19 November 2013
SOUTH HEBRON HILLS: Israeli military detains driver, confiscates vehicle donated for transport of schoolchildren in South Hebron Hills
On 18 November 2013 at 11:00, Mufid Abu Qbeita—the
driver for the students who live in the South Hebron Hills area that the
Israeli military has designated as “Firing Zone 918”—was driving children back
to their homes from Al Fakheit school.
Israeli Security Forces and representatives of the Israeli Civil
Administration stopped him near Al-Sfai, one of the villages in the Firing
Zone, while he had a child in the car.
Soldiers took his ID and detained him for thirty minutes; afterwards,
they told him to follow them to Gush Etzion Police Station. Two soldiers accompanied Abu Qbeita in
the car. He had to leave the child in Al-Sfai.
Abu Qbeita informed the soldiers that the jeep belonged
to the Palestinian Ministry of Education and was donated by Japan, but they
still forced him to drive to the settlement of Gush Etzion. After several hours, they released him,
but the jeep remains at the police station. When Abu Qbeita asked why the soldiers had
confiscated the jeep, they answered, “Because you were driving in the firing
zone of the South Hebron Hills which is not allowed.”
CPT, EAPPI and Operation Dove take turns accompanying Abu
Qbeita and the SUV from the city of Yatta into the Firing Zone during the week,
in order to prevent incidents like the above occurring, but until recently,
once in the zone, he had not faced problems. On 27 October, eight Israeli soldiers detained him, verbally
abused him, and then beat him on his abdomen, face, and back. Afterwards, they forced him drive to over
spikes used to stop vehicles at army checkpoints to puncture the SUV’s tires.