On the night of February 16, ISM activists joined a number of local Protection Unit activists to go on a night patrol of the old city in Al Khalil. During the night patrol, we were brought into the home of of a family who have recently experienced intimidation and aggressive harassment from illegal settlers and the military.
Our hosts described to us how settlers, including prominent Hebron settlement spokesperson Noam Arnon invaded the family home by climbing down the stairs from their rooftop, accompanied by the Israeli army. Our host described how, in the presence of the army, Noam Arnon threatened that he would murder the entire family who lived in the house if they did not submit to the demands of the settlers and give up their home. This disgusting threat was allegedly made by the man who is often portrayed as a man of peace, and a reasonable voice in the settler community. Our host went on to describe how Anat Cohen, another prominent settler in Al Khalil, was watching this interaction from a nearby home, encouraging the soldiers and settlers to kill the homeowners. Also among the mob was Baruch Marzel (ברוך מרזל), the extreme right-wing politician and previous spokesperson of the Kach organisation – a party outlawed in Israel and the US as a terrorist organisation. In 2000 Marzel organised a party at the shrine of Baruch Goldstein, the Israeli terrorist who murdered 29 Palestinians in the Ibrahim mosque, to celebrate the massacre.
Nighttime invasions of homes by the military are common throughout occupied Palestine. However, instances like this shine a light on the inner workings of the occupation. The event described above is the occupation in a microcosm: one of the world’s most technologically advanced armies, acting on behalf of a group of extremists with an agenda of ethnic cleansing. There is no justice in an occupation.