Imad Abu Shamsiya, a Palestinian shoemaker who lives in Tel Rumeida’s neighborhood, was the person who filmed the murder of Abed al-Fattah al-Sharif.
Al-Sharif was already critically wounded, when an Israeli police officer shot him dead in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida neighborhood last week.
Since the release of that shocking video last Thursday, Israeli soldiers and paramilitary Israeli settlers have been hounding and intimidating Abu Shamsiya.
According to Mondoweiss, as his video went viral on social media and media outlets, Abu Shamsiya “is facing death threats, law suits and political pressure over his video. And it’s not the first time he’s come under assault: Jewish settlers want this brave shoemaker and other Palestinians to move out so they can take over his home.”
Human Rights Watch confirms the threats on Shamsiya, conveyed from settlers by soldiers to the photographer:
Imad Abu Shamsiyyeh.. told Human Rights Watch in a phone interview that Israeli forces had threatened him both at the scene and later, when he went to give a statement to the military. A few minutes after he filmed the shooting from the roof of a nearby building, he said, “more journalists gathered on the roof, and the Israeli soldiers noticed us. They pointed their guns at us and screamed at us to get down. Soldiers came into the building and told the [owner] not to allow people there or the family would pay the price.”
Abu Shamsiyyeh said that after B’Tselem shared the video with military investigators, the military asked him to give a statement. During questioning at a military office in Hebron, Abu Shamsiyyeh said he felt the interrogator was trying to intimidate him to make him say that he had not filmed the video:
“He told me, ‘How will you benefit from this video? It got a lot of publicity. Your name is known to everyone. Who is going to protect you and your family from right-wing Israelis? Remember you live in [Tel Rumeida], surrounded by Israeli settlers, who will be able to protect you there?’ I felt that I was being threatened. They took the original footage from me.”
Abu Shamsiyyeh said he had received two phone calls on March 24 from a Hebrew-speaker, calling from a private number, but did not understand what was said. “I feel in danger and my children are afraid,” Abu Shamsiyyeh told Human Rights Watch. “I’m not letting them out of the house. I’m afraid of walking in the street.”
Badia Dwaik of Human Rights Defenders in Hebron also confirms the report of threats to Shamsiya since the video was posted. He writes that Shamsiya is a volunteer with his organization.
As stated by the Palestinian Information Center (PIC), Abu Shamsiyya on Monday appealed to Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmould Abbas to protect him and his family from Israeli settler attacks.
“These people are barbarians and savages who could embark on the unthinkable. Israeli army and government stand virtually powerless to rein in these hateful criminals. The reason for this is that the government itself and the army, to a large extent, are more or less controlled by the settler camp,” Abu Shamsiyya said.
The videos bellow were shot two months ago by Adam Horowitz and Philip Weiss from Mondoweiss. They interviewed Abu Shamsiya with the help of Badia Dwaik of Human Rights Defenders, who works closely with Shamsiya.
Abu Shamsiya described conditions in his neighborhood in Hebron: a numbers system by which he must enter the neighborhood at a checkpoint near his house.
“To get into his house, he has a number. He’s not a name he’s a number now.” Abu Shamsiyah’s number is 242, he says in the first video below.
On the second video, at 6:00, he says:
“As Palestinians we never lose the hope to liberate our country. We learn this from our fathers and grandfathers, and this is also what we teach our children. That hope always is existing. Because we have a right to live on our land.”
WARNING: VIDEO BELOW CONTAINS GRAPHIC IMAGES.