B’Tselem has written to the Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria demanding that he prohibit the use of attack dogs against Palestinian civilians. The letter follows a recent incident in which two Palestinians trying to enter Israel for work were attacked. B’Tselem Director Jessica Montell wrote that “setting dogs on civilians under such circumstances is inherently wrong and immoral. This use of dogs is dangerous in that they cannot be kept fully under control. It intimidates the population at large and has already caused severe harm to civilians.”
Beating & abuse
According to B’Tselem’s inquiry, on 15 May 2013, two Palestinians trying to enter Israel through a breach in the Separation Barrier were attacked by dogs, allegedly on soldiers’ orders. B’Tselem applied to the MAG Corps demanding an investigation of the attack and the allegation that the soldiers had used excessive force in arresting the men. B’Tselem also wrote to the Legal Adviser in Judea and Samaria demanding that the use of attack dogs against unarmed civilians be prohibited. No response has been received to date.
On Sunday, 26 May 2013, the military came to the home of the ‘Awads in Budrus to arrest ‘Abd a-Rahim ‘Awad. A younger son, Samir, had been killed by Israeli soldiers in January. In the course of the arrest, soldiers used force against ‘Abd a-Rahim and his family. The military stated that the family had violently resisted the arrest and that the soldiers’ response was “minimal”. To justify the soldiers’ behavior, the military released an edited video clip showing a small part of the incident. B’Tselem’s research indicates that, contrary to the military’s version, the soldiers acted violently from the very start, even before the family had a chance to resist. When ‘Abd a-Rahim’s family tried to protect him, the soldiers responded with violence and also heavily damaged the house.
The Military Police Investigations Unit (MPIU) will investigate a serious incident in which soldiers and Border Policemen beat a Palestinian youth while arresting him. The incident was captured by a security camera of the Ofra settlement, but the camera operators diverted the camera from the violent scene, apparently so as to avoid documenting it, and the video footage of the arrest was not transferred to the detainee’s defense attorney for nearly a month, during which time the youngster was held in detention. The MPIU only notified B’Tselem today that an investigation is to be opened, after the organization wrote urgently yesterday to demand investigation into the violent arrest and into suspicions of disruption of proceedings and failure to report a crime by the persons involved in the filming or persons who knew of it.
On 9 September 2012 B’Tselem contacted the Dept. for the Investigation of Police (DIP) demanding an investigation of Border Police officers who allegedly assaulted Sa’id Qiblawi, 14. According to testimonies B’Tselem collected, Qiblawi was arrested near his home by Border Police who were being stoned. A policeman dragged Qiblawi along the ground and put him into a jeep, where he was beaten. On 2 May 2013 the DIP informed B’Tselem that upon conclusion of the investigation, the case was closed for lack of evidence. B’Tselem applied to the DIP on behalf of the complainant’s family, requesting the investigative material in order to explore the option of appealing the closing of the case.
On 3 April 2013 soldiers standing near the guard tower at the ‘Anabta/Einav checkpoint shot and killed two Palestinians. Press reports indicate that the soldiers had advance warning of the Palestinians’ approach to the checkpoint and were waiting for them outside the military guard tower. B’Tselem’s inquiry indicates that soldiers may have acted in contravention of open-fire regulations.
On 24 April 2013, as has been a frequent occurrence of late, settlers from Giv’at Gal came onto the privately owned land of the Zaro family, of Hebron. The landowners called the police to report the trespassing. Israeli soldiers came to the scene and, rather than sending the settlers away, arrested the Palestinians. Part of the incident was filmed by a volunteer in B’Tselem’s camera project. The detainees were released the following day by a military judge after this footage was presented in court and it was proven that the there was no justification for the arrest, which involved violence towards one of the Zaros.
In March the Jerusalem Magistrate Court handed down a sentence for a Border policeman convicted of attacking a Palestinian child, Yunes Abu Ermeileh, in Hebron in 2009. The Department for the Investigation of Police (PID) opened its inquiry into the incident following a complaint filed by B’Tselem. Indictments of police on charges of violence against Palestinians are extremely rare. Of the more than 280 complaints lodged by B’Tselem of alleged police violence since the start of the second Intifada, we are aware of only 12 indictments.
Over the past three years, B’Tselem has documented 18 incidents in which demonstrators and photographers reported the use of pepper-spray in contravention of official police orders, with police pepper-spraying unarmed, non-violent civilians. Five of these incidents were captured on video. In the latest incident, a B’Tselem’s camera project volunteer was filming a demonstration in the village of a-Nabi Saleh when he was pepper-sprayed in the face by a Border policeman.
In January 2013, B'Tselem documented two extremely worrying cases of Israeli military dogs assaulting Palestinian civilians, one in the city of Jenin and the other in the village of Tamun. In both cases, dogs attacked civilians in or near their homes. The dogs were in the company of military forces that entered residential areas. In one case, an 88-year-old woman from Jenin was assaulted inside her home and had to undergo several operations for her injuries. B'Tselem reported these cases to OC Judea and Samaria Division and demanded that the use of dogs in residential areas of the West Bank be prohibited.
In Nov. 2012, students from Tuqu’ demonstrated against Operation Pillar of Defense and threw stones at vehicles on the nearby road. An Israeli military force then arrived on the scene, and without any justification, one of the soldiers fired live ammunition at the students, hitting one in the abdomen. B’Tselem has learned from testimonies it gathered that, three weeks later, soldiers came to the school. They assaulted the principal and two teachers, warning them that if the boys threw stones again, they would be held accountable. B’Tselem wrote to OC Judea and Samaria Division demanding that he investigate the allegations and ensure that such incidents do not recur.
On 13 February 2013, an Israeli mounted policeman was convicted of causing grievous bodily harm to Fadi Darab’i, resident of Dura, Hebron District. The policeman was indicted in 2008 following a complaint filed by B’Tselem on Darab’i’s behalf. The complaint stated that policemen had assaulted Darab’i in April 2008, seriously injuring one of his testicles.
B’Tselem wrote to OC Central Command Major General Nitzan Alon requesting that he issue an immediate notice to Israeli security forces in Hebron, reminding them that B’Tselem employers and volunteers as well as any other photographers must be permitted to document events in the city. B’Tselem’s letter was written in light of an incident in which Israeli soldiers attacked Reuters’ photographers in Hebron, and "accused” them of working for B’Tselem.
According to testimonies collected by B’Tselem, plainclothes police detained Amir Darwish, at midday on Friday, 12 October 2012, two days before his tenth birthday. The policemen took Amir to a police station, using force against the boy and his mother, who tried to prevent the arrest. Amir was questioned in his mother’s presence for allegedly throwing stones, and was released following the investigation. The minimum age of criminal responsibility in Israel is 12. The arrest or even temporary detention of a minor under the age of 12 is absolutely prohibited.
The short film tells the story of the town through two wedding halls that operated there until the construction of the barrier. The film includes rare archival footage of the wedding halls' glory days, before their owners were forced to abandon them when business plummeted.
On Friday, 17 August 2012, a B’Tselem volunteer filmed the weekly demonstration in Kafr Qadum protesting the closure of the Qadum-Nablus road. Soldiers are seen assaulting journalists with clubs. When media published the clip, the army announced a Military Police Investigation Unit inquiry to clarify the circumstances of the incident.
Yesterday, Israeli military court judge, Maj. Daniel Kfir unconditionally released ‘Abd al-’Aziz Fakhouri, a young Palestinian man who was arrested almost a month ago in Hebron by soldiers out of uniform. The judge made the ruling after watching two videos. The first video was broadcast in the Israeli media, and the second was recently uncovered by B'Tselem. The judged ruled that the videos prove that the arrest was groundless, in contrast to an official IDF spokesperson announcement.
Testimony collected by B’Tselem shows on 28 August 2012, Sa’id Qiblawi, age 14, chanced on an area near his home in Abu Dis where children were throwing stones at border police officers. On trying to leave, Qiblawi was stopped by a policeman who, he testified, dragged him on the ground and put him inside a jeep, where, lying on the floor, he was beaten by other police officers. More beating followed at the nearby border police base. B’Tselem contacted the DIP demanding an inquiry into his case.
On 21 August 2012, Talal a-Sayed, a resident of a-Tur in East Jerusalem, was assaulted by police during a family visit to the Meymadion water park in Tel Aviv. The assault, reported in Haaretz, was partly documented on video by a bystander. The clip shows the policeman tasering a-Sayed while he is sitting, handcuffed, on the lawn. B’Tselem collected testimonies from a-Sayed, who lodged a complaint with the Department for the Investigation of Police (DIP); another young man assaulted earlier by the police and eyewitnesses. The DIP told B’Tselem it was investigating.
On the evening of 31 July 2012, soldiers stopped ‘Udai Abu Mariah, age 19, at the Beit Ummar checkpoint in the Hebron district, claiming he was wanted for questioning. Abu Mariah was taken by jeep to a nearby military base. The soldiers beat and abused Abu Mariah en route and after arrival, severely injuring him in the abdomen. Instead of being taken to receive medical treatment, however, Abu Mariah was abandoned for several hours, lying on the floor and moaning in pain, with soldiers periodically beating him again. During the night, soldiers finally took him back to the checkpoint and let him go.