Soldiers Shoot At Children in Imneizil

20 January 2007

Today, PSP, international and Israeli activists from Ta’ayush accompanied farmers in Tuba, near the village of Tuwani in the South Hebron Hills, as they plowed their land. Settlers from the illegal outpost Havat Ma’on have been terrorizing the residents of Tuba for years now, attempting to keep the residents of Tuba from using their land. While one group stayed with the people of Tuba, another group of activists were called to Imneizil which is another small community in the South Hebron Hills. When the activists arrived there were 4 settlers, some armed and accompanied by three attack dogs, who were threatening and harassing the farmers. One of the settlers called the Israeli army from the nearby outpost. One jeep with 6 soldiers arrived. The settlers told the soldiers that this was their land, though the people of Imneizil have an Israeli Supreme Court order stating it is Palestinian land.

One of the soldiers named Ya’ir (picture at right with settler ‘commander’) then shot 5 times with live ammunition at two small children, approximately 6 years of age. When one member of Ta’ayush moved between the soldier and the children, the soldier accused the activist of hitting him. Nearly 50 soldiers in 7 jeeps, 2 hummers and a police van then arrived. The same soldier then shot five times in the air and ordered the 11 Palestinians from the family Abu Samra and the international and Israeli activists to get to the ground. For one hour the Palestinian children, women, and men and the PSP, international and Israeli activists sat on the ground. The children were crying because of the cold.

At one point an international activist from Operation Dove asked to get water for the children. The soldiers refused. She also asked the soldiers to allow the children to go back inside the stone house nearby which the soldiers also refused. Eventually, the leader of the DCO (the section of the Israel Army in charge of “liaising” with the Palestinian people) came and ordered the Palestinians to leave their own land. The Ta’ayush activist was originally detained but later release after which he immediately went to the police station in the Kiryat Arba settlement to make a report about the outrageous use of force by the Israeli Army.