It's Friday – are these kids still being detained?

It was a busy night for IDF forces operating in the West Bank overnight on Wednesday: they conducted a number of raids, including the home of the PA security officer who stabbed and killed an IDF soldier at the Tapuah junction south of Nablus. Two brothers of the attacker were taken away for questioning (though the IDF has suggested that the PA might be allowed to do its own investigation, but it is not clear if the PA will have access to these two suspects…)

It will be recalled that just after Christmas, following the shooting death of an Israeli settler driving on a road between nearby settlements, the Palestinian Authority (PA) rounded up some 150 Palestinians for questioning, but the IDF raided the home of three suspects in and around Nablus a couple of days later — and none of the suspects were taken alive. They were all shot and killed, some in front of their families. The IDF said the suspects were behaving in a threatening manner, but witnesses said otherwise. The Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem has called for an official investigation.

On the same night, last Wednesday, as Ma’an News Agency reported, “Three other raids occurred in the West Bank between midnight and sunrise, targeting Palestinians from the Ramallah and Bethlehem governorates. Twenty-one of those detained were taken from the Jalazon Refugee Camp near Ramallah in a mass raid of the small area [n.b. – Jalazone Refugee Camp is right outside the Beit El settlement, guarded by the Beit El military base, and a few young adolescents have been shot by Israeli security over the past year for approaching too close, or on suspicion of “planning attacks”].

The Ma’an report continues —
“Those taken were identified as:
Muhammad Rebhi Masaroh, 18
Zeidi Mahmud Abdul Rahim Zed, 17
Malek Rabah Mamoun Nakhleh, 20
Muhammad Khaled Mahmud Nakhleh, 16
Yassen Ahmad Nakhleh, 16
Hussein Theeb Sharaikeh, 15
Naser Kamal Ahmad Sharaikeh, 15
Khaled Marwan Dalabsheh, 17
Mahmud Ramadan Sharai’a, 16
Muhannad Ramada Alayan, 18
Ahmad Hussein Theeb Sharaikeh, 15
Khaled Marwan Misbah Dalabshehm, 16
Ahmad Khaled Wasfi Sa’adat, 16
Muhammad Mahmud Khalil Nakhleh, 16
Ahmad Mahmud Khalil Nakhleh, 15
Muhammad Mahmud Abdul Aziz Zeid, 16
Mu’aied Mahmud Fouzi Nakhleh, 16
Hussein Khaled Al-Areesh, 18
Ahmad Muhammad Sha’ban Ghazawi, 17
Amr Zuher Dar Awwad, 16
Mahmud Ramadan Sanad, 16
In, addition, the Ma’an report says, in Bethlehem, “forces detained Mahmud Jamal Mustafa Masalmeh, 25, and Omar Jalal Khalil Shalsh, 16.
This Ma’an report is published here.

So, the question now is: are these kids still being detained? Where? Have they seen a lawyer? How are they being treated?

And that wasn’t all.

The offices of Stop The Wall campaign in Ramallah were raided from 1 to 4 am the same night. And, the wife of the Mayor of nearby El-Bireh was also detained, apparently on suspicion of supporting Hamas, as her husband reportedly does.

And, as Iraeli journalist Lisa Goldman noted in a tweet on Twitter: “In daring night-time op, IDF raids ISM offices in Ramallah, confiscating T-shirts & bracelets engraved w/ ‘Palestine’.” Her tweet links to this story by Nir Hasson in Haaretz yesterday here, which notes that it was the second, yes, second IDF nighttime raid in a week on the same ISM apartment — yes, it is apparently an apartment.

It was also on Wednesday.

The earlier raid was on Sunday. One of the inhabitants who was present both times — and who was not detained, because his papers were in order, unlike the case of two of his female colleagues who were hauled away in the earlier raid — said that the IDF soldiers did not even knock! They used a crowbar to break open the lock on the door, and barged in. The door had not been repaired after the first raid, so the IDF didn’t even have to break in the second time — they just barged in through the broken door. This person told me that computers and videos and documents were also taken the first time, and one or two computers were seized again the second time

The two women who were hauled off in the first post-midnight but pre-dawn raid were not immediately deported — as happened to another ISM volunteer, Eva Novakova of the Czech Republic, who was seized from her apartment at the very center of Ramallah, just off Manara Square, and taken almost directly to the plane at Ben Gurion airport around 11 January. The two women seized this week were able to appear before a judge, who ordered them released on bail while they deal administratively with their visa situations — however, they were banned from returning to the West Bank…

Haaretz identified them, in the Nir Hasson article, as Ariadna Jove Marti of Spain and Bridgette Chappell of Australia.

As Haaretz noted in its article, “ISM, founded soon after the second intifada began in September 2000, is a very small group. It usually has less than 20 activists in the West Bank at any one time. Nevertheless, it has been heavily involved in anti-Israel protests, and is currently active in the demonstrations against house demolitions in East Jerusalem as well as the protests in Bili’in and Na’alin. It also has four activists located in the Gaza Strip. Two ISM activists have been killed while protesting, Rachel Corrie in 2003 and Tom Hurndall in 2004; two others have been seriously wounded”.

Earlier in the Second Intifada (and particularly from 2003 until 2005, in particular), everyone suspected of being an ISM activist was particularly singled out for special treatment, long detentions, invasive searches, and the lit, at Ben Gurion Airport. Until very recently, the situation had improved for everybody at the airport. But, it appears to have deteriorated again, with the recent crack-down that started in December, and intensified in January, and continues today.

It appears that with each raid, the IDF is refining its techniques, as some of those targetted have the opportunity to be hauled before Israeli judges, who then object to this or that tactic, to make their raids comply with Israeli law …

Then, on Thursday, as Ma’an News Agency reported, “Israeli forces entered Barta’a Ash-Sharqiya village Thursday before sunrise and handed five families demolition orders for their homes and agricultural buildings in area west of Jenin.  Member at the Barta’a village council Tawfiq Qabha said that the forces overran the village and woke five families in the middle of the night, pounding on doors and handing over warnings that homes would soon be demolished” …  This report is posted here.

Shuafat Refugee Camp raided by Israeli forces today

What happens when Israeli Border Police decide to stage a massive raid — looking for “tax delinquents” as well as “illegal West Bank worker” — in Shuafat Refugee Camp (the only Palestinian refugee camp inside the boundaries of what Israel unilaterally defined as the “Greater Jerusalem Municipality” in 1967?

The legal residents of the camp have Jerusalem IDs. But, in recent years, Israel has unilaterally decided to exclude it and close it off from Jerusalem by the construction of The Wall around three sides of Shuafat refugee camps — it is now only freely open to the West Bank.

And, an awful Israeli military checkpoint has been put at the main entrance into Shuafat Refugee Camp. Now, children needing to get to school in the morning, and adults needing to get to their jobs, all have to pass out of the camp through this prison-like checkpoint. The traffic jam, and the stress, are terrible — every day, day in and day out — imposing great stress on people who are technically residents of Jerusalem but who have become de facto West Bankers…

Though they still have to pay their Jerusalem taxes!

The CNN team in Jerusalem took some good footage under near-battle conditions, and the video can be seen by clicking on the link: here.

A few hours earlier, and not very far away, the Israeli military raided Ramallah/El-Bireh, and arrested the wife of the mayor of El-Bireh, apparently because of alleged activities on behalf of Hamas. And other Israeli military units raided the offices of the Stop the Wall campaign, carrying out a three-hour search operation, and carrying away documents, computers, videos and other materials found in the office.

And, still other units of the Israeli military raided another area of Ramallah and arrested two young women who were said to be members of the International Solidarity Movement. The two women were seized — in Ramallah — for overstaying their Israeli visas, and then taken to the Israeli military detention center in Ofer (still in the West Bank). Luckily, they had a lawyer who was able to take their cases before the Israeli Supreme Court, which ordered their release on bail while they contest their pending deportation. However, they are banned from returning to their apartment in Ramallah…

Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"

In the early morning hours on Sunday, Israeli Border Police broke into the homes of the Hanoun and Ghawi families in Sheikh Jarrah, north of the Old City but still part of downtown East Jerusalem, and forcibly expelled at gunpoint three families from one building (only one of them was under court expulsion order) and four from another (there, only one was under court expulsion order).

Over 50 Palestinian refugees (from the 1948 Arab-Israeli war) immediately became homeless, with nowhere to go. No provisions were made to care for their household possessions or to shelter them by the Israeli authorities who have administered the area since their conquest in the June 1967 war, and who had ordered the expulsions to be carried out.

Sunday night, the Hanoun and Ghawi families were out on the streets. “The Red Cross came and offered us tents”, said Maher Hanoun, “But we do not want any tent. We do not want rations of rice and sugar. We want to return to our home”.

Just after the eviction operation, settlers moved in, protected by the Israeli Border Police.

Israeli settlers move into Hanoun home in Sheikh Jarrah - 2 August 2009

Continue reading Maher Hanoun in East Jerusalem: "We do not want any tent – we want our home"