The coordinator of the non-violent group called ‘Youth Against Settlements’ was abducted Wednesday by Israeli troops when he responded to a summons to appear at the police station at the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba.Issa Amro is being charged with ‘incitement of terrorism’, apparently for his work in the grassroots, non-violent movement challenging the Israeli theft of Palestinian land.
The group Youth Against Settlements describes itself as “a national Palestinian non-partisan activist group which seeks to end Israeli colonization activities in Palestine (building and expanding settlements) through non-violent popular struggle and civil disobedience.”
Throughout the past few years, Youth Against Settlements has been leading the global campaign to re-open Shuhada street, Hebron’s main commerce center that was closed to Palestinian movement in 1994. According to their website, the group is based in Hebron because it is one of the areas hardest hit by the Israeli occupation. Ostensibly to protect approximately 600 fundamentalists Israelis that have forcibly established a settlement right in the heart of Hebron, the Israeli state has imposed on the Palestinian residents of the city a regime of forced evictions, curfews, market closures, street closures, military checkpoints, subjection to military law including frequent random searches and detention without charge, and lack of protection from rampant settler violence, which has pressured approximately 13,000 Palestinian civilians to flee their homes in the Hebron city center, turning it into a virtual ghost town.
According to the International Solidarity Movement, Amro was also abducted several weeks ago along with three internationals and two Palestinians for taking part in a demonstration on Shuhada street where activists walked down the road wearing Martin Luther King and Barack Obama masks to mark the visit of the US president to the West Bank. After his release he was banned from walking in the area of Tel Rumeida for two weeks.
This is not the first time that Amro has been taken into custody by Israeli troops for his work with ‘Youth Against Settlements’. In June 2012, he was abducted at the Palestinian-Jordanian border by Israeli forces while on his way to Italy for a speaking tour organized by the Italian Peace Association to meet Members of the Italian Parliament and Senate, and municipality representatives from different Italian cities.