The Palestinian village of Qaryut is located in the Nablus Governate near Highway 60 that runs between Ramallah and Nablus. Previously, a road connected the community to Highway 60, but the Shiloh Settlement blocked the road and is building a religious centre for Jewish tourists. This means that those who live in Qaryut must travel north to the Za’tara Check Point and then backtrack through the settlements of Yatma and Qabalan, an extra 20 kilometres.
On May 16 the EAPPI team from Yanoun was called to Qaryut to investigate a settler attack on a group of young boys from Qaryut. We were told by the secretary of the village council, Bashar, that the boys were going to the spring west of the community when the head of settler security from the illegal outpost of Esh Kodesh (Holy Fire in Hebrew) began shooting live bullets into the air. The youth scattered. On of them, Myassar, hid behind a large rock. When the Israeli military arrived, they searched the fields and found Myassar. Bashar filmed this incident on his video camera.
The chief of the security, Moshko, punched him in front of the soldiers and pointed his weapon at Myassaar, telling him to stand up and walk. All of this happened in front of the army. The army tried to placate the settler, but took no action to restrain or arrest him.
Bashar and a number of villagers arrived to give first aid, but were turned back by the Israeli military. A number of settlers arrived in their cars and were stopped by the soldiers.
Two of the villagers were allowed to stay to give first aid to Myassar. They asked if had been shot; he explained that he had fallen down and broken his leg.
By this time he was in a great deal of pain. Once Bashar provided first aid, the army explained their intention to bring Myassar with them, but Bashar said he already arranged an ambulance to bring Myassar to the hospital.
The army refused this arrangement, and after a while an Israeli doctor arrived. Apparently Myassar had sustained a double fracture to his leg and needed an X-ray.
Bashar explained that Myassar is 13 years old and doesn’t have an ID with him, but the army insisted on taking him with them and administering the treatment themselves in Israel, so that they could arrest and detain him. The army presented a knife they had retrieved from the scene and claimed that Myassar had been in possession of it, and they explained this as their reason for wanting to arrest and detain him. However, Myassar insisted it was not his property. The army then took the boy into the military ambulance, accompanied by a member of the village who was able to translate Hebrew.
Bashar called Red Crescent and Palestinian authorities to register a complaint. After a 3-hour long discussion between Palestinian and Israeli officials, the Israeli military released Myassar. Once Bashar was able speak to Myassar, he learned that Myassar didn’t receive the appropriate care, only painkillers while being subjected to a 3 hour interrogation in the nearby Alay settlement. Finally, Myassar was taken in the Red Cresent ambulance to Rafidiyeh Hospital in Nablus.
We have learned that the Israeli military confiscated Myassar’s mobile phone, contacted his friends and tried to intimidate them and threatened to arrest them.
How would we feel if one of our children was treated in this manner — questioned for over three hours, with no first aid treatment and no pain killers for a compound fracture?
How would we react if authorities called children and threatened them with arrest if they did not give authorities information on their friends? What kind of military force would treat people in this way?
What is going on in this part of the world? Why does our government support a so-called democracy that consistently and systematically violates the human rights of others?
This is a holy and very troubled land. A land ruled by fear by those who appear to have been raised on fear and feel the need to intimidate and humiliate other human beings?
Unfortunately, this incident is all too common. From near the Jordan Valley …