On Sunday afternoon August 19th a Palestinian woman in her early thirties from the outskirts of Hebron was detained for 1 hour before being arrested at Tel Rumeida st. in the H2 district of the West Bank’s largest city. International human rights workers immediately intervened to prevent an aggressive colonial Jewish settler female from taking photographs of the woman. Settler children had quickly started to throw stones at the woman when she attempted to visit her friend in the area adjoining the illegal settlement.
The very restrictive conditions on movement for Palestinians in this heavily militarized zone prevents them from using vehicles and obliges them to go through a series of Israeli army checkpoints. Harrassment from soldiers, border police, police and settlers is frequent though reduced by internationals presence, monitoring and intervening to help the locals who are stopped for long periods due to so-called ‘security concerns.’
One of the soldiers detaining the woman commented to an international human rights worker that “all Arab women want to kill Jews.” When it was pointed out to him that the facts on the ground are to the contrary, he replied, “just go away.” Members of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), sanctioned as a neutral observation force from 6 countries – Switzerland, Turkey, Italy, Norway, Denmark, Sweden – after the 1993 Oslo accords, followed the police vehicle which had detained the woman to the Givat Havi’lot in the Patriarch’s Hill region of the city.
Despite ISM, TIPH and Red Cross members’ attempts at attaining the woman’s name and family contact number we gave not been successful due ot the uncooperative attitude of the police force.
Hebron, a city of over 160,000 people, has 7,000 Jewish fundamentalist settlers on its outskirts, while over 500 live in the Tel Rumeida area alone, protected by a host of army checkpoints, military vehicles and de facto paramilitary settlers armed with M-16 rifles