Two Children Detained in Beit Ommar Demonstration

22 December 2012

Today, dozens of Palestinians participated in the weekly demonstration organized by the Beit Ommar popular committee and Palestine Solidarity Project near the illegal Israeli settlement of Karmei Tsur. The demonstration was met by Israeli soldiers, who immediately ordered the area a closed military zone. Sound bombs were thrown towards the demonstrators including landowners and their children who were demanding the right to access their land. As the demonstrators proceeded forward, Israeli forces began pushing demonstrators.
Israeli forces then grabbed two young boys, 11 year old Mohammed Tasser and 12 year old Qusay Abu Hashem. Both boys were handcuffed and dragged into the settlement.
Protest organizers, including Qusay’s father, informed the soldiers that the demonstration would not disperse until the boys were released. Participants saw settlers gathering around the soldiers and boys and the boys being beaten.
Eventually, when the Israeli forces realized they could not disperse the crowd, the boys were released. The demonstrators began leaving peacefully, but were followed by the Israeli soldiers firing tear gas at their backs.
The community of Beit Ommar has been protesting the existence of the settlements on their privately owned land since 2006. Beit Ommar has been profiled for its high number of child detainees and Israeli military violence against the community in recent years. Qusay is the youngest son of Ahmed Abu Hashem, a long-time activist with the Beit Ommar Popular Committee. All of his other sons have been arrested by Israeli forces; two have served more than a year in Israeli military prisons.
To stop the demonstrators sand bombs were shot into the group. The Israeli commander then told the other soldiers in Hebrew that they had permission to arrest the children. The demonstrators were telling the Israeli soldiers that they had the right to be able to work on their own land but the soldiers continued to ignore the demonstrators and tried to block their access . When the demonstrators continued t onwards to their land the Israeli soldiers began to use violence, such as pushing against the demonstrators, many of which were children. During the peaceful demonstration two young boys were arrested, 11 year old Mohammad Tasser and 10 year old Qosay Abu-Hassem. Both boys were taken into the Jewish settlement handcuffed and were abused at the hands of the soldiers. The soldiers were seen twisting the young boys arms and dragging them away against their will.
After both boys were put into the jeep many settlers came out with their dogs. The demonstrators refused to leave the land without the kids. This resulted in a lot shooting between the demonstrators and the soldiers. The soldiers were very angry and wanted the demonstrators to leave but the demonstrators just kept repeating that they would not leave without the two boys. Finally, the soldiers agreed to release the two boys because they knew the demonstrators would not leave without them. Before releasing the boys, the two boys were slapped and punched. As the demonstrators were leaving the area tear gas was shot in the direction of the demonstrators who were already leaving the area peacefully. The Israeli army had permission from the occupation government to attack the activists roughly. In the past few weeks in Beit Ommar they started to shoot live emission.