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Israeli army encloses 7,000 Palestinians in West Bank village

IDF openly tells the 7,000 residents of Hizma that they are being collectively punished for the stone-throwing of a few Palestinians.

Soldiers patrol one of the entrances to the West Bank village Hizma. (photo: Tamar Fleishman/B'Tselem)

Soldiers patrol one of the entrances to the West Bank village Hizma. (photo: Tamar Fleishman)

The Israeli army and Border Police closed off both entrances to the Palestinian village of Hizma in the West Bank on Monday afternoon, in response to what the military claimed were incidents of stone-throwing in the area. Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem reported that Hizma’s 7,000 residents were also prevented from leaving the village. A sign in Arabic was posted next to one of the barriers, reading:

To residents of the area: Several of you are responsible for carrying out riots and disturbances of the peace, which resulted in the erection of this barrier. Do not cooperate with them! Stop these actions, which harm your daily lives. For your welfare, and to restore quiet and security to your area, send us any information you have on these disturbers of the pace and their activity in your area to this number: 072-2587990 or to the following email address: Makeitstop2015@gmail.com. Abu Salam, Israel Defense Forces Headquarters.

A sign posted by the IDF in the West Bank village Hizma calls on residents not to cooperate with those 'responsible for carrying out riots and disturbances of the peace,' and asks that they report on those behind the disturbances. (photo: Tamar Fleishman)

A sign posted by the IDF in the West Bank village Hizma calls on residents not to cooperate with those ‘responsible for carrying out riots and disturbances of the peace,’ and asks that they inform on those behind the disturbances. (photo: Tamar Fleishman)

The barriers were removed at midnight on Monday, but were replaced by spikes the following morning. The entrances were finally opened on Wednesday.

According to B’Tselem, Hizma — near the East Jerusalem settlement of Pisgat Ze’ev — has been closed off before after stone-throwing. However, this is the first time that residents have been told they are being collectively punished.

Collective punishment, illegal under international law, is a regular feature of life for Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. The poster calling for Hizma’s residents to inform on their neighbors is also reminiscent of the security establishment’s policy of coercing West Bank Palestinians to turn to collaboration. Such a move is intended to sow discord by placing the responsibility for the closure on the heads of a few.

Israeli Border Policemen confront a Palestinian bus driver in the West Bank village Hizma. (photo: A sign posted by the IDF in the West Bank village Hizma calls on residents not to cooperate with those 'responsible for carrying out riots and disturbances of the peace,' and asks that they report on those behind the disturbances. (photo: Tamar Fleishman)

Israeli Border Policemen confront a Palestinian bus driver in the West Bank village Hizma. (photo: Tamar Fleishman)

But perhaps the most telling moment came from an exchange between a bus driver from Hizma and an Israeli Border Police officer during the two-day blockade. Upon seeing two Jewish Israelis enter the village, do their shopping and leave again, the driver asked the officer why he could not do the same. The reply: “Because they’re Jewish. You’re not. That’s why.”

Thanks to Tamar Fleishman for additional reporting on this story.

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    1. Pedro X

      Israel could have gone in with dogs and guns and rooted out the perps. This is a more kinder and gentler way to let the Palestinians know to abandon their violence against Israelis. It is the Palestinians who approve of violent attacks against Israelis. PSR polls find that Palestinians favor carrying out attacks randomly against Israelis. Palestinians want to force a collective punishment on Israelis and Israel wants to prevent it, as is its right.

      Reply to Comment
      • phil

        Again the apologist for racism and apartheid.. would you support the same actions against stone throwing colonists attacking Palestinian farmers tending their crops.. of course not..

        One rule of law for the chosen, and another for the goyim/untermenschen

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          “would you support the same actions against stone throwing …”

          Of course, and Israel has done so in the past.

          For instance, on May 1, 2013 after an Arab man had stabbed to death a Jewish man from Yitzhar, residents took to the roads to demonstrate against Palestinians by stone throwing and blocking Arab traffic. The IDF pushed all the demonstrators, the violent and non violent, back into Yitzhar and would not let anyone out. Was this collective punishment of the guilty and the innocent or the maintaining of public peace?

          Yitzhar is known for harboring price tag attackers and the IDF has carried out severe raids into Yitzhar. The IDF took over the Yeshiva which served as a synagogue and a religious school. Residents not involved in price tag attacks were prevented from the synagogue and school. Is this collective punishment or maintaining peace and order?

          The IDF also blocked access to areas in Yitzhar in which the civil Israeli authorities knocked down illegal structures. Was this collective punishment or maintaining of peace and order.

          The IDF has blockaded Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and Gaza and declared them closed military zones in order to prevent demonstrators from reaching the communities to protest the destruction of Israeli communities. Israel has blocked access to former Jewish communities to prevent their reconstruction or use by demonstrators urging the rebuilding of such settlements. For instance, approximately 40,000 protesters turned out for the “March of Engagement,” seeking to reach Gush Katif. Ultimately, they were blocked by police and military cordon.

          Reply to Comment
      • Weiss

        Warsaw Ghetto – version 2.0

        And that’s why they resist… Just as the Jews in the Warsaw Ghetto did…

        Reply to Comment
      • roisin

        They do go in with guns and dogs. At 3 am, to harass sleeping children and instill fear.

        Reply to Comment
      • Bruce Gould

        My fellow American taxpayers: if you read Max Blumenthal’s “Goliath” you will see that Pedro is running Israel; he’s on every page. This is what you’re subsidizing.

        Reply to Comment
        • been there

          yes, it’s an excellent book. quite a eye-opener. Max Blumenthal is very brave, intelligent, humane.

          Reply to Comment
      • Gearoid

        You sir, are a disgusting racist and fascist.

        If this happened to your people, you would scream to the high heavens.

        You are exhibit A in how the Occupation is destroying the Jewish people.

        Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, Right

        PX: “Israel could have gone in with dogs and guns and rooted out the perps.”

        Yes, it could have. And, yes, that would also be illegal.

        PX: “This is a more kinder and gentler way to let the Palestinians know to abandon their violence against Israelis.”

        This is also illegal.

        PX: “It is the Palestinians who approve of violent attacks against Israelis.”

        It is not illegal for the occupied to dislike their occupiers, and it is not illegal for the occupied to express their support for those amongst them who resist that occupation.

        Honestly, Pedro, wake up to yourself. Israel isn’t just standing around minding its own business. It. Is. The. Occupying. Power.

        And a military occupier has to keep two things in mind:
        a) Those whom it occupies will resent their occupation
        b) The occupier must respond to that resentment within the obligations and restrictions that are defined under international humanitarian law.

        It can’t simply decide to apply Pedro-Law(tm) to the situation.
        It can’t simply make up those rules as it goes along.

        There are rules for how an occupier administers an occupied territory, and one of those rules says that you must not do this.

        Reply to Comment
        • MuslimJew

          “It is not illegal for the occupied to dislike their occupiers, and it is not illegal for the occupied to express their support for those amongst them who resist that occupation.”

          It is not illegal for the occupied to violently dislike their occupiers, and it is not illegal for the occupied to express their support for those amongst them who violently resist that occupation.

          And more and more people are waking up to the realization that the only language Israelis and Israel understand is the language of violence.

          Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            I’ll repeat the point that I made to Pedro, so that there is no mistaking where I am coming from, and no confusion because of MuslimJew’s later post.

            Because this is always true: however much the occupied resist – and regardless of how violent that resistance is – the occupier is not entitled to decide for itself how it responds.

            It does not get to make up its own rules, Pedro-style.

            International humanitarian laws (the “laws of war”) recognize that there are such things as “belligerent occupations”, and therefore it goes to great length to define what an occupying power can – and can not – do inside an occupied territory.

            And one of those prohibitions is crystal-clear: “No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they cannot be regarded as jointly and severally responsible.”

            If some villagers throw stones then the ENTIRE village can not be punished for that act of resistance, regardless of how much those villagers express their “approval” of that stone-throwing.

            Expressing your “approval” of an act that has been carried out by others does not make you “jointly and severally responsible” for that act. Such expressions of approval therefore do NOT allow the army of occupation to inflict punishment upon the entire village.

            Yet that is exactly what this army of occupation is doing, and doing that is a “grave violation of international humanitarian law”.

            In short: A War Crime.

            Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Just when the Israeli state was boasting about the high quality of the internet mercenaries they can attract, with their fluency in English and their affinity to Judaism, (see: http://electronicintifada.net/blogs/ali-abunimah/israeli-students-get-2000-spread-state-propaganda-facebook), along comes Pedro to utterly disprove the point. Not only is “more kinder and gentler” as incorrect as it would be to suggest that “Israel has the most moralest army in the world”, you are also a disgrace to Judaism with your assertion that “oppression-lite” is the path to justice, freedom and security. It’s the occupation, stupid.

        Reply to Comment
    2. Hart Macklin


      In 1995 the water supply for Mogadishu, the capital, was shut off by the United Nations humanitarian agencies until a hostage who worked for another aid organization was released. On the first day of the shutoff, the women who collected water from public distribution points yelled at the kidnappers; on the second day they stoned them; on the third day they shot at them; on the fourth day, the hostage was released.

      Isn’t that interesting. Collective punishment.

      In 2000, two French yachtsmen were taken by pirates in their 40-foot sloop off Somalia.
      The pirates demanded $1 million in ransom. The United Nations suspended all civic improvement in the region — education, animal husbandry, vaccination, and water projects. The aid only resumed when the hostages were released.

      THAT IS Collective punishment. Not a sign asking for the cooperation of people in the search for criminals.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Fascinating Hart. Are you urging generally that sanctions need to be taken against the perpetrators of violent and criminal acts? And therefore that a raft of sanctions, BDS, suspension of arms sales, foreign aid and diplomatic support should be directed at Israel. Because the important thing to understand is the nature of violence and counter-violence. The problem is the Occupation – the military conquest, the disproportionate use of force, the importing and support of alien settlers, the regime of military courts, torture, suppression of peaceful demonstration, land-theft, assassination, imprisonment without trial, checkpoints, the denial of civil rights and national self-determination and all the other brutal measures that Israel has imported into the Occupied Territories. Granted there is small-scale counter-violence, mostly the throwing of stones by adolescents and the lobbing up of feeble home-made rockets by local militias, but collective punishment of the offenders will not end this activity, whereas ending the occupation assuredly will.

        Reply to Comment
      • C D

        You fully miss the point. UN aid agencies are not occupying powers. They are not bound by the Geneva conventions, and have no legal obligation to provide their service. UN peace keeping agencies could be considered occupying powers, and have the legal obligations of an occupying power. The US in Iraq was an occupying power, Israel is an occupying power.

        Another example, an israeli charity helping the Palestinians could decide to suspend its aid. Because its workers are not safe, or for any reason. They do what they want with their funds. Even the US government, or the European Union could suspend donations to the Palestinian Authority, unless it’s written in a proper treaty. When Israel suspended payments it was illegal: first it was PA money, second it was part of a treaty.

        Nothing forces you to be generous, you can impose any conditions on the money and services you freely provide. If you are required to provide them, you cannot impose your conditions.

        Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, Right

        Hart, you *do* understand that the prohibition upon the collective punishment of civilians is to be found in International Humanitarian Law (a.k.a. “the Laws of War”)?

        You *do* understand that, correct?

        Because if you do understand that then you’ll see that the prohibition applies to an armed forces that is either engaged in an armed conflict or has established its authority over an occupied territory.

        I’m writing that out in full because – apparently – you don’t appear to understand that “Wayne Long, a former Army colonel” was not the Commander of the United Nations 4th Armoured Division in the United Nations Army Corp XIV that guarded the southern flank of UN Army Group North as it invaded and subjugated the people of Somalia.

        Mainly because – du’oh! – the United Nations doesn’t possess any armoured divisions, nor has the United Nations Security Council ever fielded its Non-existent World Army against anyone, much less Somalia.

        When it does then come back to me with your “news”, because once the UN does become an Occupying Power then it does take on the responsibilities that go with that authority – at which precise point it will no longer be able to do what Wayne Long describes in the New York Times.

        But until it does that then, so very sorry, if the United Nations decides not to provide aid to Somalia then it is within its rights not to supply aid to Somalia.

        After all, the old adage “you broke it, you own it” does not apply to the UN’s efforts inside Somalia.

        Reply to Comment
    3. Bruce Gould

      Joint statement of several human rights groups:


      Since 1967, Israel has detained and imprisoned over 800,000 Palestinians from the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt). Around 70% of Palestinian families have had at least one relative detained, with vast social and political repercussions. As of March 2015, 5,820 Palestinian political prisoners ,
      including women and children, are being held in prisons located inside Israel, in contravention of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Israel’s policies of detention and imprisonment are used in large part as political tools to suppress
      and maintain control over Palestinian society. These policies are intended to obstruct the daily lives and social fabric of Palestinians, and undermine their ability to oppose the Israeli occupation by criminalizing basic political
      affiliation and/or activities and employing methods such as torture and ill-
      treatment to target and intimidate individuals and communities

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        Any fair-minded person can see this is evil on the scale and determination of South African Apartheid and that the same measures brought against Apartheid will have to be brought against the Occupation. Thank you for posting this information. Israelis will not be able to say “we didn’t know.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        The history of differential treatment of European versus “Oriental” Jews in Israel in the early days suggests racism infected the approach of the founders–themselves victims of European racism of course–to everything “Oriental,” Jewish and Arab:


        Why have transit camps for Mizrahi Jews been written out of Israeli history?
        “…You won’t find an entry for ma’abarot in the Encyclopedia Hebraica. The 1978 edition contains a terse discussion of the subject (27 lines), but not as a separate entry, rather in the general volume devoted to the Land of Israel….

        Who is responsible for constructing our history? Who is charged with the role of filling with content that odd and self-interested concept referred to as “collective memory”?…

        In 1951, a quarter of a million people were living in ma’abarot, 80 percent of them from Islamic lands. Most of the camps were dismantled by 1959. Ten forgotten years. Memories erased.

        Here, in a nutshell, are a few important points which are apparently inconvenient to recall. The first inhabitants of the ma’abarot lived in tents, one per family. Afterward, an improved tent, hut-shaped but still made of canvas, came on the scene. Later, there were tin huts and wooden shacks. Some of the ma’abarot weren’t hooked up to the water or power supply, and filthy public toilets often served dozens of people.

        In April 1949, Zalman Aranne, a leading member of the Mapai ruling party (and later minister of education), warned that a “catastrophic situation” existed in the camps. Elihayu Dobkin, a senior figure in the Jewish Agency, described the conditions as a “holy horror.” But David Ben-Gurion ruled that the improved dwellings that were being demanded for the new immigrants were too costly: “I don’t accept this pampering [approach] with respect to people not living in tents. We are spoiling them. People can live for years in tents. Anyone who doesn’t want to live in them needn’t bother coming here.”

        Beginning in September 1949, the Jews of Poland were allowed to immigrate to the nascent Jewish state. Toward the end of that year, the Agency reached the conclusion that the new arrivals from Poland deserved better absorption conditions than the immigrants who preceded them. “There are respected individuals among them,” was its explanation.

        To spare these newcomers the suffering of the transit camps, it was proposed to house them in hotels. At the same time, meetings were held among the authorities about speeding up the Poles’ placement in permanent housing – including in apartments originally allocated for immigrants from the Arab countries.

        “They were all aware that giving preference to the Polish immigrants was wrong and so they resolved to keep it secret,” wrote historian Tom Segev in his book “1949: The First Israelis.”

        In January 1953, the Agency’s Immigrant Absorption Department in Jerusalem noted, “Most of the European families have long since left the ma’abarot, and more than 90 percent of the camps’ inhabitants are from the Oriental communities.”…”

        Reply to Comment
        • MuslimJew

          “The history of differential treatment of European versus “Oriental” Jews in Israel in the early days suggests racism infected the approach of the founders–themselves victims of European racism of course–to everything “Oriental,” Jewish and Arab: ”

          “Mizrahi Jews”

          Which is why Zionists invented the term “Mizrahi Jews”, to make it easier to believe that Arabs cannot be Jews, and Jews can’t be Arabs.

          Anyone with more than half a brain knows that, of course, a Jew can be an Arab, and an Arab can be a Jew.

          So enough with the toxic, divisive word games:

          Jews from Arab countries are not “Mizrahi Jews”, they are Arab-Jews.

          Reply to Comment
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