Investigation may open into soldier attacks on Palestinians in southern West Bank’s Hebron Hills 20Oct09 October 21, 2009

Palestine News Network -  20 October 2009


It is clear from testimonies collected by B’Tselem that Palestinians were attacked south of Mount Hebron during the month of September.

Israeli soldiers have also engaged in the extensive vandalism of cars in the southern West Bank’s Mount Hebron. The vehicles are parked by Palestinian laborers who are traveling for work to Jerusalem or inside the Green Line. Documentation shows that soldiers are vandalizing the cars.

Witnesses also described to the Israeli organization specializing in Palestinian human rights, B’Tselem, severe beatings, humiliation and abuse. Two people were hospitalized for extended periods. The Israeli soldiers have also been stealing money, cell phones, cigarette packs and other personal belongings from Palestinians at checkpoints, or those stopped in the streets.

Among the collected testimonies is that from Salman Zagarna, two kilometers from his village of Ramadeen. Israeli soldiers beat and kicked him after taking his identification and cell phone. Zagarna described the attack of 23 September: “The soldier struck my right cheek with his gun. I felt that my face was broken because it was hurting so much. I felt dizzy and started to lose my balance.”

The man was not given first aid, nor was an ambulance called. Zagarna himself was able to flag down a car upon his release which rushed him to the hospital. He underwent surgery for his jaw. After six days in the hospital he was allowed home where he could not speak or eat solid food for over a month.

Just a week later, on 29 September, a group of laborers attempted to reach work by passing through an open section of the Wall. From statements gathered by B’Tselem, Israeli soldiers ordered the Palestinians on the ground while also grabbing the driver of the car and beating him.

Among the workers face down was Ihrebat Nazir. He said, “One of the soldiers stepped hard on my back. Two other soldiers beat me. I continued to lie on the ground and was suffering from so much pain I vomited, but a soldier did not stop kicking me.”

Nazir continued to vomit and foam at the mouth. He was taken by a military ambulance and then transferred to a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance to Alya Hospital in Hebron.

The next day a group of workers attempted to pass through an opening in the Wall. One of them, Mohammad Aqgne of Hebron told B’Tselem that Israeli soldiers detained and beat them. “They ordered us to crawl on our hands, one after the other. Each one of us had to crawl for a distance of 20 meters and then return the same way. Each time one of us crawled, soldier kicked us and hit us with his gun. The soldier was laughing and talking the whole time and one of them pointed his weapon at us.”

The Hebron man continued, “The soldier told us to take off our shoes and made us walk on thorns, one after the other, for a distance of 12 meters and then return the same way.”

It was for six hours that the Palestinians were detained, beat and humiliated. They were not allowed drinking water.

Following the B’Tselem findings, a military police investigation was promised against the soldiers for beating and torture, as well as damaging cars.

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