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Israel forces arrest researcher for human rights NGO B’Tselem

November 4, 2019 at 12:03 pm

Arif Daraghmeh, a researcher for Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem [Twitter]

Israeli occupation forces arrested a researcher for Israeli human rights NGO B’Tselem last week on the basis he had photographed a protest against an illegal settlement outpost, reported Haaretz.

Arif Daraghmeh, 50, was detained at the Tayasir checkpoint last Thursday, and released only “latethat night”. According to the rights researcher, the detention was purely “intended to intimidate”.

Speaking to Haaretz, Daraghmeh said he had arrived at the checkpoint in a vehicle with friends.

“The soldiers immediately asked us strange questions, like if there’s any activity today and if we’re going to plant olive trees,” he said.

“They called an officer in the Civil Administration [occupation authorities], who was also interested in any planned activity in the Jordan Valley.”

Daraghmeh then heard an army officer remark that they have a video of him participating in a demonstration on 26 October against the Shirat Ha’asavim settlement outpost in the Jordan Valley.

READ: Israel soldiers stop field researcher over B’Tselem reports in car 

Daraghmeh was taken to an army base near the Mehola settlement, where he was left “sitting by the gate, in the sun, without cuffing him or otherwise restraining him”.

At 10pm that night, Daraghmeh was taken to a police station in Ariel settlement, where he was “asked about his presence at the protest against the outpost, and also at another protest that took place shortly thereafter near the village of Ein al-Biddya”, to which he replied he was doing his job.

He was finally released at about 3am on Friday.

A military spokesperson told Haaretz that a Palestinian was “arrested on suspicion of disturbing the peace”, during “routine” army “operations”.

According to the report, “the Shirat Ha’asavim outpost has been expanding since 2016 despite stop-work orders issued against it”, including work beginning on a road between it and another illegal outpost – Givat Salit – which “is in the process of being legalised”.

“Palestinian shepherds say shepherds from Shirat Ha’asavim have restricted their access to pasture lands they have used for decades,” Haaretz added.