AL-KHALIIL/HEBRON: Soldiers beat father and son at checkpoint

5 January 2010
AL-KHALIIL/HEBRON: Soldiers beat father and son at checkpoint

by Paulette Schroeder

    At 6:50 pm Sunday 27 December 2009, the CPT Hebron team received a call from a neighbor who reported that someone had been beaten by Israeli settlers and shot at the Qitoun checkpoint.  Johann Funk, Kathleen Kern, Drew Herbert and Paulette Schroeder arrived at the checkpoint to find a military jeep, lights flashing, driving away from the scene.  Five soldiers were talking among themselves, and an ambulance and another jeep were standing by.
    The neighbor met the CPTers at Qitoun. They then interviewed a shopkeeper, who reported that he had heard screaming and gunshots and saw soldiers dressed in civilian clothes beating a young man.  One soldier was kicking the boy; one was shooting into the air, and one was beating the boy with a rifle.  The shopkeeper said the beating ended when a commander appeared and told the soldiers that they had no business intervening in this situation since they were out of uniform.
    The CPTers and neighbor then interviewed the boy's family, who live around the corner from the site of the altercation and have had generally good relationships with soldiers at the checkpoint.  The mother said soldiers have often told the parents how much they like their children.  The soldiers also frequently joke with the father, who speaks Hebrew.
    The mother said her two sons and her husband were going to a small neighborhood mosque after the evening call to prayer.  The soldiers asked the first boy where he was going, "To the mosque to pray," he answered.  They responded, "Go home."  He returned home, but his nineteen-year-old brother insisted on proceeding to the mosque.  The soldiers then began beating him.  As the father tried to intervene, the soldiers on duty held him back, trying to keep him from engaging in the fight.
    The mother, who was watching the scene from her window, heard three shots and began screaming, thinking that the soldiers had killed her husband. She then saw her husband's face covered in blood.  She did not know until the CPTers and their neighbor came to interview her that the soldiers had also injured and detained her son. She called her husband's phone at the police station, but the police would not allow her to speak with him.
    The father was later released after he paid an 1100 NIS fine (about $300), and his son will have a hearing, "for beating a soldier" on 7 January 2010.