
soldiers. At the scene were numerous armored police jeeps, police
transport vans and armored military jeeps. Also on hand was at least
one agent with Shabak (Shin Bet), the occupation’s covert
intelligence agency, seen filming the IOF’s brutality with a handheld
video camera.

Despite the presence of Reuters cameramen and other international
media, around thirty IOF soldiers and police quickly attacked the
non-violent demonstrators who carried cardboard crates of grapes. With
their hands unable to be used as shields, many were beaten causing the
grapes to prematurely spill onto the road. As the demonstrators
attempted to continue their march, IOF police and soldiers choked,
kicked and punched the demonstrators. Some police used military-style
‘pain compliance’ maneuvers, such as applying immense pressure to
wrists and other sensitive joints, as well as wrenching back fingers
and hands. Activists were thrown, and dragged by their ears, noses,
necks and hair, while other police and soldiers forced demonstrators to
the ground by leaning their weighted knees onto demonstrators’ heads
and necks. Many activists were roughly thrown to the ground and dragged
across the asphalt road, ripping their clothes. While attempting to
stand up, many were pushed and kicked by the booted IOF police and
soldiers.

During the assault, six people were arrested: two Palestinian males,
one international female, and two Israeli males. The two Palestinian
males, Mohammad Salah, 25, and Ahmed Salah, 30 were detained for
carrying boxes of grapes, and while Ahmed was released at the end of
the demonstration, Mohammad was not so lucky. Following the
demonstration, Mohammad was taken by IOF soldiers to a wooded area near
Betar Illit colonial settlement. When the soldiers reached this
isolated area, they kicked and beat Mohammad in the head and shoulders.
He is currently under care at a Bethlehem-area hospital. The
international, an American woman, and the two Israeli men are currently
still being held in Israeli custody at Gush Etzion police compound,
housed within the colonial settlement of the same name.

Despite the unprovoked and extreme violence from the IOF, the
demonstration was a great success. The primarily settler-used roadway
of Route 60 was colored green and purple with the crushed remains of
grapes and cardboard cartons. Passing settlers were able to witness the
violence that their presence “necessitates,” and many reacted by
honking their horns, photographing the demonstration, and one man was
even seen proudly waving a peace sign. Though the grapes never reached
the mouths of consumers, they were purchased from the farmers and given
a political purpose on the road-a stretch of route 60 bordering
Al-Khadr checkpoint, as well as a currently under-construction terminal
checkpoint, and a small length of the Apartheid Wall already built and
waiting to be connected to the Bethlehem portion.

For more information on the Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP), please
visit:
www.palestinesolidarityproject.wordpress.com

For photos see http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/08/khadrgrape/

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6. Settlers steal fruit in Kufr Qallil during olive harvest

by ISM Nablus, October 1st

While harvesting with the Palestinians of Kufr Qallil, colonial
settlers from Berakhya settlement were observed entering a Palestinian
fruit grove and stealing fruit. The area in question is located
south-east of Nablus city center, and surrounded by At Tur and Huwarra
checkpoints, a settler-only road, and a military observation tower.

On a road cutting through the Palestinian fruit grove is a fountain
used by colonial settlers to bathe. Today this fountain was especially
busy as the local men ceremonially cleansed for the Jewish holiday of
Yom Kippur, which was to begin that night. From their vantage point in
the Kufr Qallil olive grove, international activists observed seven men
drive into the area in three cars, take two bags from the trunk, and
enter the grove. They then watched as the settler men stole figs and
pomegranates, filling two large bags. This crime was caught on video,
and while one activist filmed, two others hiked down the hill to
intervene, after calling the DCO (District Coordination Office) to
report the crime in progress.

The DCO was seemingly not interested in listening to the crime report,
and appeared more concerned with why the activists were in the area.
While waiting for the DCO, the activists approached three of the
settlers and inquired as to why they were stealing fruit. The settlers
responded by saying that the “law” allowed them to be in the
Palestinian farmland, and that, “The law says [that] all Arabs are
killers.” Pointing to the Palestinian grove, the settler continued,
“All of this land is ours, we live in that village up there.” The
“village” he pointed to is the militarized hilltop colonial
settlement of Berakhya where the settlers reside.

After approximately twenty minutes, the DCO arrived, though at this
point the settlers had left with their stolen fruit. The activists
reported the crime for the third time, and showed the DCO more than
fifty pictures documenting the incident. These pictures included the
license plates of all of the vehicles, the vehicles themselves, and the
faces of the settler thieves. The soldiers initially refused to record
any of the information offered, but after repeated requests they looked
at the pictures and wrote scant notes on a scrap of paper.

While reporting the crime of the seven settlers to the DCO and
soldiers, another settler man with a child in his arms entered the
grove and began to steal more fruit. The activists alerted the soldiers
to this obvious crime going on in front of their eyes. One soldier
entered the grove and spoke to the settler, though the settler
proceeded to steal, and within a few minutes the DCO and soldiers left
without stopping the evident crime. Before leaving, the soldiers told
the activists to wait on site in order to report the incident to
additional soldiers en route. No additional soldiers ever responded.

The three cars involved in the fruit theft are:
1.) silver Ford, Mondeo, license plate, 64-017-56
2.) white Chevrolet Aved LT, license plate, 45-193-59
3.) black Volkswagen Polo Classic, license plate, 53-784-18

For photos see
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/07/settlers-steal-fruit/

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7. Stones and fire in Kufr Qallil – yet the olive harvest continues

by ISM Nablus, report filed October 5th
Omar Suleiman from Kufr Qallil walked through his 10 dunums of olive
trees on Saturday the 30th of September, occasionally grabbing hold of
a tree trunk and nimbly climbing up to inspect the higher clusters of
fruit. He shook his head and gestured toward the empty branches here
and there. Nestled on a slope between Berakhya colony and Huwarra
checkpoint and military base, his olive grove is frequently invaded by
Israeli colonists. They beat the trees to make the ripest olives fall
to the ground in order to steal them, and also sabotage the harvest in
other ways. About two months ago, they set fire to a 16 dunum large
plot of land below the olive grove. Haj Suleiman’s family now have to
trudge up a slope of desolate scorched earth in order to reach their
land – an ugly reminder of the threat that the Israeli colonists of
Berakhya present to their Palestinian neighbours.

Two years ago, the family was attacked by a group of Israeli colonists
armed with machineguns. Haj Suleiman bears scars on his chin and scalp
from big rocks thrown at him in unprovoked outbursts of colonist
violence. When he attempted to defend himself by physically restraining
his attackers, the Israeli military retaliated by forcing him and his
family out of their house at two o’clock in the morning for five
nights in a row – threatening the family members with violence and
randomly breaking parts of their furniture. The family is now afraid to
go to harvest their olives from the land closest to the colony. After
having kept silent and submissive for a few years, the family have now
had enough, and therefore decided to request international and Israeli
accompaniment this year.

The first three days of harvesting in Kufr Qallil were relatively
quiet, apart from an incident of theft from land on the south side of
the road leading up to Berakhya colony. Israeli colonists were spending
the eve of Yom Kippur bathing at a holy mountain spring adjacent to the
road, some of them also having brought bags to fill with Palestinian
figs and pomegranates.

On the fourth day of harvesting (Tuesday October the 3rd), an armored
jeep full of soldiers arrived at the scene, shouting and motioning at
the olive pickers to cease their work. They told the group – Haj
Suleiman, his family and volunteers from IWPS and ISM – to pack up
and leave as they had not obtained permission from the DCO (District
Coordination Office) and were therefore not allowed to work the land on
that particular day. Although the group argued that this order was
unlawful and requested that the soldiers consult their higher
commanders and the DCO before chasing them off the land, the soldiers
insisted and threateningly escorted everyone back to the village.
Afraid of retaliation, the family did not wish to directly resist the
order but after hours of phone calls to the International Committee of
the Red Cross and various levels of command at the DCO, it was
ascertained that the order given by the soldiers was actually contrary
to Israeli law and military policy, in light of recent judicial
developments.

On 26 June 2006, the Israeli High Court of Justice issued a ruling in
response to a petition regarding the right of Palestinian farmers, who
are residents of the West Bank, to gain access to their land (H.C.J.
9593/04 Rashad Morar v. The IDF Commander for Judea and Samaria). In
short, the court decision means that Palestinian farmers have a right
to enter and work their land, with or without DCO permission, and that
the military commander in the area must defend this right. In the past,
Israeli military have often opted for attempting to stifle any violence
on the part of Israeli colonists by declaring land a “closed military
zone.” They have justified this by saying that the law is aimed to
protect the Palestinian residents, but has in reality saved them from
any real confrontation with Israeli colonists. The court ruling
stipulates that this is no longer allowed and that territorial closure
is subject to a number of strict preconditions.

This decision is crucial to many Palestinian farmers in providing them
with a legal weapon to use in fighting for their rights to their land.
Apart from land in “red zones,” which are not subject to such rapid
status changes as “closed military zones,” and can be checked on
military maps, all farmers should in theory be unhindered and protected
in working their land and harvesting their olives this season.
Tuesday’s events, however, clearly illustrate how this new policy,
whether due to misinformation or malice, is not being implemented by
soldiers on the ground.

It seems that the more senior and legally conscious echelons of the
Israeli military are reluctant to inform foot-soldiers about the
changes unless faced with farmers or volunteers who know the law and
can argue their case. This was made apparent yesterday, as the DCO
tried to dissuade Haj Suleiman from harvesting his olives on the day he
wanted, instead suggesting a later date more suitable to them. Despite
this, the family continued harvesting, their numbers boosted by
international and Israeli volunteers, the latter from Rabbis for Human
Rights and other anti-occupation organizations. The Israeli military
were also present, although this time as protection from Israeli
colonists.

Despite manipulation and lies from the Israeli military and the DCO,
the olive harvest continues. We urge all internationals to do their
utmost to come to Palestine in solidarity with farmers who have been
denied safe and unconditional access to their land. Harvesting is
resisting.

Footnote: Wednesday night, more violence befell the village of Kufr
Qallil, when 40 year old Nasir Hasan Mansur was shot by Israeli
military. Mansur was sitting in front of his home when the soldiers
fired north from Beit Ur checkpoint, hitting him in the left foot.

For another account of the fourth day of the picking (October 3rd), see
this report on the IWPS site.

A reporter from The Times in London joined ISM, IWPS and Rabbis for
Human Rights volunteers for one of these picking days. His report,
focusing on the Rabbis, is published on the Times website at
http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,251-2394974,00.html.

For photos see
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/07/kufr-qallil-510/

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8. Palestinian Resident of Hebron Detained for Sitting on the Street

by ISM Hebron
On Saturday the 7th of October at 2pm about ten Israeli settlers, aged
15 to 20, harassed Palestinians on the hill above Beit Hadassah
settlement in Tel Rumeida, Hebron. Palestinians were afraid to go home
and international human right workers observing were attacked by
settlers who tried to push the video camera out of the hands of one
activist. An Israeli human right worker who came for the weekend
translated their conversation. Settlers were talking about the
inconvenience of human rights workers having a video camera, and their
faces on tape, if they wanted to beat them up. The settlers were
standing on the hill, harassing Palestinians, for about forty minutes
and then left only to come back on Shuhada street twenty minutes later,
causing problems for human rights workers sitting on the side of the
street. The settlers were screaming that human rights workers are Nazis
generally and behaved very aggressively. A settler family passed by and
the son, aged five, tried to spit at the internationals which was
cheerfully encouraged by his mother.

At 3.45pm a Palestinian resident named Issa Amro and three
international human right workers were sitting together on Shuhada
street. An Israeli police Jeep pulled up and an officer named Nabeeh
Hosin demanded that Issa show him his ID. Issa complied and Nabeeh
asked Issa where he lived and what he was doing sitting on Shuhada
Street with the human rights workers. Issa replied he lived in the area
but Nabeeh ordered him to leave. At this point, Issa got a telephone
call and began speaking on the phone. Nabeeh ordered him to hang up the
phone and pay attention to him and when Issa did not immediately
comply, he ordered him into the back of the police Jeep. Nabeeh and his
colleague got out of the jeep and grabbed Issa, violently pushing him
into the back of the jeep. Seeing Issa being arrested for no good
reason was totally unacceptable to the human rights workers who
informed the two police officers that if they were taking Issa with
them, they would also be taking them. They did not want him to be alone
at the police station at the mercy of the Israeli police.

The three of them were taken to the Kiryat Arba police station where
they were interrogated and suspected of “interfering with police
work”. They were otherwise treated acceptably. This probably had
something to do with an Israeli lawyer calling the police on their
behalf and a representative from the Danish embassy arriving on the
behalf of the two internationals from Denmark and Sweden. Issa was
detained for four hours. The international human rights workers were
detained for five and a half hours. Issa was also forced to sign a
paper to ensure he’d come to an eventual trial. If he refused to sign
the paper, he would have been brought to prison at once without any
trial the interrogator at Kiryat Arba police station said. He confirmed
during interrogations with the human rights workers that Palestinians
are not allowed to sit on the street but merely permitted to walk to
their homes as they are considered to be a security threat.

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9. Armed Israeli Colonists Move Freely While Army Restricts Palestinian
Movement

For video evidence from this day: click here to view or click here to
download. A description of each part of the video is at the end of this
report.

At 1.30pm on Sunday 8th October 2006, soldiers closed the main
checkpoint into Tel Rumeida, Hebron (checkpoint 56) to all people
wanting to enter H1 (the part of Hebron under Palestinian Authority
control). Pedestrian traffic in the opposite direction was not
restricted. International Human Rights Workers (HRWs) approached the
soldiers who would not give a reason for the closure other than “it
is Succot” (a Jewish holiday). Palestinians wishing to pass through
the checkpoint were told to climb the steep hill of Tel Rumeida and
enter H1 via another checkpoint instead, regardless of the lengthy
detour that this would involve. Soldiers also informed Palestinians
that the checkpoint would remain closed until 7pm.

Twenty-four soldiers then passed through the checkpoint into H1 where
they ordered the closure of shops, diverted traffic (causing gridlock
in Hebron for much of the afternoon) and took a sniffer dog around
parts of the city centre. Soldiers roamed around in H1 for no apparent
reason and would not make any comments about why they were in parts of
the city that had not been ordered closed.

At 3.30pm a large group of settlers and pro-settler tourists came to
the H2 (the area of Hebron formally controlled by the Israeli army and
police) side of the checkpoint and deliberately obstructed the path of
Palestinians entering H2 for several minutes, refusing to stand aside
when asked. This group were then allowed to pass through the checkpoint
without being searched, while throughout the day Palestinians had been
subject to unusually rigorous bag checks. Despite having their own
private armed guards, the settlers and tourists were accompanied by
over 30 soldiers and police officers. Soldiers later informed HRWs that
the tourists had come to Hebron to visit the Cave of Otniel Ben-Knaz,
which is located within the ground floor of a private Palestinian house
in H1. Meanwhile in H1, HRWs witnessed the tourists making
“victory” signs to the Palestinians they passed.

At 4pm the tourists and soldiers returned to checkpoint 56 and most
continued along Al Shuhada Street to the Beit Hadassah settlement.
Shortly afterwards, soldiers fired tear gas at Palestinians on the H1
side of the checkpoint after a small crowd had begun throwing stones
and letting off fireworks. The checkpoint was then reopened and
remained open for the rest of the afternoon. A small group of tourists
later came to the checkpoint to take photographs of the HRWs and to
tell them to “get the fuck out of Israel”.

For photo see
http://www.palsolidarity.org/main/2006/10/10/closing-cp56/

* The video shows the following: First section: Palestinians are denied
access through a checkpoint because Israeli settlers are present.
Second section: border policeman drops a tear gas canister. Third
section: soldiers emerge from a street they have closed off and invade
the rest of the city. Fourth section: soldiers give no reason for what
they are doing in the city center.