AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine responds to incidents occurring after teenagers’ bodies discovered

1 July 2014
AL-KHALIL (HEBRON): CPT Palestine responds to incidents occurring after teenagers’ bodies discovered

Upon the announcement that the bodies of Eyal Yifrah, Gilad Shaar, and Naftali Fraenkel had been found, the Israeli military closed the Halhul area for about two hours and arrived at the homes of the two Palestinian suspects Amer Abu Eisha and Marwan al-Qawasmeh in northwest Hebron.

As CPT was arriving on the scene, the military presence was growing.  Many Palestinians were also gathering in the neighborhood.  As the crowd grew, the military attempted to disperse the Palestinian onlookers with tear gas and sound grenades.  The crowd retreated, slowly came back, and the routine repeated a number of times without serious injuries.

At about 10:00 p.m., CPT received a call from our partners, ISM (International Solidarity Movement) that settlers from the Tel Rumeida were in the streets attacking Palestinians and internationals.  CPTers left the clashes around the suspects’ homes to monitor the situation in Tel Rumeida.  When they arrived, settlers attacked them, but CPTers did not sustain serious injuries.  As CPTers monitored the situation above Tel Rumeida, the Border Police contingent grew rapidly.  In a quick burst, they stormed the hill towards the gathered crowd of Palestinians and internationals, exploding a sound grenade.  The crowd scattered. In the clash with the military, a soldier hit a Palestinian with the butt of his gun, causing an injury for which he received treatment at a local hospital.

When the situation seemed to ease in Tel Rumeida, team members investigated two more reports of settlers massing at two other points in the H-2 area of Hebron.  In one case, the report turned out to be false; in the other, the settlers had disbanded by the time the team got there.

On a taxi ride home, team members heard over the radio that Benjamin Netanyahu had ordered the demolition of the family homes of the two suspects in the killing of the teenagers.  The team learned later that the IDF had used explosives to destroy the family homes of Amer Abu Eisha and Marwan al-Qawasmeh. 

At 1:10 a.m., the team returned to the CPT apartment in the Old City.  There, they immediately received word that a settler had swerved his car into a Palestinian man named Raed who was walking on the road near checkpoint 29, one of the checkpoints the team monitors as part of it’s daily school patrol near the Old City.  A soldier came on the scene and arrested Raed, instead of the settler.  Raed’s mother saw the collision take place and fainted. 

These are just the incidents that the team observed and learned about in the area of Hebron.  Many more clashes are happening in the rest of the West Bank, in Jerusalem and in Gaza.  A young woman was killed in the West Bank town of Jenin.  Israeli airstrikes hit thirty-four targets in Gaza.  Settlers immediately started two new outposts, on a hilltop in the E1 area near the settlement of Ma’aleh Adumin and the other near the Halhul junction where the bodies of the three students were found.