Head Of Anti-Occupation Group Breaking The Silence Detained In West Bank by the Forward

Head Of Anti-Occupation Group Breaking The Silence Detained In West Bank

(JTA) — The executive director of Breaking the Silence was detained by Israeli Border Police Friday along with two other activists.

The arrested activists — Avner Gvaryahu, the group’s executive director; Achiya Shatz, its communications director; and human rights attorney Michael Sfard — were detained next to a settlement outpost in the southern West Bank, near Hebron, according to Haaretz. They were released after three hours of questioning.

Breaking the Silence is a group of Israeli combat veterans who oppose Israel’s occupation of the West Bank. The group is controversial in Israel, and Israel’s right-wing government has made efforts to limit its activity. Most recently, Israel passed a law barring activists from the group and others like it from entering schools.

The activists were in the West Bank, where Border Police detained the activists for illegally entering a closed military zone, but Haaretz reported that the area was closed specifically to prevent a Breaking the Silence tour there, and that settlers regularly enter such zones without facing arrest.

Left-wing activists from another group were allegedly attacked by settlers in the same area last week.

In a Facebook post, Breaking the Silence said the detentions were “directly connected to the settler violence we have experienced in recent months, and the total capitulation of [Israeli] security forces to that phenomenon.” The group added that the detentions “should concern any citizen who desires democracy in Israel.”

Liberal groups in Israel and abroad condemned the incident. Daniel Sokatch, CEO of the New Israel Fund, which funds Breaking the Silence and a range of left-wing Israeli groups, criticized the Israeli government for “endangering the physical safety of citizens who stand up for human rights.” T’ruah, a liberal rabbinic human rights group that partners with Breaking the Silence, called for an investigation into the detentions.

Author

Head Of Breaking The Silence Detained In West Bank

Your Comments

The Forward welcomes reader comments in order to promote thoughtful discussion on issues of importance to the Jewish community. All readers can browse the comments, and all Forward subscribers can add to the conversation. In the interest of maintaining a civil forum, The Forward requires that all commenters be appropriately respectful toward our writers, other commenters and the subjects of the articles. Vigorous debate and reasoned critique are welcome; name-calling and personal invective are not and will be deleted. Egregious commenters or repeat offenders will be banned from commenting. While we generally do not seek to edit or actively moderate comments, our spam filter prevents most links and certain key words from being posted and the Forward reserves the right to remove comments for any reason.

Recommend this article

Head Of Anti-Occupation Group Breaking The Silence Detained In West Bank

Thank you!

This article has been sent!

Close