Thursday, July 24, 2014

Breakin and arrest

Yesterday afternoon, our team received a phone call in the afternoon, from Abed, a Palestinian man whose home is in the souk in Hebron. He said that settlers broke into his house.

Our team quickly gathered our cameras, phones, passports, and immediately raced out the door. Our apartment is located uphill, a bit of a steep climb up. To get down is a lot easier, although you definitely don't want to fall as you are running down in response to a call.

By the time we got to Shaadi's house, the settlers were already gone. However, a door leading to his basement was kicked in. His brother came to the house and was there with us. Pretty soon, some soldiers showed up, followed by 2 police officers, followed by two men in plainclothes. They made us leave, and spoke to his brother, and later Shaadi, who also came in, once it was clear the settlers weren't there anymore.

The brothers were surrounded by soldiers for protection, and taken to the police station to make a statement about what happened to them.

That is what one would expect to happen to a crime victim in a city in Canada. However, this isn't Winnipeg. This is IDF occupied Hebron.

Initially after Abed and Shaadi were taken to the police station, his wife said she also thought they were just going to be interviewed. Sometimes, the Israeli police and army do help Palestinian victims of crime. Today was not one of these days.

A few hours after the incident, we learned that Abed and Shaadi have been accused of digging a tunnel and trying to break into a settlement.

The basement forms part of the structure of Abed's home, and connects it to a building now occupied by settlers. The passage had been sealed for years. The people who broke into Abed's home opened it, and then got in and battered down the door to his basement. I am not sure who called the Israeli army and police, but after arriving, they arrested him and his brother.

I don't know of any other place in the world where you can arrested for having a gun pointed at you, or for having people break into your house.

The situation reminds me of Isaiah 10:1-4

Woe to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,
to deprive the poor of their rights
    and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,
making widows their prey
    and robbing the fatherless.
What will you do on the day of reckoning,
    when disaster comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?
    Where will you leave your riches?
Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives
    or fall among the slain.
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,
    his hand is still upraised.

God hates injustice everywhere, including Hebron. Oppressors and victimizers and abusers and tyrants may feel powerful and at times, even invincible. However, God's justice is never too far away.
The good news is that they, like everyone else, can turn to Him for forgiveness, before it is too late.

Some Palestinian homes close to the souk

A group of us getting ready to enter Abed's house. We didn't know whether or not they were still inside. Going in as a group of international volunteers, we face a lot less risk than a Palestinian living in his own home.

The first two soldiers arrive through the passage. At first, we thought they we were here to help.

A police officer interviews Abed and Shaadi.

The two brothers are taken to the police station. A Palestinian journalist with a camera follows.

                                                  On the way to the army base.

Some Palestinian residents of Hebron, including some kids,gather near the gate through which the brothers were taken.
 July 25 update: Shaadi and Abed were released from arrest this morning. Of course, it turns out they were innocent of trying to tunnel into an Israeli settlement.
However, the soldiers and police got to mess with them for a while. Sadly, Palestinians in H2 go through this kind of garbage on a regular basis.

No comments:

Post a Comment