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Video: Settlers hurl insults, threaten sexual violence against Palestinians in Hebron

18:00 Aug 24 2017 Hebron

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by Btselem
Published 8/29/2017

Kiryat Arba settlers verbally abuse Palestinian woman in Hebron and threaten her with violence for hours, in the presence of Israeli soldiers and police

On Thursday, 24 August 2017, settlers from Kiryat Arba used a loudspeaker system to verbally abuse Palestinian residents of al-Hariqah neighborhood in Hebron, using offensive language and insulting Islam.

A B’Tselem volunteer filmed parts of the incident from her window. When the settlers noticed her, they turned their abuse towards her, threatening violence and using racist and obscene language, including descriptions of extreme sexual violence. Although the threats were explicit and the swearing constituted severe sexual harassment, Israeli security forces who were present allowed the settlers to continue undisturbed, as is usually the case.

The volunteer described the incident in a testimony she gave to B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bri on 27 August 2017:

"At 6:00 P.M. I went up to my apartment, which looks out over al-Hariqah neighborhood and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At first I ignored the settlers’ party, but they turned the music up just when the muezzin called out for evening prayers from the mosque. They started mocking the prayer and insulting the Prophet Muhammad

"I saw a military jeep on the hilltop where the settlers were gathered. There were several other soldiers on the road below, which looks out over al-Hariqah Street that runs by the settlement. I began filming.

"The settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad. The Israeli soldiers and police did nothing to stop them. This was not the first time: about a year ago, I documented settlers swearing, using foul language and calling out obscenities against the Prophet Muhammad while soldiers and police allowed them to continue.

"Life in al-Hariqah has become intolerable. The military repeatedly raids the neighbourhood and the settlers assault and harass us. As a Muslim, I was extremely offended by the insults hurled at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. As a woman, I felt terrible hearing the foul language directed personally at me for filming them."

In the reality of life under occupation, in which settlers assault Palestinian residents in the presence of Israeli security forces on a regular basis, even explicit threats of violence and blatant sexual harassment of a Palestinian woman and abuse of her community go unchecked by the security forces.
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BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) -- Israeli rights group B’Tselem released a video on Tuesday showing a group of settlers from Israel’s illegal Kiryat Arba settlement in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron hurling abuses through a loudspeaker at Palestinians in the area.

In the presence of Israeli soldiers and police, settlers used a loudspeaker to shout abusive language at Palestinians in the the al-Hariqah neighborhood on Thursday, insulting Islam and the Prophet Muhammad, whom they called a dog.

According to B’Tselem’s statement, once the settlers noticed a Palestinian woman -- a local volunteer for the group -- filming them, their scathing language was directed at her and they began to threaten her with sexual violence. B’Tselem noted that the incident continued for hours.

Despite the disturbing threats, Israeli forces did not intervene. Palestinians often report that Israeli forces idly stand by when Israeli settlers harass or assault Palestinians, while routinely providing the settlers protection.

An Israeli army spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the incident.

The unidentified volunteer provided testimony to B’Tselem, in which she said that the Israeli settlers were having a party on a hilltop nearby and turned their music up when the adhan (the Muslim call to prayer) was sounded from the neighborhood’s mosque. This is when they began insulting Islam.

When she started filming “the settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad,” adding that it was not the first time that she has documented Israeli settlers hurling insults about Islam in the presence of Israeli forces.

"Life in al-Hariqah has become intolerable,” she added. “The military repeatedly raids the neighbourhood and the settlers assault and harass us.”

She told B’Tselem that as a Muslim, she was “extremely offended by the insults” against the Prophet Muhammad. “As a woman, I felt terrible hearing the foul language directed personally at me for filming them," she said.

Over recent weeks, there have been routine reports of Israeli settler attacks on Palestinians and their homes in the Hebron district, particularly in the Old City.

Some 600,000 Israeli settlers reside in occupied Palestinian territory in violation of international law. The international community has repeatedly called their presence and rising population the main impediment to potential peace in the region.

The UN reported this month that after a three-year decline of settler attacks on Palestinians, the first half of 2017 showed an 88 percent increase in settler attacks compared with 2016. The attacks during this time period have led to the deaths of three Palestinians, the UN added.

Israeli authorities served indictments in only 8.2 percent of cases of Israeli settlers committing anti-Palestinian crimes in the occupied West Bank in the past three years, according to Israeli NGO Yesh Din.

“In the reality of life under occupation, in which settlers assault Palestinian residents in the presence of Israeli security forces on a regular basis, even explicit threats of violence and blatant sexual harassment of a Palestinian woman and abuse of her community go unchecked by the security forces,” B’Tselem added in their statement.
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