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Observer to be Deported from Palestine by Israel

Human Rights Observer to be Deported from Palestine by Israel

A Human Rights Observer (HRO) from the UK was arrested in Tel Rumeida, Hebron earlier today. He had just finished escorting Palestinian children to school and was walking home on Shuhaddah street when he was stopped by an armed Border Police unit in a targeted arrest. He was informed that his visa had expired but explained that he had been given an appointment with the Ministy of the Interior (MoI) for renewal.

He had applied for this renewal before his visa had expired and was given an appointment in three weeks time, as is the usual practice of the MoI.

He produced documents to prove this appointment. These documents were refused and he alone was put into a Border Police van and taken to Abrahim Avinu police station. He has had an immediate hearing tonight with the MoI, not attended by any lawyer or independent witnesses. The MoI. decided on his deportation without hearing any representation from him or his lawyer. He waits now in Ramleh Deportation Centre near Tel Aviv to be sent home.

This HRO has been working in Tel Rumeida for a number of months. His primary role has been in escorting Palestinian children to and from Qurtuba Primary School as they are daily subjected to stoning and physical assault by Settlers from the Tel Rumeida and Beit Haddassa Settlements.

This area of Hebron has seen some of the worst Settler violence against local Palestinians. The Police have been at best apathetic toward this violence and at worst, have accommodated it. He and other HROs are regularly harassed and threatened with arrest by Police.

Only last week, this HRO met with members of the Israeli Knesset to discuss the security situation with Settlers and the difficulties with the Civil and Border Police in Tel Rumeida. HROs have been stoned, spat at and had their life threatened on numerous occasions by Settlers communities for the work they do. The absence of HRO's would give Settlers carte blanche to do as they wish to Palestinians and their land without any international witnesses.

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