29 March 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
On Monday 28th March the Israeli army blockaded the town of Beit Ommar after arresting 15 young men the previous day. On the evening of March 27th troops entered the town arresting the young men all between the ages of 14 and 19. No reasons were initially given for the arrests of Jameel Ahmad Za’aqeeq (14), Allam Yousif Awad (14), Hasan Majed Solieby (14), Mahamad Yasir Za’aqeek (19), Ahmad Yasir Za’aqeek (19), Ahmad Mohamed Ehklail (16), Ahmad Yousif Sabarnah (18), Mohamad Yousif Sabarnah (16), Mohamad Azzam Za’aqeek (16), Montasir Mohamed Ehklail (16), Ameer Alkam (17), Mohamad Jadallah Solieby (19), Malik Naif Solieby (16), Shareef Fathy Abu Ayyash (18), and Yousef Ayesh Sabarneh (14); however an Israeli military spokesperson later claimed they were taken for ‘security questioning’.
The next morning while workers and students were attempting to leave the town, Israeli forces prevented buses and taxis from collecting passengers. They fired teargas and sound bombs at people who attempted to pass the road blocks that they had set up to block the entrance the previous week. No one was permitted to leave Beit Ommar until after the soldiers departure approximately 90 minutes later. The Israeli army has been closing roads in Beit Ommar since 23rd March and are believed to be planning the construction of a permanent isolation wall around the town.
Sunday’s arrests were made after a settler car was hit by a stone four days previously. This followed an incident on 21st March when a settler driving on the Jerusalem – Hebron road jumped out of his car and using a hand gun opened fire on a funeral procession heading to Beit Ommar cemetery. Muhammad Ali Abu Safiyya (59) was shot in the chest and Bassam Za’aqeek (32) was shot in his right thigh. This is the second armed attack on citizens of Beit Ommar by settlers this year. On January 29th, 17 year old Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl was shot in the head by a settler, leaving him brain dead.