According to local sources, a squadron of Israeli troops invaded the southern West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, raided a community center, and abducted a leader in the non-violent protest movement.Issa Amr, an organizer with “Youth Against Settlements”, told reporters with the Ma’an News Agency that he was taken by Israeli troops from the community center blindfolded, and shoved into an army vehicle. He was released Saturday night, after being beaten, spat upon, and ridiculed.
Amr told the reporters, “Soldiers took me to a military base in Tel Rumeida [settlement], they handcuffed and blindfolded me, and I was brutally beaten for no reason. They also threatened to kill me, and settlers spat on me several times.”
He also reported that the soldiers who abducted him chanted anti-Palestinian slogans, singing “Every Arab dog will have its day.’ They then paraded him, blindfolded, through the streets of Hebron while chanting “The Golani brigade is the best brigade.’
The Golani Brigade is an infamous Israeli military battalion known for its brutality during the war in Lebanon in 2006, and in the invasion of the Gaza Strip in 2008, as well as a long history of abuse of Palestinians and other Arabs dating back to the 1948 war, when the Brigade was formed. The Brigade has also suffered numerous insubordination and disciplinarian problems, including revolts against commanders.
During their invasion on Saturday, the Israeli soldiers ransacked the community center known as the ‘Steadfastness and Challenge Center’ in downtown Hebron, before abducting Amr.
The center has been a focus of Israeli military raids since its formation several years ago.
The city of Hebron is a flashpoint for Israeli settler violence, and is home to some of the most extreme right-wing Israeli settler groups, including followers of Baruch Goldstein, who gunned down 29 Palestinian men, women and children in the Ibrahimi mosque in Hebron in 1994. That incident led to the Israeli government’s partitioning of the mosque into two parts, and giving half of the mosque to settlers to use as a synagogue, as Baruch Goldstein had demanded.
Since that time, Hebron has remained a hot spot for Israeli settler violence against Palestinian civilians. It is the West Bank city with the highest number of settler attacks, both in number and severity, against Palestinians.
Video of Amr’s abduction: