Al-Khalil: Stay in the Way of Peace

by Maureen Jack

Two Israeli soldiers attacked a 16-year-old Palestinian youth 150 yards from his home in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron on 13 July.  Yet he did not respond with violence.

The attack happened as the teenager was walking to his home carrying heavy electrical cables necessary for repair work on his family’s house. 

The teen reported that one particular soldier has often held him for ID checks lasting at least an hour.  This soldier and another took his ID and told him to sit on the ground.

Initially they made inappropriate sexual comments about the youth and his mother.  They then kicked his leg, and hit him on the neck and back both with their hands and with their rifle butts.  He tried to telephone his father but a soldier grabbed the phone  and hit him with it, after removing the battery and SIM card. 

When the teen’s mother and cousin arrived, he tried to tell what had happened.  Soldiers told him, “Shut up or I will f*** you,” and threatened to rape the women.

The soldiers then took the youth behind the family’s house where some Israeli settlers were present.  The soldiers cuffed his hands behind his back, blindfolded him, and again forced him to sit.  Several people kicked and hit him again, but he could not see whether his attackers were soldiers or settlers.

At this point, his father and friends arrived with video cameras and filmed what was happening.  Hearing raised voices, an Israeli army officer came over.  The officer noticed that Palestinians were filming the incident, removed the blindfold and handcuffs, and released the youth.  However, he gripped him by the jaw and warned him, “If you say anything to internationals or the police, I will kill you.”

That evening, the youth received hospital treatment for his injuries.  The next day his father spent four and a half hours at the police station filing a complaint.

The youth volunteers for the Israeli human rights group B’tselem and has taken nonviolence training.  Reflecting on the incident he remarked, “The soldiers tried to make me angry and violent.  But I was so quiet.  I was so strong.  If we stay in the way of peace, I think we will soon have our freedom.”