Days of Palestine

B’Tselem Shares Press release on Arrest of Its Field Researcher


The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem said on Friday, August 12th, that Shin Bet detained and interrogated B’Tselem field researcher in what it described, as “a disgraceful arrest aimed at hampering the work of a human rights organization”

In a press release, the organization lifted the vail off the nature in which the Israeli occupation army dealt with any representative of human rights organizations in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem and the form of violations and attacks they are subjected to.

It referred to what one of its members endured on Saturday, August 6th, 2022, at night, when the Israeli occupation soldiers arrested the organization’s field researcher, Nasser Nawaja’a in the hills of southern Hebron, in the south of the occupied West Bank. He was handcuffed, his face covered, and taken to an army camp in the “Otniel” settlement.

“There for about 12 hours, still handcuffed and blindfolded, and was given no food or water other than a few sips at the beginning. Throughout the entire time, the police, the military, and the Israel Security Agency did not notify his family, B’Tselem, or his lawyers of his whereabouts.”

The organization said in a press statement, “On Sunday (August 7th), around midday, Nawaj’ah was taken to an ISA interrogation facility in Gush Etzion, where he was interrogated by an officer who introduced himself as “Captain Yassin.” The officer questioned Nawaj’ah about his work and home, and accused him of “causing all the trouble in the area.” The officer then asked Nawaj’ah to stop “causing trouble” and “engaging in friction” with the military.”

B’Tselem clarified that this was not the first time that the Shin Bet has acted against Nawaj’ah. In March 2021, he was summoned to a “warning talk” with the Shin Bet officer, who identified himself as “Captain Eid.” The officer told him he was “threatening the military and sending B’Tselem activists to harass the soldiers.”

Nawaj’ah commented on his arrest, saying:  “It is not surprising that Israel goes after people who document the injustices it commits in the Occupied Territories and work to expose it. The violence of the Israeli forces is nothing new – it is a daily part of my work and of life for all Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. That is why I do my job, and I will continue doing it.

In turn, B’Tselem Director-General Hagai El-Ad said: “This case is disgraceful, but not an exception. Israel does everything it can to obstruct the work of human rights organizations, especially Palestinian ones, that expose the violations it commits. 

He added that “The “friction” Nawaj’ah was told to steer clear of, is created by the Israeli government that takes Palestinian land, the High Court that signs off on this, the settlers that attack Palestinians, and the military that backs them. The goal of arresting and interrogating a B’Tselem employee is clear: disrupting his work and helping the military and settlers continue to trample on the rights of Palestinians in the South Hebron Hills.