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Israeli forces detain at least 15 activists in the Tel Rumeida area of Hebron

July 15, 2016 2:00 P.M. (Updated: July 18, 2016 7:53 P.M.)
HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces detained at least 15 activists Friday as they were cleaning an area located in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron in order to establish a cultural cinema, according to the Hebron-based group Youth Against Settlements.

Coordinator of Youth Against Settlements Issa Amro, who was also held for an hour by Israeli forces with the owner of the land during the incident, told Ma’an that some 100 activists were cleaning inside an abandoned Palestinian factory in preparation for opening a cinema in the area when several Israeli settlers began verbally harassing the activists and throwing stones and tomatoes.

Soon after Israeli forces arrived and detained at least 15 activists and reportedly assaulted others.

Amro told Ma'an that eight of the detained were American Jews visiting Palestine, and the other seven were Palestinian activists.

According to Amro, Israeli soldiers also issued a military order, declaring the land a closed military zone in order to prevent the group from continuing their cinema project in the area.

An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an she would look into reports.

Amro told Ma'an that the cultural cinema project was planned to provide much-needed cultural infrastructure to the Palestinian communities in Hebron, while showcasing ways in which nonviolent resistance could work to end the nearly 50-year Israeli military occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

The area of Tel Rumeida has long been a flashpoint for tensions between Palestinians and Israeli settlers and military, as its located near an illegal Israeli settlement.

Tel Rumeida is located within the area of the city designated as H2, an area taking over the bulk of the Old City that is under full Israeli military control, and the site of five illegal Israeli settlements which continually expand into surrounding Palestinian neighborhoods.

Israeli authorities declared the area of Tel Rumeida and other parts of the Old City as a "closed military zone" for several months in November amid dozens of incidents in which more than 40 Palestinians were killed.

The Israeli-controlled H2 area is home to 30,000 Palestinians and around 800 Israeli settlers who live under the protection of Israeli forces.

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