13 Boys Arrested From Playground after Army Represses Beit Ommar Demonstration
On Saturday the 19th of February at 1 pm, the Beit Ommar National Committee held a large demonstration to protest the Israeli government’s decision to expand settlements, with support from the United States. They were joined by Palestinian Popular Committees from Hebron, Al-Ma’asara, Beit Ula, At-Tuwani, Surif, and Wadi Rahal, as well as members from the Beit Ommar municipality. The gathered Palestinian activists were also supported by a large number of Israeli and International solidarity activists.
The army arrived in several jeeps from Karmei Tsur settlement and immediately began shooting tear gas to disperse the demonstrators. Israeli Forces also threw sound bombs at the crowd, hitting a few people directly. A minister from the Beit Ommar municipality was injured in his leg, and a member of the National Committee was injured after a sound bomb exploded on his back. The army continued their attacks, while a group of settlers gathered behind the Karmei Tsur fence to watch the repression. After an hour and half, the demonstrators successfully delivered their message to the soldiers and media and returned to the village with no arrests.
At around 3pm, half an hour after the demonstration had ended, an undercover military vehicle came into the village near Karmei Tsur and soldiers attacked the residence of Husni Za’qiq. Soldiers occupied the house and prevented anyone from leaving. Other soldiers, accompanied by special units, invaded a park full of children between the ages of 12 and 15 years. The Israeli Forces attacked and shot rubber bullets and sound bombs at the children so they could not run away, and then proceeded to arrest 13 of them. Several army vehicles came into the area for support, attacking houses and cars to frighten people so they could not come to the children’s defense. The army shot tear gas and sound bombs toward women who attempted to rescue the youth, and then beat the group of women, including Mona Abu Maria. The army succeeded in taking the arrested children, all of whom are under the age of 18, out of the village. Their families do not yet know where they are being held.