Hebron: Israeli soldier injures Palestinian, 16, in the head during settler march
On 11 November 2017, at around 10:30 A.M., held a procession from the settlement of Admot Yishai, in the neighborhood of Tal Rumeidah (in Area H2 of Hebron), to the Tomb of Otniel Ben Knaz. The tomb is located near a-Shuhadaa Street in the center of the Old City of Hebron, within Area H1, which is ostensibly under Palestinian control. Settlers regularly march in procession to the tomb several times a year, including on Tisha B’Av and during the Sukkot Holiday. The procession runs through the heart of Hebron’s Old City and to allow it, the Israeli military restricts Palestinian movement in the area and disrupts daily life. On this day too, soldiers and Border Police officers shut down stores and streets along the route of the procession.
Ahmad Hudeib, 16, a resident of ‘Aqbat Tafuh, a village that lies west of Hebron, works in one of the stores that were shut down, on Beer a-Sabe’ (Beersheva) Street in H1. That morning, Hudeib sat with his friends who work in nearby stores and watched the marching settlers.
In a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash on 12 November 2017, he described what happened (the incident was filmed by B'Tselem volunteer Jamal Abu S’ifan):
At around 2:00 P.M., the settlers reached the turn onto Beer a-Sabe’ Street, and some of them tried to take down Palestinian flags that were hanging on the doors of some stores. We started whistling and yelling. We didn’t do anything else. The soldiers started coming towards us. One of them got really angry and tried to kick us out of there. He pushed me and I pushed him back. Then he hit me on the head with the butt of his rifle. I started bleeding.
Other soldiers tried to get him away from me, but he kept trying to attack me. I felt dizzy and fell to the ground. A Border Police officer came over and tied a bandage around my head. The soldiers who were there tried to take care of me, but some local residents called a Palestinian ambulance. It arrived a few minutes later and took me to the ‘Aliya Governmental Hospital in Hebron. At the hospital they took X-rays and ran some tests. I didn’t need stitches, and they released me at around 5:00 P.M.
This incident is not unusual. Enforcement of the occupation involves routine use of violence by Israeli security forces against Palestinians. This reality is accepted and enables by top Israeli members of government and military officers, despite the occasional would-be denouncement of such acts.
The violence described above is not limited to the beating of a Palestinian minor. It is also manifested in extreme restrictions that the military imposes on Palestinian movement in Hebron, disrupting the daily lives of Palestinian residents to accommodate the settlers. For years, Israel has preferred the settlers’ interests over the rights of Palestinian residents in Hebron. Its authorities openly pursue a policy based on the “separation principle”, enforcing physical and legal segregation between the settlers and the Palestinian residents in the city. This regime denies Palestinian residents of Hebron any possibility of leading reasonable daily routines due to extreme restrictions on their movement, making their lives intolerable.
On 25 January 2018, the National Unit for Operational Investigations at the MPIU informed B’Tselem via email that an MPIU investigation had been launched.