On the morning of 8 September, Israeli border police detained two children aged 8 and 11 and three men in Hebron. At the time, twenty Israeli border police officers were located on the street near the Hebron Elementary Boys School run by UNRWA, which is 250 metres south of the al-Salayma neighbourhood checkpoint in Hebron.
‘Abdul-Aziz ‘Abdelhafith Rujub – Dura – Hebron
That morning, ‘Abdul-Aziz, 27, a teacher at the school, stood at the school gate along with the principal in order to greet the students as they arrived. ‘Abdul-Aziz saw that the Israeli border police were unarmed but were carrying pepper spray, as stones had been thrown at the checkpoint earlier.
At approximately 7:40 A.M., the officers arrested two students, aged eight and 11 years old. An officer picked up and carried the eight-year-old, who was terrified and was kicking and struggling. Two Palestinian men - ‘Ammar Ghaith, 40, and Malek, 19 - approached the border police officers and attempted to rescue the children. However, Malek, ‘Ammar and the two boys were taken to the checkpoint by the border police.
‘Abdel’aziz walked towards the checkpoint to learn the names of the children detained. He tried to speak to one of the officers but the officer responded by pointing the pepper spray towards ‘Abdul-Aziz's face, causing him to back off. On the request of ‘Abdul-Aziz, one of the border police pointed out the officer in charge. ‘Abdul-Aziz approached the officer in charge and asked him for the names of the two children. At that time, stones were being thrown at the checkpoint and the Israeli officers were firing tear gas. An officer twisted ‘Abdul-Aziz’s arms behind his back and ordered him to stand near a cabin at the checkpoint, where the two children were standing, along with, Malek and ‘Ammar. It was then that ‘Abdul-Aziz learnt that one of the children was named Yousef Jabr Hajajra and the other was from the al-Rajabi family.
An officer then approached the five detained Palestinians and took a picture of each of them. They were then taken inside a three cubic-metre cabin for approximately 10 minutes. An officer shouted at them and prohibited them from talking to each other. Whilst in the cabin, the youngest kid was shaking.
Yousef and ‘Ammar were then taken to an Israeli jeep while ‘Abdul-Aziz and Malek were taken to an Israeli police car. The youngest boy was released and the remaining four were all taken to the central Israeli police station, west of Kiryat Arba’ settlement. The officer in charge sat them in the shade between caravans but after he left, the group was placed in the sun and ordered to stand. From time to time, Israeli officers would show up, swear and shout at them.
At approximately 10:00 A.M., an Israeli officer took their identification cards and some personal information. ‘Ammar and Malek were accused of pushing an Israeli officer near the checkpoint. As for ‘Abdul-Aziz, he was also accused of pushing an officer in the same location, which he denied. ‘Abdul-Aziz told the officer in charge that he should refer to the film footage of the incident taken by the border police officers near the checkpoint.
‘Abdul-Aziz was released at approximately 11:00 A.M. the same day. Yousef was released at approximately 10:15 A.M. the same day and returned to school. To the best of ‘Abdul-Aziz’s knowledge, ‘Ammar and Malek remain in detention. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 10003/2014)
Under international human rights law, Israel must ensure the right of all persons deprived of their liberty to be treated with humanity and respect for their dignity. According to the Convention on the Rights of the Child, any child deprived of his or her liberty shall be treated with humanity and respect for the inherent dignity of the human person. Furthermore, international humanitarian law provides that protected persons are entitled, at all times, to be humanely treated and shall be protected against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults. Al-Haq calls upon Israel to cease its practice of arbitrary arrests of Palestinians in general and children in particular.