On the same day that Israel’s education minister visits Hebron, an Israeli officer is filmed breaking a Palestinian youth’s nose
Speaking with Israeli soldiers on the streets in Hebron, we often get asked: “Why do you [meaning observers, journalists, etc] only show us hitting Palestinians? Why don’t you show what happens before we hit them?”
This video, filmed yesterday (25.7.12) by B’Tselem volunteer Zidan Sharabati, shows what happens before, during and after an Israeli border police officer headbutts a Palestinian youth, breaking his nose.
As the Israeli ex-soldiers group Breaking the Silence pointed out on their Facebook account, the incident took place on the same day that Israel’s education minister Gideon Sa’ar took members of his ministry on a tour of Hebron. “Sadly this is not something Mr Sa’ar will teach Israeli students about,” the group said.
The group were referring to the controversial “Ascending to Hebron” tour programme, which since its launch in February 2011 has taken 3,000 Israeli students on tours of Jewish settlements and holy sites in Hebron. The tours gloss over the strife of thousands of Palestinians living under military occupation in the ancient city.
Last last week, Breaking the Silence – who expose the realities of Israeli military presence in Palestinian territories – were due to take a group of Jerusalem high school students around Hebron, but the trip was cancelled by Israeli police.
So that’s the background. The video shows an Israeli soldier detaining some Palestinian youths at a checkpoint on Shuhada Street in Hebron’s H2 area, which is under Israeli military control. After the soldier asks them for ID, 17-year-old Thair Ghanam is seen arguing with the soldier, who grabs his arms. The youths were then ordered to wait against a wall.
A border police officer arrives at the scene and pushes Ghanam. Later, Ghanam told B’Tselem he tried to push the officer off him, which is partially obscured in the footage.
The video then shows the officer holding the youth, forcibly taking him up the street, then head-butting him. The officer is seen continuing to assaut Ghanam. Releasing him, he then follows him up the road. Finally, the film shows Ghanam, blindfolded with hands tied, being led down the street and into a military vehicle.
Ghanam was taken to the military base on Shuhada Street and released shortly after. Following his release, Ghanam went to a hospital in Hebron, where the doctors diagnosed a broken nose. B’Tselem reported the incident to the IDF spokesperson’s office and the Military Police Investigative Division.
Palestinians living in H2 are still recovering from life under the Golani brigade, a notorious Israeli military unit that regularly abused the local population with no observed provocation earlier this year.