Voices from the Occupation: Settler/soldier violence/detention of 16-year-old
Name: Izat J.
Date of Incident: 10 March 2012
Location: Hebron, occupied West Bank
Nature of Incident: Settler/soldier violence/detention
On 10 March 2012, a 16-year-old boy from Hebron is attacked by an Israeli border policeman and then detained at Kiryat Arba’s police station after his family’s mule cart is stolen by settlers.
“I live in the old city of Hebron, about 100 metres from the Ibrahimi Mosque [burial site of Abraham],” says 16-year-old Izat. “There is an Israeli checkpoint about 30 metres from us, and the settlers who live in the settlement of Kiryat Arba use the street in front of our house to go to the shrine.”
At around 11:00 am on Saturday, 10 March 2012, “my mother looked out the window and saw around 10 settlers stealing my father’s mule cart,” explains Izat. “There were soldiers at the checkpoint and in the street but they stood by and did not intervene.”
Izat rushed outside and saw that the settlers had left the cart in the street near the soldiers. His father was arguing with the soldiers because he wanted to take the cart back to the house, but the soldiers would not allow him until the settlers were finished with their Saturday prayers. “That could be at around 8:00 pm,” says Izat, “so I started arguing with the soldiers and I told them we would not leave without the mule cart.”
A border policeman standing at the checkpoint suddenly approached and started beating Izat. “Without any prior warning,” says Izat, “he started punching me in the face and knocked me down. Then, he kicked me hard in the head, chest and legs, and called me ‘Arab trash‘ and other names. I was shouting in pain and trying to get up, but he kept kicking me while I was still lying on the ground. [...] My mouth was bleeding.”
Another police officer arrived at the scene and ordered the policeman to stop beating Izat. “Why did you hit the boy? It’s against the rules,’” the officer said to the policeman. “After that they tied my hands behind my back very tightly with two plastic cords. It was very painful. They did the same to my father and my cousin,” says Izat.
Izat, his father and his cousin were taken to the police station inside the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Their hands were untied and they were taken for interrogation. “The interrogator asked me about the incident and I told him about the settlers and the argument we had with the soldiers,” recalls Izat. “I also told him that the policeman had beaten me hard. [...] The interrogator said he had spoken to the border policeman who assaulted me, and that the policeman said that I had pushed and insulted him first. I told him that was not true; that the policeman assaulted me as soon as he arrived at the scene, before we even spoke.”
After interrogating Izat, his father and his cousin, the interrogator told them that the three of them were under arrest until the following day. “He said we were under arrest based on the statement of the border policeman, who accused me of insulting him and pushing him first,” says Izat.
Izat’s father begged the officer to let Izat go so he could go to the hospital. After consulting with his superior, the officer agreed to release Izat on 500 shekels bail. “I was taken to ‘Alia Hospital,” says Izat. “They gave me first aid and treated my wounds. Luckily, I did not have any internal injury. I only sustained bruises to my head and shoulders, and an injury in my mouth.”
Izat’s father filed a complaint against the border policeman who assaulted Izat, and was released later that night. His cousin, however, was detained in Etzion interrogation centre for eight days. Izat’s trial in a military court has been scheduled for September 2012.
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