by ISM Hebron, March 11th
Human rights workers (HRWs) from Tel Rumeida were asked to accompany a farmer and help him plant trees on land near Bani Na’im east of Hebron. The tree planning was organized by the Centre for Democracy in Hebron, working with Wa’ad. The land has three large water pools constructed by the Palestinian Authority for sewage recycling but never used due to settlers from the nearby colony of Pene Hever digging up pipes.
The farmer is anxious to plant trees so that the land can be seen to be in use and will not be taken by the Jewish settlers. They planted 20 olive and 5 cedar trees on the edge of the land overlooking the road. There were no problems with the police or the army.
In Tel Rumeida at approximately 14.30 some construction workers were working on the land between the Abu Aisha family home and the neighbor’s house which is a Jewish settlement. We were told by the workers that they were going to set up a CCTV camera there for the military post. There is already a CCTV camera not far away from there, which seems to be pointing towards the horizon. We were told that the work was to be done in a week. Later, another member of the Abu Aisha family was upset to find the same workers digging on the land in front of his house, apparently for the same reason.
At 15.20 six Israeli soldiers were seen attempting to enter a Palestinian house on the hill. No-one opened the door and they left. They objected to being photographed. They then surrounded a Medecin Sans Frontiers (MSF) car and stayed there for a long time. The staff from MSF said that they had been hampered a lot in their work recently by the police and that they had been prevented from entering a Palestinian house that day.
About 18.30 HRWs noticed a disturbance on the street down the hill. They went and discovered a settler threatening eight children with a gun. He claimed they had been throwing stones at him, which they denied. Israeli soldiers arrived very quickly and detained three children. They knocked on three doors but no one opened up to them. Police arrived 10 minutes later, talked to the children and released them.
Coming back up the hill the HRWs noticed that two Palestinians had been detained by Israeli Border Police. The Palestinians said that the police had taken their IDs and demanded that they purchase cheap Palestinian DVDs from the Souk for them. One of them also claimed that the Border Police had taken his mobile phone and installed a virus on it. Now he would have to pay to have it repaired. A Palestinian HRW stopped the police commander who happened to be passing and made a complaint about the police behaviour. The commander came over and gave the police a warning.