19 Oct. 07: Hebron: The Israeli Settlement in the a-Ras Neighborhood
On 19 March 2007, a new settlement was established, in the heart of the a-Ras Palestinian neighborhood. In the months that have passed since then, despite the decision of the Defense Minister at the time to evacuate the settlement, the settlement has grown. Recently, the settlement was connected to the electricity grid, and construction and renovation work is taking place at the site.
Since the settlement has been established, the harm to the Palestinian residents has increased and they have suffered further infringement of their human rights. Palestinians suffer both from the settlers and from Israeli security forces who have been assigned protect the settlement.
Researchers from B'Tselem and the Association for Civil Rights found that establishment of the settlement and the failure to evacuate it, have led, for example, to the following:
- Extensive abuse and violence by settlers in the new settlement, carried out in front of the eyes of members of the security forces;
- Abuse and violence by security forces posted on or near the new settlement;
- Increased prohibitions on movement enforced by Israeli security forces.
Failure to enforce the law on violent settlers
During the course of the first six months of the new settlement, B'Tselem and ACRI documented scores of cases in which settlers attacked Palestinians in the area. The attacks include beatings, blocking of passage, destruction of property, throwing of stones and eggs, hurling of refuse, glass bottles, and bottles full of urine, urinating from the settlement structure onto the street, spitting, threats, and curses.
Settlers attack residents of the Palestinian neighborhood daily, in the light of day and in front of large numbers of soldiers and police who protect the settlement. The army set up a position on the roof of the settlement building and a checkpoint on the road nearby, so it is impossible for an attack to occur in this area that is not within the eyesight of security forces. But, as is the case in the neighborhoods in Hebron 's city center where Israeli settlements have been established, the soldiers and police who witness attacks fail to take sufficient action to stop the attacks and enforce the law. At times, they do nothing. In many instances, Palestinians who sought the aid of security forces standing at the site of the attack were told that their only duty was to protect the settlers.