A Palestinian activist has received death threats from occupation forces for exposing human rights violations in occupied Hebron.
Aref Jaber, an activist working with Hebron-based organisation Human Rights Defenders, said that occupation forces stopped him outside his home on Saturday and threatened to kill him if he continues to document their treatment of Palestinians in the city, according to Wafa. The incident took place in the area of Hebron known as H2, which is inhabited by approximately 35, 000 Palestinians and 500 illegal Israeli settlers.
Writing on the Human Rights Defenders’ Facebook page, Jaber explained that eight occupation force soldiers arrived at his home on Saturday. Two pointed their rifles directly at him, and a third repeatedly smashed Jaber’s face against a wall, “kicking [his] legs, ankles, and feet as hard as he could”.
Jaber’s post continued:
After the Israeli soldier finished conducting a violent search on me, he then screamed, in a very threatening way ‘you recorded the soldier who shot the terrorist […] If you continue to record, or take photos of the Israeli Army I will kill you!! Do you understand what I said!?! I will put a bullet in your head and that’s a promise!!!!’.”
The soldier was reportedly referring to another incident that occurred earlier on Saturday, in which occupation forces shot and killed Palestinian Rami Sabarneh. Jaber filmed the killing, which it is believed prompted the subsequent death threats by occupation forces.
According to Wafa, Sabarneh was doing road work for the Hebron Municipality near the illegal Israeli settlement of Kiryat Arba, just outside Hebron, when he was killed. According to the Israeli military, Sabarneh was killed as he attempted to ram his vehicle into occupation forces. He was married and the father of three children.
Human Rights Defenders, the group with which Jaber is affiliated, is a grass-roots organisation that documents human rights violations committed by Israeli occupation forces. The group distributes cameras to Palestinian families in areas where human rights violations occur on a regular basis, with the aim of collecting evidence of Israel’s violation of international law.
Israel has recently sought to crack down on filming crimes committed by its forces. In May, the Israeli Ministerial Committee for Legislation discussed a bill that would prohibit the documentation of Israeli soldiers’ human rights violations against Palestinian citizens. The bill stated that “anyone who shoots a video or a photo, or records soldiers while they are doing their job, with the aim of disturbing the morale of soldiers and citizens, will be sentenced to five year’s imprisonment. In case this is done with the aim of destabilising the state’s security, the perpetrator will be sentenced to ten year’s imprisonment.”
The bill was widely condemned, with the International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) calling on the Committee to oppose it. IFJ General Secretary, Anthony Bellanger, said that “the Israeli legislative proposal must by no means become a law. It constitutes a serious breach of the freedom of the press, as it precisely criminalises the work of journalists […] Censorship should not be enshrined in law, and it is media workers’ duty to inform the public.”