Israeli military targets young shepherds in South Hebron Hills

Palestinian boys playing football near the Israeli settlement Kiryat Sefer in the West Bank village of Bil’in, 23 May 2006. (Moti Milrod/MaanImages)

In the past ten days, Israeli soldiers abducted several shepherds, including a seven-year-old boy, who were grazing their sheep near Israeli settlements in the Southern Hebron District. In none of the cases did they send them to the Israeli civilian police for the required legal processing.

On Sunday, 14 April, Israeli soldiers detained seven-year-old Maher Ahmed Moussa Ibnes and his cousin, sixteen year old Nadal Samir Moussa Ibnes in Imneizel. At approximately 9:00 a.m., Maher Ahmed Moussa Ibnes was grazing sheep on Palestinian land near the Israeli settlement of Beit Yatir when a stone he threw to move the sheep in the desired direction hit the settlement fence.

At approximately 9:00 a.m., Israeli soldiers arrived at the boy’s home. They informed the family that they had surveillance video of the boy throwing a stone at the settlement and insisted on taking him into custody. They allowed his cousin, Nadal Samir, to accompany him in the military jeep, which took both boys to the checkpoint at Beit Yatir. The boys’ families and members of the community of Imneizel followed on foot to the checkpoint. IDF soldiers informed the family that they would release seven-year-old Maher Ahmed, but would arrest his cousin, Nadal Samir, who was not present at the alleged incident, and did not appear on the surveillance tape.

The soldiers then blindfolded Nadal Samir and transported him to the military base at the settlement of Susiya, which has no police station. They released him about two and a half hours later in response to calls from a representative of the Red Cross.

On 15 April, Israeli soldiers took shepherds Yusef Ibrahim Abed Mur of Imneizel, and Muhammed Jihad Halil Abu Aram, of Qawawis as they were grazing on Palestinian land. The arrests occurred after Yacov Dalia, a settler from the area, invited soldiers onto the land and argued that the State of Israel owned it.

Soldiers arrested Ibrahim at approximately 11:00 a.m. and Jihad at 3:30 p.m. The soldiers took the shepherds without warning, and without allowing them time to secure their flocks. Ibrahim was grazing his sheep by himself, and a shepherd from the Palestinian village of Jinba collected his sheep for him. Soldiers released the detainees at 7:00 Sunday night from the military base at Susiya, forcing them to walk home past the settlement in the dark.

Last month on 18 March, soldiers detained five shepherds near Beit Yatir. Soldiers took the shepherds, Jihad Ibrahim Mor, Mohamed Halil Suliman Rashid, Ahmed Mohamed Halil Rashid, Ezhaq Ahmed Ali Hrezat and Samir Ahmed Mohamed Hrezat, to the army base at Susiya and released them without any legal processing in the early evening.

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