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IOF occupies Palestinian house in Tel Rumeida – “We can do whatever we want”

by ISM Hebron, February 17th

Today at 12.30 pm a group of human rights workers (HRWs) returned to Issa Amro’s house on Tel Rumeida hill, which was yesterday declared a “closed military zone” by the IOF. The HRWs wanted to find out whether the house was still a military area. Yesterday police showed them a document stating that the house and its surroundings were closed until 12 pm today.

When the HRWs arrived, three IOF soldiers were present. They called for back-up on the arrival of the HRWs. Moments later six soldiers appeared who occupied the house. The HRWs asked the soldiers what they were doing in the house, since the rightful occupant, Issa Amro, wanted to come and start doing repairs. The IOF soldiers replied that the house was still a closed military zone, but couldn’t show any document. The HRWs demanded that they be shown this document, as is their right under Occupation law . The soldiers promised that “the document is on its way”. They also mentioned that the Israeli army could get a new document anytime and could repeat this procedure at will. “We can do whatever we want” , a soldier told a HRW.

Half an hour later a group of six border police arrived who confirmed that the document about the “closed military zone” was coming. The HRWs waited for another hour, until suddenly all the IOF soldiers and border police left the house in a hurry, without clarifying the status of the property. The HRWs waited for another half an hour in the “closed military area” and then decided to leave to coordinate the next step with the owner of the Tel Rumeida hilltop house.

At 1 pm HRWs heard people shouting in the street outside the flat for HRWs . 50 meters up Tel Rumeida road, a group of colonists had gathered. Residents told the HRWs that a group af 4 Palestinian children returning home from school had been confronted with a young colonist, aged about 10, who had started to throw stones at them. More colonists came out of their houses as IOF soldiers and police arrived at the scene.

HRWs were told to back off, because the situation “ is already heated”. The HRWs saw a young colonist trying to throw stones at the Palestinian children, by slipping through the line of soldiers, but he was stopped. After long discussions with a few notorious colonist women, they returned to their houses. The Palestinian children were forced to walk back and take another route to their homes. Again a colonist attack on Palestinians ended without the aggressor being punished.

After a visit to the hospital it was confirmed that a 15-year old boy was shot in the leg with live ammunition and not a rubber bullet by the IOF in Hebron yesterday.