Text size

Palestinians living south of Mount Hebron on the West Bank say that they have been harassed by Israel Defense Forces soldiers over the past month.

The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (ACRI) has submitted a complaint to the Military Police over the issue. Residents complain of rock-throwing, property destruction and being imprisoned in their homes for hours. The incidents occurred in the communities of Al-Carmel, Ma'in and Al-Tawana.

According to Hafiz Hourani, a resident of al-Tawana, on December 12, soldiers broke the windows of his car. According to his neighbor, Juma'a Raba'i, the soldiers were at his own home earlier that day. "They were driving fast, in a jeep, and pulled up near the house and began throwing rocks at the house," Raba'i related. After breaking the windows, the soldiers sprayed the house with a white substance and left. Raba'i said that a similar incident occurred the previous week.

Mahmad Ahmad Bahias of Al-Carmel said that at 1 A.M. on November 29, several soldiers in a military jeep came to his home. "The soldiers started throwing stun grenades at the houses, even though the village was quiet," he said. "They approached an electrical appliance repair shop and fired at a light fixture in the middle of the store and at the televisions inside. They went to other homes, throwing stun grenades and breaking the windows." Bahias also spoke of other, similar incidents over the past month.

For several years, Israeli activists have been working with residents of the area, and Ezra Nawi, a prominent figure in this group, said that the soldiers' behavior over the past month is very unusual. "They came to Al-Carmel every night, or several times a day, sometimes even beating villagers, including one of the older women who was hit with a rifle butt," Nawi said, adding that he witnessed some of the incidents. In light of the large number of incidents, the Israeli activists decided to sleep in the village every night in hopes that their presence would deter the soldiers.

The IDF Spokesman issued the following response: "The military prosecution has ordered the Military Police to investigate the allegations. When the investigation is completed, its findings will be submitted to the military prosecution."