By Aziza Frost
27 July 2012 | International Solidarity Movement, West Bank
On the evening of July 18, over 30 Palestinians were detained in Tel Rumeida of Hebron after being accused of attacking an Israeli settler from the illegal settlement in the city. The attack allegedly took place after the settler went to swim in Abraham’s spring, which is on Palestinian land, but has a history of being used by settlers from the local colony.
A number of houses nearby to the spring were raided, along with the headquarters of Youth Against Settlements (YAS).
One of the Palestinians detained lives with his family in a house overlooking the spring. Their house was raided by soldiers and a young man was taken.
About 70 Israeli soldiers and 35 settlers gathered at the spring. The settlers insisted that the soldiers arrest the Palestinians, and internationals were barred from approaching the site by soldiers and border police.
Several Palestinians were detained near the spring, while three others were detained separately near the YAS headquarters. They were not accused of the attack, but nevertheless had their ID’s confiscated. The reason behind their detention is still unknown.
After several hours of being detained near the spring, a few Palestinians were released and others were taken to the police station for questioning. The remaining were released shortly after midnight, none of them being charged with the attack.
Earlier that day, Israeli settlers tried for the third time to build a wall of rocks around the spring which lies on Palestinian-owned land. Around 10 Israeli settlers were building, while 15 soldiers guarded them.
According to soldiers, the settlers had a permit but it was not possible to see it. The Palestinian owners of the land thus had no choice but to watch as settlers continued building, and teenagers from the illegal settlements swam in the water.
This incident is symptomatic of the settler mentality as they steadily try to build into Palestinian-owned land and increase the size of their colonies in the West Bank.
Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida say that the settlers are hoping to encroach upon the spring and the surrounding land, and thus connect two settlements located in the area.
Aziza Frost is a volunteer with the International Solidarity Movement (name has been changed).