12 February 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
A newly released report submitted to the United Nations by international organizations working in Al Khalil documents a sharp increase in serious human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, particularly youth and children, living in the Old City and Tel Rumeida.
Internationals working in Al-Khalil have called for an immediate withdrawal of the Golani Brigade, citing fears that the abuses will continue to escalate and make life unbearable for Palestinians should the soldiers remain another two to five months as expected.
International Solidarity Movement, [email protected] (972/0 59-550-02864)
Christian Peacemaker Teams, [email protected] (927/0 59 810 4549) (972/0 54 342 0117)
Since their arrival on December 27 of 2011, the Israeli Golani Brigade has shown signs of deliberate harassment and targeting of the Palestinian population of Al-Khalil. The report documents an increase in arrests and detentions of adults and children, serious physical injuries sustained while in military custody, home invasions, and an increase in the number and duration of arbitrary detentions of civilians at checkpoints. It also documents harassment of and attempts to silence international observers attempting to document these abuses.
Contrary to military justifications, these human rights violations have occurred without any observed provocation on the part of Palestinians. These eye-witness accounts, either reported to or witnessed by Internationals working in the city, are believed to represent only a small portion of the total number of abuses.
On Thursday, January 12th: Golani beat a developmentally disabled young man when he knocked on the checkpoint door after they closed it in front of him. That evening, they attacked his mother and severely beat the teenager’s younger brother, cracking his skull, and then arrested the two young men.
On Tuesday, January 17th: Golani entered a man’s home at night, pushed the family out of their house, including their 1½ year old son, and beat the father, for which he required medical treatment.
On Friday, January 20th: Golani held a 10 and 12 year-old boy behind the gate of the Beit Romano settlement. A witness said the boys had been wearing ski masks because of the cold weather, but had not been throwing rocks, as the soldiers claimed. The soldiers gave the boys’ parents a list containing the names of five other boys from the Old City, saying that if the parents brought those boys to the gate, the soldiers would release the other two.
The full report is available for viewing, along with video and photos, at http://www.cpt.org/underattack