Machsom Watch: Palestinian Beaten at Hawara Checkpoint

IDF soldiers severely beat a Palestinian man at the Hawara checkpoint south of Nablus on Tuesday while their female colleagues egged them on, according to a Machsom Watch - Women for Human Rights activist who witnessed the incident.

Median Amran, 28, from the village of Burin, also south of Nablus, was seriously injured and had to be hospitalized after four soldiers beat him up for no apparent reason. Only the intervention of an officer stopped the beating, said Dafna Banai, a member of the group of Israeli women who conducting daily observations at military checkpoints.

Banai, who was at the checkpoint on Tuesday afternoon, told Haaretz that at about 4:30 P.M., she noticed a young man passing through a turnstile and heading toward a second turnstile. One of the soldiers shouted at him to turn back, but the first iron gate locked and he could not return to the line of people waiting to get out of Nablus.

"The soldiers pounced on him, beat him in the face with a rifle, kicked him. He was not violent, he only tried to escape the beating and ran like a trapped animal in the closed compound between the two turnstiles, with the soldiers kicking and beating him," she said.

Amran yelled that he had undergone surgery and had a metal plate in his shoulder, and that every pull on his shoulder hurt him, so that he should not be handcuffed.

Banai said she saw the soldiers bang his head on the concrete and choke him, all the while trying to handcuff him from behind, heedless of what he was telling them.

An IDF Coordination and Liaison Administration officer present at the checkpoint, Yazid Yosef of Beit Jan, intervened, separated Amran and the soldiers, shielded Amran with his body and shouted to the checkpoint commander, Amir, to restrain his men.

Yosef, who said he was a relative of Border Policeman Madhat Yosef, who was killed at the beginning of the intifada at Joseph's Tomb in Nablus, shouted to the soldiers not to handcuff Amran, and said he would make sure he didn't escape.

Banai said that during all this the women soldiers were yelling words of encouragement to the soldiers such as, "Don't let him go, cuff him, show him."

Banai saw blood spilling from a cut near Amram's eye. She said that the beating lasted about five minutes.

The checkpoint commander's main efforts were directed at keeping her and another volunteer away from the site. In addition to his first name, Amir, Banai obtained the surname of one of the soldiers who participated in the beating - Gurevitz.

On Wednesday afternoon, Amran was released from a Nablus hospital suffering from a concussion and blows all over his body. He also required stitches for the cut in his face. The soldiers at the checkpoint recognized him and detained him for an hour on his way home, Machsom Watch members said.

Banai said that she told a senior Coordination and Liaison officer who telephoned her yesterday that she feared the soldiers would abuse Amran even more if the story was reported. The officer promised her this would not happen.

Amran told Haaretz yesterday that the beating incident was triggered when he heard a soldier near the first turnstile speaking in an abusive manner to a women waiting in line. He told the soldier to speak politely, and the soldier yelled "Turn back," to him, pushed him with his rifle and was joined by other soldiers who then beat him up.

Earlier that day, a Palestinian woman stabbed a female soldiers at the checkpoint. The soldiers shot her dead.