Israeli forces invade ISM apartment as part of a campaign of continual harassment against activists in Hebron
Solidarity Movement, Khalil Team | Hebron, Occupied Palestine
date, ISM volunteers in Al-Khalil (Hebron) have faced two attempted night
raids, two invasions, and continual daily harassment from Israeli occupation
forces. Other organizations in Hebron, including Youth Against Settlements and
Christian Peacemaker Teams, have also faced harassment including raids,
detentions, and arrests.
|(photo by Christian Peacemaker Teams – Palestine https://www.facebook.com/cptpalestine)
the night from the 18 to the 19 of February Israeli Military tried to raid the
ISM apartment in Hebron. Four volunteers woke up to a loud banging on the
front door at one a clock in the morning. Soldiers constantly banged on the
front door, threatening to break it open, if the volunteers refused to open it.
Repeated questions for whether they had a warrant to legally enter the
apartment were negated and replied with comments such as “we don’t need a
warrant” and “I am the law”. The soldiers also threatened the volunteers that
if they don’t open the door “bad things will happen.” In order to stop
internationals from documenting and getting an overview of the situation, the soldiers
aimed green lasers mounted on their rifles through the apartment windows.
|Soldiers in the morning on the stairs outside the ISM house
before this incident the internationals were prevented from standing near a
school were schoolchildren had to pass a group of soldiers. Israeli forces called
the police, who detained ISM volunteers and took pictures of their
passports. During the night raid volunteers recognized the voices of
the soldiers who had detained them earlier. Soldiers also told
them “we don’t need to see your passports, we already saw it.”
day ISMers were stopped in the street at every possibility and ID-checked. In
the afternoon, on their way back to the apartment, Palestinians warned the
ISMers that fifteen soldiers have been asking for them and were trying to arrest
them. After about an hour the volunteers were able to come back to the
apartment, as the soldiers went back to the military base.
|ISM volunteers tried to document the break-in as soldiers searched the house; they were gathered into the kitchen and at one point prohibited from making phone calls.
morning of the 25th of February, about twenty minutes after two out
of the three volunteers left the apartment, soldiers were banging on the door
of the apartment another time, demanding that it be opened. The soldiers
claimed they were searching for Issa, a prominent member of the
Palestinian activist group Youth Against Settlements, whose house was raided the
same on the night of that same day. Issa was not present in the apartment at
the time. Soldiers threatened the volunteer inside the house, saying
that if they were not allowed to come inside, they would “come back at
night, break the door and throw grenades into the house.” They threatened that
the ISM volunteers “won’t be able to close an eye during night-time.” After
more than an hour the dozen soldiers, who had been threatening to enter the
house while stopping the other volunteers from going inside finally left.
|Soldiers after invading YAS house (photo by Youth Against Settlements https://www.facebook.com/media.yas)
number of soldiers came to the apartment three times that evening,
knocking on the door but leaving after only a few minutes.
night around 1:00 AM, the volunteers woke up to loud noises at the door, as
soldiers started to force it open. The soldiers did not answer when ISM
activists asked whether they had a warrant. After about 30 minutes the
soldiers broke the door open and came into the apartment,
aiming their guns at volunteers.
|Soldiers forced ISM volunteers to stay in the kitchen of the apartment while they searched
took a map from the wall of the apartment, claiming it was sufficient
evidence for having the volunteers deported. They left after 30 minutes,
threatening that within 24 hours the volunteers will be arrested by the
immigration police. As the activists had expected, the threats were
groundless; over a week later they continue to work in Al-Khalil.
night, when volunteers came back late at night around quarter to one, seven
soldiers were just collecting the tools they used to break down the newly
repaired door. Another three soldiers stopped the ISM volunteers from going
back inside the apartment. After a few minutes, ISMers managed to reach the
apartment and found the door destroyed and their personal belongings ransacked.
night, Israeli forces also raided the house of Youth Against Settlements (YAS),
also searching the house and taking only one poster off the wall. Soldiers
raided the house on the eve of the Open Shuhada Street demonstration; they also
arrested Issa Amro, the coordinator of YAS, about a week before.
Street demonstration – where around 20 were injured, several activists
including a 17-year-old and a female German activist were shot with live
ammunition, and three were arrested.
days later Israeli border police detained and arrested two volunteers
from Christian Peacemaker Teams, stopping them after they had been walking
Palestinian kindergarteners home from school.
continue to harass, threaten, and detain international solidarity volunteers.
Just this morning two ISM and two CPT volunteers were detained for over an hour
at a checkpoint, after monitoring the border police aggression toward
schoolchildren that morning.