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Israeli police confiscates Palestinian video evidence

Video shows Israeli settler throwing tomatoes and eggs at harvesters
by ISM Hebron, 31 May 2007

At approximately 10:00, four international Human Rights Workers (HRW), four Palestinian HRWs, five journalists and cameramen, and the Al-Jabari family gathered at the Al-Jabari home in Hebron just outside the Israeli colony of Kiriat Arba in order to accompany the Al-Jabari family to pick grass on the family’s land. Members of the nearby settlement recently have harassed the family members as they attempted to pick the grass on their land to feed their goats (who are no longer permitted to graze on the land themselves).

The solidarity group began picking grass in the field, and four Israeli soldiers appeared shortly thereafter. They were soon joined by three more soldiers, a police officer, and about five border police. The policeman approached all of the international HRWs, requested their passports, and proceeded to record the passport numbers and information on a notepad. About an hour into the grass picking, a female Israeli settler showed up and began to watch the scene. The settler then proceeded to quickly pull bunches of tomatoes and spoiled eggs out of her canvas bag and hurl them at the grass pickers, striking one Palestinian HRW in the back of the head with an egg. The settler then attempted to run away, but a soldier immediately ran after her and arrested her. She continued to shout menacingly in Hebrew as he escorted her back to a vehicle.

At one point, the settler attempted once more to throw tomatoes at the grass collectors. The police inquired whether the HRW who had been assaulted would like to make a formal complaint. The HRW agreed and went down to the station. One Palestinian journalist had evidence on film of the female settlers’ actions and was requested to go to the police station to provide the footage. When he reached the police station, his film was confiscated and he was detained for unknown reasons. Shortly after the female settler was taken away, a second settler trespassed onto the land and began aggressively taking photos of everyone on it. The army made a verbal attempt to remove him, although requests for him to leave were ignored by the settler and he continued to take photos at close proximity to both Palestinians and internationals. By midday, the task of collecting grass had been completed; however, two international HRWs maintained their presence at the Al-Jabari home until approximately 19:00 out of concern about further harassment by settlers.