Israel arrested a Palestinian baby this weekend
Israel has been very busy in the West Bank these last few weeks arresting peaceful protesters and killing and injuring unarmed Palestinian youths. To anyone familiar with the conflict, these routine human rights violations are nothing new. But every so often, Israel still manages to shock even the most cynical among us. This was the case yesterday when the IDF arrested over a dozen protesters in the South Hebron Hills, among them an 18-month-old Palestinian girl. That’s right, Israel arrested a baby. Here is video footage of the incident:
The activist who posted the video included the following description:
Reema and her 18 months old baby girl, Quamar were arrested earlier today at Umm Al Arayes, South Hebron hills, upon Reema’s arrival to cultivate her family’s land. As of now, Mother and daughter are still held at the Hebron Police Station and apparently, the station’s policemen insists on them having to spend the night in custody.
A total of 15 protesters (10 Palestinians and 5 Israelis) were arrested for the crime of trying to access Palestinian-owned land that the Israeli army illegally restricts because of the nearby illegal settler outpost, Mitzpeh Yair.
Ta’ayush, a grassroots organization of Palestinians and Israelis working to end the occupation, reported that in addition to the baby, an 80-year-old man and 3 minors were among the 15 people arrested. Though the majority of detainees were released the same day, including the baby and her father and grandfather, the child’s mother was held overnight along with an Israeli female activist. According to 972, the two women remained in custody due to “accusations they resisted arrest and/or assaulted an officer.” Ta’ayush later reported that the women were released today on bail.
These arrests are part of Israel’s systemic policy of ethnically cleansing non-Jews from prime areas of the occupied West Bank. In other words, Israel is illegally kicking Palestinians off their land to make room for more illegal Jewish-only settlements, human rights be damned.
Mairav Zonszein at 972 explains the significance of this particular area of the West Bank:
The settlers who live in this illegal outpost often harass Palestinians in this area while they try to cultivate their crops and graze their sheep. It has been going on for years. However, it is not just the settlers but the army, who not only doesn’t usually stop them, but closes off the whole area on a regular basis – in direct contradiction of High Court rulings that the army must both act to allow Palestinians access to their land and protect them from settler violence.
The IDF’s Civil Administration seems to have targeted this area as a “disputed territory,” systematically issuing “closed military zone” orders, which force all the Palestinians to evacuate the area or face arrest. This, despite the fact that the Civil Administration itself recognizes the area (In Area C of West Bank) as Palestinian-owned land and even though no settlers have provided any evidence otherwise. Without being able to work their land, these Palestinian communities cannot maintain their basic livelihoods, let alone enjoy freedom of movement and their basic human rights.
Oh and when Israeli elections take place on Tuesday, remember that these Palestinians can’t vote to try and get better representation in the next four years and improve their lives – since they have no such right to do that either.