On 31 January 2018, Israeli soldiers arrested two brothers, 12 and 13 years old, in Hebron’s al-Hareqa neighborhood, near which the settlement of Kiryat Arba was built. The soldiers claimed that the boys had thrown stones at the settlement’s fence. The soldiers took the two boys to a nearby military base, where they kept them for about two hours. When they released the boys, the soldiers threatened the boys’ family that should stones be thrown again at the settlement’s fence, they would return to raid their home and arrest the boys.
On Friday afternoon, 13 Oct. 2017, youths threw stones at soldiers in the Bab a-Zawiya area in the center of Hebron. The soldiers fired rubber-coated metal bullets and stun grenades and violently detained 18 youths, most of them minors. Soldiers routinely enter Hebron, disrupting residents’ lives and arresting youths. No-one explained what was happening to the youths or allowed them to call their families, and they were interrogated without an attorney or family member. This reality forms part of the daily routine of occupation.
On 13 Aug. 2017, Israeli security forces welded shut a door in the al-Muhtaseb home in central Hebron, using severe violence against a family member who tried to stop them. Their claim that this was needed to prevent “suspects” from passing through is unfounded. Even if it were true, it could not justify such harm. This is another example of Israel’s policy of segregation and restrictions on Palestinian movement in central Hebron, coupled with abuse, violence and daily harassment by security forces and settlers.
Since the 1990s, Israel has implemented a segregation policy in central Hebron, prohibiting Palestinians from driving along – and in some cases even walking on – major streets in the area. In May 2017, these severe restrictions were stepped up. This collective punishment has taken a toll on tens of thousands of Palestinians, preventing them from leading normal lives and making daily routine unbearable. In applying these measures, Israel is effecting a gradual, silent transfer of Palestinians from the heart of Hebron.
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.
A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2”, created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department, will be screened at the Vienna Shorts Festival on Sunday, 4 June 2017. The film is also a candidate in an international film competition taking place at the festival. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.
On 19 March 2017 at midday, a force of more than 15 soldiers seized 8-year-old Sufian Abu Hitah, who was out on the street barefoot, looking for a toy he had lost. Two soldiers dragged him to the al-Harika neighborhood and took him into several homes to identify children who had thrown stones and a Molotov cocktail at the Kiryat Arba settlement. More than an hour later, several women managed to extricate the boy and return him to his mother. Two area residents, including B’Tselem volunteer May D’ana, captured the incident on video.
A short documentary by Helen Yanovsky, “The Boy from H2” - created in collaboration with B’Tselem’s field researchers and Camera Project volunteers in Hebron, and produced by B’Tselem’s video department - will premiere at the 67th Berlinale as part of the Berlinale Shorts competition. The documentary follows 12-year-old Muhammad Burqan, who lives in Area H2 of Hebron, a section of the city under full Israeli control.
On 24-25 Nov. 2016, the military took over two Palestinian homes in Hebron, using the families’ belongings, bathrooms, kitchens, and in one home also a bedroom. For fear of the soldiers, some of the children went to stay with relatives. According to the IDF Spokesperson, this was ordered by the area commander as part of preparations for a mass settler celebration to be held nearby. The military’s conduct again illustrates what routine life looks like in central Hebron, with occupation authorities subjugating the lives of Palestinians to the whims of settlers.
For over twenty years, Israel has been enacting a policy of separation based on discriminatory practices, implemented primarily through many permanent checkpoints in the city. Since Oct. 2015 the military has enhanced infrastructure and beefed up security checks at existing checkpoints, and placed age restrictions on entry to certain neighborhoods. This added a dimension of severe collective punishment to Israel’s separation by discrimination policy in central Hebron. This conduct makes it almost impossible for Palestinians to lead normal lives in the area, forcing them to leave and advancing the ongoing silent transfer of Palestinians from Hebron’s city center.
Israel’s regime of occupation is inextricably bound up in human rights violations. B’Tselem strives to end the occupation, as that is the only way forward to a future in which human rights, democracy, liberty and equality are ensured to all people, both Palestinian and Israeli, living between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea.