16 April 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
In the past weeks the Israeli army has increased harassment against both Palestinian and ISM activists in Hebron (Al Khalil), a deliberate targeting of those who oppose Israeli occupation and colonization. This targeting includes the arrest of six international activists, including five ISM volunteers, and four arrests of Palestinian activists, all within a two week period. The Israeli army also raided a community event in Tel a Rumeida, detained Youth Against Settlements activist Issa Amro directly after his release from jail, and tied another Youth Against Settlements (YAS) activists to a fence.
On April 1st a Dutch activist and two Palestinians, including prominent YAS activist Issa Amro, were violently arrested during an attempt to reclaim a house belonging to the Hebron municipality. Palestinians and internationals were dragged, kicked and hit, while another YAS activist was beaten unconscious. Amro and the Dutch activist were held for several days.
On April 8th the Israeli army attacked international activists documenting restrictions of freedom of movement and violence against Palestinians in what is supposed to be P.A. controlled Hebron, arresting one Palestinian American activist. The next day two international activists were arrested while simply walking through the old city of Hebron. They were interrogated about the events of April 8th and the names of internationals present on that day, then finally released after signing draconian conditions in Hebrew.
Two days later the army violently attacked Palestinian and International delegates of the Bilin conference, arresting 8 Palestinians and 4 internationals. Two Italians arrested during the conference now face illegal deportation. The following day the Israeli army detained Issa Amro immediately following his release from jail and then invaded a community health event in Tel Rumeida organized by the Hebron Defense Committee and the Red Crescent, detaining a Red Crescent volunteer.
About an hour later a YAS activist walking in Tel Rumeida was stopped by soldiers, who tied both of his hands to a fence, for over 20 minutes. After he was cut free, soldiers attempted to illegally arrest him and take him inside Tel Rumeida settlement. A Canadian activist who intervened was shoved several times by soldiers, though they stopped there illegal arrest of the Palestinian man. Eventually the police came and ordered the soldiers to release the man.
The escalation of violence and harassment against activists, international and Palestinian alike, will not deter us. We will never be silent.
Paige is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).