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Thursday, January 11, 2007

Police summon Hebron settler filmed harassing Palestinians

Last update - 09:48 11/01/2007   

Police summon Hebron settler filmed harassing Palestinians
By Amiram Barkat and Amos Harel, Haaretz Correspondents, and Haaretz Service

Efrat Alkobi, whose cursing at Palestinians was documented on film and broadcast in the Israeli media on Wednesday, will be questioned by police at the Hebron police station on Thursday morning.
The police said that they decided to summon Alkobi for questioning following the release of the film to the press. They added that the problem of settlers abusing Palestinians in the Hebron area is a persistent one and is "well known" to the police. They said that the Abu Ayisha family, one of whom documented the incident, has been escorted by police on numerous occasions to protect them from abuse.
Defense Minister Amir Peretz, who was shocked by the documented footage, ordered GOC Central Command Yair Naveh to investigate the harassment of the Abu Ayisha family by Hebron Jewish residents.
In recent years the settlement "Adamot Yishai" was built near the Abu Ayisha family's house, in the Tel Romeida neighborhood of Hebron. Many Palestinians abandoned their homes in the area following settlers' violence against them. In order to cope with the daily rock-throwing, window breaking, and attacks, the Abu Ayisha family placed bars around their home. The family currently resides in a house that resembles a cage.
In the documented footage, which the B'Tselem organization received, a female settler comes close to the family's house, and screams at 18-year-old Rajah Abu Ayisha "Get back in your cage." She continues to curse at her and calls her a prostitute in Arabic ("sharmuta") numerous times. The family maintains that this sort of incident is not out of the ordinary.
"The house is like a real cage," said Rajah. "It is surrounded by bars in all directions, even in the entrance. My grandfather placed the bar after the settlers broke the windows in the house." Rajah says that the neighbors left the neighborhood when the second Intifada started, and the settlers took control of their houses.
Rajah said that the settlers throw rocks, water, and leftover food at them. "There are soldiers there who sometimes yell at the children to stop throwing rocks, but the children don't listen to them. I was injured by the rocks more than once," she said.

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