Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Today in al-Khalil (Hebron), as part of the Jewish holiday of Sukkot, thousands of settlers and Zionist tourists descended upon the city. The Israeli military presence in Hebron, which is already a large and oppressive part of everyday life, greatly increased.
Hebron is the only city in the West Bank where there is an illegal settlement in the heart of the city. It is split into H1 and H2, H1 under Palestinian Authority Control, and H2 under Israeli military control.
This morning, in both the Salaymeh and Qeitun neighbourhoods, the checkpoints designating the end of H1 were extended further into Palestinian territory.
Israeli soldiers drove between Salaymeh and Qeitun, entering houses, hiding in alleyways, and aiming their guns at passing schoolchildren and other people in the area.
In the afternoon, the army presence was just as heavy, with children walking home past heavily armed soldiers.
In H1, Bab al-Zawiye (the centre of Hebron), Israeli forces partially closed the road to allow settlers and Zionist tourists through the checkpoint to visit a religious holy site.
They were escorted by approximately 45 Israeli border police and soldiers. Several Palestinian shops were forced to close for several hours, to allow the setters and tourists to pass.
The Ibrahimi mosque and nearby checkpoint was also closed today, with all Palestinian shops in the area forced to close with it.
HEBRON – Israeli soldiers raided a private Palestinian home in Hebron on Sunday morning and turned the third floor of the house into a military post, the owner said.
Salim al-Salayma told Ma’an that Israeli troops broke into his house in the al-Baqaa neighborhood in eastern Hebron and locked him and his 17 family members on the first floor.
While the family was locked on the first floor, al-Salayma said, Israeli soldiers brought military equipment to the third floor, turning it to a military post.
An Israeli military spokeswoman did not immediately return calls seeking comment.
Israeli forces regularly occupy the homes of Palestinian civilians in the West Bank located in what they deem sensitive areas to conduct surveillance and enforce control.
Israeli forces took at least 127 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank into custody, during the first week of September alone, according to recent statements by the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
PPS said, according to Ma’an news, that most detainees came from the Hebron district, where 28 Palestinians were taken by Israeli forces.
PPS further stated that 23 of the detainees were from the Jenin district, in the northern West Bank, 21 from Ramallah, 20 from Jerusalem, 12 from Bethlehem, eight from Tulkarem, six from Nablus, three from Qalqiliya, and six from the Tubas/Salfit district.
Israeli forces abducted 10 Palestinians overnight, on Saturday, seven of whom were taken from Hebron, with one from Bethlehem, and two from Beit Sira village, western Ramallah district.
More than 7,000 Palestinians are currently being held in Israeli prisons, including some 2,000 detained during the massive arrest campaigns which have taken place over the last three months.
See also — 08/31/14 PPS: 597 Palestinians Arrested During August
Once the surveillance cameras of Palestinian shopkeepers in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat neighborhood revealed the images of the Israeli abductors of Muhammed Abu Khdeir, the fabricated Israeli propaganda that the 16-year-old Palestinian boy had been gay and the victim of an honor killing perpetrated by his own people became completely unsustainable. Soon after, hoping to contain the resulting clashes that erupted in Shuafat and extended to many nearby neighborhoods, Israeli police announced that they had captured six suspects involved in the crime.
Just days later, however, it was announced that three of them already had been freed. The others were described as two minors and a mentally unstable adult with a dominating personality who is on psychiatric medication, according to Yediot Ahronot.
That has a familiar ring to it! In 1969 Dennis Michael Rohan, an evangelical Protestant from Australia, set fire to the al-Aqsa mosque in order to hasten the second coming of the Messiah and create an opportunity to rebuild the Jewish Temple. Rohan was later declared mentally ill and exonerated for his actions.
In 2007 Julian Soufir confessed to having murdered Palestinian taxi driver Taysir Karaki, saying he did not feel guilty because he considered Arabs the equivalent of cattle and he was simply slaughtering one. Soufir had entered the victim’s taxi in Jerusalem and asked to be driven to Tel Aviv. He then persuaded Karaki to come to his brother’s apartment with an offer of coffee and the use of the bathroom, and attacked the Palestinian with a knife he had obtained ahead of time. At his 2008 trial, the court accepted the testimonies of two defense witnesses who claimed that Soufir was not fully “conscious” at the time of the murder—despite the fact that he had explained his motive for murdering Karaki—and Soufir was acquitted.
A few years ago, I testified as an expert witness at the Jerusalem district court regarding the case of one of my psychiatric patients who, while suffering an acute psychotic episode, stabbed an Israeli soldier. My patient was 30 years old; after sustaining severe injuries during his arrest, which required 12 surgeries and left him handicapped, he was sentenced to 30 years in prison! The insanity defense certainly did not do my patient much good.
It is one of many pretexts used to avoid the prosecution, imprisonment or punishment of Jewish Israelis who murder Palestinians—but not the other way around. When a Palestinian minor attacks an Israeli, the youngster appears in court with bruises and fractures. Nor are charges dropped because he is a minor. We shall see what happens to the minors who tortured Abu Khdeir and burned him alive.
For many years—in Hebron, especially—radical Jewish settlers have been attacking Palestinians under the very noses of Israeli soldiers, who only intervene to defend the settlers from Palestinians responding to their attacks. In 1994 American-born Dr. Baruch Goldstein massacred 30 Palestinians praying at Hebron’s Ibrahimi mosque, which he entered under the eyes of Israeli soldiers who—instead of acting to stop the massacre—fired live ammunition into the fleeing crowd, killing even more Palestinians!
In 2008 Ze’ev Braude, a settler from nearby Kiryat Arba, was caught on camera as he shot at close range two Palestinians from the Matariya family during the evacuation of a Palestinian house in Hebron. The film was provided to Israeli police as evidence, but the indictment against Braude was dropped. In his ruling, Judge Elyakim Rubinstein held that “in this instance, the right of the accused to a fair trial outweighed the harm to national security!”
These and similar actions are the consequences of ideologies held by Gush Emunim and other radical movements that encourage the building of settlements in the belief that the coming of the Messiah can be hastened through Jewish settlement of occupied Palestinian land that God promised the Jews. Rather than working to eradicate these beliefs, the Israeli government instead has endorsed them through such vehicles as the Sebastia agreement, which encourages Jewish settlements on occupied Palestinian land.
Israeli intelligence, so effective in hunting down every Palestinian boy who so much as throws a stone, remains inept at imposing limits on the actions of Jewish Israelis—from the fanning of anti-Arab sentiment and racist slogans by the Beitar football team, to attacks on Arab employees of Israeli restaurants, to settler “Price Tag” vandalism and assaults, with graffiti boasting “Price tag blood vengeance.” The official Israeli response to these and other outrages is one of indulgence, and actions to counteract them are minimal. But these groups are inspired by the undercurrent of hatred and dehumanization of Palestinians—a sentiment expressed by Israeli politicians, rabbis and the arbiters of public opinion. Israel’s consistent unwillingness to bring settlers to justice for their violent actions against Palestinians only encourages and incites further settler violence.
Impunity for Israeli Soldiers
In 1984, during what became known as the Bus 300 affair, Shin Bet officers first allowed Israeli Jews to beat up two Palestinians who had hijacked a bus, then executed the two men on the spot—after the hostages had been freed and the hijackers captured and handcuffed. The Shin Bet initially claimed that the hijackers had died when the hostages were being rescued. But these lies were exposed when photos were released showing the hijackers alive after their capture. Nevertheless, Shin Bet head Avraham Shalom and all the officers involved received a presidential pardon for unspecified crimes—before any charges were even brought against them.
In 2004, Iman al-Hams, a 13-year-old Gaza student, lay injured on the ground after having been shot by Israeli soldiers when she entered a “closed military zone” on her way to school. Captain “R,” a Givati Brigade soldier, approached her and shot her at point-blank range. (See Jan./Feb. 2005 Washington Report, p. 9.) According to transcripts of radio exchanges between the soldiers during the incident, Captain “R” said he did this “to confirm the kill.” In court he later claimed that he believed the young girl posed a serious threat and that he had opened fire, not directly aiming at Iman, as a deterrent. Haaretz later reported that Israel would award Captain “R” 80,000 NIS in compensation, after he was acquitted of a charge related to the shooting.
In 2005, Israeli soldier Eden Natan-Zada opened fire on Palestinian citizens of Israel at the border of Shafa Amre, killing 4 and wounding 21. When he paused to reload his rifle, those who survived the massacre overpowered and killed him. The state of Israel, however, chose to indict 12 of the town’s residents! Many were charged with attempted murder for “taking the law into their own hands.”
Last year, Arafat Jaradat, a young student from Hebron, died five days after being detained for allegedly throwing stones at Israeli forces during a protest. An autopsy revealed three broken ribs, severe contusions on his legs and forehead, and blood in his mouth and nose. A Turkish forensic specialist found the injuries consistent with torture. The Israeli medical examiner described the same wounds on Jaradat’s body but was unable to determine a cause of death. The Israeli Foreign Ministry released a statement claiming that Jaradat died of a heart ailment—even though none of the medical specialists, including the Israeli medical examiner, had noted any evidence of a heart condition!
Just a few months ago, on March 10, Israeli troops at Allenby Bridge killed unarmed Palestinian-Jordanian Judge Raed Zeiter, 38, who was on his way to the West Bank to collect rent money to pay for the treatment of his ill son. The Israelis alleged that he tried to snatch a weapon from a soldier, but eyewitnesses told a different story: When the judge lit a cigarette while waiting to be searched; a soldier pushed him, yelling that he couldn’t smoke; Judge Zeiter pushed back, shouting, “Don’t insult me!” The soldier then shot the judge, who was left bleeding for half an hour at the feet of a crowd of Palestinians who waited in line, paralyzed by fear. Judge Zeiter finally died of his wounds. Israeli officials claim surveillance cameras were not functioning on that particular day, and the investigation is now closed, leaving the Israeli officials’ version unchallenged.
Palestinians who kill or even attempt to kill Israelis invariably receive heavy sentences. By contrast, Israelis who kill Palestinians get away with their crimes or receive very minimal sentences, suspended sentences, or fines—if they are not given medals and awards! We have seen soldiers who film themselves while they abuse Palestinians. Many of my own patients who have been tortured under interrogation describe appalling events that took place within four closed walls. Who pays for that? Who is held accountable? Israel makes it impossible to document or track these cases, destroying the evidence and hiding the truth.
The Israeli army, Israeli institutions and individual Israelis violate Palestinians’ human rights with complete impunity. International laws have been created to provide an effective remedy to victims of human rights abuses, but Israeli laws are carefully designed and amended to make Jewish Israelis immune from them. For example, Law 5712 of 1952 was amended to make it impossible for a Palestinian who has sustained damages at the hands of a state agent in any area of the West Bank or Gaza Strip to claim compensation. While “national security” is invoked to drop all charges against Israeli Jews, “secret evidence” is used to prosecute and detain Palestinians through administrative detention without disclosing the charges against them, thus depriving them of the right to due process.
Julian Soufir did not consider himself a murderer because he believed Arabs were like cattle and he was just slaughtering one; Captain “R” felt threatened by an injured 13-year-old schoolgirl and shot her at point-blank range. Not only does the Israeli government and public opinion share these delusions, but the international community supports Israel’s paranoia by endorsing its “right to defend itself.”
After “Operation Cast Lead” in 2008-09 and “Operation Pillar of Defense” in 2012, in July Israel launched “Operation Protective Edge.” We have witnessed three wars in less than six years, all on the pretext of weakening resistance groups. The failure of the international community to set limits and hold Israel accountable for its actions and the inertia of the official Palestinian leadership in going to the International Court of Justice will only invite young people like the friends of Muhammed Abu Khdeir to overcome their fear and act on behalf of the victims of Israel’s insane policies. ❑
Samah Jabr is a Jerusalemite psychiatrist and psychotherapist who cares about the wellbeing of her community—beyond issues of mental health.
Occupied Palestine – Yesterday at approximately 5:30 PM in the old city in al-Khalil (Hebron) settlers from the illegal settlement of Beit Hadassah threw rocks and water at Palestinians living on Shalala Street. This is a regular occurrence for Palestinian families living close to illegal settlements in al-Khalil. The majority of the time the Israeli military watches from a distance and does not do anything to intervene in the violence and property damage.
One Palestinian, a 35-year old man, documented the stone throwing only to be detained and then arrested by the Israeli military. The man was taken through a yellow gate to an area from which Palestinians are restricted, where the soldiers pushed him around.
The soldiers threw several stun grenades at Palestinians and internationals standing behind the yellow gate who were trying to document what was happening through holes of the gate.
Two internationals walked through the checkpoint at the Ibrahimi mosque and down Shuhada street in attempt to find the Palestinian. A group of ten soldiers and an army jeep stood with two Palestinian men, the man who had been arrested was in handcuffs. A nearby soldier told the internationals that neither of the men was arrested but they were only bringing the handcuffed man in for questioning, to gather evidence about the settlers who threw stones. After approximately five minutes the solders blindfolded the Palestinian and started walking with him to a nearby army base, Beit Romano. When internationals asked why the man was being blindfolded an Israeli soldier stated, “Because I want to.”
The man was released earlier this morning.
Hebron, Occupied Palestine – In al-Khalil (Hebron) on Sunday August 3rd, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy was walking to his home near the illegal settlement of Kiryat Arba when the Israeli military shot him in the chest with live ammunition.
The following day, ISM volunteers went to visit the young boy in al-Mezan hospital. The young boy was in critical condition, and although doctors were able to save his life, the bullet remains in his left lung, as it is too dangerous to remove it.
His father told the ISM volunteers that a relative of the boy witnessed the shooting and that it had been a man in a soldiers’ uniform that shot him, without any visible motive. His father also pointed out that even if there had been a motive, such as if the boy would have been throwing stones, nothing could have justified this shot, which was clearly aimed at the heart of this 10-year-old child.
A funeral for a soldier that died in Gaza was held in the Tel Rumeida area of al-Khalil between 1 AM and 3 AM last Sunday evening. The area was under heavy military presence, shop owners were forced to close down their shops early and Palestinians living in the area received orders stay in their homes and turn the lights off. Doctors at al-Mezan hospital have reported that in recent weeks there has been an increase in the number of bullet wounds resulting from live ammunition. Many of these wounds have been in the chest and abdomen, seemingly aimed to kill.
On 30 July 2014, Israelis entered into Palestinian shops in Hebron’s Old City near Beit Hadassah with industrial tools, using cutting blades and torches to open the doors, despite the presence of Israeli military security who were overlooking the shops.
Christian Peacemaker Teams and the International Solidarity Movement volunteers made several attempts to advise the Israeli military and police to intervene on the breaking and entering into the Palestinian shops. Despite showing the Israeli military video evidence of the account, the police failed to show up and intervene.
The following day, Israeli settler children during the afternoon threw rocks down from the Beit Hadassah settlement onto Palestinians walking on the street below the settlement. Later on that night, settlers again re-entered the property despite the Israeli military having designated the area a closed military zone for Israeli settlers and Palestinians alike.
|Settler jumps on awning after throwing stones at Palestinians
This incident is not an isolated event, but rather represents a larger strategy to occupy and claim ownership of Palestinians’ shops and expand the Jewish settlements in Hebron, as happened when the settlements of Tel Rumeida, Beit Hadassah, Kiryat Arba, the Al Rajabi building, Avraham Avinu and Givat Ha’avot expanded.
Currently, Palestinians are at risk of losing their property at over twenty-three geographic areas across the H2 section of Hebron. The locations start from Palestinian land on top of Tel Rumeida where the Israeli Antiquities Authority has allocated seven million shekels to build a tourist attraction—followed by another “Israeli” only by-pass road that is slated to connect the Tel Rumeida settlement to Shuhada Street. They represent the Israeli settlers’ master plan to segment off a crescent shape from the Jewish cemetery to the west of the Old City of Hebron to the settlement of Kiryat Arba, which will enclose Palestinians in an apartheid labyrinth. Palestinian Bantustans that already exist will expand, adding to the system of over one hundred military check points, pathway closures, additional annexations of Palestinian shops, and Israeli-only roads in Hebron.
[Note: According to the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Hague Regulations, the International Court of Justice, and several United Nations resolutions, all Israeli settlements and outposts in the Occupied Palestinian Territories are illegal.]
HEBRON – Israeli forces in Hebron late Monday blew up the homes of two Palestinians Israel says are prime suspects in the kidnapping and killing of three teens who were found dead earlier that evening, witnesses said.
The two houses, which are both located in the same neighborhood in northwest Hebron, belong to the families of Marwan al-Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Eisha, 33.
After Israeli forces in Halhul north of Hebron found three bodies presumed to be those of three Israeli teens who went missing on June 12, soldiers surrounded the houses, forcibly removed the families, and declared the area a closed military zone, locals said.
Witnesses said the homes were then blown up by explosives.
Locals had told Ma’an earlier that soldiers were preparing to demolish the homes.
An Israeli army spokeswoman said that the homes “were not demolished,” but said Israeli forces searched the houses late Monday.
Military sources told Ma’an that soldiers used explosives to break down the doors of the houses, and that a fire caused by the one of the explosions “got a little out of control.”
Video footage, not independently verified by Ma’an, emerged showing an explosion in the Abu Eisha home as Israeli forces were stationed nearby.
Meanwhile, Palestinians clashed with Israeli forces, hurling empty bottles and stones at soldiers, who fired tear gas and stun grenades, locals said.
Entrances to Halhul and Hebron were shut down, witnesses added.
Israeli forces have killed six Palestinians in the West Bank military operation that followed the disappearance of three Israeli teenagers from the Gush Etzion settlement on June 12.
The Israeli army said on Thursday that it was still searching for Abu Eisha and al-Qawasmeh.
Abu Eisha’s family has denied the allegations.
HEBRON – The father of one of the suspects named by Israel as being behind the disappearance of three Israeli youths has denied that his son was involved in the suspected kidnapping.
On Thursday, Israel named Marwan al-Qawasmeh, 29, and Amer Abu Eisha, 33, as the two main suspects behind the kidnapping of three Israeli youths on June 12.
Israel’s Shin Bet said they had been jailed in the past for taking part in “terrorist activity on behalf of Hamas.”
Speaking to Ma’an, Abu Eisha’s father denied the allegations and said the family is worried that he has been detained and is being tortured by Israeli security forces.
“The occupation kidnapped my son Amer and I’m afraid they will kill him and say that they killed the terrorist and saved the settlers,” Omar Abu Eisha said.
“I have not yet grasped that Amer and Marwan could kidnap three settlers from the most dangerous security square in Etzion. These are Israeli fabrications, whose goal could be is to strike Hamas in the West Bank and strike the national reconciliation,” he added.
Omar Abu Eisha said that he was with his son Amer at a social event the night the three Israelis went missing, but said that later on in the night he could not find his son and he has been missing ever since.
“He told his wife that he might be away for two days for work in al-Eizariya, but he has not called and I am certain that Israel has kidnapped and hid him,” he said.
Omar Abu Eisha told Ma’an that his son was “working hard and saving money” to build a new house.
The family of Marwan al-Qawasmeh refused to be interviewed or comment on the Israeli accusations.
Eisha was first arrested in Nov. 2005 and was held without trial or charge by Israeli forces until June 2006. He was re-arrested in April 2007 for a short period of time.
Eisha’s brother was shot dead by Israeli forces in Nov. 2005 while ostensibly trying to “throw an explosive” at them, and his father had been arrested by Israel multiple times.
After the Israeli teens disappeared while hitchhiking in the West Bank, the army launched a vast hunt for them focusing on the Hebron area.
Israeli forces initially accused Hamas of the kidnapping, which it vigorously denied, and authorities vowed to “crush” the Palestinian political and militant group.
More than 120 Palestinians have been injured in the military operation, which Israel dubbed “Brother’s Keeper,” and more than 1,350 homes and offices, including numerous universities, have been raided.
The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Thursday that 566 Palestinians have been detained in the campaign, including 12 members of parliament.
As the lockdown on Hebron enters its tenth day, the atmosphere in the city is tense and restless, with people living under a state of erratic checkpoints and military closure for the past week. On the streets of the city, there is only talk of what will happen if the three missing Israeli settlers are not found, or the mystery around their disappearance is not resolved. Every day since their disappearance Israel has imposed ever-increasing restrictions on the West Bank, but residents of Hebron, near the original location of the teens’ disappearance, are feeling the brunt of the crackdown.
The road through Halhul to Hebron is usually a simple route to negotiate, but now the streets of Halhul are besieged with Israeli soldiers, jeeps, and checkpoints making travel through the small city arduous. Halhul is within the Hebron governorate and like the majority of cities and towns in Hebron, the past week has been filled with a series of difficulties and tragedies. Residents face the daily reality of being locked down— restricted to their small area, unable to travel due to imposed Israeli military restrictions, as well as having armed soldiers positioned outside on throughways, often in great numbers. Houses are repeatedly and unpredictably raided, leaving homes in a state of chaos.
“There are so many soldiers and army jeeps here now, it feels like a thousand are here in Halhul” Mohammed Rabah, a resident of the city told Middle East Monitor. “The soldiers are breaking houses down, raiding them at night, arresting people and kicking people out because they are searching for the three settlers. It has become a very bad situation.”
Over 300 Palestinians in the West Bank have been detained so far this week by Israel, almost all during these night raids. While the majority of those arrested have an affiliation to Hamas, Hamas has denied responsibility for the missing Israeli teens. However three small groups in the occupied West Bank have claimed responsibility, Ahrar al-Khalil, the Islamic State of Iraq in the Levant (ISIL), and Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades.
On Friday, these now regular night raids, clashes and arrests in the Hebron area resulted in the death of a 14 year old boy who was shot in the chest by the Israeli forces in the early morning. By the afternoon, clashes were already occurring in Hebron’s city centre, as young men faced off against Israeli forces near the entrance to the illegal Israeli settlement situated in the along Shuhada Street.
During the demonstration, a 23-year-old Palestinian man was shot in the ankle by Israeli forces after four hours of clashes, with what his friends and fellow demonstrators said was a live round. Four young men quickly dragged him out of the line of fire and carried him to a car that screeched up to the protest after realizing someone had been shot.
“The bullet is lodged in his ankle for sure,” One of the protestors who helped carry the young man to the car told MEMO. “We are throwing rocks, and they are shooting bullets. Where else in the world is like this?”
A ten-year-old boy was also arrested during the protest.
According to protestors and bystanders, this demonstration was more intense than any they’d experienced before, as the recent Israeli crackdown on the city in search for the three missing Israeli settlers continues.
Previously the Israeli government had announced that the Israeli forces were permitted to use “all measures” to help find the missing settlers. MEMO contacted the Ministry of Defense several times for further comment on what all measures may involve, but the Ministry declined to return these phone calls or emails.
Earlier this week Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem released a press release urging the Israeli government and Israeli forces “to refrain from meting out collective punishment on the local population,” while carrying out their hunt for the missing Israelis.
With the demonstration in the background and speaking to MEMO under terms of anonymity, many of the young men at the protest spoke of increasing aggressive actions by the army and their belief that they had to respond to it.
While clashes continued into the late afternoon, the streets of Hebron’s city centre were deserted, an increasingly common site. Stores were closed and tourist spots were desolate. The Ministry of Tourism’s information office in the heart of the souk didn’t bother opening for business.
“Two weeks ago, it was very good with tourists who came to Hebron, but because of the problems with the Israeli here, there isn’t anything,” Shadi Sider, who runs a tour group and souvenir shop in Hebron said. “There isn’t work here in Hebron now, the work is just enough to take food in the house—no work, no food.”
The head of the Palestinian businessmen forum in Hebron, Mohammad Nafeth al-Herbawi, said the district of Hebron is losing $10 million a day during the siege on the area. While laborers are facing up to $2 million in losses, according to Ma’an News Agency.
While Sider is one of those who is severely impacted by the lack of business prospects during the siege, he says the problems he faces at home are more worrying. Sider’s home, positioned beside Shuhada Street where an illegal Israeli settlement is situated, is surrounded by illegal settlers. His house has been raided, and his roof annexed a number of times throughout the past week. Due to the proximity of the settlement to his home, Sider is rather used to living life surrounded by soldiers, but this week has been more punishing.
“Thereares more soldiers than there has ever been before. The soldiers come here in my house, and they go on my roof to see, to guard, to make problems,” Sider said. “For the last week since the kidnappings it has been much worse, there are so many soldiers here.”
While Israel’s increased military presence focused on Hebron during the beginning of the search for the missing settlers, it is quickly expanding. Houses have been raided and people arrested through the greater West Bank, and injuries from Israeli forces have been reported in almost every district. Already five Palestinians have been shot dead since the search began including the 14 year old in Dura, a 22 year old in Qalandiya refugee camp, a 20 year old in Ramallah’s al-Jalazun refugee camp, and last night a 35 year old in Nablus and a 30 year old in Ramallah’s city center.
Photo by Operation Dove
Khallet Forem, Occupied Palestine – On June 18th, the Israeli army, along with border police officers and DCO (District Coordination Office) officers entered in the Palestinian village of Khallet Forem, in South Hebron Hills, and demolished seven houses, a bathroom, and a shelter.
No demolition orders were delivered for these structures.
According to Palestinian witnesses, a woman was injured by the soldiers during the operation.
The seven houses, the shelter, and the bathroom were owned by the Abu Dahar family. These demolitions involved at least 26 people, 12 of them are children.
In the same day, Israeli forces demolished the main road of Ar Rifa’Iyya Ad Deirat and built a roadblock in order to prevent the access from that road to the bypass road 356.
According to PHROC (The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council), the recent wave of demolitions, arrests, attacks, killings, and total closure of large parts of the West Bank following the disappearance of three Israeli settlers is a form of collective punishment against the Palestinian people. This is in direct violation of Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention that forbid reprisals against protected persons and their property, as well as collective punishment.
Photo by Operation Dove
The public so far knows very little outside of the alleged time that Gilad Shaar, Naftali Frenkel, and Eyal Yifrach were kidnapped. But what we do know is the absolute mayhem the Israeli military has spread throughout the Hebron district among innocent families. Additionally, routine night raids, day patrols, confiscation of public property for military outposts, and the blockades on all but two access points into Hebron have suffocated the livelihood of Hebronites.
Soldiers raided the home and took possession of the Al Awewe family home in Aqbet Taffuh for six hours on Sunday. Over fifty troops had occupied the home while three adults, four young girls, and a young boy were in the home. The Israeli military would not allow a one-year-old baby to leave the house and her mother had to sit outside helplessly wondering about the safety of her daughter, who was still nursing. The soldiers found no suspects connected to the kidnapping in the home.
In that same area on Monday morning, the IDF confiscated the security camera equipment the al-Natshe family had installed around their house for their protection, along with video footage the cameras had recorded.
Further down the road in the Aqbet Taffuh area, approximately fifty-five Israeli soldiers left the hilltop area of the Palestinian municipality, occupied several homes, questioned families, tore down a private Palestinian fence and occupied the neighborhood for several hours.
Throughout the afternoon, northeast of Bab i-Zaweyah, just outside of the H1/H2 intersection, a brigade of more than forty soldiers stationed themselves in four different homes and a supermarket within a two hour period, leaving families frightened and unsure of their intentions.
On 15 June at around 9:30 p.m., an Israeli raid on a Palestinian home ended with a seven-year-old Palestinian boy hospitalized after the Israeli military used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the Akram Al Qawasmeh home. The subsequent powerful blast shattered the tempered reinforced glass, shearing off the decorative steel and sending pieces of shrapnel into all corners of the home, which severely injured Akram Al Qawasmeh’s son.
After the explosion, Israeli soldiers did not allow Akram Al Qawasmeh to see his son, and according to reports, the military initially stopped medical personal from treating the victim. CPT arrived the following day and found a home turned upside down. (See video below.) Children’s belongings were spread and broken around the house. Israeli soldiers demolished the kitchen, smashing fruits, vegetables, and other food items on the floor, and left feces on a rug in the basement.
These are just a few of the incidents that CPTers were able to report on directly. Other human rights organizations have also reported an increase in settler violence against Palestinians who live near the Hebron area settlements.
Historically, Palestinian violence has been the justification for settlement expansion in Hebron. Currently, the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee has identified over twenty-two locations of pending settlement expansion and settler activity. The behavior of the Israeli military and settlers in Hebron suggests the government may use the case of the three young kidnapped boys as an excuse to expand these settlements in the Hebron area or elsewhere in the West Bank while the international community is distracted.
See previous release, AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): Hijacking a kidnapping, Part I