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Israeli Soldiers Start to Use Checkpoint to Extort Money from a Palestinian Child

by Tel Rumeida Project

Tuesday, 10 October 2006

At approximately 2pm two Human Rights Workers (HRWs) at the top of Tel Rumeida Street noticed that a small group of Palestinian boys were talking to the soldiers stationed at the guard post there. Shortly afterwards, a Palestinian HRW arrived and asked the boys what the matter was, and one boy, aged approximately 9, said that the soldier at checkpoint 56 (which controls the main entrance between the H2 area, which is controlled by the Israeli army, and the H1 area which is -at least theoretically- controlled by the Palestinian Authority) had shortly before demanded money from him as he passed through the checkpoint, taken one Shekel from him and then slapped him on the back of the neck. As the soldiers at the checkpoint change shifts at 2pm, the boys and the Palestinian HRW waited for the solider in question to come up Tel Rumeida hill to return to the IOF (Israeli Occupation Force) base. When questioned, the solider claimed that he had joked with the boy about taking money from him, but that it had been only a joke and that he had not hit the child. Two of the HRWs offered to give the boy a Shekel but the boy insisted he only wanted his money back from the soldier. The soldier refused to give the boy one Shekel and left the scene.

Wednesday, 11 October 2006

An “average” day in Tel Rumeida right now. The Jewish holiday of Succot is still running, and that meant quite a few tourist buses and a lot of Jewish tourists walking between the Tel Rumeida and Beit Hadassah settlements. It seems as if the tourists are routinely given misleading information as to why the HRWs are on the streets as the tourists have often tried to either interrogate the HRWs or else they gather round and insult them. Today a small group called two HRWs “Nazis” and “anti-Semites” and another group asked if the HRWs were checking to see whether they were behaving themselves and claimed that the HRWs “harbour terrorists”.

At 4.35pm a Christian Peacemakers Teams (CPT) patrol consisting of an elderly man and woman was attacked by settler children while walking in front of the Beit Hadassah settlement. Four children kicked and punched them and one child threw stones at them, while telling them to “go home”. The adults nearby did nothing to stop or discourage the attack. CPT also reported that the IOF were doing ID checks on Palestinian men at the checkpoint near the Ibrahim Mosque and that, as the ID checks were taking up to an hour each, there were a lot of men being detained there.

The close relationship between the settlers and the soldiers was also illustrated once again as two IOF soldiers stopped a settler car on Shuhada Street and was given a lift up the street to the Tel Rumeida settlement. The settler driving the car gave an obscene finger gesture to a HRW as he drove past with the soldiers in his car.