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Tel Rumeida: More Harassment

July 7th, 2007. At approximately 6:00 pm, two Palestinian boys were being detained at the checkpoint dividing Shuhada street in Tel Rumeida, H2, and the market in H1. Inside the checkpoint two Israeli soldiers were accompanied by a civilian settler who clearly took their attention away from their task.

After 15 minutes two human rights workers (HRWs) tried to intervene but were rudely told by the soldier that they, the soldiers, were not allowed to speak to any internationals. The civilian settler took it upon himself to explain to the HRWs that soldiers have to follow their orders and that every order has
a reason.

The HRWs approached the Palestinian boys to find out why they were being detained, but no reason had been given to them by the soldiers. At approximately 6:25 pm, as the HRWs were speaking to the Palestinian boys outside the checkpoint, one of the soldiers shouted at them, demanding their passports. The HRWs continued speaking to the Palestinian boys as the soldier announced that he would call the police.

At approximately 6:30pm a third HRW arrived and two observers from the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH). The Third HRW approached the soldiers to ask about the two Palestinian boys, but the soldier, now seemingly willing to speak to internationals, answered by explaining why the two Palestinian boys were being detained to the HRWs.

A jeep with two officers from the Israeli police arrived at 6:40pm. They asked the HRWs very briefly about the situation and took their passports. The soldiers and the civilian settler were given plenty of time to explain what had happened.

At approximately 6:55pm the detention of the two Palestinian boys was addressed and they were let go. The two HRWs were taken to the police station in Qiryat Arba for having refused to show their passport when ordered to do so. At the police station the soldier who had shouted for the passport, who was now carrying the passports, was being heard from 7:15pm to 7:45pm. After this the HRWs were heard, one at the time, for 30 minutes each. At 9:20pm they were taken back to Tel Rumeida.