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‘Sadistic display of violence’: 12 Palestinians, 4 British nationals hospitalized after being beaten by Israeli forces in Sur Bahir 

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At least 16 people, including 12 Palestinians and four British nationals, were hospitalized on Monday for injuries sustained during a violent, massive Israeli demolition operation in the occupied East Jerusalem town of Sur Bahir.

Hundreds of Israeli troops stormed the Wadi al-Hummus area of Sur Bahir in the predawn hours of Monday and began forcibly evicting Palestinian families from their homes in preparation for the demolition of 11 buildings in the area.

Locals told Mondoweiss at the time that armed Israeli soldiers forced their way into the homes and were “extremely aggressive” as they removed residents and foreign activists who had barricaded themselves inside in solidarity.

The International Solidarity Movement (ISM) reported that 12 Palestinians, whose identities remained unknown, were hospitalized after Israeli forces kicked them in the back down flights of stairs. Two others were reportedly shot at close range with rubber-coated steel bullets.

ISM added that four of the group’s British activists were hospitalized at the Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem after the were “stamped on, dragged by the hair, strangled with a scarf and pepper sprayed by Israeli border police.”

They were identified as Bethany Rielly, 25, Beatrice-Lily Richardson, 27, Chris Lorigan, 30, and Gabriella Jones, 20.

The group were participating in a 30-person sit-in along with French and American activists at the home of Wadi al-Hummus resident Ismail Obeidi in the hopes that their presence could help delay the demolition of Obeidi’s home.

According to ISM, dozens of Israeli soldiers broke down the door to Obeidi’s home at around 5am, and immediately pepper-sprayed Obeidi in the face as he stood in the doorway with his hands up.

“They used excessive force, seemingly with enjoyment, whilst firing tear gas into the enclosed space and brutalising Palestinians and international activists,” ISM said.

Rielly, Richardson, Lorigan, and Jones had closed themselves off in a “small unventilated bathroom” when a soldier reportedly opened the door and threw a tear gas canister inside.

“When the soldiers found us in the bathroom, they threw multiple tear gas canisters and shut the door. As we started to suffocate in the smallest room in the house, soldiers burst in and dragged us violently, pulling at every possible part, regardless of safety or policy,” ISM quoted Lorigan as saying.

Lorigan told ISM that Israeli soldiers dragged him by his feet, lifted him up, and kicked him in the stomach, while one soldier stamped on his head four times “at full force” before standing on his head and pulling his hair.

Chris Lorigan, being attended in the hospital for a fractured rib (Photo:ISM)

“He then stamped on my throat and others started punching my torso. It was a sadistic display of violence by the border police,” Lorigan said.

ISM added that while Richardson was being dragged out of the house, her hands were crushed so badly that she suffered a fractured knuckle on her left hand, and her right hand suffered severe tissue damage “which will be permanently misshapen unless she gets cosmetic surgery.”

Beatrice-Lily Richardson’s arm injuries, one of the hospitalized activists (Photo:ISM)

During the attack, Israeli soldiers pepper-sprayed Jones in the face and ripped open her shirt, revealing her bra, and grabbed her so tightly that visible bruises were left on her arm.

Gabriella Jones arm injuries, one of the hospitalized activists (Photo: ISM)

Rielly, who was dragged out by the scarf around her neck and then by her hair, told ISM that when she began screaming, a soldier crushed her neck under his knee.

She added that as she was being dragged out, she heard soldiers laughing at her.

“I couldn’t believe the pure aggression they were using against us. I was in such a state of shock the whole time that I couldn’t open my eyes,” Rielly told ISM.

“We were unarmed civilians using peaceful means to try and delay them destroying Ismail and his family’s home that they worked so hard to build. Hundreds of soldiers were bussed in to do this. Is a house demolition a military operation anywhere else in the world? This is the reality of life for Palestinians living under Israeli occupation,” she said.

Bethany Rielly’s neck injuries, one of the hospitalized activists (Photo: ISM)

According to testimonies from ISM activists stationed in other rooms of Obeidi’s house, Israeli soldiers continued their acts of aggression even after the Palestinians in the house held their hands up and agreed to leave voluntarily.

One unnamed American activist said that the soldiers were grabbing people’s fingers, “appearing as though they intended to break them.”

“Then we got to the stairs and they were kicking us down the stairs in the lower back and several of the Palestinian boys they kicked so hard that they tumbled down the stairs and this was when there was no resistance at all going on,” the activist told ISM.

ISM noted that it had activists from Spain, Britain, and Austria stationed in another house belonging to Ghaleb Abu Hadwan and his four daughters, son, and grandfather.

Edmond Sichrovsky, an Austrian activist of Jewish origin, who was in the house said that Israeli forces broke into the home and first dragged out the Palestinians, “knocking the grandfather to the floor in front of his crying and screaming grandchildren.”

According to Sichrovsky, everyone with a cellphone was then forcibly removed before soldiers began attacking him and four other activists.

“I was repeatedly kicked and kneed, which left a bloody nose and multiple cuts, as well breaking my glasses from a knee in the face. Once outside, they slammed me against a car while shouting verbal insults at me and women activists, calling them whores,” he said.

In it’s statement documenting the account of it’s activists, ISM said: “Yesterday’s demolition of Wadi al-Hummus has made national news but due to the lack of media presence inside the family homes the extent of the violence and sadism perpetrated by IOF on Palestinian citizens and international activists has remained largely unreported.”

While sharing the personal stories of their activists, ISM noted the importance of recognizing the fact that it is “incomparable” to the daily treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation

“17 people including Mr Obedi, his wife and their six children are now homeless as well as the family of Mr Hadwan,” ISM said.

“Evidence of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Palestine is more apparent than ever in efforts like the destruction of these three blocks in Wadi al-Hummus, and hundreds more demolition orders, by the Israeli government.”

Yumna Patel

Yumna Patel is the Palestine correspondent for Mondoweiss.

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11 Responses

  1. aloeste on July 23, 2019, 1:27 pm

    looks like four Brits will never be back in Israel…..

    • Talkback on July 23, 2019, 2:15 pm

      aloeste: “looks like four Brits will never be back in Israel…..”

      Do you actually realize how low your comment is? It’s like saying looks like many more Jews will never be back to Europe after they had experience violence there.

      Sometimes I ask myself how low a Zionist can actually sink. They seem to be setting up new records every day. Who isn’t surprised that Israel is amongst the top three hated contries of the world?! And yes, people like you are one of the reasons.

      • JWalters on July 23, 2019, 7:14 pm

        “Sometimes I ask myself how low a Zionist can actually sink.”

        It’s well known that the tone of an organization is set at the top. These Israeli soldiers are demonstrating clearly that they are clinical psychopaths and sadists. They have a deadly lack of human empathy, and take pleasure in causing pain in others. These attitudes directly reflect the attitudes, actions, and policies of Netanyahu and the Israeli government. Israel has been a pure predator since its inception, reflecting the attitudes of the war profiteers who financed the predatory “Zionist project”.

        It’s also well known that serious abusers have themselves usually been seriously abused as children. Potentially relevant is the significant amount of child rape in the Orthodox Jewish community. Rabbi Nuchem Rosenberg discusses the situation, graphically.

        “On a visit to Jerusalem in 2005, Rabbi Rosenberg entered into a mikvah in one of the holiest neighborhoods in the city, Mea She’arim. ‘I opened a door that entered into a schvitz,’ he told me. ‘Vapors everywhere, I can barely see. My eyes adjust, and I see an old man, my age, long white beard, a holy-looking man, sitting in the vapors. On his lap, facing away from him, is a boy, maybe seven years old. And the old man is having anal sex with this boy.’

        “Rabbi Rosenberg paused, gathered himself, and went on: ‘This boy was speared on the man like an animal, like a pig, and the boy was saying nothing. But on his face—fear. The old man [looked at me] without any fear, as if this was common practice. He didn’t stop. I was so angry, I confronted him. He removed the boy from his penis, and I took the boy aside. I told this man, ‘It’s a sin before God, a mishkovzucher. What are you doing to this boy’s soul? You’re destroying this boy!’ He had a sponge on a stick to clean his back, and he hit me across the face with it. ‘How dare you interrupt me!’ he said. I had heard of these things for a long time, but now I had seen.

        “The child sex abuse crisis in ultra-Orthodox Judaism, like that in the Catholic Church, has produced its share of shocking headlines in recent years. In New York, and in the prominent Orthodox communities of Israel and London, allegations of child molestation and rape have been rampant. The alleged abusers are schoolteachers, rabbis, fathers, uncles—figures of male authority. The victims, like those of Catholic priests, are mostly boys. Rabbi Rosenberg believes around half of young males in Brooklyn’s Hasidic community—the largest in the United States and one of the largest in the world—have been victims of sexual assault perpetrated by their elders. Ben Hirsch, director of Survivors for Justice, a Brooklyn organization that advocates for Orthodox sex abuse victims, thinks the real number is higher. ‘From anecdotal evidence, we’re looking at over 50 percent. It has almost become a rite of passage.'”
        “The Child-Rape Assembly Line”
        https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/qbe8bp/the-child-rape-assembly-line-0000141-v20n11

        When we consider that Netanyahu, ambassador David Friedman, and Jared Kushner were all raised in Orthodox Jewish communities, there arises the possibility that they have deep emotional pathologies due to childhood abuse. Such emotional pathologies could clearly contribute to ruthless psychopath and sadist attitudes toward the Palestinians, and toward anyone else who gets in their way. Negotiation is simply not possible with such people.

      • Misterioso on July 24, 2019, 9:51 am

        @aloeste

        “…looks like four Brits will never be back in Israel.” Such arrogance. Such stupidity!

        You and your ilk are your own worst enemy. Thanks to Trump, Sheldon and Miriam Adelson and Haim Saban, et al, you’re riding high now, but you’re headed for a brick wall. It’s now over 71 years and expansionist, borderless “Israel” is still increasingly dependent on the U.S. and its taxpayers. “Israel” serves no positive purpose for the U.S. Indeed, as more and more Americans, especially youth, are rapidly realizing, it is an ever growing major geopolitical liability, a mill stone around their necks. As history attests, the Zionist party will inevitably end.

  2. Ossinev on July 23, 2019, 1:31 pm

    Another fun day out for the scumbag Zio SS. Must be gutted that they didn`t manage to register any live kills though. Still plenty of opportunities in the future as the International Community tut tuts and looks away.

    • Talkback on July 23, 2019, 2:19 pm

      Ossinev: “Must be gutted that they didn`t manage to register any live kills though.”

      Which is quite surprising, because there were six children. Maybe because this wasn’t the IDF, but the border police and they have different orders or don’t feel easily threatened by children. Or their parents protected their heads.

  3. eljay on July 23, 2019, 1:39 pm

    … According to testimonies from ISM activists stationed in other rooms of Obeidi’s house, Israeli soldiers continued their acts of aggression even after the Palestinians in the house held their hands up and agreed to leave voluntarily.

    One unnamed American activist said that the soldiers were grabbing people’s fingers, “appearing as though they intended to break them.”

    “Then we got to the stairs and they were kicking us down the stairs in the lower back and several of the Palestinian boys they kicked so hard that they tumbled down the stairs and this was when there was no resistance at all going on,” the activist told ISM. …

    A Zionist can be proud of Boris’ “strong fighting Jews” in/and the world’s “most moral” army.

    • Talkback on July 23, 2019, 2:27 pm

      “Israeli soldiers continued their acts of aggression even after the Palestinians in the house held their hands up and agreed to leave voluntarily.”

      They were lucky that they didn’t wave a white flag, because maybe they would have been killed on the spot.

  4. ejran on July 24, 2019, 8:34 am

    How is this not headlines all over the world? How is the whole world not rallying in protest against this? How is home demolition even forgivable? Someone should write a piece in a major US news outlet just explaining what that really means and how often it is done. Reading mondoweiss makes me really sad sometimes, just because I feel like we are talking to people who already agree. The atrocities reported keep getting more atrocious that, if I dare say it, I feel like even the writers themselves develop some degree of desensitization. Every time this is told, it needs to be told like it is shocking, shocking, unacceptable by any means, and goes against very basic human rights. All names need faces, beautiful faces, faces before the torture, faces that smile and inspire empathy. All faces need stories.
    “ISM noted the importance of recognizing the fact that it is “incomparable” to the daily treatment of Palestinians by the Israeli occupation.”
    Thank you for this. And for this article.

    • Talkback on July 24, 2019, 10:04 am

      Ejran: “Reading mondoweiss makes me really sad sometimes, just because I feel like we are talking to people who already agree.”

      1.) That’s because Israel has allready lost the debate. Hasbara has collapsed. Why do you think it’s focussing on its “antisemitism” smear campage and trying to criminalize criticism? It’s desperate and digging it’s own hole with this disgusting behaviour. Right now the Zionist commenters on MW are silent. They don’t know what to do. They are looking for any clue how they can distract from the issue.

      But here’s the thing. They know that it’s a crime and that an occupier’s law is not necesseraly legitimate and in this case just another war crime. Maybe even an act of state terrorism, if they want the Palestinian leadership to give in.

      2.) MWneeds to allow more Hasbara trolls. We need more sparring partners and Zionist intellectual lightwights (which is a pleonasm, I don’t know any ZIonist intellectual heavyweight)

      • Stephen Shenfield on July 24, 2019, 12:27 pm

        Even lightweight ‘sparring partners’ are increasingly hard to find. They know that they’re going to lose any fair intellectual contest. The old excuses and evasions no longer work. From now on they’ll rely exclusively on slander, intimidation, censorship, ‘lawfare’ and open violence.

        We see the same shift here in the US with Trump. He knows he cannot win any fair contest on substance. His only hope is to unleash white racism and use the same methods as the Zionists, who form part of his coalition.

        This, if I recall, is called fascism.

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