Friday, April 16, 2004

Child used as Human Shield

Child used as Human Shield
April 17, 2004 : By: RHR Date: April 16, 2004 Biddu, NW Jerusalem

Four arrestees, including a 12 year old boy, RHR Executive Director Rabbi Arik Ascherman, an additional Palestinian and ISM activist, were used as human shields in Bido yesterday, Thursday, April 15. After local Palestinians and Israeli activists saw a young boy being beaten by border police, the boy's mother sent a Palestinian man to try and help him and Rabbi Ascherman also approached the police. Both were arrested, along with a Swedish ISM activist.
The boy, crying, shaking from fear and eventually cold, was sat on the hood of a jeep and tied to the bars protecting the glass. The other three arrestees were bound and placed in front of a second jeep. After the arrests, local Palestinians began throwing stones, a number of them hitting the jeeps. The unit commander was Shahar Yitzhaki
Rabbi Ascherman repeatedly requested over the next few hours that they not be used as human shields, that the boy receive medical attention and that the officers identify themselves. He also asked to lend his coat to the child and to stand in front of the child to protect him from stones. All these requests were met with physical and verbal threats, orders to "shut up," and/or derision. The division commander, "Benny," also visited the site during these events. Rabbi Ascherman also directed his requests to him. Rabbi Ascherman was eventually told that the boy had been checked by a medic before Rabbi Ascherman was arrested.
Rabbi Ascherman was seized by his throat and head butted by Yitzhaki upon arrest. The arrestees were moved from the scene after several hours, but kept outside. The child was allowed to go home around 18:30 . By this time, the adults were also shaking from cold and sharing Rabbi Ascherman's coat. They were released, but Yitzhaki "rearrested" them and took them to the Givat Zeev Police station. There, after continuing to be held outside, Rabbi Ascherman convinced the attending officers to allow them to sit inside. The Palestinian was taken to Ofer, while Ascherman and the ISM activist were conditionally released late that night.
At today's High Court session a final debate on the 9 petitions regarding the route of the separation barrier was set for next Wednesday, April 21st 2004 at 9:00 am .
For More Info: Rabbi Arik Ascherman 02-5637731 or 050-607034