On Saturday January 19, Israeli soldiers kidnapped a Palestinian woman and her 18-month old baby as well as 17 others in a 24 hour period in the Um Al Arayes area, east of Yatta, in the south Hebron Hills, as they attempted to reach the Palestinians’ land, protesting its confiscation by the Metzpeh Yair settlement outpost.
The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee reported that Israeli border police arrested today 10 Palestinians and five Israelis, including three women and a child in Um Al Arayes, after dozens of Palestinian residents, accompanied by Israeli activists, arrived at their lands.
Israeli soldiers immediately declared the area a closed military zone and pushed the activists off the land. The nineteen arrestees included four Palestinian women, as well as a mother, Reema Oleyyan Awad and her 18 months old daughter Qamar, three minors and an elderly man in his 80s.
The last few months have seen an escalation in the Israeli military’s policy to expel Palestinians and control access to their private lands in the South Hebron Hills. This is contrary to the Israeli High Court and Military Legal Advisor’s claim that they will facilitate easy access by Palestinian landowners to their lands, said the PSCC.
A video of the arrest was published on YouTube showing the army violently attacking and kidnapping a Palestinian father while his children gathered around him trying to prevent the army from kidnapping their father.
The video shows the soldiers forcing the man onto the ground, on his back, before two soldiers pinned him and placed the cuff on his hands.
IMEMC reported that the scared children tried to reach their father, crying “my father, my father”, but the soldiers kept pushing them away, in an attempt to force them to leave the scene.
A female soldier then shouted at Reema, yelling at her “come over here”, soldiers then tried to push Reema away while she was still carrying her child.
The panicking mother then started shouting “move away from me”, “my boy, move away from my boy”.
The soldiers took Reema and Qamar to their jeep before moving them to the Israeli Police station in Keryat Arba’ illegal settlement in Hebron, Hafeth Al-Hreimy, a local peace activist told the Radio Bethlehem 2000.
Nine of the other arrested Palestinians were identified as Ismail Awad, 32, his wife and brother Saed, sisters Bushra, 22, and Shurouq Jabareen, 25, as well as Jameel Awad, 54, Bassam Jabareen 45, Khalil Awad Zein 65, Yousef Awad, in his 50s.