The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), in the strongest terms, condemns use of excessive force by the Palestinian Security Services to disperse 2 peaceful protests in Hebron and Ramallah and attacking the protestors by beating and arresting them. One of those protests was organized by Hamas affiliates, marking the anniversary of founding their Movement while the other protest was organized by activists against the killing of a Palestinian by the Israeli forces. While stressing the right to peaceful assembly, PCHR holds the Palestinian Government fully responsible for what happened and calls upon the Attorney General to investigate seriously and effectively the 2 incidents, hold those responsible accountable and bring them to trial.
According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 11:00 on Friday, 14 December 2018, a force of the Palestinian National Security and Special Police (Riot Police) in addition to General Intelligence and Preventive Security officers dressed in civilian clothes surrounded the vicinity of al-Hussein Bin ‘Ali Mosque on ‘Ein Sarah Street in central Hebron where the peaceful protest organized by Hamas affiliates to mark the anniversary of founding their movement was supposed to start. The security officers stopped a number of civilians and checked their ID cards arriving at the mosque while journalists were forced to stay away from the area. When the worshippers finished the Friday Prayer at around 12:45, around 100 civilians, including women, children and elderlies, gathered and chanted slogans while raising the Hamas Movement flags. They made their way to the road intersection leading to Ibin Rushd Intersection in the south where a National Security force was carrying batons and sticks and closing the road. The security officers started striking their shields to disperse the protestors and then fired sound bombs at them. They then attacked the protesters with the batons and severely beat up others, including women. As a result, Jamil Jamal Karamah (46) sustained wounds in the head and various bruises throughout his body in addition to attacking journalist ‘Abdel Muhsen Yasser Shalaldah (25) while filming. All those wounded were taken to hospitals while those arrested, including children, were later released.
In Ramallah, the security services attacked a peaceful protest organized in the afternoon of 14 December 2018 at al-Manarah Square in the center of the city following the killing of Mahmoud Nakhleh after the Israeli forces shot him. During the protest, the participants chanted slogans against the Palestinian Authority and Palestinian President. Thus, security officers dressed in civilian clothes dispersed the protesters using force and beat up some of them with hands and batons in addition to firing sound bombs directly at the civilians. Moreover, the security officers arrested photojournalist ‘Abdel Karim Musteif.
PCHR strongly condemns use of force by the Palestinian security services against the participants in these two peaceful protests and stresses the right to peaceful assembly and expression of opinion. Thus, PCHR
- Calls upon the Attorney General to investigate seriously and effectively the 2 incidents, hold those responsible accountable and bring them to trial;
- Calls for the Immediate release of all those arrested; and
- Calls for respecting Civilians’ right to peaceful assembly and expression of opinion.