On November 20th, 2023, several of us, Palestinians and internationals, responded to document settlers and soldiers confiscating a young person’s phone and threatening and harassing their household in Al-Rakiz, at the outskirts of Tuwani.
The motley bunch of 10-12 local illegal settlers masquerading as soldiers, some masked, didn’t like our being there and watching this abuse of power.
While there, soldiers shoved us, hit us with a gun, groped our breasts, called us misogynist slurs, threw us to the ground, used their phones to photograph us, ripped the camera out of our hands and stole a phone we were using for documentation. The camera of a Japanese national tv news crew on the scene was also stolen.
In recent weeks, human rights monitors have repeatedly had their cameras and phones stolen and destroyed by Israeli police and soldiers. Police and soldiers have also threatened human rights monitors with violence and inflicted violence on human rights monitors in attempts to force them to hand over their passwords.
These acts of aggression towards people documenting human rights abuses have become commonplace in the West Bank in recent weeks.
Ida B. Wells, anti-lynching investigative journalist and black freedom movement elder wrote, “The way to right wrongs is to turn the light of truth upon them.”
Those committing harm and atrocities need their violence to stay hidden for it to continue. In fact, on X (formerly Twitter), Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir has called for all “criticisms of ‘settler violence’” to “completely vanish from the public discourse.” Far-right Israeli politicians are attempting to foster a culture of violence in which settler violence is excused, encouraged, armed, and deputized. The International Solidarity Movement calls upon all individuals, governments, and international bodies to enforce an arms embargo on the State of Israel to prevent more weapons from getting into the hands of extremist settler militias bent on violence and ethnic cleansing.