IDF Arrests/Detains Thirteen Children in Beit Ommar

Demonstration in Beit Ommar 1/19/11

To continue from my last post regarding the arrest and detention of Palestinian children on the West Bank, please read the press release below that was sent out yesterday by the Palestine Solidarity Project.  I will soon be posting a piece from my friend Father Cotton Fite, who is currently in Israel/Palestine and has dear friends in Beit Ommar.

Here is an excerpt from a post Cotton wrote about the family during his visit to the area last year:

Jamal told us the story of his 15 year old nephew, Ibrahim, who was recently awakened in his bed at home at 2 AM by Israeli soldiers and taken for questioning. While in prison he was severely beaten and had electrodes attached to his genitals with the threat he would “become like his sister” and never marry. Jamal and his brother finally gained Ibrahim’s release with a fine of 500 shekels and their signature on an agreement that Ibrahim would be returned for questioning within an hour of notification by the IDF.

It is profoundly painful to read about Israel’s state abuse of children. The pain is all the more when you consider that none of us in the Jewish community seem ready to say anything about it.

13 Boys Arrested From Playground after Army Represses Beit Ommar Demonstration

On Saturday the 19th of February at 1 pm, the Beit Ommar National Committee held a large demonstration to protest the Israeli government’s decision to expand settlements, with support from the United States. They were joined by Palestinian Popular Committees from Hebron, Al-Masar’a, Beit Ola, Tuwani, Surif, and Wadi Rahal, as well as members from the Beit Ommar municipality. The gathered Palestinian activists were also supported by a large number of Israeli and International solidarity activists.

The army arrived in several jeeps from Karmei Tsur settlement and immediately began shooting tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Israeli Forces also threw sound bombs at the crowd, hitting a few people directly. A minister from the Beit Ommar municipality was injured in his leg, and a member of the National Committee was injured after a sound bomb exploded on his back. The army continued their attacks, while a group of settlers gathered behind the Karmei Tsur fence to watch the repression. After an hour and half, the demonstrators successfully delivered their message to the soldiers and media and returned to the village with no arrests.

At around 3pm, half an hour after the demonstration had ended, an undercover military vehicle came into the village near Karmei Tsur and soldiers attacked the residence of Husni Za’qiq. Soldiers occupied the house and prevented anyone from leaving. Other soldiers, accompanied by special units, invaded a park full of children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. The Israeli Forces attacked and shot rubber bullets and sound bombs at the children so they could not run away, and then proceeded to arrest 13 of them. Several army vehicles came into the area for support, attacking houses and cars to frighten people so they could not come to the children’s defense. The army shot tear gas and sound bombs toward women who attempted to rescue the youth, and then beat the group of women, including Mona Abu Maria. The army succeeded in taking the arrested children, all of whom are under the age of 18, out of the village. Their families do not yet know where they are being held.


One Comment on “IDF Arrests/Detains Thirteen Children in Beit Ommar”

  1. Shloime Perel says:

    (Writing from Montreal) I just found out about Beit Ommar and its Palestine Solidarity Project site from your blog. It is very disturbing and it occurs to me that some of these soldiers are themselves settlers. Presumably these are pre-planned raids on homes and children. I assume that the military people involved think that very few people will ever find out what they are doing.

    Do we know what happened to the arrested children? Are they still being detained? Could you write an article about this, Brant, for some liberal Jewish paper, like the (Los Angeles) Jewish Journal?

    I found the following press release from the Palestine Liberation Project, about a young man from Beit Ommar murdered in a settler attack on the village:

    “Friday, January 28th 2011, 9am: Around 100 settlers from Bat Ayn settlement descended upon the Palestinian villages of Saffa and nearby Beit Ommar in the southern West Bank, shooting 17-year-old Yousef Fakhri Ikhlayl in his head, leaving him critically injured. Doctors have announced that Yousef is currently brain-dead in a Hebron hospital.

    Settlers also shot 16-year-old Bilal Mohammad Abed Al-Qador with live ammunition in his arm.

    The large group of armed settlers began shooting towards Palestinian homes in Saffa at around 9am, leaving Bilal injured. At the same time, a second group of settlers attacked … “


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