Graffiti Police Art Design ” Graffiti Banksy “. 2010
A group of jurists and human rights activists, accompanied by Palestinians, was detained this week without authority by settlers and an IDF officer. The police were called, but did not help the delegation, and its members remained helpless during an unnecessary questioning by an IDF officer. The settlers started to act as the police and demanded to see the IDs of the delegation members (and indeed photocopied them). Read how the police, IDF and the settlers work together while the rule of law is absent.
A group of jurists and human rights activists, accompanied by Palestinians, was detained without authority by settlers and an IDF officer, and IDs were given to the settlers who photocopied them. This is unacceptable that the settlers have policing powers in the occupied area.
Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asad – the director of RHR’s legal department, Dror Etkes, four Palestinians and a Palestinian lawyer went to look at the agricultural lands belonging to Palestinian farmers from the village of Yatta (near the settlement Otniel).
The farmers from Yatta wanted to show the delegation the ways that the settlers prevent them from accessing their lands (and as a result they cannot work on these lands). The observation space was 200 meters outside of the Otniel settlement. The delegation did not enter the security perimeter around the settlement and did not commit any oppositional act, but this did not prevent a citizen in charge of the settlement’s security, in cooperation with an IDF captain who was summoned to the place, to detain the group. The group was detained for two hours on the claims that they had entered the jurisdiction of the settlement.
Even according to the discriminating laws used in the West Bank, the IDF officer and the settlers did not have any reason to detain the delegation, as there were two Israeli citizens in the delegation – Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asad and Dror Etkes who, if they wanted, could enter the settlement’s territory. When the police arrived, the delegation was immediately released because they understood that there was no reason for their detention.
Due to the poor cooperation between an IDF officer and the security officer of Otniel settlement, the delegation wasted 45 minutes, and because the police did not give a direct order to release them, they wasted an additional 45 minutes (90 minutes all together). The IDF officer even took the IDs of the delegation people and gave them to the settlers to photocopy without any authority or separation between the law enforcement authorities and the settlers who are citizens.
Adv. Quamar Mishirqi-Asad said: “this was a very serious incident. We see how the army and the settlers work together in order to prevent the Palestinians access to legal aid, and to harm the lawyers and human rights activists who help them. Here we see how the settlers actually become a kind of a ruling arm that activates the enforcement authorities in the area. The fact that the IDs of Palestinians and Israeli citizens are confiscated by soldiers and handed over to settlers for documentation is severe and needs to be dealt with by the military authorities in a serious way.”