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B’Tselem field researchers detained by Israel Police while documenting movement restrictions in Hebron

The Bakery Checkpoint in Hebron, late May 2017. Photo by Siham al-Fakhuri, B’Tselem volunteer
The Bakery Checkpoint in Hebron, late May 2017. Photo by Siham al-Fakhuri, B’Tselem volunteer 

B’Tselem field researchers Manal al-Ja’bri and Musa Abu Hashhash were detained yesterday in Hebron while documenting the increase in movement restrictions imposed by the military at the Bakery Checkpoint. Al-Ja’bri was questioned and held in police custody in the settlement of Kiryat Arba until late last night. Abu Hashhash was held at the checkpoint for about 40 minutes and released.

On Sunday, 18 June 2017, B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri set out to capture video footage of the Bakery Checkpoint in Hebron, after receiving reports of an increase in the severe restrictions on movement imposed on Palestinian residents of the area for years. The checkpoint is located at the entrance to the main road of the a-Salaimeh neighborhood, near the Tomb of the Patriarchs.

Al-Ja’bri was detained by a Border Police officer and taken to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba. B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash arrived at the checkpoint to continue filming and was also detained by a Border Police officer. The officers did not allow the two to contact B’Tselem. According to Adv. Neri Ramati from Gaby Lasky & Partners Law Offices, al-Ja’bri was taken to the police station in the Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba at around 4:00 P.M., where she was questioned on suspicion of obstructing a police officer. The police required bail for her release. Abu Hashhash was released without questioning after being detained by Border Police officers at the checkpoint for about forty minutes.

Over the years, B’Tselem field researchers and volunteers have repeatedly reported instances in which security forces prevented them from documenting human rights abuses, detaining them for hours on end and confiscating cameras. These actions stand in stark contradiction to the law, as well as to assurances that B’Tselem has received from the military and the Border Police that there is no impediment to B’Tselem staff and volunteers filming incidents in the Occupied Territories, as long as their actions do not interfere with the security forces’ mission.