12th April 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine
Yesterday afternoon in al-Khalil (Hebron), approximately 70 people attended a demonstration outside the Rajabi building where four protesters were arrested, two ISM activists and two Israeli activists.
Many different Palestinian groups working against the occupation organized the demonstration. The protest began after afternoon prayers in Hebron, many Palestinian activists, internationals, Israeli activists and members of the press attended the protest outside the Rajabi building. Demonstrators started by chanting against the occupation and the illegal settlements, while Israeli forces blocked the march and began to aggressively push activists who tried to non-violently resist.
Israeli forces threw one stun grenade into the crowd of demonstrators, clearly trying to disorientate and frighten those present. Shortly after this, an Israeli soldier reached into the crowd and grabbed a Swedish ISM activist, violently pulling him away. A Danish ISM activist tried to prevent the arrest and was also arrested by Israeli soldiers. The Danish ISMer was pushed to ground and soldiers grabbed hold of his backpack to drag him towards Kiryat Arba police station. Two Israeli activists then tried to intervene, which is when they were also taken away. The demonstration continued for more than two hours and there were no further arrests, and no serious injuries.
The two ISM activists were held in Kiryat Arba police station for six hours, although they were repeatedly threatened with deportation, they were eventually released after signing conditions to stay out of Hebron for two weeks. The two Israeli activists who were arrested were released at a similar time, signing the same conditions.
The Rajabi building case has continued for a number of years, culminating in a court decision this March, forcing the owner of the building to sell it to settlers. The Israeli Ministry of Defence must approve of the settlers moving in before they can officially live in the building, a decision is expected any day now. If the settlers move in to the house, it will function as a new outpost for the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba, expanding it dramatically. The Palestinian families who live in this area already face many problems from settlers, if they move into the Rajabi building this violence and harassment is expected to rise.