July 19th, 2007. This afternoon, on Shuhada Street, a young Palestinian boy was detained.
Two settler children were coming up the street, drawing on the doors and walls of Palestinian houses with chalk. Two ISM members were posted on the street and one of them informed the police of the settlers actions, to which he was told that it was just a kid’s game. Shortly after, a police car passed in front of the children, stopped, and said something to them. The car then stopped in front of the ISM members and informed them that he had already advised the children to cease drawing.
The settler children passed along the street and some minutes later, returned followed by two Palestinian teenagers, walking about four meters behind them. The ISM members could see one of the Palestinian teenagers saying something to one of the settler children and were later informed by Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH) who had spoken to the second Palestinian teenager that his friend was responding to a remark made by the settler children.
Immediately after, the children went to the police and spoke with them. The police then stopped the Palestinian teenager who had spoken to the settler children at 15.35. Five minutes later, one of the ISM members asked the police what the problem was, but was told that it wasn’t her business but an issue for the police. He refused to give any further explanation and asked the ISM member to wait away from the area in which he was detaining the Palestinian teenager.
At approximately 13.50, another two ISM’ers joined the international group observing the situation. At 14.05, the Palestinian teenager was put into the police car and one female ISM’er approached the police man again, asking for a reason as to why he was being taken to the police station. She was told that he didn’t have any identification on him and the police man refused to let her speak to the teenager.
The teenager was then driven to the local police station where he gave a declaration of the facts and was released approximately one hour later.
This shows, once again, the different approaches used by the police in Hebron, especially in Tel Rumeida, depending on each person. The settler children can throw stones, intimidate and terrorize the Palestinians and yet, they are never detained. Meanwhile Palestinian children must go to the police station simply for verbally responding to the provocation, intimidation and harassment they experience on a daily basis.