HEBRON: Settlers attack CPTers on Shuhada Street

July 19, 2001
HEBRON: Settlers attack CPTers on Shuhada Street

On Thursday July 19, 2001, a car pulled up beside CPTer Rick Polhamus and
Palestinian journalist Kawther Salam as they were walking by the settlement
of Beit Hadassah. Four settler youth jumped out and started pushing
Polhamus from behind. One of the youth then grabbed Polhamus's hat and ran
into the nearby settlement.

Soldiers who were on hand saw the theft but did not react. Polhamus shouted
at them to stop the settler but they hesitated long enough for the youth to
pass them and go into the settlement. Polhamus asked the soldiers to
retrieve his hat and expressed his concern that not only had the youth
stolen his property, but also that the hat could be used as a plant to
place suspicion on CPT. He informed the soldiers that if they did not
retrieve his hat he would file a complaint with the police.

At this point more young males began to gather and started yelling at
Polhamus and Salam. One of them hit Polhamus in the head with a large water
bottle. Soldiers then asked Polhamus and Salam to move away from the
settlement. As the two waited for Polhamus's hat to be returned, people
from the settlement began throwing eggs and bags of garbage at them. This
encouraged the males on the street to become more aggressive in throwing
items and yelling. Several young teenage females also joined them. More
soldiers finally came to help keep people away from Polhamus and Salam.

Polhamus then phoned the CPT office and asked fellow team members to come
help monitor the situation. Soldiers told Polhamus and Salam to move
further up Shuhada Street to where they would be safe from the settlers
throwing things at them. As CPTer Grace Boyer approached the scene, about
thirteen young settler females blocked her way. When she ducked under their
outstretched arms, one of them kicked her.

When the police finally did arrive, Polhamus told them he would be making a
formal complaint. Without his hat, Rick along with Salam and Boyer - went
to the police station in Kiryat Arba at 2:15 PM. Three Palestinians who
happened to be at the station had been waiting outside since 8 AM. After
forty minutes of waiting, Polhamus and Salam were asked to give statements.
When Polhamus inquired about the three Palestinians, the police said they
were "only Arabs."

Boyer was never given the opportunity to make her complaint. Salam was
asked to look at photos to see if she could identify any of their attackers
and Polhamus was told to come back to the station to look at photos at a
later date.