Palestinians residents of Silwan, which is located to the south of the Old City of Jerusalem, continue to face an increased threat of raids and arrests. On 27 February 2012, Israeli forces raided the al-Bustan neighbourhood, in Silwan much of which is scheduled to be demolished to make way for an Israeli archeological park, known as King David’s Garden. During the raid, Israeli soldiers arrested Amani Mousa ‘Odeh, 26, and injured Ruba Jamal ‘Odeh, 23, leaving her with a broken jaw after being hit in the face by a rubber-coated metal bullet.
8 March marks the commemoration of the United Nations International Women’s Day, the theme of which is stopping violence against women. Palestinian women are, along with the rest of the Palestinian population, regularly subjected to harassment, intimidation and ill-treatment by Israel and as a consequence they are denied the enjoyment of basic human rights such as education, health and freedom of expression. Such treatment amounts to an assault on their dignity and security of person in violation of international law.
Al-Haq is gravely concerned about firing indiscriminately in civilian areas that led to the injury of Ruba and condemns the arbitrary arrest of Amani.
Amani Mousa ‘Odeh and Ruba Jamal ‘Odeh
Amani is a Palestinian mother, dentist and poet, who lives with her family in al-Bustan. At 3:30 am on 27 February, she woke up and found her husband, Tamer, 28, and her father in-law talking to masked Israeli officers outside her home. One of the soldiers ordered Amani to identify herself. When she did, Amani was told that she was under arrest, which made her laugh in disbelief. A female Israeli soldier then accompanied Amani to her bedroom, where she was searched.
Amani’s father, mother and brother Ibrahim tried to enter Amani’s home but the Israeli soldiers were blocking people from approaching her house. Ibrahim, 22, went to the roof of his nearby home, from where he observed numerous soldiers escorting Amani outside, while a few Palestinians threw stones at the Israeli forces.
Once outside, Amani was questioned by two Israeli intelligence officers who asked about her place of employment. Amani explained that she was interning at her friend’s dental clinic in East Jerusalem in preparation for the Israeli dental exams. When the officer asked specifically if she worked at Doctor George’s clinic in East Jerusalem, Amani denied that this was the case. She was told to get a key to the clinic and then the Israeli soldiers left, taking Amani with them. While, Tamer, her husband travelled in a separate police vehicle.
While they were leaving, one of the Israeli soldiers shot four rubber bullets towards the home of Amani’s sister-in-law, Ruba, who was struck in the face by one of the bullets. Ruba was first taken to al-Makassed Hospital, where she was told that the bullet had broken her jaw, before being transferred to Ein Kerem Hadassah Hospital where she underwent surgery. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 8384/2013)
Meanwhile, the Israeli police drove Amani to Salah al-Din Street in East Jerusalem, where the Israeli intelligence officer asked her to open Doctor George’s clinic. When Amani reiterated that this was not her place of work, the officer asked her to take them to her work address.
When they eventually arrived at the clinic where Amani was interning, the soldiers confiscated Amani’s computer and ordered her husband to return to Silwan. Amani was then transferred to the Russian compound police station in West Jerusalem for further investigation. After arriving at the police station at 4:30 am, Amani had to wait in a room for about three hours before being questioned by one of the Israeli interrogators.
During the interrogation, Amani was asked about her nicknames, her friends and relatives and her email address. When she asked the interrogator why she was being held, Amani was told it was because she participated in the coordination and planning of a criminal act. She was also asked about her poetry. The interrogator showed her several statements that had been distributed in Silwan and accused her of writing them. Amani explained that she had only commented on these statements on her Facebook account.
Amani was interrogated until 3:00 pm before being brought before a judge. Amani was ordered to pay a fine of 1,500 NIS (approximately USD 400) and sentenced to ten days of house arrest for writing statements against the Israeli occupation. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 8383/2013)
At the time of writing, Amani was still under house arrest and Ruba was released from hospital two days ago. Despite having been released, Amani is afraid that the arrest will affect her career and ability to both pass the Israeli exam and to open a dental clinic in Jerusalem.