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WATCH: Hebron man faces arrest for waving Palestinian flag on his roof

A Palestinian resident of Hebron in the occupied West Bank was forced by armed Israeli soldiers to pull down a Palestinian flag from his roof on Saturday after an Israeli settler tried to climb onto his roof and  remove it himself.

Video footage released by B’Tselem (here below) was filmed by Shadi Sidr, who lives in the Israeli-controlled H2 area of Hebron, caught a settler on tape trespassing onto his property to try and remove his Palestinian flag from the roof, but getting caught in the barbwire fence and eventually forced to retreat. Several minutes later, five armed Israeli soldiers come up to the roof and threatened to arrest him if he did not pull down the flag.

According to Israeli military rule, soldiers can order any person to remove a flag or other symbol or sign if they deem it to be a threat to the public  peace/security. The irony of course is that the settler was the one breaking into Sidr’s home and  the one provoking a confrontation. Sider was keeping to himself, bothering no one, surrounded by heckling settlers.  But of course, waving a Palestinian flag in your own home in the occupied West Bank is too much. It warrants the invasion of settlers and soldiers into your home and threats of arrest. The term “occupation” is thrown around a lot, but this incident is a blatantly simple and infuriating manifestation of just what it means to live under occupation – surrounded by hostile people who are protected by soldiers who can tell you what to do in the privacy of your own home.

In the first video, Sidr asks the settler why he is trying to get on his roof when he has a perfectly functional front door and he replies that he just wants to talk, but dozens more settlers can be seen down below watching him and egging him on to do try and get the flag down. Once it is clear he can’t make it past the barbwire, Sidr tries to help him climb back down the ladder, but several settlers are heard in the background screaming at him not to touch him. While the settler is there trapped, Sidr tells him he is welcome in his home, but not by breaking in. The settler replies that his roof and all the land belongs to him, because it is part of the Land of Israel. Sidr replies it is Palestine here, not Tel Aviv. “This is my land,” the settler repeats.

In the second and maybe most infuriating and unbelievable video, the soldier who must free the settler from the barbwire – the guy who is trespassing and should be reprimanded – tells Sadr to move back (in his own home) and that he is the provocateur.

In the third video, filmed by B’Tselem field researcher Manal Ja’bri, the soldiers are seen on Sidr’s roof demanding he take down his flag and threatening him with arrest.

According to a statement issued by B’Tselem, soldiers must ensure the safety of Palestinian individuals and cannot abandon a Palestinian to fend for himself in the face of a throng trying to gain access to his private residence. “The soldiers, responsible for maintaining security in the area, are first and foremost obliged to protect Palestinians who constitute the protected population of the West Bank. It goes without saying that soldiers must not aid and abet settlers trespassing on Palestinians’ homes or satisfy the whim of a settler displeased by the sight of Palestinian flag flying in Hebron.”

Read Also: 
In Hebron, terror begets a reign of terror
A city of devastation: Hebron 20 years after the massacre

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    1. Danny

      Yikes! This is disturbing on some many levels. Where to begin?

      1. The settler who got caught in the barbed wire reminds me of the old Yiddish saying “Meshuga, red me ha’gag!” (or “crazy dude, come down from the roof!”). His accent is Russian, and his Hebrew is at about the level of a 1-2 year new immigrant.

      2. The views the camera catches are absolutely breath-taking. I imagine living in Sidr’s house is akin to living next to a den of snakes. The settlers down below are revolting on so many levels.

      3. The poor soldier who has to help the settler come down from the roof is a victim too, nearly on par with Sidr. I’m 100% sure he’d love nothing but to be at least 100 miles away from this place, but it caught in a web not of his doing.

      4. Whoever makes this possible at the top by enabling these settlers is an inherently immoral person.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Jan

      It is not difficult to imagine what would happen to a Palestinian if he attempted to climb onto the roof of one of the Jewish settlers to remove an Israeli flag. The Palestinian man would have either been shot or imprisoned.

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        He would most likely be shot, his house would be bulldozed and his entire family would be imprisoned.

        Ever thus to roof-climbers (only Arab ones though).

        Reply to Comment
        • claudio

          Worst of all this is not an isolated episode , this 24 hrs 7 days/ 365 / 66 year old ….

          I love peace , but its very difficult to maintain your cool under this circumstances.This is a tragedy , and shame to the western world.

          Reply to Comment
    3. Philos

      Ha’meetnachel ha’meezdayen ha’zeh lo’yodaya eich ledeber ivrit. lo be’mekreh Likud veh Beyit Ha’Yehudim samimim dagash al zehut yehudi; rov tomcheyem lo yisraelim. rabak.

      Reply to Comment
      • shachalnur

        Az ma hem,im lo Israelim?

        Reply to Comment
    4. Haifawi

      Looks like the Occupation Law won out in the end.
      Everyone handled themselves as best as they could under the circumstances.
      I wonder if that officer will refuse to do these sorts of things again.

      Reply to Comment
    5. “According to Israeli military rule, soldiers can order any person to remove a flag or other symbol or sign if they deem it to be a threat to the public peace/security. The irony of course is that the settler was the one breaking into Sidr’s home and the one provoking a confrontation.”

      So what happens is that the settlers learn that they can force results through personal acts. The settler did not make a complaint to local IDF authority but trespassed to handle the matter himself (or perhaps a complaint was ignored). Mostly, taking the law into one’s own hands by violating another law is also an offense–but not here.

      The last video is rather symbolic. At first, English is used as an intermediary language. Then, as voices rise all around, speaking Hebrew, a call to prayer begins. Everyone on that roof is trapped in a culture not theirs. The only ones with true homes are the settlers cheering, as they define home via IDF presence. Neither soldier nor Palestinian resident “belongs” there.

      But the videoing was not interrupted. That is a good thing.

      I thought, watching part 3, “is this a movie script?”

      Reply to Comment
    6. Ginger Eis

      In Syria horrendous, heart-wrenching tragedy has been- and is still unfolding re the Palestinians, but the great human right violation and war crime of the day from the point of view of REAL human rights activists and “MA-degree” holders in the field of “changing definition of “pro-Israelism” (this days you can actually get an MA degree on how to chew gums and apply make-up while sitting in the light rail during the morning rush-hour) is: “Hebron man faces arrest for waving Palestinian flag on his roof”! And already there is jubilation everywhere, shouts of “yikes” and “thanks you for this post” coming in from every dark corner. What a bunch of useless human beings!

      Reply to Comment
      • Darcha

        Translation from nonsense Hasbarese: Hey! Look over there!

        Reply to Comment
    7. Average American

      The real impact of this is the ideology that is being supported and enforced. “Your house and all this land belong to me because it is part of the Land of Israel”. And all the settlers watching and all the soldiers there agree with him. Astounding. And how big is the Land of Israel? How widely will this ideology be enforced? Already there are comments about Jordan, the next logical area to spread into. Does the East Bank belong to him? And beyond?

      Reply to Comment
      • Vadim

        Pinky: Gee, Brain, what do you want to do tonight?

        Brain: The same thing we do every night, Pinky – try to take over the world!

        Reply to Comment