Tel Rumeida Report
by ISM Hebron , 4 June 2007
At approximately 7:10 am, Sunday 3rd June, a female human rights worker (HRW) was positioned at the top of Tel Rumeida street opposite the IDF guard post close to the Tel Rumeida Settlement. There were two soldiers present alongside two policemen who were inside a police vehicle approximately five meters away, facing the HRW. A white van drove up the hill and turned around and stopped in front of the HRW, and also facing the police vehicle. The Settler inside the white van, wound down his window and started to shout abuses at the HRW. He said the following, “You want to see our blood?”, “you want to kill us?”, “I want to see Arab blood!” and “Fuck off”. He continued to shout various aggressive insults at the HRW who stated that she did not want to see any blood and that she was non violent.
During this time, neither the police nor the soldiers made any effort to acknowledge or prevent the situation from escalating. After the settler drove off, the HRW questioned the police into why they did nothing and they claimed that they hadn’t witnessed the incident despite directly facing the Settler and the HRW. They claimed they were speaking with a soldier at the time of the incident and therefore did not hear or see the attack.
At approximately 7:20, the same Settler stopped his van in front of the main Machsom (checkpoint) at the junction between Shuhada Street and Tel Rumeida Street. The Settler began shouting verbal abuse at the human rights worker who was present, however, the settler proceeded to get out of the vehicle to attack the HRW physically. It was only due to the intervention of a soldier who was present at the checkpoint that the Settler was prevented from being physically violent. The settler did continue to shout abuse until he eventually drove away.
Both HRWs who had been affected by the Settler decided to make formal complaints to the police about the settler who had been aggressive towards them. The police were open that they knew who the settler was and said that they would investigate the situation.
On Monday, 4th June, at approximately 7:20am, two HRWs were standing by the Israeli colony of Beit Haddasah. An Israeli police vehicle was present with two policemen and a further soldier was positioned at the guard post. Despite the complaint to the police the previous day, the same settler drove past, stopped his vehicle and proceeded to get out of the vehicle and start shouting at the HRWs. The police seemed reluctant to get involved although they did get out of their vehicle and approach the situation. A third HRW approached the scene. At this point, the settler turned his attention onto her and began to shout in both Hebrew and English. The settler then approached her aggressively and it was only when the Settler was completely upon the HRW that the police physically intervened by standing between the settler and the HRW. A second settler approached the scene and started shouting abuse at the three HRWs.
Speaking with the police afterwards, they acknowledged they knew who the settler was and that the settler’s aggression wasn’t justified. The police, however, stated that the HRWs should move further away from the settlement to prevent the aggression and that the presence of the HRWs was a provocation. He further stated that there would be an investigation into the settler’s actions, following the formal complaint from the previous day. Complaints are made often by Palestinians and human rights workers in Tel Rumeida, but further action by Israeli police is usually never taken.