Since the Israeli military’s Golani Brigade arrived in al-Khalil/Hebron in late December, international accompaniment organizations including CPT have documented a sharp increase in serious human rights violations against Palestinian civilians, particularly youth and children, living in the Old City and Tel Rumeida.
The organizations submitted a report of their first-hand observations and testimonies by victims to the United Nations. The report exposes an increase in arrests and detentions of adults and children, serious physical injuries sustained while in military custody, home invasions, and an increase in the number and duration of arbitrary detentions of civilians at checkpoints. It also documents harassment of and attempts to silence international observers trying to record these abuses.
In one instance on 3 January, 15 Golani soldiers approached a group of children playing outside in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood. They started to arrest a 15 year-old boy for allegedly throwing stones when elders, women, and family members came outside to stop them. Soldiers hit a woman, a three-year-old boy, and a 70 year-old man, then fired three sound grenades and took two men into custody, detaining them at a military base for two hours.
On 12 January, after Border police teased a developmentally disabled youth by repeatedly closing the mechanized door at a checkpoint when he tried to pass through, Golani soldiers took him into an alley and beat him.
That same evening, the Golani soldiers entered the teen’s home next to the checkpoint, attacked his mother and beat him and his younger brother with nightsticks. They threw the younger boy to the ground, searched him and beat his head with rifles. They took both boys to the police station for an hour and a half, then transferred the younger brother to Jabara prison. Upon his release later that night, his family took him to the hospital where he required sutures and treatment for a cracked skull.
According to both International law and Israeli law, international observers have the right to document the actions of soldiers unless their presence directly interferes with the military’s duties.
However, soldiers have threatened to arrest CPTers and prevented them from following military patrols through residential areas, film, or remain present during searches, interrogations and detentions of civilians, including children. On several occasions, soldiers pointed a gun at and threatened to shoot or kill a CPT member.
Based on the continuing increase in human rights violations, international observers working in Hebron have called for an immediate withdrawal of the Golani Brigade.
For the full reportdetailing many abuses, see:http://www.cpt.org/underattack