On Thursday, 24 August 2017, settlers from Kiryat Arba used a loudspeaker system to verbally abuse Palestinian residents of al-Hariqah neighborhood in Hebron, using offensive language and insulting Islam.
A B’Tselem volunteer filmed parts of the incident from her window. When the settlers noticed her, they turned their abuse towards her, threatening violence and using racist and obscene language, including descriptions of extreme sexual violence. Although the threats were explicit and the swearing constituted severe sexual harassment, Israeli security forces who were present allowed the settlers to continue undisturbed, as is usually the case.
“At 6:00 P.M. I went up to my apartment, which looks out over al-Hariqah neighborhood and the settlement of Kiryat Arba. At first I ignored the settlers’ party, but they turned the music up just when the muezzin called out for evening prayers from the mosque. They started mocking the prayer and insulting the Prophet Muhammad
“I saw a military jeep on the hilltop where the settlers were gathered. There were several other soldiers on the road below, which looks out over al-Hariqah Street that runs by the settlement. I began filming.
“The settlers began to use foul language and call out obscenities concerning me, Islam, and especially the Prophet Muhammad. The Israeli soldiers and police did nothing to stop them. This was not the first time: about a year ago, I documented settlers swearing, using foul language and calling out obscenities against the Prophet Muhammad while soldiers and police allowed them to continue.
“Life in al-Hariqah has become intolerable. The military repeatedly raids the neighbourhood and the settlers assault and harass us. As a Muslim, I was extremely offended by the insults hurled at the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him. As a woman, I felt terrible hearing the foul language directed personally at me for filming them.”
In the reality of life under occupation, in which settlers assault Palestinian residents in the presence of Israeli security forces on a regular basis, even explicit threats of violence and blatant sexual harassment of a Palestinian woman and abuse of her community go unchecked by the security forces.