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Refusing to Kneel to the Occupation

by ISM Hebron, 22 May 2007

On the morning of Tuesday, May 22. two human rights workers (HRWs) witnessed a young Palestinian man being detained at the Israeli soldier post in the Tel Rumeida district of Hebron.

The Israeli soldier at the post started to film the two HRWs with his camera-phone, directly in front of he HRWs’ faces.

One of the two soldiers was very aggressive towards the Palestinian detainee from the beginning. The soldier took the detainee’s ID and made him lift his shirt. After about 20 minutes, one of the HRWs tried to negotiate with the soldiers in order to make the process faster. The soldiers refused to talk. One of them said that he would only talk if the HRWs shut off the camera. About 5 minutes later, two sisters of the detained man came and stood with him. One of the HRWs tried to talk to the soldier but the soldier pushed him with his body and told him to go 5 meters away.

The Palestinian man refused to remain seated on the cold ground, causing the soldier to call for backup. Two more soldiers arrived and began shouting at the Palestinian man, handcuffed him, and took him to the military base in front of the Tel Rumeida settlement. The sisters of the Palestinian man tried to follow them. One of the sisters was pushed by a border policeman. The soldier that initiated the whole incident talked to the regular Israeli police that just arrived and accused one of the HRWs of having disturbed him during the arrest.

The HRWs explained to the police that they had recorded the incident. The policeman asked that if the army or the human rights workers would like to make a complaint they should go to the police station. One of the soldiers that came for backup claimed that, according to the first soldier, the Palestinian man had refused to lift his shirts of his back but this was a false accusation and the video footage proves it.

The two sisters of the detained Palestinian man said his name is Arif Salhap. The human rights workers were told by the Palestinian women that Arif refused to kneel in front of the soldier because Muslims only kneel to Allah.

Arif was released three hours later.

The human rights workers informed the red cross.

For more information, contact:

ISM Media Office, 0599-943-157, 0542-103-657