Israel Dawn Raids On The West Bank

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Israeli occupation forces at dawn on Monday rounded up twelve Palestinians from the West bank districts of Al-Khalil, Bethlehem and Qalqilia, the Israeli military command announced.

Hamas said that an Israel Occupation Forces (IOF) unit on Sunday night stormed the Safa village northwest of Beit Ummar in Al-Khalil district and detained seven citizens.

Eyewitnesses reported that IOF soldiers broke into and searched civilian homes before taking away the seven citizens to the nearby Etzion interrogation centre.

A Palestinian security officer said on Monday that Israeli forces seized a total of 12 Palestinians from the villages of Safa, north of Hebron in the southern West Bank, and Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa in the south after ransacking several homes.

Those from Safa were identified as: 28-year-old Abdul-Fattah Khlayyil, 24-year-old Alaa At-Teit, 20-year-old Eid Shweiki, 24-year-old Isam Aadi, 20-year-old Mahmoud Khlayyil, 22-year-old Layth Addi, and 19-year-old Omar Di’mis.

The officer added that Israeli forces stormed Deir Al-Asal Al-Fouqa and seized Samir Shawamra, Luay Shawamra, Iyad Dardoun, Uday Shawamra, and Badawi Shawamra.

The IOF troops had backed Jewish armed settlers in burning and damaging crops of villagers in Safa over the past few days.

The Israeli occupation authority had confiscated thousands of dunums owned by inhabitants of that village in order to build the racist, separation wall north of the village.

Israeli settlers uprooted more than 150 olive trees and grape vines from Palestinian-owned land in Wadi Abu Ar-Rish, near the settlement of Bat Ayin, south of Bethlehem, on Monday, witnesses said.

Settlers from Bat Ayin, also set fires in the same area.

Witnesses said that the settlers carried out these attacks under the protection of Israeli soldiers.

The municipal government of the town of Beit Ummar, under whose jurisdiction the land lies, issued a condemnation of the assault, and also called for an investigation.

Last Friday, Israeli soldiers assaulted Palestinian and Israeli peace activists who held a demonstration in the same area. Seven protesters were arrested.

Bat Ayin is known as one of the more militant settlements in the West Bank, and has been a flashpoint for recent violence.

A group of Israeli settlers known as the ‘Bat Ayin Militia’ were convicted for an attempt to bomb a Palestinian girls’ school in 2002.

In a separate incident, Israeli soldiers overran a coffee shop and a number of stone workshops at the Ash-Shuhada area of southern Jenin on Monday.

Soldiers checked the identities of a number of workers and residents, but no one was detained, according to local witnesses.

Witnesses reported that five Israeli patrols, accompanied by an Israeli intelligence unit, broke into the coffee shop and demanded that people there identify themselves.

Meanwhile, others checked IDs and erected a military checkpoint in Ash-Shuhada but soon removed it, detaining no one.

Elsewhere, the Israeli navy seized four Gazan fishermen on Monday morning after stopping their boats off the Gaza City coast.

They were taken to Israel’s Ashdod port, north of the Gaza Strip.

Head of the Palestinian fishermen’s union Nizar Ayyash said that Israeli warships obstructed two fishing boats, taking four fishermen, all members of the As-Sultan family, while they were sailing in the As-Sudaniyya area.

He said Israeli navy officers beat the fishermen and also confiscated their boats.

Ayyash identified the detained fishermen as Uday As-Sultan, Saddam As-Sultan, Hasan As-Sultan, and Muhammad As-Sultan.

The Israeli navy prohibits Gazan fishermen from sailing more than three miles from the coast.

If fishermen attempt to sail farther, they are pursued, shot at, detained, and often asked to become informers for Israeli intelligence.

Under the Oslo peace agreements, Israel is obligated to allow Palestinians to fish as far as 20 nautical miles from Gaza.

• Israeli border guards have posted videos online in which they humiliate Palestinians, including ordering a young man to sing and slap himself, Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported on Saturday.

In one video clip posted on YouTube the man is ordered to repeatedly slap himself in the face while chanting ‘I love the border police’ as off-screen border guards laugh and cheer him on.

‘Say one hummus, one ful (fava beans), I love the border guard,’ the off-screen voice says. The Hebrew and Arabic phrase rhymes.

Another video shows a Palestinian man sitting in what appears to be a police vehicle chanting the same song.

A third clip includes still photos showing Palestinians bound and blindfolded in a room with an Israeli flag.

In one of the photos an Israeli soldier is posing and smiling next to one of the detainees.

The caption of the video says it was made in November 2007.

A third clip shows a series of still photos of border police while in the background someone sings: ‘Let every Arab mother know that the fate of her children is in the hands of the Company, C Company in the Old City.

‘With protective vests and clubs we break apart gun clips on Arab mothers.’

The newspaper quoted an unnamed border police officer who said such behaviour was common among police serving in occupied Jerusalem and along Israel’s controversial West Bank separation barrier, known by critics as the ‘apartheid wall’.

The border guards have in the past been implicated in violence against Palestinians, and in April 2008 two border guards were sentenced to up to six and a half years in jail for the murder of a Palestinian teenager.

The guards hurled Imran Abu Hamdieh, 18, from their jeep as it sped through the West Bank town of Hebron at 80 kilometres (50 miles) an hour. The young man had been seized from outside his Hebron home on December 31, 2002.

• A senior leader in the leftist Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) said on Monday that Palestinians will continue their ‘resistance’ as long as the Israeli occupation continues.

Abdul Rahim Mallouh, the PFLP’s deputy Secretary-General, made this remark in his capacity as a representative of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas during a Fatah movement event in honour of Fakhri Asfour Al-Barghouthi, the longest serving Palestinian prisoner, who has now spend 32 years in an Israeli jail.

‘As long as there is occupation there is resistance, as long as there is resistance there are sacrifices and we are ready to sacrifice to protect our national rights and to end the occupation,’ said Mallouh, himself a former prisoner.

He also said that the final status issues in negotiations with Israel cannot be separated from one another, including the issue of the 11,000 Palestinians jailed by Israel.