22 January 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
In an action that appears to have been carried out purely for the entertainment and satisfaction of Israeli settlers, the center of the activist group, Youth Against Settlements, in Tel Rumeida, Al Khalil (also known as Hebron) was stormed by Israeli soldiers at 3pm on the afternoon of Saturday 21st January. Organisation leader Issa Amro was briefly arrested and taken away without reason.
Settlers surrounded the Centre of Steadfastness and Challenge, as soldiers broke in and seized Amro while simultaneously seeming to attempt a search of the building.
Amro was forcefully handcuffed behind his back, despite his having a medical condition which means that this should be prohibited; a fact of which Israeli authorities are well aware having detained him on fifteen different occasions last year. He was then blindfolded and taken away to a military base, where he was beaten. Soldiers also threatened to kill him.
Soldiers then proceeded to assault several other activists who were attempting to document the incident, including Badia Dwaik, Tamer Atrash, Hamad Israir and Sundos Assilay, an eighteen-year old girl.
As Amro was taken away, settlers who had gathered for the show cheered triumphantly, spat at him and chanted slogans such as “each Arab dog will have his day.” No reason was given for the arrest and no provocation was made. He was subsequently released without any kind of charge less than half-an-hour later. Many more Jews were visiting the city for Shabbat and the Settler Tour of the old city, and it seems that the army wanted to put on a show for the settlers.
The Youth Against Settlements centre was previously occupied by the Israeli military before being reclaimed for Palestinians in a major victory for the organisation.
Tom is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).