[NOTE: Since the publication of
this report in February, the Golani Brigade have left Al-Khalil/Hebron.]
Al-Khalil (Hebron), Palestine, February 12, 2012
version attached Below)
Since the arrival of the
Golani Brigade in Hebron on 27 December 2011, international accompaniment
organizations (Christian Peacemaker Teams, International Solidarity Movement,
and others) have documented an increase in the number of serious human rights
violations against the Palestinian people, particularly youth and children in
the Old City and Tel Rumeida.
All recorded incidents have been documented through first-hand observation
and/or the victims’ testimonies. The
following report demonstrates a sharp increase in harassment, violence, and
human rights violations by the Israeli military towards the Palestinian
population of Hebron. Contrary to
given justifications, none of those involved were observed to voice or pose any
threat to the soldiers. As the
Golani Brigade is expected to remain in Hebron another two to five months,
members of these international observer organizations fear that such abuses
will escalate and make life unbearable for the Palestinians living under
occupation in Hebron.
1. Incidents involving the detention,
intimidation, abuse, or arrest of children and youth.
Tuesday, January 3rd: Fifteen Golani soldiers approached a group of children
playing outside in the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, looking for children that were
throwing stones. They had started
to arrest a 15 year-old boy when elders, women, and family members came outside
to stop them. In response, soldiers
hit a woman, a 3 year-old boy, and a 70 year-old man before firing three sound
grenades and detaining two men. These men were taken to the military base
and held for two hours.
Saturday, January 7th: Patrolling Golani entered an internet cafe in the Old
City and made an apparently arbitrary arrest of a young teenager for not having
Thursday, January 12th: In the morning, soldiers* dragged a developmentally
disabled young man into an alley and hit him repeatedly after he knocked on the
mechanized Qitoun checkpoint door, which they kept closing in front of him to
tease him. When his father ran to the alley to help him, the soldiers
stopped and released the boy. That same evening, the Golani soldiers
entered the family home next to the checkpoint, attacked his mother, and beat
the boy with nightsticks and fists. The boy’s brother, hearing a noise,
came downstairs, where he was grabbed and beaten in the same way. The
soldiers then threw him to the ground, searched him, and beat his head with
rifles. Both boys were brought to the police station where they held were
for an hour and a half. They then released the developmentally disabled
young man to his home and transported his brother to Jabara prison, from which
he was released later that night. His
family took him to the hospital to receive care for a cracked skull, sutures,
and care for his hands, which he could not move.
January 20th: Golani held a 10 and 12 year-old boy behind the gate of the Beit
Romano settlement. Soldiers told
witnesses and family members, who were present outside the gates, that the boys
were detained for “throwing rocks.” A witness said the boys had been
wearing ski masks because of the cold weather, but had not been throwing rocks. When the parents arrived at the gate,
soldiers approached them with a list of five other boys from the Old City,
saying that if the parents brought them to the gate, their sons would be
released. The parents did not, but
the boys were released two hours later.
Saturday, January 21st: During the settlers’ tour, around 4 p.m., Golani
soldiers took the 15 year-old brother of the two detained boys from his house
and detained him. He was released later that day.
Thursday, February 2nd: Fifteen Golani soldiers detained two children, ages 12
and 13, for 45 minutes on Shuhada Street near the entrance to the Muslim
cemetery. Later, six of the soldiers brought the boys up through the
cemetery to a military base. In
all, they were held for two hours.
Both boys were too young to have IDs.
Saturday, February 4th: Eight Golani soldiers in Bab il Baladiya grabbed
four boys all around the age of nine and detained them in an alley, claiming
one of the boys had thrown a stone.
No witnesses saw them throw the stone. International observers told the
soldiers that the boys were not old enough to be arrested, and the soldier
replied that in that case he would “arrest their fathers.” They released the boys 30 minutes later.
February 6th: Six soldiers detained two 11 year-old boys at Qurtuba
School in Tel Rumeida as school was letting out, telling them that they would
be arrested for throwing stones. Several
teachers and the principal of the school told the soldiers that they boys were
not throwing stones. The soldiers
replied, “We will let the boys go this time, but if they ever threw stones
against the Israeli people again, we will arrest them and cause problems for
your entire school.”
the calendar month of January 2012, international observers witnessed a sharp increase
in the number of Palestinian teenage and school-age boys body-searched by
Israeli forces, who had reportedly agreed that soldiers would not search bags
of children attending school. This
number has not been documented in this report but is clear to observers on the
ground. Furthermore, according to
residents, the Golani have greatly increased this type harassment, when
compared to previous brigades.]
2. Incidents in which Golani soldiers
arbitrarily detained Palestinians and/or denied them access to roads or
Wednesday, December 28th: A Golani soldier prevented several members of the
Youth Against Settlements organization from walking down a path from their
center towards their homes. The
soldier claimed that this prevention was because settlers were walking up the
path, though none were seen, and further explained, “They must wait when anyone
walks past. Even if a dog walks,
they must wait.”
Friday, January 6th: A soldier stopped a 19 year-old resident of Shuhada Street
and ordered him to show what was in his boots, unzip his jacket, and put his
face and hands against the wall. When the soldier began to hit the man, a
neighbor and internationals observers began to film, after which the soldier
stopped, but detained the man and his neighbor another 15 minutes. The
youth said the same soldier had stopped him to check his ID four times in one
Saturday, January 7th: Golani soldiers held a Palestinian for over three hours
at Checkpoint 56. The soldier explained that he was detaining the man
because “he did not like him.” The two soldiers at the check point
continuously reminded the Palestinian man of his detention by asking him, “How
long have you been here?” and forced him to urinate where he stood rather than
allowing him to leave.
Tuesday, January 17th: Golani patrolled through the busy Palestinian market in
H1 at midday. As they marched,
they forced everyone to stand aside and randomly stopped two Palestinian men to
check their identifications. A
younger man had to stand with his hands raised high on the wall for six minutes
to check his ID.
Monday, January 23rd: Golani enter into H1 to search cars in Harte i-Sheik.
Monday, January 23rd: Golani denied a Palestinian man access to his home in the
Old City because they said the entrance to the Old City was closed after 9:00 p.m.
Internationals observed for 40 minutes, as the soldiers denied him access at
multiple checkpoints, forcing him to walk back and forth carrying a heavy sack. The soldiers insisted it was the man’s
own fault, but finally appeared to relent and took the man on an alternative
Tuesday, January 24th: Golani soldiers stopped the Abu Aisha family at Gilbert
Checkpoint as they were on their way home and refused to allow them through the
checkpoint. They did not tell the family why they were not allowed to
pass. After some time, they told the family to take a much longer route
home, which they did.
Tuesday, January 24th: Soldiers at Checkpoint 56 harassed Palestinians leaving
H2 by “playing” with the electric doors of the container box. After people entered the structure,
soldiers closed all the doors simultaneously, trapping them inside, and then
opened and closed an exit repeatedly.
Finally, the soldiers opened the door from which the people had entered,
forcing them back out the way they had come.
Monday, January 30th:
Golani soldiers held a man outside in very cold rain for one hour because he
was fixing the satellite on the roof of his house in Tel Rumeida. They told him that they had seen him on
his roof through a camera, and that in the future he would need special
permission to be there.
3. Incidents in which Golani have injured
and/or threatened detained Palestinians.
Monday, January 9th: A group of Golani in the Old City approached a merchant
sitting at his stand and asked him, “Why are you looking at me like that?” They immediately detained him, binding
him with plastic ties, and took him to Avraham Avinu. While in custody for 2½ hours, they blindfolded him and
slapped him on the head.
Sunday, January 15th: Six Golani soldiers entered a home in Tel Rumeida
at 12 a.m., forcing the father outside in the cold, while pointing the gun at
his head. They then forced the
seven other family members, including three children, into one room. The soldiers searched the house for
about an hour. Before leaving the
Golani told the family, “Next time, look behind you. We will kick you out from the house, and we will take it.”
Two nights later on Tuesday, January 17th, around 1 a.m., eight Golani soldiers
shot three sound bombs at the outside walls of the same house.
Sunday, January 15th: In the early morning, Golani soldiers sat in a jeep and
watched as settlers torched a Palestinian family’s car, parked in a lot behind
Tel Rumeida near the family’s home. Neighbors witnessed the vandalism
from their apartment building, situated uphill from the parking area about 100
yards away and with a clear view of the lot. They report that soldiers
did nothing to intervene or prevent the settlers from destroying the car.
Tuesday, January 17th: The Golani entered a man’s home at night, and forced the
family to go outside, including their one and a half year-old son. The
soldiers hit the father in the head with the butt of a rifle, for which he
later received medical treatment. International observers read the
Saturday, January 21st: Eight Golani soldiers invaded the offices of the Youth
Against Settlements organization in Tel Rumeida. They arrested a human
rights defender, who is also the leader of the organization. The soldiers
blindfolded him, bound his hands, put him against the wall, and hit him twice
in the stomach. Later they took him to the military base where they held
a gun to his head and told him, “You are not safe here and next time we will
shoot and kill you.” Afterwards,
they marched him through Beit Hadassah, allowing settlers to kick and spit on
him, while chanting, “Each Arab dog will have his day.” The soldiers then
took him back to an abandoned house where they released him.
January 28th: Six Golani stopped a young man in the morning in the Old City to
demand his ID, which he did not have.
When he told them he would go home to get it, they followed him back to
his house. Immediately after showing
his ID, soldiers tied his hands and blindfolded him. The soldiers then ransacked his room, even tearing up his
carpet. They took him to Beit
Romano and detained him one hour before releasing him onto Shuhada
Street. The young man’s mother told international observers that her son
had visible “marks” on his body, evidence of the soldiers’ beatings.
4. Incidents in which the Golani have
used religious references to insult, intimidate, or provoke Palestinians.
Sunday, January 7th: Golani mockingly shouted the Islamic call to prayer
through loudspeakers at Checkpoint 56. They also closed the gate, forcing
passersby to listen to the Golani anthem.
Friday, December 30th: Two soldiers entered the Ibrahimi Mosque courtyard while
Palestinians performed Friday prayers.
When asked to leave, they proceeded to the rooftop and pointed guns at
the crowd of men praying.
Thursday, February 2nd: At 6 p.m., eleven Golani soldiers entered the Al-Qazzazin
Mosque near the chicken market in the Old City. International observers witnessed the soldiers walk into the
mosque without removing their boots, shout at Palestinians, and remain there
for 20 minutes.
5. Incidents of Golani soldiers
entering Palestinians homes and property:
Monday, January 16th: During a night patrol in the Old City, six Golani
soldiers invaded a home without a search warrant, claiming a rock was thrown on
them from above.
Tuesday, January 17th: Internationals observed six Golani soldiers
attempt to enter a home without a search warrant. The soldiers asked the homeowner, “Why do you allow tourists
on your roof?”
Thursday, January 19th: Golani entered a home without a search warrant,
informing the owner of the home that they would come the next day to weld shut
her door, which exits on to Shuhada Street. The soldiers have yet to return.
Tuesday, January 24th: Golani entered a home without a search warrant and
proceeded to the roof, thereupon crossing over several roofs and entering
outdoor spaces belonging to the occupants.
Monday, January 30th: Golani surrounded a Palestinian home on Tel Rumeida,
trampling freshly planted vegetables and pointing laser sights at members of
the household. Residents report
that the Golani have trained in and around their property for twenty days,
including frequently shouting and pointing laser sighted guns at
residents. They also reported that soldiers fired sound grenades into
their yard at 3:00 a.m. and, that on at least one occasion, soldiers entered
their house to practice home raids.
Wednesday, February 8th: In the early morning hours (approximately 12:30-7:30
a.m. ), an unknown number of Golani soldiers and Israeli border police
conducted raids on at least 30 homes in the Old City. They beat in doors and windows with rifles and boots, forced
locks with pry-bars, and ransacked or damaged belongings. They ordered a family of eight,
including two small children, into a single room of the home, where they were
forced to wait for four hours and could not use the bathroom. In another
case, they locked an ill and developmentally disabled child into a room alone
while her family had to wait outside. Two women alone with five children
were also sent out into the street for four hours while soldiers broke every
door in the house. One man, a
father of two children under 4 years of age, reported that soldiers came into
his house searching “for rock throwers.” Other families reported being
forced to wait for as long as four hours locked in bathrooms or outside in the
6. Incidents where the Golani have harassed and/or
prevented international observers from documenting human rights violations.
Tuesday, January 3rd: A tour with Breaking the Silence (an organization
of Israeli veterans who share their experiences of occupation) was stopped by
soldiers on its way through Shuhada street three times. Soldiers
interrupted the tour at the entrance to the Muslim cemetery, at Checkpoint 56,
and at the entrance to the Tel Rumeida settlement. Each time the soldiers
held up the tour for 15 to 20 minutes. On every occasion, the tour guide
called his lawyer and then spoke to the police.
Friday, January 6th: Offering no specific reason, Golani detained a Palestinian
and international observers on a cold night for a total of five hours between
Gilbert Checkpoint and Checkpoint 56.
When observers responded to a call from a Palestinian man already held
for two hours, soldiers demanded their passports. Although the man was released 30 minutes after, soldiers
held observers’ passports, effectively detaining them another three hours.
Tuesday, January 10th: A Golani soldier stood by and watched as a settler woman
on Shuhada Street attacked two international activists less than 30 meters away. The settler woman grabbed the two
internationals by the neck and attempted to choke them. Later, she grabbed a rock and threw it
at them, but missed. When the
activists reported the incident, police and soldiers began to mock, cat call,
and sexually harass the international women.
Wednesday, January 11th: When the same two Internationals stopped to observe a
detention, on their way to make a police report, Golani detained and again
sexually harassed them. They shouted, “You are sucking Arab cock, yes?”
and made rude gestures in front of a crowd of Palestinians.
Thursday, January 19th: After thoroughly searching international observer’s
luggage at a checkpoint and failing to find anything notable, Golani attempted
to have him arrested for possession of green tea, which they claimed was
“drugs.” Although Border Police
initially refused, the Golani succeeded in having him arrested by insisting
that they had been assaulted by the volunteer farting in the presence of the
January 21st: Attempting to access a roof, Golani broke through the stairwell
door to the international observers’ office and apartment.
February 7th: At 5:00p.m., Golani soldiers at Checkpoint 56 arrested an
international observer after telling him there was a “new law” prohibiting the
filming or photography of soldiers. He stopped photographing, but
soldiers had him arrested anyway “for interfering with military operations.” They released him after their own video
refuted the allegations. Later
that night they arrested him again, and detained another observer for one and a
half hours—also for supposedly taking photos. Both were released close to
In conclusion, although this report does not account for every documented case,
we believe that the number of documented abuses constitutes only a small
portion of what is actually occurring.
As these human rights violations continue unabated, internationals
observers working in Hebron have called for an immediate withdrawal of the
Golani Brigade. If the Golani
remain for another two to five months, abuses will likely continue to escalate
and make life unbearable for Palestinians of Hebron.