It’s a humbling experience being asked to tell the story on behalf of a Palestinian who’s just been subjected to a brutal crime. I hope I don’t disappoint you, Younes! It’s really hard to bring forward a message, when the context only reminds me of a fictional horror story!
#AlKhalil4 is what this story was given as a reference. The story about the four #DismantleTheGhetto in Hebron coordinators was brutally arrested after a peaceful protest on Palestine Land Day. This movement is choosing dialogue, protests and symbolism as a way to promote their agenda. And I feel so proud that I’m part of the international group that helps promoting their campaigns.
March 30. 2017
70 Palestinian activists in Hebron participate in a protest in the Wadi Al-Hussein valley in the eastern part of Hebron. They’ve planned a peaceful and symbolic protest against Zionist land grabbing and ethnic cleansing, with a sermony where they plant olivetrees on a field. The olivetree is a peaceful symbol in Palestine, it’s Palestine plain and simple.
The main goal with the protest however, was to highlight that exact area in Hebron.
We want people to know how sever the suffering is in this spesific area
I ask you to keep in mind that EVEN America agreed that Hebron is Palestinian territory, and the settlements there are illegal. Settlement that have had an extremely hard impact on the Palestinian population in areas like Wadi Al-Hussein.
This area is located right next to the illegal Qiryat Arbaa settlement. In the same area but in the middle of the Palestinian homes you will find the Al Rajabi house. This house was confiscated by the IOF and colonists in 2001. This building is an important pawn in the cleansing of the area, in the process of expanding the settlements.
When the Al Rajabi building was taken over 16 years ago, the military blocked the whole area. No Palestinian cars are allowed in, Palestinian construction is not allowed.
I have to admit that the system where they use with the pyramids as access pass, is freakishly similar to the Davidstar used by the Nazis in the 1940’s.
This means that the Palestinian resistance are forced to walk extra long distances to get to thei homes. And when they finally reach their homes they need to close the curtains, because of surveillance. Lamp poles with cameras in every angle are placed 20-25 meters apart, all over the are.
70 protesters obeyed the apartheid rules
They started walking towards the field on the “Palestinian road” towards the field where they wanted to plant the trees, but in order to reach the field they had to cross the road. This is when the IOF soldiers and their sidekick colonists showed up…
‘You are not allowed to go any further’ They told us. We told them our plan, we and that we would leave afterwards. The discussion went on for a couple of minutes before the commander entered the scene and we repeated the argument with him. In the end he said ‘Okay you can go‘.
The event took about 40 minutes, and started to walk back to the road, when the soldiers stopped us again. We’re about to cross the intercity pass when we hear ‘You are blocking the road’ I respond ‘No, you are blocking the road’
IOF needs no excuse, but wants to play
‘This is a closed military zone you have 2 minutes to leave the area’! I was already on the other side of the road far away from them..
They arrested me on the top of the stairs in front of a Palestinian home. I can see that I’m on the ground in pictures and videos afterwards. I also see my friends stepping in trying to help me out. They where also arrested.
This is when Younes, Badee, Ishaq and Anan became #AlKalil4
In every accord signed by the occupation’s authority, they agree to a two state solution. With agreeing to this they also accept that Palestine will be governed by their own authorities and are the ones responsible for the law enforcement on Palestinian grounds.
The #DismantleTheGhetto movement is also cooperating with the PLO and the PA-department. So this just heightens the violations of the agreement from the occupation.
The occupation has written down laws, but this is only for show.
Their own laws says that if there is an illegal demonstration they will get a 20 minute warning, to leave the area. We got to minutes.
They arrest us, handcuff us and take us to the military Jeep. They bring us to the police station, inform us of our charges before they place us in a waitingroom for 2 hours.
Younes has three charges:
1. Staying too long in a closed military zone
2. Illegal demonstration
3. Disturbing the peace in a populated area
I got in contact with my lawyer.. I informed him that we were arrested and that we were being transferred to military prison and waiting for military court.
The prisoners received medical treatment at Gosh Ertzion Detention camp at 8 pm, after this they split the prisoners up, Younes ended up in Gush Ertzion military jail together with Ishaq
Gush Ertzion detention point is under full control by the occupation. Their military camp is a grave for the living.
Their belongings are taken as they are stripped naked for a physical examination. Their prison cells are isolation cells with twin bed, for two prisoners.
If you need to take a shit your roommate is forced to witness the process, the WC is right next to your bed, you have no shower.. can you imagine the smells in that room?
Every day the soldiers made a headcount.
The first one in the morning, but we never knew when. It could be 5am, 6.. 9. when the prisoners had to call Tor their full name to show they were present.
After many arrests Younes knows that he has to continue his resistance in the prison. He refuses to follow submissive orders, something that make the soldiers back off. I feel the need to add that this is a power child prisoners don’t have the luxury of having when they’re arrested.
In Younes case this only resulted in minimum physical torture in the for of starvation. The meal the prisoners in Gush Ertzion get, are the soldiers leftovers. This has an impact on the prisoners nutrition.
#AlKhalil4 lived under these conditions until Sunday.
I don’t know the time exactly, but I think it was around 5:30pm when they transported us to military court.
Normal procedure under transport is blinding and chaining hands and feet. When they reached the courthouse, they were sent straight back to jail.
I asked them ‘Why’? They answered ‘The judge extended the detention’ I asked ‘How long’? …they don’t know
Younes is rejected when he asks for his lawyer.
The next day the same routine is part of the process when they go back to military court around 4pm. And once again their statements in a court hearing was dismissed
I ask ‘What’s wrong? Aren’t we going to court’? They respond ‘Court is finished’ I ask ‘What is the sentence’? ‘They are talking bail’ is the answer.
Without any form of information they are taken back to their jail cells
I aske them how long we have to wait. ‘We are waiting. The lawyer’s gonna send the receipt you are free to leave” The soldier answers
At 9pm Younes is taken out of his prison cell. The bail is paid, now the only thing remaining is the return of his belongings, and….
One last time they blindfold us, chain our hands and feet and guid us 500 meters through the military camp by foot. They don’t take off the blindfolds or the chains until we’re passed the prison gates.
The #AlKhalil4’s are out of jail, but the charges aren’t dropped and they are waiting for a trial that can send them back again. One thing’s for sure the goal of the protest 5 days earlier, “Highlighting the area Wadi Al-Hussein and The Rajabi House’ you reached it! And I’m so proud of all of you for coming one step closer to Dismantling the Ghetto!