Sunday, November 29, 2020

B’Tselem researcher hospitalised during IDF arrest

By Yehudit Tzfat - November 05, 2019
Section: [Main News]
Tags: [Human rights]

A researcher for the Israeli human rights organisation B’Tselem was hospitalised after Israeli forces arrested him for filming a protest against an illegal West Bank outpost. 

Aref Daraghmeh was arrested last Thursday morning at Tayasir Checkpoint in the Jordan Valley for his presence at a demonstration against an illegal West Bank settlement point on 26 October. 

The 50-year-old Palestinian was held at the checkpoint for over an hour before being taken to a military post. There, soldiers left him in the sun, with one soldier hitting his back. After four hours, Daraghmeh fainted and was taken to a hospital for medical treatment. In between tests at Haemek Hospital in Afula, Daraghmeh said soldiers copied all of the photos on his phone. 

After being released from the hospital, Daraghmeh was taken to a police station in the Israeli settlement of Ariel at around 10:00 p.m. The police questioned him for hours regarding his presence at the protest against the Shirat ha’Asabim outpost in the Jordan Valley and the protest in the nearby village of Ein al-Biddya. Daraghmeh told officials he was merely doing his job. The researcher attended the demonstrations to document security forces’ conduct toward protesters. Daraghmeh was finally released at around 4 a.m. 

During his arrest, attorneys Gabi Lasky and Itay Lasky tried to find out where Daraghmeh was located, but no clear information was given to them from the IDF and police.

“During this whole time the military and police refused to give any information on Mr Daraghmeh’s medical condition and whereabouts, in spite of repeated requests,” a statement from B’Tselem said. “His arrest yesterday is another example of the attitude of Israeli authorities towards millions of Palestinians for more than 52 years: a daily reality of violence, oppression, harassment, disregard and humiliation.”

In response to questioning on the nature of Daraghmeh’s arrest, an IDF spokesperson told Haaretz that “[d]uring routine IDF operations, a Palestinian was arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace.” 

“As part of his arrest, the detainee underwent physical examinations at an army base, after which it was decided to take him to the hospital,” the IDF spokesperson said. 

The Shirat ha’Asabim outpost was erected in 2017 and has been steadily expanding ever since. Palestinian shepherds claim settlers, police and soldiers are all restricting them from grazing on their land. The policy of coordinating grazing times between Jews and Palestinians is allegedly not enforced as Israelis consistently drive off Palestinian shepherds.

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