Two videos published by Christian Peacemaker Teams show the casual brutality faced by the people of the Palestinian city of Hebron in the occupied West Bank.
The first video, above, shows what happened when a group of Palestinians waving flags attempted to stage a peaceful protest against the closure of “Checkpoint 56” on 29 November.
As Christian Peacemaker Teams explains in a 4 December release, the protestors were immediately met by “a torrent of tear gas and sound grenades rained down from Israeli forces, who were occupying rooftops” above the Bab al-Zawiya neighborhood.
Checkpoint 56 stands between the Bab al-Zawiya and Tel Rumeida districts and leads on to a small section of Shuhada Street. Palestinians are banned from most of the street, once a bustling center of city life, for the benefit of Israeli settlers.
Bab al-Zawiya is a commercial neighborhood that marks the boundary between “H2,” the city center controlled by Israeli occupation forces, and “H1,” the area controlled by Palestinian Authority forces in coordination with Israel.
“Last week the checkpoint was set on fire during clashes,” Christian Peacemaker Teams states, “and the checkpoint has been closed by Israeli forces ever since.”
“This act of collective punishment forces the families living in Tel Rumeida [to] walk an extra hour – or that they walk through the residences and gardens of other Palestinians – to reach their own homes,” Christian Peacemaker Teams states.
Area families organized a peaceful demonstration to protest the closure, “because it is another example of the daily harassment and routine restriction of the rights and movement of Palestinians living under occupation.”
Here’s what happened next, according to Christian Peacemaker Teams:
The families from Tel Rumeida and the organization Youth against Settlements, some of whom were waving flags and chanting “no to the occupation,” marched to the checkpoint. It took less than a minute for Israeli forces on the rooftops to fire the first teargas canister into the crowd of people, swiftly following up with a sound grenade. In the half hour that followed, they fired at least fifteen tear gas canisters and twelve sound grenades into the busy square of Bab al-Zawiya.
As anger and frustration at the Israeli military mounted, Palestinians threw stones, but they did not reach the rooftops occupied by the heavily armed Israeli soldiers and police. The two CPTers present, who were documenting, monitoring and photographing what was initially a nonviolent demonstration, also found themselves targeted by sound grenades and teargas by Israeli police. With the demonstration violently suppressed, clashes continued into the afternoon.
Harassment of children
A second video clip published by Christian Peacemaker Teams on 7 December shows what the group calls “typical abuse” of Palestinian children by Israeli Border Police:
This kind of daily abuse rarely makes headlines. But the occupation remains lethal to Palestinians.
In August, Nadir Muhammad Saadi Idris, 42, an avid football fan, was apparently singled out and fatally shot in cold blood by Israeli occupation forces during a demonstration in Hebron, an attack caught on video.
It is also exactly two years ago this week since a camera caught Israeli soldier Nofar Mizrahi shooting dead Muhammad al-Salaymeh on his seventeenth birthday at a checkpoint in Hebron. The video disproved claims Mizrahi made in the media to justify killing the teen.
As in thousands of other cases, no one has ever been held accountable for al-Salaymeh’s killing.