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Soldiers assault a twelve-year-old Palestinian while settlers invade family rooftop in Hebron

International Solidarity Movement | August 3, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Saturday August 3rd was not a peaceful Saturday for the Palestinians in Hebron. At approximately 16.30 two settlers invaded the roof of the Abu Shamsiya family in Tel Rumeida, whilst three soldiers attacked a twelve year old boy in the street nearby.

When the settlers on the roof were approached by internationals and told that they were on private property and therefore had to leave, they refused and said they came there every week. The fact that they had entered a private home without consent of the family did not concern them, on the contrary they expressed that they felt it was their right. When asked to leave the settlers behaved aggressively by yelling and continuously refusing to do so. After having argued with internationals one of the settlers threatened to lie to the soldiers and say that they had been hit by the internationals. He argued that even though it was not true, the soldiers would believe him over the international activists.

As seen in the video below, in the meantime three Israeli soldiers assaulted three young boys just down the street. The soldiers started by harshly pushing one boy, afterwards they grabbed a second boy, Islam by the hair and kicked him. Thereafter a third boy ran to his house chased by the soldiers. When internationals asked why the military was chasing the boy, they lied and said the boys had been throwing stones. The boy said that he had simply ran because he was scared after having seen his twelve-year-old friend, Islam being brutally attacked by soldiers for no apparent reason.

These are not unusual events. The Abu Shamsiya family is often victim of settler and military harassment, the family’s roof is on street level and settlers often go there to throw stones, harass the family and break their property. Saturdays are particularly violent in Hebron, only last week both Abu Shamsiya and his son Muhammed were attacked by settlers whilst the military was watching, with Abu Shamsiya then being arrested on false charges while the settlers were freed without charges.

Hebron has large settlements in the middle of the city housing approximately 500 settlers some of whom are extremely aggressive and violent. Additionally there are 2500 Israeli occupation soldiers stationed in the city.

August 3, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture, Video | , , , , , , | 2 Comments

“Shabbat shalom” – no peace for Palestinians in Hebron this Saturday

International Solidarity Movement | July 28, 2013

Hebron, Occupied Palestine – Stone and egg-throwing, beating and kicking, headscarves torn off and an arrest based on two soldiers lying. This sunny Saturday in Hebron (Al-Khalil) was all about settler youth attacking innocent Palestinians and internationals while soldiers looked the other way.

Today, 27th of July, the Shabbat started as usual in Hebron with the settler tour through the Old City. A group of settlers surrounded by soldiers entered the Old City through the Peace Garden and went through the streets, preventing Palestinians from passing. The soldiers invaded several Palestinian houses in order to access the roofs. After an hour, the “tour” left the Old City through the entrance to Beit Romano settlement.

Later, at around 4pm, whilst walking down Shuhada Street international activists had stones thrown at them by two settler teenage boys. When they returned an hour later, they were attacked again by settler youths who jumped at them and violently pulled off their headscarves outside Beit Hadassah settlement. When the internationals complained to the soldier stationed at the nearby checkpoint, he showed no sympathy and said his job was only to protect the Jews living in Hebron.

About half an hour later, three international activists were passing by the Qurtoba School when a masked settler ran up the hill towards them, throwing eggs. One activist was hit in the face with two eggs whilst soldiers looked on from the watchtower above the school – they took no action against the settlers saying only “What do you want us to do?”

At around 6pm some settlers – who had previously been bathing in the Abraham spring close to the Islamic cemetery next to Shuhada Street whilst being guarded by a group of soldiers – tried to steal a home-made kite off two Palestinian kids. A Palestinian teenager managed to prevent them from taking it.

At around 6.30pm, a group of about thirty settler youths entered the property of the Abu Shamsiya family in Tel Rumeida. They threw stones at the family who were outside on the veranda preparing food for the iftaar fast-breaking meal. They also beat the 11-year old son of the family, Muhammad. When his father, Abu Shamsiya, went to the soldier stationed at the checkpoint just outside his house to complain and ask for help, the soldier simply told the settlers to go ahead and continue attacking the family.

A settler youth then ran up to Abu Shamsiya and violently kneed him in the stomach right in front of the soldier. Another soldier grabbed Abu Shamsiya’s wife Fayseh, who was filming the incident, by her hair and pulled her to the ground. The police, who happened to be parked in their car just up the road, finally decided to intervene. Abu Shamsiya complained against the two soldiers who had attacked him and his family and were complicit in the settler violence.

In a rare turn of events, the police believed Abu Shamsiya’s story – although the soldiers denied it – and took these two soldiers to the police station for further questioning. However, they did not arrest any of the settlers, who escaped into the Tel Rumeida settlement and the police chose not to follow them. The group of settler youths returned soon after and although Abu Shamsiya and various other eyewitnesses clearly pointed out the attackers to the police, they took no action.

Abu Shamsiya himself was later taken to the police station in order to file an official complaint and so that the police could examine his video footage of the incident. The Abu Shamsiya family were initially hopeful that this might lead to some positive result, but two hours later they got a phone call that Abu Shamsiya was now being detained in the police station on the charge of spitting at soldiers. Clearly the two soldiers whom he complained against wanted revenge and made up this story to incriminate him. His family is deeply worried and hopes he will be released by tomorrow.

During the same incident, which attracted a lot of onlookers outside Abu Shamsiya’s house, Palestinians, settlers and internationals alike, a settler woman who is notorious for being extremely aggressive and has attacked internationals and Palestinians on several occasions, started pushing and shouting at an international activist as well as pulling at her scarf to strangle her. This happened right in front of a group of soldiers who chose to just stand by and watch, and even mocked the international activist when she complained and asked whether they thought it was okay for her to get strangled in the middle of the street.

Although the settler attacks in Hebron are not always as numerous and severe as they were on this particular day, none of what happened today is new or unusual to the residents of Hebron. Hebron is the only West Bank city that has settlers living inside the city itself. It is home to a particularly extreme and aggressive settler community, numbering about 500, that constantly harasses, intimidates and attacks Palestinians with near impunity and the protection of about 2,500 Israeli occupation soldiers stationed in Hebron.

Update 28th July: Israeli authorities are demanding 1000NIS on bail to release Abu Shamsiya. He will have a court hearing soon (exact day still unknown).

July 28, 2013 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Subjugation - Torture | , , , , , , | Leave a comment