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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.