Update: Settlers Break Into Palestinian Stores, Steal Wood

In preparation for the Jewish religious holiday Lag Baomer, Israeli settlers broke into Palestinian shops to steal wooden items for burning. Settlers stole wooden decorations from Palestinian stores that have been forced closed by military order. The holiday traditionally involves the lighting of bonfires, however Israeli settlers in Hebron yearly creates these bonfires from stolen Palestinian furniture taken from homes or shops that have been forcefully closed by military order, or left empty due to the Israeli closure policy in the city. The bonfire is then held on streets closed to Palestinians.

Same day, Israeli settlers threw rocks at Palestinian houses and broke windows, and sprayed the houses with water as part of a pattern of harassment and vandalism to pressure people out of their homes to make room for settlement expansion.


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Update: Israelis demolish Palestinian shops in Hebron

Six Palestinian stores in the heart of Hebron's old city and former vegetable market were demolished by an Israeli-manned bulldozer at night. Friends of Hebron believes that the demolition will pave the way for Israeli settlement expansion. The stores have been forcefully closed by Israeli military for nearly three decades for alleged security reasons. The stores were initially forced closed after the Ibrahimi Mosque massacre in 1994—an act of punishing the Palestinian victims—after which they were briefly reopened and then re-closed in 2000. Around 500 Palestinian shops were similarly forced closed during this time. Another approximately 1000 shops had to close down due to the Israeli practice of creating coercive environments that pressure Palestinian families to leave their homes and owners to abandon their businesses.

This incident violates international and Israeli laws and plays part of an increasingly aggressive and expansionist military presence and settlement strategy in Hebron. It follows the process of forcing closed civilian areas, militarizing and depopulating them, and then allowing Israeli settlements to take them over. The incident also exposes the arbitrariness of Israeli security measures, acting as mere excuses for depopulating Palestinian areas to facilitate settlement expansion.

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Update: Freedom Iftar/Seder at the Hebron House

We had a succesful joint Freedom Iftar & Seder in our Hebron House inspired by the 1969 Freedom Seder of the civil rights movement.

People gathered for an evening against apartheid in our activist center, located directly next to a fanatic illegal settlement & Israeli army base. We served food and drinks and speeches of solidarity and sumud.

The Iftar/Seder celebrated the breaking of the fast at nightfall during Ramadan as well as the celebrations of Passover with people coming together in their joint call for peace and opposition to Israeli apartheid.

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Update: Friends of Hebron at Amnesty USA AGM

Friends of Hebron speaks at Amnesty USA AGM

Saturday March 4th

Friends of Hebron’s advocacy team was represented at the Amnesty International USA Annual General meeting in San Diego, California. They were hosted both in person and virtually by the acclaimed human rights organization at the session: Witness to Apartheid in Palestine and Israel: Observations from the Field.

The room was packed as staffers and members attended the session, including Amnesty USA’s executive director.

Friends of Hebron Executive Director, Human Rights Defender Issa Amro, spoke of the significance of Amnesty’s 2022 report accusing Israel of the crime of apartheid. He spoke of the nature of apartheid in the city of Hebron and the danger of the “Hebronization” of other places within Israel’s 1948 territory as well as the West Bank.

The AGM lasted from March 3rd to 5th.

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Press release: Israeli Soldier Assaults Palestinian Human Rights Defender in Front of The New Yorker Correspondent in Viral Video


Contact: Issa Amro | +972 59-934-0549 | [email protected] |


Israeli Soldier Assaults Palestinian Human Rights Defender in Front of The New Yorker Correspondent in Viral Video


(Hebron, Occupied West Bank) On late Monday February 13th, an Israeli soldier assaulted UN-Recognized Human Rights Defender Issa Amro on the closed Shuhada Street in occupied Hebron. The assault, which was caught on camera in a viral video, happened in front of The New Yorker Correspondent Lawrence Wright, who claimed the Israeli military misrepresented the incident.


An Israeli soldier was filmed grabbing Amro by the throat and throwing him violently to the ground, then proceeding to kick him before another soldier intervened. Wright tweeted the video, which went viral. The Israeli army claimed that Amro provoked the incident. In response, Wright wrote: “The IDF is misrepresenting what led to assault on peace activist Issa Amro in Hebron yesterday. The soldier initiated the encounter. Amro did not curse or interfere only asked that he call the commander. Nothing to justify the attack that followed.”


Amro stated that he had been giving a tour to journalist Wright when an Israeli soldier approached them: “The soldier insisted that we delete what we filmed. We tried to leave but the soldier grabbed me and took me inside Shuhada street and kicked me and threatened me. No one came and the soldier refused to call his commander. Suddenly, the soldier choked me with his arm. I said “don’t touch me” and he shoved me violently down to the harsh concrete ground and kicked me. I fell with a lot of pain. I felt dizzy.” Amro stated that he called for an ambulance but received no medical assistance. Two videos leading up to the incident shows the Israeli soldier repeatedly telling Amro to “delete the video” of the tour and shows the soldier grabbing Amro and taking him to Shuhada street, detaining him.


Israel’s National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir tweeted a statement in support of the attacker. In response, Amro stated, “Last time I filmed an Israeli soldier brutally beating up an activist, Israeli media reported that the soldier received large money donations in support of his violence.” Amro stated. “I would not be surprised if this soldier will now receive money too. This is the reality under Ben Gvir’s extremist army.” 


The assault is the most recent incident of the bout of attacks against Palestinians and Amro in the wake of the last Israeli elections. Amro has faced threats, beatings and arbitrary detentions since filming an assault of an Israeli activist in late 2022. Issa Amro is the director of the charity Friends of Hebron and the co-founder and former coordinator of the Palestinian community group Youth Against Settlements. Amro is formally recognized as a Human Rights Defender by the UN, EU, and the U.S. State Department.

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Press release: Israeli Forces Arrest UN-Recognized Human Rights Defender



Contact: Akram Natsheh | +970 599 362 208 | Email: [email protected]

International contact: Maya Garner | +1 (202) 925-6479 | Email: [email protected] |


Israeli Forces Arrest UN-Recognized Human Rights Defender Days After Filming Video of Soldier Violence; Israeli Activist Placed Under House Arrest


(Hebron, Occupied West Bank) On Monday, 28th November 2022, Palestinian activist Issa Amro was arrested by Israeli security forces at the police station near Kiryat Arba settlement.


Amro had been summoned to the station on Monday at 11am for an interview subsequent to a video he filmed on the 26th November of an Israeli soldier beating an Israeli activist touring the Old City of Hebron. Another soldier at the scene referenced far-right MK Ben Gvir and stated, “I am the law.” The beaten Israeli activist sustained a broken jaw and was placed under house arrest by Israeli authorities along with two other female activists who had also been touring.


Amro, who remains in Israeli custody, is due to appear in Ofer Military Court on Wednesday, 30th November.


Akram Natsheh, spokesperson for Youth Against Settlements (YAS), stated: “The occupation police notified Issa's family this evening of his arrest. Youth Against Settlements and Issa have recently been exposed to all kinds of attacks, harassment and threats by the Israeli settlers and the occupation army and so we hold the Israeli occupation responsible for the life and safety of Issa Amro.”


Earlier this month the Israeli army enforced a closed military zone (CMZ) on Amro’s home in the ancient Hebron neighborhood of Tel Rumeida, which doubles as the YAS community center. The CMZ order followed Amro’s attempt to file a complaint at the local Israeli police station regarding Israeli settler harassment during the annual olive harvest. Amro and the volunteers of Youth Against Settlements have been physically assaulted several times during this month by settlers and Israeli armed forces. UN Special Rapporteurs issued a letter condemning the attacks and calling for the reopening of Amro’s house.


Issa Amro is the co-founder of the Hebron-based Youth Against Settlements initiative. In 2010, he was declared “Human Rights Defender of the year in Palestine” by the UN OHCHR and he is formally recognized as such by the European Union. In 2016, Amro was indicted by Israel on 18 charges condemned by Amnesty International as “baseless” and “politically-motivated.” A 2017 letter from numerous U.S. Representatives to the Secretary of State encouraged Israel in to reconsider the charges. Amro was convicted of six of those charges in early 2021, including three counts of “participating in a protest without a permit,” pending appeal. In 2021, Amro met with U.S. Secretary Blinken.

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Press release: Hebron Families Protest Segregation and Settler Takeover of City


Contact: Issa Amro | Youth Against Settlements Coordinator | 059 933 9041 |
[email protected]

September 3, 2017, Hebron, Palestine - For the second time in a week, families in the Salayma
and Ghaith neighborhoods protested a fence surrounding their neighborhoods. Around 100
people, at least half of which were children, held signs and chanted about ending Israel’s
policies of segregation and inequality. Protestors were entirely nonviolent. The Israeli military,
however, responded with aggression, manhandling protesters, including children. B’Tselem field
researcher Raed Abu Ramila, a resident of the Salayma neighborhood, was arrested.  

In 2012, Israel placed a fence in the road between the Salayma neighborhood and the Ibrahimi
mosque. The fence divided the road, giving two-thirds for Israeli settlers, and one-third for
Palestinians. In June 2017, the fence was extended to entirely enclose the Salayma and Ghaith
neighborhoods. The around 50 families residing there, are imprisoned inside. A narrow gate
was installed for entry and exit. The gate is locked each night from 11:00 PM to 6:00 AM, or at
the discretion of soldiers.

On August 31, Israeli military central command ordered Hebron settlements to have
independent municipal standing. The order violates the Hebron Protocol signed in in 1997. It
legitimizes Hebron settlements, despite their entire illegality under international law. Hebron is
the only city in the West Bank where settlers reside within the Palestinian city.
Human Rights Defender and Youth Against Settlements director Issa Amro spoke about the
recent decision and the need for protest:

“The decision to upgrade settlers status in Hebron from a small community to an official
municipality is a huge violation. It will cause a lot of suffering for Palestinians. As Palestinians,
we  live with no rights and no equality. To imprison and lock in a neighborhood behind a fence,
is inhumane. It must be stood up to. As a people, we are protesting for our rights. We ask the
international community to join us.”

The two protests this week by the Salayma and Ghaith neighborhoods are part of a new
Segregated and Unequal campaign by Youth Against Settlements. The campaign seeks to end
the imprisoning of neighborhoods, the closing of roads to Palestinians and the placement of
signs that change the identity of Hebron’s old city.

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PRESS RELEASE: YAS house raided again and encampment set up by Israeli settlers

A Youth Against Settlements (YAS) meeting was interrupted yesterday on the 27th of November. The meeting of approximately 20 Palestinians was held outside. A soldier began shouting “Knife! Knife!” and some of the activists went up to see what was going on. The officer of the army in Tel Rumeida arrived, and the soldiers fired flares into the sky. The army surrounded the house and singled out Ahmad al Azzih, the youngest activist present, and arrested him, claiming that he carried a knife. Issa Amro, Jawad Abo Aisha, and a Danish activist went to ask the soldiers about Azzih. The soldiers shouted at Amro and wanted to take the Danish activist’s passport on the basis that internationals were not allowed to be there, but Amro explained that the Danish activist was his guest. The soldier complained that Amro was preventing the army from doing their work and that he was hiding a terrorist in the house. Amro was then taken into custody and brought to the police station.

Amro accounts of his mistreatment by the soldiers: They kept him blindfolded on a toilet chair in a tiny and smelly bathroom for four and a half hours with his hands cuffed behind his back. Soldiers constantly opened and slammed the door to intimidate him. They were chanting his name outside and some threatened to shoot him. This was followed by an hour of interrogation. He was then released. Despite YAS confirming that Azza was with them the entire time and had not done anything illegal and no one saw him moving around with a knife, the soldiers kept him. YAS believes that he was arrested for being the youngest and thus the most vulnerable to the army’s interrogation.

Back at the center, Israeli settlers came outside, surrounding the house while insulting the inhabitants, shouting that they were “sons of dogs” or “sons of bitches.” The soldiers proceeded to raid the center while ordering everyone to sit on chairs outside, keeping the Palestinians at a distance from the Danish activist and an Italian journalist. The soldiers confiscated all of the Palestinians’ cell phones for approximately two hours while the house was raided. The Israeli police arrived and recorded the passport information of the two internationals. The soldiers and the police also recorded the ID information of the Palestinians. The settlers surrounded the house and watched the process. They brought chairs, blankets, tables, and mattresses outside as a way to block the road to the house, and they camped out during the night with the intention of provoking Youth Against Settlements activists and occupying the house, claiming that it belonged to them. Among them was a wealthy visitor from America. The Youth Against Settlement activists were finally allowed inside the house again after approximately an hour and a half. From the present point of writing this report, the settlers are still outside, protected by soldiers.

*Update: Issa Amro has been released; Ahmad al Azzih’s trial has been postponed  until December 3

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