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Affidavit No. 5594/2010

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, ‘Isa Isma’il Hasan ‘Amr, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 905708327, born on 13 April 1980, a human rights researcher, and a resident of Tal Rmeida neighbourhood, the old city of Hebron, Hebron governorate, would like to declare the following:

For three years, I have been working as a field researcher and coordinator of the Video Footage Project of the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (B’Tselem). At around 4:00 pm on Saturday, 24 July 2010, the Youth Against Settlements activist group organised a peaceful demonstration against settlements and the continued closure of al-Shuhada’ Street in the Hebron city centre. Every week, the Youth Against Settlements organise a demonstration for the same purpose in the same area. On the reported day, approximately 150 Palestinian citizens as well as international and Israeli peace activists participated in a demonstration near a closed gate to al-Shuhada’ Street near the so-called Beit Romano settlement outpost, which is constructed on the debris of the Usama Ben Munqeth School at the northern entrance to the old city of Hebron. I was present on the site, took photographs, and monitored events in place. At around 5:00 pm, participants moved towards al-Shallala old street, which is overlooked by Beit Hadasa settlement. A large force of Israeli occupying troops and border guards closed the area by standing in a queue across the street. Then, they assaulted, pushed back and beat participants in the demonstration with their fists and rifle butts. Israeli troops also dragged a number of participants on the ground, and arrested and transported them to a military post near Beit Hadasa settlement outpost.

Israeli troops also arrested five international and Israeli peace activists, forcibly led them to the military post near the gate, which closes the entrance to al-Shuhada’ Street, and then took them to the Israeli Police station east of the city. On my video camera, I documented all that happened during the demonstration. A little after 5:00 pm, I left the area without any problems.

At around 6:00 pm on the same day, I was walking along a street in the old city of Hebron. When I reached Murabba’at al-Souq area, I encountered six Israeli infantry troops, who seemed to have been on a patrol. A soldier asked what my name was, and I answered. After he demanded that I present my ID card, all the six soldiers led me to a military post in Bab al-Khan area, where I was detained for half an hour. Then, they tied my hands with plastic handcuffs and put me onboard a military jeep, which drove to the Israeli Police station of the Hebron governorate near Kiryat Arba’ settlement east of the city. After I was taken of the car onto the Police station’s yard, I was screaming as a soldier dragged me forcefully by the handcuffs for a distance of about two metres and hit me on my hands. At that point, a higher ranking soldier who had been onboard the military jeep that transported me to the Police station, intervened and prevented the soldier from dragging me further by taking me away. As he took me away, the soldier who dragged me on the floor followed and hit me on the back which made me scream again. I told the police officer interrogating me at the Israeli Police station to file a complaint against the soldier who had assaulted me. Then, I was forced into a room, in which I stayed, handcuffed, until 9:00 pm. During the same time, the soldier who had assaulted me in the Police station’s yard came in and accused me of hitting him with a stick on his eye during the demonstration.

Later, an Israeli Police officer, took me to an interrogation room. A military officer, whom I thought was a physician, arrived and said he would conduct a medical check on me – a procedure that is normally applied to detained persons before they are admitted to prison. Within 10 minutes, the physician made a simple medical examination and inquired about my medical history.

Later, an Israeli Police officer, whose name was Avi Bin Lulu, interrogated and accused me of hitting a soldier with a stick on his eye during the demonstration, saying that the soldier was 100% sure that I did it. He meant the soldier who had assaulted on the Police station’s yard. I denied the charge and said the soldier had lied. I also told the interrogator that he could see the pictures and video footage taken by the Israeli troops and Police officers of the demonstration, which would prove the contrary. Furthermore, I said I was ready to present the film, which I had shot, showing the soldiers, including the one who accused me assaulting him, attack protestors. The interrogator replied that I would be sent to prison and that I could provide the Police or court with any materials I wanted.

After I was interrogated for about 20 minutes, I was relocated to the Kfar ‘Etzion Detention Camp south of Bethlehem, where I was held until the evening of Monday, 26 July 2010. Then, I was released after B’Tselem intervened and threatened the occupying Police that they would sue the soldier, who had filed a false complaint against me. B’Tselem had collected photographs and video footage, showing my presence throughout the demonstration and proving that I did not hit anybody.

In the evening of 6 August 2010, I visited Mr. Sufiyan Sultan in his house in al Bweira neighbourhood east of Hebron city in order to document an Israeli settler attack on his wife, Suzan Jamil Hilmi Sultan, the night earlier. Around two years ago, Israeli settlers had constructed an illegal settlement outpost south of al-Bweira neighbourhood. At 9:00 am, and half an hour after I reached the said house, I received a telephone call from Misbah al-Za’tari, who lived in the same neighbourhood, stating that Israeli settlers were gathering around and throwing stones at his house. I left Mr. Sultan’s house and went to al-Za’tari’s family house, which was located at a distance of approximately 500 metres away. There were persons who threw stones from a distance of about 50 metres south and west of Mr. al-Za’tari’s house. Meanwhile, they uttered curses in Hebrew at al-Za’tari family members. A group of about 15 settlers, who threw stones, approached as close as 20 metres near the house. Among these, I saw two settlement guards, who were armed with M16 rifles. As the settlers continued to come closer to the house, they uttered curses and chanted slogans in Hebrew, which I understood well.

“Death to the Arabs.” a slogan stated. After the settlers reached the house, civilian residents went out to confront any attempt by settlers to destroy contents of the house, like they did on previous occasions. A number of neighbours also gathered in the area. Meantime, I called the Israeli Police on my cellular telephone, reported what was going on, and requested that they intervene. In addition to calling the representative of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), I telephoned B’Tselem so that they could contact the Israeli Army Command. I also took photographs of ongoing events, using a video camera. A young Israeli settler threatened al-Za’tari’s family members that they would be killed that night. In about 10 minutes, a military force of four soldiers arrived onboard a jeep and stopped at the gate in the northern area of the house. The soldiers took position between Palestinian civilians and Israeli settlers. I requested that the soldiers call the Police and urge them to come and remove the settlers, since Israeli army soldiers do not have the powers to detain settlers, who are subject to the Israeli civil law. Ten minutes later, a border guard jeep transporting four soldiers, including a border guard by the name of Yousef Nimer-al- Din, arrived to the area. The soldiers attacked the Palestinian civilians and demanded that they go inside al-Za’tari family house. Residents protested, saying that they were standing in their house yard and demanding that the settlers, who were still as far as 10 metres around the house, be evacuated.

At the same time, I was standing between Palestinian civilians and Israeli settlers on the street and taking photographs of what was going on. Suddenly, an Israeli settler guard, who had not been attacking al-Za’tari family house, approached me and punched me in the face. I screamed and reported the incident to the border guards who were standing at a close distance. Instead of helping me, the aforementioned border guard Yousef hit me with his elbow on my neck, dragged me from my neck, and pushed me about five metres away. Meanwhile, other border guards hit me on the back with their fists. The settler guard who beat me was not remanded for his actions, instead I saw him fire a sound grenade on civilian Palestinians near al-Za’tari family house, injuring a 50 years old man from al-Za’tari family who was eventually transported by ambulance to hospital.

Around 15 minutes later, border guard Yousef got closer to the area surrounding al- Za’tari house, dragged Samer al-Za’tari (about 21 years old) out, and put him on the rear section of the border guard jeep. The same border guard told me I was detained, tied my hands with iron handcuffs, and put me on the rear section of the jeep. As the jeep moved, border guard Yousef sat in rear section of the jeep as well and kicked me on my leg once. After I was forced to step down on the Police station’s yard, I was demanded to sit on the ground. Around half an hour later, border guard Yousef arrived and demanded that I sign on a document, stating that I was not beaten while I was being arrested. When I refused, the border guard jumped in the air and landed on my left thigh.

I felt intense pain and screamed. Following my scream, Police officers came out. I requested that they keep the border guard away from me, so they relocated me to another place. I then saw border guard Yousef move towards the interrogation room. I was seated in my place for around an hour, after which I was admitted to an
interrogation room. A Police interrogator accused me of pushing a settler and of not obeying orders of the border guards. I replied that the settler hit me and that my video footage proved it. I suggested to the interrogator that he watch the film, but he refused. I also requested that I file complaints in my name against border guard Yousef Nimer-al- Din and the said settler because they had beaten me and lodged false complaints
against me. Approximately half an hour later, the interrogator demanded that I wait outside. Having waited for about an hour and a half, I was sent to medical examination, and then to the detention centre in the same station.

On Sunday morning, 8 August, I was relocated to al-Maskobiyya (the ‘Russian Compound’) Detention and Interrogation Centre in Jerusalem, where I was admitted to a detention cell, in which Palestinian criminal convicts were being held. On Monday, I was transported to the military court in ‘Ofar Detention and Interrogation Centre west of Ramallah, which I reached at around 4:00 pm. The military judge agreed to release me on a bail of NIS  5,000 and on condition that I do not access al-Bweira area for a period of 10 days. During  the trial session, the advocate told me that the Military Prosecutor wanted to convene the trail in my absence before noon on the same day, claiming that I would not be brought before the court due to a technical error. However, the advocate insisted that I appear before the court, which I did on the same day. On Monday, 9 August, B’Tselem paid the bail and I was released in the afternoon on that day.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5594/2010
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 14 August 2010
  • Name: ‘Isa Isma’il Hasan ‘Amr
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