Dozens of security forces catch three youths studying at Givat Geulat Tzion

Update: Monday, July 11, 2016 Honenu filed a civil suit for 30,000 NIS for false detention.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016, 16:56 Residents of the Geulat Tzion hilltop community in the Shilo Bloc report that the ISA and the police have been harassing them since the beginning of May on a daily basis, including carrying out raids and detentions with the intent to close the yeshiva at the site. Until the week of Sunday, May 15, every day the Binyamin Brigade Commander issued a closed military zone order for the area of the hilltop, however at the end of that week the GOC of the Central Command, Major General Roni Numa signed on a demarcation order prohibiting construction on the hilltop for one year. Since the month of Nisan (April) several youths have been coming to the hilltop on a regular basis for Torah classes. A task force under the authority of a police officer and with the involvement of “Oren”, the coordinator from the Jewish Department of the ISA responsible for the Shilo Bloc area, has been arriving every day to the site and carrying out raids and detentions, sometimes with dozens of policemen. Before and during the raids surveillance points are set up on the hilltops and the communities overlooking Geulat Tzion, with the goal of locating the youths studying at the site. Honenu reports that one of the largest raids, in terms of security forces, was carried out on the afternoon of Monday, May 23. Approximately 15 police vehicles arrived in the area of the hilltop. Dozens of policemen, police detectives, border policemen, and Yassam (Special Forces) policemen raided the hilltop from four directions and caught three youths studying Torah at the site. The policemen read them the new demarcation order, released two of them at the site and detained the third. He was taken to the Binyamin Police Station, interrogated, and held overnight. On the afternoon of Tuesday, May 24 he was unconditionally released. He is considering suing the police for false detention. Geulat Tzion residents report that raids are carried out at all hours of the night and day. At night the security forces use night vision equipment, break into structures and in one incident a police office entered a structure with his pistol drawn. Also “Oren”, the above-mentioned coordinator from the Jewish Department of the ISA, conducts threatening conversations with youths, several of whom were threatened with administrative orders banning them from entering the area if they did not stop studying on the hilltop. Honenu notes that there are several legal problems with the demarcation order. Attorney Nati Rom, who on behalf of Honenu handled several cases of youths detained at the hilltop, stated that it is not for nothing that the police are not bringing any of the detainees to court: apparently they are concerned that the courts will examine the legality of the demarcation order and the manner in which the detentions are being carried out. Attorney Nati Rom: “Over the past few days the Israeli Police have invested many resources in the area of Geulat Tzion and detained youths at the site found with sifrei kodesh (religious texts) in their hands. It is a shame to see, time after time, youths spending the night in remand as a means of punishment, without their being brought before a judge afterwards. I think that the Israeli Police would do well to consider where they are investing forces, certainly at a time when they are much more important things and they should also re-examine their attitude towards minors unjustifiably spending time in remand.”

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