I’ve posted videos like this before. It seems the typical sort of behavior we often see from Israeli settlers. Even so, it comes as a bit of a jolt every time I come across a video like this. The Abu Rajab family of Hebron is being dispossessed of their three-story home. The settlers shown here have reportedly even begun moving furniture into it–and this apparently is what they’re so happy about, dancing so joyously over, and making excessively goofy faces into the camera in celebration to…
A little bit from Ma’an News provides some further insight into the matter:
Residents of the Abu Rajab house, located in the Old City of Hebron near the Ibrahimi Mosque, have been embroiled in a legal battle with Israeli settlers for years, after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared his intention to encourage the establishment of a new illegal Israeli settlement there to be named Beit Hamachpela.
However, Israeli authorities have not granted permission to establish the settlement on the grounds that the settlers have failed to prove their alleged purchase of the Palestinian house, as the Palestinians have accused the settlers of forging the documents.
On Tuesday, settlers escorted by Israeli soldiers had raided the building in an attempt to take it over.
Hazem Abu Rajab al-Tamimi, a resident of the house, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers attempted again to raid the house on Wednesday morning but were thwarted by the Abu Rajab family.
However, the settlers later took over the second and third floors of the building, in addition to raiding the first floor, where the Palestinian family lives.
Al-Tamimi said that Israeli soldiers threatened to detain him and his brothers when they tried to protect their home, as a video shared by NGO Human Rights Defenders showed soldiers manhandling Abu Rajab family members as scores of young Israeli settlers looked on, jeering.
A Ma’an reporter on the scene saw Israeli settlers moving furniture and belongings inside the house under armed protection by Israeli forces, who were deployed around the house, adding that the home had reportedly been turned into a closed military zone.
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that they were looking into the case.
Israeli settlers have claimed that they bought the house from its owners, however, the Palestinian owners sued the Israeli settlers in court and accused them of forging documents in an attempt to steal the house, as al-Tamimi said on Wednesday that the settlers’ claims were “pure fabrications and lies.”
The Abu Rajab family home consists of three floors. Al-Tamimi said that the Israeli court decided, due to to ongoing case regarding the house, that no one could enter the second and third floors of the house until a court decision was reached.
The court also decided to keep the house under the “protection” of the Israeli army and the Israeli Civil Administration, he said. Hebrew-language media had meanwhile reported that Netanyahu had appointed coordinators from the Israeli army to negotiate with the settlers and evacuate them.
Al-Tamimi said that the settlers had chosen to ignore the court’s ruling, adding that “they even refuse to apply their prime minister’s decision.”
Meanwhile, over in Bethlehem, Israeli soldiers have basically kidnapped a seven-year-old boy from his father. I don’t know anything about this incident other than what’s in the video below, but watch and you’ll see the father get grabbed himself after protesting the arrest of his son…
Chalk it up to another day in the occupation of Palestine, I guess. Keep in mind that both Hebron and Bethlehem are in the West Bank–an area that is recognized under international law as belonging to the Palestinians. What are Israeli soldiers even doing there? They are occupiers, of course. Pure and simple. And every day Israel continues its illegal settlement enterprise is an affront to international human rights law. Moreover, the audacity of the affront is about to become a tad bit more marked.
It has been reported that Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who was caught on videotape last year killing a wounded Palestinian with a gunshot to the head, is about to have his sentence lightened to house arrest. Here is what the JTA is reporting:
Azaria, who was convicted in January and sentenced in February, has been confined to the closed Nachshonim military base since being arrested in March 2016. However, the time of his military service ends on Thursday and he must leave the base.
Azaria is appealing his conviction and military prosecutors are appealing his 18-month jail sentence for being too lenient. Azaria does not have to report to prison until his appeals are exhausted.
A military court ruled on Monday that Azaria will go from the army base to house arrest. He will be required to remain at his parents’ home in Ramle in central Israel and can attend Shabbat services in a synagogue on Friday night and Saturday if he is accompanied by a family member.
A military court will rule on the appeals by the end of the month, according to reports.
Azaria shot 21-year-old Abdul Sharif as the latter lay on his back critically wounded on a Hebron street (yes, Hebron, where the Abu Rajab family are now having their home taken over). The incident took place in March of last year, and I put up several posts about it at the time (see here and here for instance). Sharif and a companion allegedly attacked an Israeli soldier. Both were shot. The companion died instantly. Sharif, however, was left in a pool of blood on the street but still alive–until Azaria walked up to him and fired a shot directly into his head.
Little was said about it at first. Only after the video went viral was Azaria even arrested. At first he was charged with murder, but this was subsequently reduced down to manslaughter. He finally was convicted on the latter charge, but as the report above notes, his sentence was very light–only 18 months. And now it’s looking like he will get off with nothing more than house arrest–if he even serves that. For as I noted in a previous post, Azaria is regarded as a hero in Israel.