A week after a serious assault on peace activists near the illegal 'outpost' of Mizpeh Yair, south of Hebron, a follow-up observation tour was stopped by IDF. MK Mosi Raz: "IDF and the Israel Police are serving outlaw settlers by depriving our freedom of movement and right to protest."
Figures. Top: Breaking the Silence CEO Avner Gvaryahu being detained, placed into an IDF armored vehicle. Bottom: Human rights attorney Michael Sfard -- detained inside an IDF armored vehicle.
Tel-Aviv, August 31 -- two Breaking the Silence leaders, CEO Avner Gvaryahu and Communications Director Ahiya Schatz, as well as renowned human rights attorney Michael Sfard were detained by IDF near the illegal 'outpost' of Mizpeh Yair, south of Hebron, in Palestine.
A week after the serious assault on Ta'ayush [i] peace activists near the illegal 'outpost' Mizpeh Yair in south of Hebron, where IDF soldiers stood by and failed to stop the violence, [ii] Breaking the Silence organized a tour to the area. About a hundred people showed up for the tour, including Israelis, US and European tourists. The tour plan included neither entering any settlement, nor any interaction with settlers, and the tour was coordinated in advance with IDF. The goal was only observation and public education regarding the situation in the area, which is the scene of particularly serious violations of international law.
Around 10:00 am, when the tour was approaching the Israeli-Palestinian border, the organizers were informed that the tour would not be allowed to proceed, since IDF military commander of the area issued a "thinning decree" for the day. Decrees of this type are relatively new, and they permit IDF to selectively exclude persons from the area, without specifying the cause, or the persons, pertaining to which the decree applies.
After some delay, the organizers were informed that the tour would be permitted to proceed. Apparently Haaretz reporter, who was informed of the situation, inquired with IDF Spokesperson, and consequently IDF changed its position: The tour was given permit to proceed, regardless of the selective 'thinning order'. IDF armored vehicles flanked the tour from that point on, purportedly to provide security.
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