On Wednesday Israeli forces occupying Al Hamra Checkpoint in Jenin confiscated the identity cards of hundreds of Palestinians, detaining them for five hours. While the soldiers were confiscating identification and detaining citizens, a young man spoke to the soldiers while others shouted to stop oppressing students.
Eyewitnesses report that an Israeli soldier took the identification of Salem Zayada and suddenly pulled the student to the ground by grabbing ahold of his beard. Soldiers drug the young man behind a barrier where seven soldiers beat him.
Hundreds of Palestinians were shouting to stop as they disembarked from their cars while Israeli soldiers trained their machine guns on the people. A nonviolent protest ensued with residents shouting for justice while beginning a sit-in.
Taxi driver Zacharia Khalid requested that an Israeli officer come to the checkpoint in hopes that an official would make the beating stop, but instead Israeli soldiers began to fire into the air and physically attacking people. The young man, beaten and bloody, was then taken to an unknown location.
Incidents of abuse such as this are not unusual, but are instead so commonplace that they often go unreported, even in the local press.
At the checkpoint of Al Hamra between Jenin and the rest of the West Bank, driver Firas Abdel Nasser reports that soldiers deal “cruelly and ruthlessly with people, always oppressively, especially against young bearded students.”
Abdel Nasser added that just last week Israeli soldiers attacked and beat three young men periodically while holding them for three hours.
Another driver, Bilal Hadoq, told PNN that Israeli soldiers arrested a young man because he had written on his notebook the words “God…scourge of criminals… victory for the vulnerable.” Another student was attacked when he was instructed to open his schoolbag for inspection and Israeli soldiers found the Holy Qur’an inside. Hadoq said, “He was beaten and whisked away, arrested for that.”