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Tel Rumeida: Detention at the Ibrahimi Mosque

By the ISM Media Team

July 2nd, 2007. At the checkpoint by the Ibrahimi mosque, two human rights workers (HRWs) were monitoring the border police who were detaining every adult male Palestinian going to the afternoon prayer.

At approximately 3 pm, right after the HRWs entered the area one female border police asked for their passports and detained them for 10 minutes. A policeman wrote down their passport info and asked about the purpose of their presence and to which organization they belonged.

During the next two hours attempts to negotiate with border police and police were made, without any success. When the HRWs tried to communicate with several detained Palestinians, the border policemen ordered the Palestinians, as well as the HRWs to stop.

At 5:25 pm a Palestinian boy, aged around 18 was detained. After another 5 minutes a border policeman asked him to follow him behind the checkpoint and started to body search him. One HRW asked the border police about the reason for their proceedings, while the other HRW kept filming the situation. The border policeman told the HRW that the arrested Palestinian was wanted by Israeli Police, but that he isn’t willing to give anymore detailed information to the HRW. When another Israeli police car arrived, one HRW made a new attempt to talk to the policeman, but the policeman ignored him.

At the same time another border policemen repeatedly ordered the HRW who was filming, to turn off his camera and threatened to break his camera if he did not do so. At 5:33 pm the Palestinian boy was handcuffed, taken into the police car and brought to the police station of Kiryat Arba, which according to international law is an illegal settlement.

Then the border police started to draw more attention to the presence of the HRWs. They ordered them leave the area immediately and when they refused they were threatened with arrest. Since the HRWs didn’t consider their presence as illegal, they refused to leave. A group of about five police man gathered around the HRWs and at the same time a border police jeep arrived.

The border police asked the HRWs to hand over their passports, forced them to turn their faces to the wall and body searched them. Once more a border policeman gave the HRWs the ultimatum of leaving the area immediately or being arrested. After further discussion the HRWs left the place and went to a checkpoint down the road and continued doing their job there.

At 6 pm as the HRWs wanted to leave the area, the border police denied them the right to pass the mosque and made them walk through, Shuhada Stret, which is closed by the Israeli military and is a commonly used street by violent Israeli settlers.