Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Night Raid and Arrests of Activists in Bil'in - January 11, 2009

IOF Terror Raid on Bil'in

Related News:

Israeli forces raid anti-wall movement strongholds
Source: Maan News Agency
Date: 12/01/2010

Bethlehem - Ma'an - Israeli forces raided the central West Bank villages of Nil'in and Bil'in early Tuesday morning and detained three activists involved with the anti-wall movement.

The two from Bil'in were identified as Ibrahim Ameera, coordinator of the local branch of the Popular Committee Against the Wall, and another man named Zaydoun Srour.

Clashes were reported during the incursion, but there were no reports of injury.

In the nearby village of Bil'in, Israeli soldiers detained a young man at dawn, activists said.

The youth was identified as Muhammad Ali Yasin. Israeli forces raided his home after midnight, forced relatives out onto the street, and took Yasin elsewhere, according to Dr Rateb Abu Rahmah, a member of the local Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements.

Abu Rahmah added that Yasin had been wanted by Israeli forces for about five months, accused of participation in the village's weekly demonstrations. The demonstrations against Israel's separation wall, which cuts the village from half of its land, are peaceful, he added.

The raids follow an arrest wave targeting activists and organizers throughout the West Bank. Such incursions have netted 33 residents of Bil'in in the past six months, and 96 residents of Nil'in in the past 18 months.

Among those detained in this recent campaign were five members of the Bil'in Popular Committee, accused of incitement, including Adeeb Abu Rahmah, who had already been held in detention for almost six months, and Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the Bil'in committee coordinator. Wael Al-Faqeeh, Jamal Juma and Mohammed Othman of the Stop the Wall organization, involved in anti-wall and boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigning, were also detained recently. All three were being held without charge and on secret evidence.

A Czech national, Eva Nováková, 28, was seized by Israeli forces during a late-night raid in Ramallah's city center on Monday. Nováková, who worked as the International Solidarity Movement's media coordinator, was taken from her Manara square apartment at 3am.

During the raid, soldiers deployed on rooftops adjacent to the Palestinian Authority police headquarters, while three APVs patrolled the central urban area. Onlookers counted at least 20 soldiers participating in the operation, which lasted less than half an hour.

Also participating were forces belonging to Israel's special "Oz" immigration task force, according to Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, among others. Pollak said immigration police broke down Nováková's door, checked her passport, and took her away. "I don't know why it would be worthwhile for them to do that," Pollak told Ma'an. "It's really alarming because she wasn't charged with anything."

An Israeli military spokesman told Ma'an that it was actually the army that carried out the raid, described as aimed at apprehending an individual who was "residing illegally in Ramallah." He said the detainee was transferred to civilian police custody following the operation.

Nováková was scheduled to be deported to Prague at 6am on Tuesday from Tel Aviv's Ben Gurion International Airport, where she was taken late Monday night. Supporters were seeking an emergency injunction against the deportation, scheduled just one day after her arrest.

Her attorney, Omer Shatz, said Israel's alleged use of its special "Oz" unit was illegal. "This arrest is part of the continued and illegal use of the immigration police against activists, for political purposes," Shatz said in an ISM statement. Immigration police, in general, work under the explicit authority of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, Shatz added, and thus would have no business operating in Palestinian cities.

It was not immediately clear if the Israeli government now considers Ramallah, the de facto capital of the Palestinian Authority, off-limits to foreign-passport holders. But the city would be to Israeli forces even by their own government's understanding of the limits placed on such activity in the occupied West Bank. Ramallah, a city in Area A, has supposedly been under full PA security control since 2008.

And while raids targeting Palestinians in outlying districts are nightly events, the detention of Nováková was unusual because Israeli forces tend only to enter PA-controlled areas for the purpose of capturing Palestinians on their "wanted" list, and usually for alleged security reasons. One such incursion was in December, when Israeli forces assassinated three Fatah operatives in their Nablus homes.

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