A Palestinian from occupied East Jerusalem and his son were both abused and unlawfully detained by Israeli forces in June. Now that their story is being made public, we can use their case to illustrate how Palestinians are at the mercy of the state of Israel, facing assault and abuse regularly without means to defend themselves.
S.H., a 58-year-old father from Silwan, East Jerusalem, is a metal smith. On June 13, he was in front of his home watering his garden while his 15-year-old son was sitting inside of the family car parked just outside their house, local news sources reported.
Without warning, Israeli Border Police officers and at least one man dressed in civilian clothes approached S.H.'s brother's home, which is next door. After knocking and getting no answer, the man in civilian clothes approached S.H. and addressed him in Hebrew, asking his name. He also told the resident to relinquish the keys hanging from his belt, saying they would open the door to his brother's house.
But as S.H. explained he did not have access to the house next door, four officers attacked him, he later recounted.
"One of them bashed my head against the front of the car. A second one grabbed me by the left hand and a third by the right. At the same time, I saw they were also assaulting my son," he said in official testimony.
Afraid of getting out of the car, 15-year-old B.H. remained inside until the man in plainclothes approached him, pulling him out and then throwing him to the ground. Immediately after that, he told officials later, another officer started to beat him.
That's when B.H.'s mother, 55-year-old T.H., stepped outside of the house to see what was going on.
While she does not understand Hebrew, she claimed she saw three vehicles parked in front of their house as officers assaulted her son.
“I went out into the street, and saw a Border Police officer holding my son by force. I tried to go up to him, but two officers stood in my way and wouldn’t let me reach him. I yelled at them: 'Shame on you. He’s a little kid!' They said: 'Stop shouting.' The officers threw my son to the ground and put their feet on his head,” she recounted.
Both the teen and his father were then placed in one of the vehicles and handcuffed. In the process, S.H. had his arm twisted badly behind his back by one of the officers. At the Salah a-Din Street police station, an officer slammed the teen's head against the wall.
S.H., who had a fractured arm thanks to the brutality of the officers, was not able to see a doctor until after being interrogated. One hour later, he was released and taken to the hospital by his 31-year-old son. Officers insist they had nothing to do with S.H.'s broken arm.
The teen, however, remained in custody until the following day, when he was released after his parents posted $350 bail. He was ordered to serve five days of house arrest.
When asked what they were in custody for, officers said S.H. assaulted and obstructed a police officer while performing his duties.
Officials did not specify why the teen was arrested for longer and why his parents had to post bail to get him out of prison.
And to think people still wonder why Palestinians living in territory occupied by Israeli forces fear for their lives. If they ever need proof of how dangerous it is for a Palestinian to live in current-day West Bank, show them this story.
Banner and thumbnail image credit: Reuters/Abdelrahman Younis