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Passover violence in Occupied Al Khalil

by Paige

10 April 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank

The Israeli army enforced a system of extensive closures, detentions, and violence against Palestinians and internationals activists during the Jewish holiday of Passover in Al Khalil (Hebron).

The army closed off the busy Beersheba road to allow Jewish settlers to visit the tomb of Othniel Ben Knaz inside of Palestinian controlled Hebron. Under the Hebron Protocol the city is divided into two parts; H1 is under complete Israeli military control and H2 is under the control of the Palestinian Authority, although the Israeli army frequently violates the protocol by entering P.A. controlled Hebron.

The closure of the street involved forcing Palestinians to close shops, restricting Palestinians from passing through the main checkpoint into H1, and blocking off the road with military jeeps, soldiers and an attack dog. Palestinians trying to access their road and return to their homes were met with violence by the Israeli army, who shoved and pushed several people. International activists who tried to intervene during the assault of a Palestinian by Israeli soldiers were violently kicked, hit and dragged by the army. An Italian, Canadian and a Dutch woman were slightly injured and a Palestinian-American activist was violently arrested by Israeli soldiers, who choked her and smashed her head into the army jeep during the arrest. She was released after several hours.

The army also imposed severe restrictions of Palestinian freedom of movement all throughout H2 , detaining, and body searching dozens of Palestinians at checkpoints in the area. Two men were detained until 1:45 am at Checkpoints 55 and 56 near Beit Haddasah settlement. Both were held for three hours. The house of the Sharabati family near checkpoint 55 on Shuhada street was raided by Israeli soldiers just past 10 PM. The soldiers forced the family to remove the CCTV cameras on their windows supplied by Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem to record settler violence and army violations.

Paige is a volunteer with International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).