Ahmed Abu Hashem and daughter (photo: Palestine Solidarity Project)
The activist community in the little West Bank village of Beit Ommar has been targeted again by Israeli forces. Fifteen military jeeps descended on the town in the middle of the night and burst into the room of a new mother hours after she’d given birth to her first child.
Ahmed Abu Hashem, activist member of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee, and his son Mohammed were beaten, arrested and hauled off during the 2 am raid.
Readers may recall that the children of Beit Ommar have been hit particularly hard by the occupation, and some were the focus of the Defense for Children International report. I am told that the boy on the report’s cover (left) is one of Abu Hashem’s children; his brother Mohammed Abu Hashem was arrested yet again yesterday. Mohammed (pictured below) was featured in our earlier report, having just been released from jail.
Mohammed Abu Hashem
At the time The Palestine Solidarity Project (PSP) informed us that soldiers demanded to know why Abu Hashem’s family participated in the local protests and demanded names of other activists.
Abu Hashem’s daughter-in-law Yasmin Abu Maria had just given birth to Abu Hashem’s grandchild. And soldiers burst into the room of a baby girl on the first night of her life, not even a day old. Is this what it means to be Palestinian? Not one sacred day of life with her child without interruption from soldiers with guns drawn? And the humiliation of a man not being able to protect his family.
And why? Because this family has exercised its universal right to speak out against the government that rules their lives.
At approximately 2am in Palestine, 15 Jeeps of Israeli forces invaded Beit Ommar, seeking to arrest the son of Ahmed Abu Hashem, an active member of the Beit Ommar Popular Committee and PSP. Just yesterday, at approximately 1pm Palestine time, Ahmed’s daughter-in-law and niece of PSP Co-founder, Yasmin Abu Maria, gave birth to a baby girl. When the Israeli military forced their way into Ahmed’s home, they entered to room of the newly-recuperating mother and her young daughter with weapons drawn, terrifying the young family. When Ahmed tried to intervene to protect his daughter-in-law and new granddaughter he was attacked and violently beaten by Israeli forces. Ahmed and his son Mohammed were arrested and taken away.
PSP will update as more information becomes available.
Mohammed has been arrested several times in his young life, and was a focus of a previous Defense of Children International-Palestine report.
Ahmed’s home has been a continuous target of Israeli aggression, and Ahmed himself has often been targeted because of his commitment to the popular resistance and talent for documenting IOF aggression.
Last years Campaign for the Release of Ahmed Abu Hashem and His Sons provides the context for the threat the people of Beit Ommar endure on a daily basis. Their cherished land is coveted:
Ahmed is the father of eight children, and is the only source of income for his family. Ahmed has a piece of land, about 3 dunams (3000 square meters), adjacent to Karmei Tsur settlement. The settlement is illegal according to international law under the 4th Geneva Convention. The Palestinian land near the settlement has been planted, uprooted and cut by settlers, and replanted again many times. It is a constant effort for Palestinians to keep their own land. Ahmed, who was arrested while trying to defend his land, has been arrested several times in the last few years. He has spent about four and a half years total in Israeli jails. His sons have also been arrested several times since they were children. Yousef (19 years old) was released on April 4th, 2012, after spending about six months in jail. Emad (22 years old), who is married with two infant children, was arrested on April 17th and is still in detention, along with their 15 year-old brother Muhammad, who was taken during a night raid on April 23rd.