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Israeli forces 'threaten' Hebron activist group that films soldiers

May 3, 2014 3:20 P.M. (Updated: May 6, 2014 12:56 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- A local activist group says the Israeli army has been using "intimidation" tactics against its members since they posted a video on Youtube of a soldier threatening Palestinian teens on Tuesday.

The office of Youth Against Settlements in Hebron has been raided three times by Israeli soldiers since the video was posted, an activist within the group told Ma'an Saturday.

Issa Amro told Ma'an that Israeli soldiers raided the office on Thursday night, Friday morning, and Friday night.

In addition to searching the premises, Israeli soldiers "threatened" activists, demanding to know "who filmed the video" that was posted on Tuesday, Amro said.

He added that Youth Against Settlements had received hate messages on their Facebook page saying "that we will be shot if we attempt to film more soldiers."

But another activist, Muhammad Zghayyar, urged Hebron Palestinians to continue to film aggression by Israeli soldiers and activists as much as possible in order to "expose them to the world."

Israeli army spokespeople did not immediately comment on the incidents.

However, asked about the army's policy on filming soldiers, an army spokesman told Ma'an that there is no general rule against it in "civilian areas," but that soldiers always have the right to tell people to stop filming.

The video footage posted Tuesday shows an Israeli soldier harassing a Palestinian teenager and pushing him away before drawing and cocking his assault rifle after another teenager walked behind him.

The soldier is then filmed shouting insults at both teenagers before kicking one of them in the leg.

He then threatens to put a "bullet in the head" of a third man filming the event unless he stops.

The soldier was suspended, but has since has received massive support online, media reported Wednesday.

Only hours after his suspension, a Facebook page was created Tuesday in support of the soldier, clinching tens of thousands of "likes."

Breaking the Silence, a pacifist group of former Israeli soldiers, denounced that kind of support and said the "situation depicted in the video is far from unusual."

A 1997 agreement split Hebron into areas of Palestinian and Israeli control.

The Israeli military-controlled H2 zone includes the ancient Old City, home of the revered Ibrahimi Mosque -- also split into a synagogue referred to as the Tomb of the Patriarchs -- and the once thriving Shuhada street, now just shuttered shops fronts and closed home

Around 800 Jewish settlers live in Hebron's Old City, among 30,000 Palestinians in the parts of the city that are under Israeli control.

Settler violence against Palestinians in Hebron is routine, with Israeli soldiers rarely intervening to prevent attacks.

Israel's military is often involved in arbitrary assaults on Palestinians in the city, locals say.

AFP contributed to this report.
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