Sophia's Peace Work

Wednesday, September 01, 2004

Yesterday was the Beer Sheva Suicide Bombs ... and apparently the attacks originated from the Hebron Area. During the day, we noticed a heavy presence of Israeli soldiers on the street, but didn't know the reason until a few hours later (we're not really wired in to the media here). Immediately we went out on patrol. Kim, Char and I went for the Ibrahimi Mosque circuit and all was quiet there. Maia, Cal and Christina went in the opposite direction through the Beit Romano checkpoint up to the Bab Al Zawea area. Again, all was quiet.

Upon returning to Beit Romano they stopped to have tea with a nearby vendor at the entrance of the Old City. After sitting there for awhile, they heard moaning and realized that someone was being detained inside the pillbox at the checkpoint. They and the young men they were sitting with approached the checkpoint (at this point they realized that TIPH representatives were observing the checkpoint from the side street behind the checkpoint).

After some discussion and threats from the soldiers, the CPT'ers and the men they were with backed up to the vendors shop, still within sight and earshot of the checkpoint. After about 20 more minutes, the detainee wailed and the CPT'ers and Palestinians tried again to approach and were again were unsuccessful and had to back up.

Eventually the man was released and the CPT'ers realized that the Palestinians with them at the shop were actually the man's relatives. The man's name was Faris al Batch and he told CPT that the soldiers had broken into his house, hit his children and then beat him infront of his children. They had taken him then to the checkpoint and had held him for five hours during which he was forced to kneel the entire time. He showed them his wrists that were rubbed raw from the bonds the soldiers had tied him with.

There was no explanation for his detainment.


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