Israeli Court Orders Palestinian Who Filmed Soldier Threatening Activists Away From Home

Issa Amro was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice after he arrived for preliminary questioning without his cellphone, carrying only a thumb drive with videos he filmed during last Friday's incident

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Hagar Shezaf
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Issa Amro in Hebron
Issa Amro in HebronCredit: Hadas Parush
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

An Israeli military court ruled on Wednesday that a Palestinian activist who documented a soldier threatening demonstrators last Friday to be removed from his Hebron home for a week.

Issa Amro, a well-known Palestinian activist documented a soldier last week saying: "Ben-Gvir is going to bring order to this place." The soldier was sentenced to ten days in military prison.

Amro was arrested on suspicion of obstruction of justice after he arrived for preliminary questioning without his cellphone, carrying only a thumb drive with videos he filmed during the incident on November 25.

As Amro is a Palestinian, he is trialed by the military justice system, the hearing to extend his detention was held only on Wednesday and not within 24 hours as applies to cases of Israelis.

Police representative Shmuel Ashkenazi labeled Amro as an "instigator of crime" at the hearing and explained that his job as a tour guide of Israelis visiting the West Bank city of Hebron "creates friction." Askenazi asked Amro's detention to be extended by six days.

Military court judge Maj. Dvir Wiesel ruled Amro to be released by 6 P.M. on Wednesday and ordered him to keep away from his home in Tel Rumeida for a week. Amro has to deposit a guarantee of 1,500 shekels and is banned from contacting any of the involved in the incident for a month.

Contrary to the Police accusations that Amro escorts Israelis in tours that go through Area A and therefore is an accomplice to a crime, Amro’s lawyer, Riham Nasra, claimed these tours go through the H2 area in Hebron, where Israelis are allowed unrestricted access.

On Wednesday's hearing, Amro said he's been providing videos of incidents to the police for 15 years and this is the first time the police have accused him of hiding material.

Amro said that he had tried to give the police the videos of the incident on Friday. “The problem is that I don’t trust the police. I submit complaints, but they don’t take me seriously." Amro proposed giving his cellphone to the police so that they would search it in his lawyer's presence.

MK Ofer Cassif from the Arab-dominated Party Hadash-Ta’al who attended the hearing said it's clear that this is a revenge arrest whose goal is to deter and persecute Issa Amro.

Cassif described Amro as "a human rights activist who's unwilling to bow to the brutal occupation and even dares to join forces with peace activists from Israel. Not Issa, not the Palestinians and not the peace activists are disrupting the peace but the occupation. The settlers and their guards in uniform are those disturbing the Palestinians. They are the ones who must be removed and distanced from Hebron!"

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