Hebron, occupied Palestine – On the second day of the Jewish Sukkot holiday, hundreds of settlers continued filing into al-Khalil (Hebron) creating mass restrictions and sharp escalations in violence against Palestinians living here. Over a period of two hours dozens of them continuously invaded the roof of the Palestinian Abu Shamsiyye family home where several small children live.
Laughing and trying to gain vantage point to view Israeli forces teargassing, stun grenading and firing rubber coated steel bullet projectiles into crowds of Palestinians in the Bab al-Zawiya area of H-1 Hebron, the settlers spit and cursed at the children, darted towards them to frighten them, called them “Arab terrorists” and one male settler charged at and punched a female ISM international human rights monitor as she filmed him trespassing on the roof. The settler was allowed to leave the scene without incident as Israeli forces stood present but did nothing.
Shortly thereafter, as a Palestinian man and his two young sons tried to exit the gate fronting their home, a crowd of a dozen settler boys sat and stood in front of the gate blocking his exit as he politely asked to be allowed to pass. For fifteen minutes the boys kept the man and his sons trapped until an Israeli soldier finally came and told them to move.
Through the sounds of stun grenading and the blasts of high powered rubber coated steel bullets being showered onto Palestinians by Israeli forces just past checkpoint 56, the settlers, of all ages, took turns standing in the Israeli military post where they posed for photos, shouted curses and racial abuses at Palestinians and international human rights monitors and cheered each time a blast rang out.
This was the situation just outside the Abu Shamsiyye family home alone. But hundreds of Palestinian families have been literally under siege during the Jewish Sukkot holiday began yesterday as their roads have been closed, their businesses have been attacked, their children have been arrested and their streets have undergone hours of endless assault by heavily armed Israeli forces both on roofs as well as in the streets to allow for settlers to move freely through Palestinian governed areas it is illegal for them to be, in so they could pray in the streets.
The misery continues for Palestinians existing in occupied al-Khalil (Hebron).
Dozens of Israeli settlers raided a park and ancient pool in the Palestinian town of al-Karmil in the southern occupied West Bank on Wednesday, under the armed protection of Israeli forces, witnesses said.
The park, part of the Yatta Municipality in the south Hebron hills, lies in Area A, under full Palestinian jurisdiction according to the Oslo Accords.
Buses carrying the settlers arrived to the park escorted by large numbers of Israeli forces and military vehicles, locals said.
Settlers came from the nearby settlements of Maon, Karmel, Beit Yatir, Susya, and the outposts of Havat Yair, Mitzpe Yair, Havat Maon, and Avigal, in order to “perform religious rituals” for several hours, they added.
The mayor of Yatta, Moussa Makhamreh, condemned the raid, pointing to the “dangerous nature of Israeli authorities’ and settlers’ racist actions taken under armed security.”
Makhamreh called upon local governance to support and protect the park in order to end frequent violations by Israeli settlers in the area.
An Israeli army spokesperson had no immediate information on the incident.
The park was created in 2011 by the Palestinian Yatta municipality, which renovated an ancient pool located at the site.
Settlers have come to the area in the past through the initiative of the Susiya Tour and Study Center which describes the pool as the historical site of the Biblical settlement of Carmel, according to rights group B’Tselem. Such visits are generally approved by and coordinated with Israeli authorities.
In April, Israeli soldiers expelled Palestinians from the pool in order to allow settlers to swim and have exclusive use of the park.
Around 3,000 Israeli settlers live in Jewish-only settlements in the Yatta region according to the Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem.
The presence of settlements in the area, considered illegal under international law, comes at the expense of Palestinian residents’ ability to build homes and infrastructure, or live unimpeded by constant and often violent interruption from Israeli forces and settlers.
Hebron, occupied Palestine – Today, Israeli forces stopped, searched and harassed Palestinians on their way to Ibrahimi mosque and in the vicinity on the second day of the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha for Friday prayers in Al-Khalil (Hebron).
Crowds of worshippers were flocking to the mosque around noon. Before being allowed into the mosque they have to pass through metal detectors manned with Israeli forces. Even though the majority of the people passed from the Palestinian market and through a checkpoint already, only a few meters afterwards they are forced to pass through yet another checkpoint. Small children, boys and girls clung to the hands of their parents when passing through the checkpoint.
In total, 27 young adults were stopped and ID-checked on their way to Friday prayer, and forced to leave their ID with the Israeli forces before being allowed to enter into the mosque. Another two were detained for about fifteen minutes before finally being allowed to pass. All IDs had to be collected at the end of the prayer from the same soldier, delaying Palestinians on their way back home for yet another five to ten minutes during which soldiers where trying to find the right ID for each person.
Five teenagers were bluntly refused access to the mosque, denying them their right to exercise their religion. Whereas three of the boys left, two of them after being yelled at and pushed by an Israeli soldiers; two other teenagers were forced to perform their Friday prayer outside the mosque in the street.
One man, just passing on the street next to the checkpoint, talking to a friend entering to the mosque, was confronted by soldiers. One soldier ran towards him from the checkpoint, demanding him to stop and questioning him about the content of his bag. The man was forced to immediately open his bag, containing meat for lunch with his family, all while soldiers were shouting at him. They then forced him to pull up his shirt and trousers. Bystanders were watching anxiously, as only three days ago, the murder of 18-year old Hadeel Saleh Hashlamoun at another checkpoint in Al-Khalil shocked the community.
During the Jewish holidays this past month, many restrictions have been imposed on Palestinians living close to the Ibrahimi mosque. On several days, the checkpoint leading to the mosque was kept completely closed the whole day, denying entry to Palestinians and preventing them from free movement. With the Jewish holiday of Sukkot starting this Sunday, many more restrictions on Palestinian movement are expected.
A photo of the incident shows an Israeli soldier aiming at the woman. (Youth Against Settlements)
BETHLEHEM – A Palestinian teenager shot by Israeli forces at a checkpoint in Hebron died from her injuries on Tuesday, Israeli medical sources said.
The teenager, identified as 18-year-old Hadeel al-Hashlamon, was shot three times by Israeli soldiers after allegedly attempting to carry out a stabbing attack, Israel’s army said.
A spokesperson for the Shaare Zedek Medical Center where she was taken for treatment said the teenager was “terribly injured, and underwent surgery upon her arrival.”
She later died from her injuries, the spokesperson confirmed.
No Israeli soldiers were injured during the incident, and the Israeli army did not release photographs of a knife, as they have done on several other recent occasions.
The army spokeswoman said that the attack had been “thwarted.”
A local activist group Youth Against Settlements later released what it said were photos of the incident, appearing to show Israeli soldiers aiming their weapons at the woman, as first she faced them and afterward turned away from them.
Another photo appeared to show the woman slumped on the street, after she was shot and wounded.
Video footage from Palestinian news agency PalMedia showed al-Hashlamon left bleeding on the pavement, reportedly for up to 30 minutes before she received treatment.
The footage shows the woman being dragged out of camera frame, while soldiers and heavily armed settlers look on.
Al-Hashlamon’s death marks at least 25 Palestinians killed by Israeli forces since the start of 2015, according to UN documentation, not including Palestinian deaths caused by Israeli settlers.
Al-Hashlamon’s father, the head of the Anesthesia Department of the Al-Ahli Hospital in Hebron, and its former General Director, Dr. Salaheddin Hashlamoun, said his daughter is a first-year student at the Hebron University.
Everyday, Palestinian families get attacked by Israeli forces in their own homes. Sometimes they bang on the door in the middle of the night, scaring children and adults, ransacking the house. On some of these raids, both during the night and in daytime, Israeli forces randomly arrest family members and take them to an unknown destination without any reason.
Last night, Israeli forces entered the Palestinian market in the Old City of al-Khalil (Hebron) and entered a Palestinian family home where they kidnapped an 8-year old girl and arrested 3 more young men. All of them were walked towards the military base in Shuhada street, but then kept behind a fence and military gate for more than 15 minutes before being released. No reason was given for the random arrest.
Even the way to school can be a dangerous and perilous journey for children in al-Khalil (Hebron). Having to pass through sometimes multiple checkpoints to get to school, children as young as 4 years old have to pass by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. As if the ubiquitous military presence weren’t scary enough, children are subjected to bag-searches, frisking, detainment and arrests. With Israeli forces using tear gas on children on their way to school and back home after a long school-day, children also have to duck away from tear-gas grenades shot towards them and navigate past clouds of tear-gas lingering on in the alleys.
Arresting children under the age of 11 is illegal even under Israeli law, as it is considered to be too traumatizing and detrimental to a child’s well-being, regardless of the accusations brought forward against a child. However, Palestinian children are detained, frisked, body-searched and arrested by Israeli forces on an every-day basis. As this illegal practice does not result in any consequences for the soldiers or policemen at all, Palestinian children are constantly at risk of maltreatment, abuse and denial of their most basic human rights.
HEBRON – Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Beit Hadasa in Hebron on Saturday attacked a young Palestinian man with pepper spray, witnesses said.
A Ma’an reporter identified the Palestinian man as Ayman al-Fakhori, and said that he had been transferred to Hebron hospital for medical treatment.
An activist group, Youth Against Settlement in Hebron, released video footage of the incident that appears to show the Palestinian scuffling with masked men and one Israeli soldier.
The masked men, identified by the activist group as settlers, then beat the Palestinian, before one of them sprays pepper spray directly into his face.
The masked men then run from the scene along with the Israeli soldier.
Earlier on Saturday, the official Palestinian Authority news agency Wafa reported another incident of a Palestinian being attacked and pepper-sprayed by Israeli settlers in Hebron.
Wafa identified the Palestinian as Jadawi Hani Abu Haykal, 21.
Abu Hakyal’s family reportedly told Wafa that he was attacked near the illegal Israeli settlement of Tel Rumeida and that his body was left severely bruised.
He was reportedly taken to hospital following the incident.
Settler attacks are a routine occurrence in Hebron, where 700 settlers live in 80 homes in the city center, surrounded by nearly 200,000 Palestinians.
Occupied Palestine – A 52-year old Palestinian man was arrested at Shuhada checkpoint in al-Khalil (Hebron) yesterday, for ‘not obeying soldiers’ orders. Israeli forces painfully handcuffed and blindfolded him.
Around 1:30 pm, Hisham Azzeh walked through Shuhada Checkpoint in order to reach his house that is located up the hill next to the illegal settlement in Tel Rumeida. At this first checkpoint on his way home, Hisham passed through the metal detector without it beeping to indicate he had to go back and pass again. Therefore, he continued on his way, but Israeli soldiers yelled at him to go back and pass through the checkpoint again for no reason.
When he did not immediately comply with the soldiers orders, they arrested him. Israeli soldiers painfully handcuffed him with his hands behind his back with plastic handcuffs, without any regard for a recent operation on his hand. The soldiers also blindfolded him, so he was unable to see what happened to him and where he was brought. On the way up the hill towards the military base, the pain, caused by the plastic handcuffs, was so intense, that Israeli soldiers had to allow Azzeh to sit down on the ground, as he was unable to continue walking.
Palestinian man sitting on the ground in pain
Palestinians observing the arrest were continously telling soldiers about Azzeh’s recent operation on his hand and the plate that had to be inserted during this operation. Even though they were explaining the immense pain the plastic handcuffs were causing to Azzeh due to this operation, the Israeli soldiers shouted at them to leave the area and be quiet. Various requests to call an ambulance were denied. Only after Azzeh’s brother, who is a medical professional, arrived and reasoned with the soldiers, they attempted to cut the handcuffs. As the soldiers put the handcuffs too tight, they were struggling to cut the handcuffs without cutting Azzeh’s hands, making the procedure even longer and more painful, with Azzeh suffering immensely and crying out in pain.
Hisham’s hand showing scars from the operation. Photo credit: Youth against settlement
In the meantime, a civil police car was driving past on a regular patrol and got stopped by the Palestinians in an attempt to alleviate the situation for Hisham. After the handcuffs were finally cut off, by-standers cooled his hand first with a bottle of cold water until an ice-pack was brought for him. The police took Hisham Azzeh to the police station after a long discussion. After about an hour, Azzeh was released. He is now doing okay, but is still suffering from pain in his hands.
Police, bystanders and the soldiers standing around Hisham
Harassment like this in al-Khalil (Hebron) is not unusual. Palestinians have to pass through various checkpoints on their way home or to work and often get detained for long periods of time.
JERUSALEM – Israeli authorities have renewed the administrative detention of 85 percent of Palestinians detainees held under the policy, a prisoner rights group said Friday.
The Prisoners’ Center for Studies said that at least 75 of the 480 Palestinians held under the detention without trial policy have had their sentences — which range from two to six months — renewed four times in a row.
The detention of 135 detainees has been renewed three times in a row while 190 Palestinians have had their sentences renewed twice, the center added.
Israeli military courts have issued 726 administrative detention orders in 2015 alone, including first time sentences and renewals, the group said, over 340 of which were issued to Palestinians from the Hebron district in the occupied West Bank.
Riyad al-Ashqar, a spokesperson of the Prisoners’ Center for Studies, said Israel is keeping Palestinians as political hostages through the policy of administrative detention.
Most detainees held under the policy, which dates back to the British Mandate, are held on secret evidence and are not aware of the reason for their detention, which can be renewed indefinitely in six-month periods.
In 2012, over 2,000 Palestinian prisoners went on hunger strike to protest administrative detention, one of the only means available to Palestinians to challenge the policy.
Last week, Palestinian detainee Muhammad Allan ended a two-month hunger strike which he began to protest his detention without trial. An Israeli court ruled to lift his administrative detention due to his deteriorating health.
While administrative detention is legal under international law in exceptional circumstances, the international community and rights organizations have condemned excessive use of the practice by Israel.
JERUSALEM – The Israeli authorities on Sunday denied Palestinian footballers from the occupied West Bank visa permits to enter Gaza to face a rival team in the first leg of a cup competition, the Palestinian Football Association said.
The Israeli authorities denied the players and managers of Ahli al-Khalil, based in Hebron, visas to enter Gaza to play Ittihad al-Shujaiyeh at the Yarmouk stadium for the first leg of the Palestine Cup.
The PFA decried the move by Israeli authorities as “racist policies towards Palestinian sports.”
The entry permits were reportedly denied due to “security reasons,” the PFA added, without elaborating.
The match was scheduled for Tuesday and touted as a symbol of Palestinian unity after last year’s devastating conflict with Israel and months of political backbiting.
It would have been the first time the rival teams played each other in 15 years.
According to Gazan sports journalist Ashraf Matar, as many as 10,000 fans can pack into the Yarmouk stadium.
In May, PFA President Jibril Rajoub dropped a bid to suspend Israel from FIFA minutes before the bid was brought to the table.
The football governing body voted instead on an amendment proposing the formation of a committee to monitor the movement of Palestinian football players, Israeli racism, as well as the status of Israeli league teams based in illegal Jewish-only settlements in the West Bank.
The last minute bid changes left FIFA members looking on in confusion as the PFA and Rajoub had for months been saying they would not succumb to pressure to drop the bid.
The move was also widely criticized by Palestinian political factions and civil society, who called for Rajoub’s resignation.
Routine restrictions placed on Palestinian players by Israeli authorities under the pretext of security has long hindered the Palestinian National Football team’s ability to play.
Current and former players have spoken of hours held at checkpoints, being shot at with live Israeli ammunition, the ongoing restriction of their movement, and rampant racist verbal abuse at football matches that the Israel Football Association has ignored.
AFP contributed to this report.
“Recognizing that, in all countries in the world, there are children living in exceptionally difficult conditions, and that such children need special consideration…” – from the Preamble of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
In the past two weeks, CPT has witnessed a significant increase in the targeting of Palestinian children by Israeli occupying forces. From soldiers confiscating their bicycles to chasing them down in the street, the Israeli occupying forces are stripping children of their fundamental right to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities.
These are the stories that CPT has documented in Hebron’s Old City, but many more stories of boys and girls remain invisible.
Sunday 19 July – A six-year-old boy was swarmed by the heavily armed Israeli military, forced to empty his pockets, and aggressively interrogated.
Monday 20 July – Israeli soldiers detained and allegedly assaulted 14-year-old Anan, then took him to the police station. The Israeli military then continued to raid the streets of Hebron, detaining young people outside an Internet cafe at 9:30 pm.
Thursday 23 July – Israeli soldiers invaded a Palestinian house in the Old City of Hebron while chasing a Palestinian boy. The soldiers claimed that the boy ran away from them, which made him “suspicious”.
Friday 24 July – Four boys were playing in the street when six Israeli soldiers began charging towards them and yelling. The boys ran home, and the Israeli soldiers followed them into their house. After five minutes of questioning the boys, the soldiers left.
Saturday 25 July – Wasim, 10 years old, was riding his bike with his friends behind a patrol of soldiers. The soldiers told him to go ahead and pass them on his bike, but then blocked CPTers from following. Wasim told CPT that the soldiers slapped his face as they took him towards the gate. Palestinians in the community and CPTers advocated for the release of the boy, but the Israeli soldiers pushed back and took him. Another witness saw the soldiers kicking Wasim as they took him away. They released him ten minutes later.
Tuesday 28 July – Israeli Border Police stopped a Palestinian child who was trying to pass through the military turnstile near the Ibrahimi Mosque. The Border Police opened the gate for him, helped him move his bike, and then looked him in the eye and said, “I confiscated your bike, now leave.” The Border Police then told the child, “You know only walking is allowed here. Next time you will bring a car trying to pass.” After five minutes, another Border Police officer gave the child his bike back and asked him to leave.
The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) also reported that a teenage boy was stopped and detained by a group of Israeli soldiers near the Souq in Hebron’s Old City. The reason for his detention was that he had a small box of children’s “pop pop fireworks.” Soldiers detained the boy for thirty minutes and then released him.
Wednesday 30 July – Moath, 16-years-old, was picked off the streets in Hebron by Israeli soldiers who body searched him, zip-tied his hands behind his back, and blindfolded him. CPT asked about the nature of his detention, but received no reason. Soldiers took Moath into custody for identification and released after an hour. Watch the video here.
“States Parties recognize the right of the child to rest and leisure, to engage in play and recreational activities…. States Parties shall ensure that no child be subjected to torture or other cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment.” – from Articles 31 and 37 of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child
It is not only the fact that the Israeli military oppresses children and violates their human rights that is the outrage, but that it does so with impunity. These incidents did not happen in a corner or a dark alleyway, but in public spaces. CPT is sometimes able to advocate for the rights of children, but despite the presence of human rights observers, there is still a lack of accountability for Israeli occupying forces. It is up to all of us to share these stories, and shift the prevailing narrative towards one of truth and justice.
This summer marks the twentieth year of Christian Peacemaker Team’s presence in Palestine. While that does not seem to be a reason to celebrate, we do feel we should mark the occasion.
Israeli forces have detained 550 Palestinians, including women and children, in the occupied West Bank since the beginning of 2015.
The detainees, who were arrested in the southern city of al-Khalil (Hebron), included seven women and 105 teenagers, Amjad Najjar, the head of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) in al-Khalil, said on Thursday.
The Palestinian official added that 225 of the detainees received sentences through the Israeli practice of the so-called administrative detention, under which Palestinians are kept behind bars without charge or trial for months or even years.
According to Najjar, 78 Palestinian patients “who faced a real life threat as a result of detention” were among the inmates in Israeli jails, where they receive no “medical treatment.”
He noted that Israeli forces treat the Palestinian detainees in a “savage and inhuman way during detention.”
The PPS report pointed out that many of those detained during the six-month period were from the town of Beit Ummar, where over 60 residents, mostly minors, were arrested between January and March.
Earlier reports by the PPS showed that Israel detained 383 Palestinians across the West Bank in December 2014.
Over 7,000 Palestinians are reportedly incarcerated in 17 Israeli prisons and detention camps.