CPT Palestine: Violence against human rights observers

17 August 2021

Monitoring human rights is not an easy duty especially for Palestinians as they are subjected to harassment and difficulties from the Israeli soldiers serving at the checkpoints or the Israeli settlers who consider human rights monitors as a threat.

Here are some testimonies from CPTers facing constant harassment from soldiers and settlers while crossing the checkpoints or on the way to the field.

On May 27th, 2021 at 8:30am: CPTers were returning to the office when they were passed by an Israeli settler woman. The woman then turned back and started to follow and film the CPTers directly in their faces. In response a CPTer filmed the settler doing this in case it was needed as evidence if the woman attacked them or made a false report against them to the Israeli soldiers. 

May 30th, 2021 at 2:00pm: CPTers were on their way to monitor al Salaymeh checkpoint when they were stopped and their ID checked by two Israeli Border Police. During this the same settler woman as on May 27th approached them and stood behind the soldiers and started to film them. Again, a CPTers used his mobile phone to film her. The border police became furious with CPT and demanded they stop filming. CPTers told the soldiers to look behind and see there was a settler filming him and his colleague, and he wouldn’t stop recording until the settler stopped. The Border Police told the settler to stop and initially she refused. CPT told the border police that this woman was deliberately provoking them by filming without permission. Finally the woman left without any further escalation of the situation. 

This kind of action by settlers of photographing and filming human rights monitors is done to intimidate them. It can be frightening sometimes to know that settlers have taken your photo, especially as these settlers have been occupying and intimidating and using violence against Palestinians for many years. A situation can get worse very quickly.

In April 2021 during the school semester the Border Police serving at the Abu Al Resh checkpoint changed over. CPT was monitoring the checkpoint in the morning when one of the border police left the checkpoint and climbed the stairs to the higher tower on top of the checkpoint to observe the CPTers. He started to call out asking them to come closer to him. As there were many people around, CPT wasn’t sure that he was calling them so they did not respond. He then told some children who were crossing the checkpoint to call the CPTers to come to him but the CPTers refused, and told the children to ignore him and to go to their school. The police then asked some Palestinian adults to tell the CPTers to go to him but CPT refused again, stating that the soldier needed to come to them if he wanted to speak to them. But then the soldier became very angry and was shouting at everybody and so to prevent any problems for Palestinians crossing the checkpoint, CPT went to the soldier. He then asked the CPTers who they were and what they were doing there. CPT was careful in answering his question. The soldier then told CPT to move further away from the checkpoint to a distance too far away to observe what was happening. When the school run was finished CPT left via another checkpoint to avoid any problems with the Border Police.

 

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