Narmin and Mahmoud Abu Haya volunteer with B’Tselem’s camera project. They live in Hebron, near the Israeli settlement of Beit Hadassah, with their four children. The reality created by the Israeli occupation gives rise to frequent clashes between Israeli settlers and Palestinian residents in the area. Often, settlers throw stones at Palestinian residents and the latter throw stones at soldiers and settlers. Soldiers usually take decisive action against Palestinians suspected of throwing stones, even in cases of minors under the age of criminal responsibility. In contrast, the military systematically turns a blind eye to violence by settlers against Palestinians, even when committed in the presence of soldiers. B’Tselem has cautioned repeatedly regarding this conduct and warned that soldiers do not provide any protection to Palestinians.
In April 2015 B’Tselem documented persistent harassment of the Abu Haya family, Palestinians who volunteer with our camera project. The Abu Hayas were subjected to a string of threats and harassment by soldiers. In one instance, on 6 April, soldiers detained 14-year-old Maher Abu Haya near his home, apparently while they were in pursuit of teens suspected of throwing stones. When Maher’s father, Mahmoud, arrived on the spot, the soldiers told him that his son had thrown stones. After Maher denied the allegations and a conversation between the soldiers revealed the claim was baseless, the soldiers began claiming that Maher knew the identity of the stone-throwers. They also said that Maher is regularly seen near Beit Hadassah when stones are thrown there – willfully ignoring the fact that he lives right next to the settlement. The soldiers threatened Mahmoud Abu Haya that should they see Maher in the vicinity again when stones are thrown, they would arrest him even if he had nothing to do with it. They further threatened to hold Maher tied up all night and compel his family to pay a fine for his release. They also threatened to search the family’s home and destroy it in the process. They then released Maher.