Israeli Forces Raid West Bank

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ISRAELI forces early on Friday detained three Palestinians, including a minor, from multiple West Bank districts, said security sources.

Israeli forces raided Rummana, a village to the west of Jenin, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian after breaking and wreaking havoc in his family’s house, sparking clashes with villagers. The detainee was identified as Mahmoud Abu Sayfin, 21, who is a student studying Shari’a studies in a local college.

Meanwhile, in the East Jerusalem district, army units raided Abu Dis town to the east of the city, where they proceeded to detain a Palestinian after breaking into and ransacking his family’s house. The detainee was identified as 20-year-old Salama Hdaidun. In the aftermath of these raids, clashes erupted between Israeli troops and Palestinian locals. Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated bullets and stun grenades at youths who hurled stones and empty bottles at them in return. No injuries were reported.

Moreover, a Palestinian young woman fainted after suffocating from tear gas fired by Israeli forces in the East Jerusalem town of al-‘Izzariya. Forces raided the town early Thursday, sparking clashes with local youths who confronted them. During the clashes, soldiers extensively fired tear gas canisters at Palestinian local houses, causing the woman, who remains unidentified, to suffocate and faint.

In the meantime in Hebron, forces detained Thursday evening a Palestinian minor from Hebron’s neighbourhood of Tal Rumeida. The detainee was identified as Muhammad Abu Haykal, 11. A Spokesperson for the UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Sami Mushasha, has affirmed in a press release that UNRWA and PLO’s Department of Refugee Affairs continue to work hand in hand with officials in Palestine to provide the best service to the Palestinian refugees.

Mushasha said in a press release which WAFA received that ‘Palestine is an active member in UNRWA’s advisory commission, where UNRWA Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl accepts the efforts and guidance from Palestinian officials when it comes to finding solutions to the severe fiscal deficit UNRWA is experiencing recently.

The latest comments came in the light of an article published on a local media outlet which claimed that UNRWA accuses the PLO of neglecting the crisis befalling Palestinian refugees in Lebanon and dealing with their suffering in a negative manner. UNRWA’s spokesperson in Jerusalem Mushasha further affirmed that this close relationship with the PLO will continue and further flourish to safeguard the interests of Palestinian refugees everywhere.

• Israeli army detained overnight Thursday six Palestinians from across the West Bank, whereas Israeli police assaulted and arrested four family members during an arrest and search operation in East Jerusalem, said security sources. In the early hours Thursday, Israeli police raided the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of Ath-Thuri, in search of Amjad Idreis, 20, provoking clashes with local residents.

Police physically assaulted and detained four young men. They were identified as Amjad, Talab, Zakariya and Ahmad Idreis. Meanwhile, forces detained six other Palestinians during raids into the East Jerusalem town of Hizma, the Bethlehem town of Nahhalin and the Hebron town of Tarqumia after breaking into and ransacking their homes purportedly for being affiliated to Hamas.

One detainee was identified as ‘Abdul-Kareem Shakarna, 20, from Nahhalin. Locals said that forces stationed on a military checkpoint near Qalqiliya stopped and detained a Palestinian young man identified as Ahmad N‘irat, a resident of the Jenin village of Meithalun.

• Israeli forces last Wednesday conducted wide-range military drills across the Jordan Valley area, according to a local official. Head of Wadi Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh, told WAFA that forces were deployed across different parts of the Jordan Valley area, where they conducted military training.

The Israeli army often conducts drills in the occupied West Bank, especially in the Jordan Valley, after forcefully displacing dozens of local Palestinian families due to the proximity of their homes to the training sites. Palestinians living in these areas have to also worry about unexploded ordnance left behind by the Israeli army after the drills, which have led to the death of many Palestinians, including children, over the past years.

In 2014, three Palestinians were killed by unexploded ordnance left by Israeli forces in the West Bank’s Jordan Valley, while Gaza remains plagued with unexploded ordnance following the most recent Israeli aggression.

On May 1st, Jordan Valley Solidarity, a network of Palestinian community groups, petitioned to the UN, international embassies and international NGOs to pressure Israel to stop its regular military exercises in the northern Jordan Valley. ‘This training will devastate the communities of Humsa Fouqa, Ibziq and Ras ar Ahmar and all of the surrounding area once again,’ said the group.

Israel is planning to annex the Jordan Valley into a completely Israeli area, primarily in agriculture, targeting to ban territorial contiguity between a future Palestinian state and the rest of the Arab world.

In May 2014, a senior Israeli commander admitted that training exercises in the occupied West Bank involve live fire and are used to drive local Palestinian residents off their land. Israeli Colonel Einav Shalev, an operations officer in the Israeli military’s central command, admitted using the tactic during a subcommittee meeting of Israel’s parliament in April 2014.

The revelation was a rare official acknowledgement of a measure that critics have long decried as part of a deliberate policy by the Israeli authorities to force Palestinians out of their land. The revelation, reported media sources, was a ‘rare official acknowledgement of a measure that critics have long decried as part of a deliberate policy by the Israeli authorities to force Palestinians out of their land’.

• Israeli authorities last Wednesday ordered a halt to construction work on several Palestinian residents’ structures in the northern Jordan Valley as a prelude to demolish them, according to a local official. Head of Wadi Maleh village council, Aref Daraghmeh informed WAFA that military jeeps of the so called Israeli civil administration stormed the northern Jordan Valley area and handed out several demolition notices for several structures belonging to a local resident.

The notices notified the resident that their structures would be demolished in October. The structures included an agricultural pond, and sheds used for agricultural purposes and others used as animal barns. In a statement issued in January 2015, The United Nations slammed Israel’s destruction of Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem as illegal and unfair, after a series of demolitions that left dozens of Palestinians — mostly children — homeless.

‘Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately,’ stated the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA). In 2014 . . . Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people – the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008,’ the UN office said.

‘The planning policies applied by Israel in Area C and East Jerusalem discriminate against Palestinians, making it extremely difficult for them to obtain building permits,’ said the statement. As a result, many Palestinians are forced to build without obtaining permits, which are rarely granted to Palestinians, in order to shelter their families and despite the risk of having their homes and structures demolished by Israel.

‘Palestinians must have the opportunity to participate in a fair and equitable planning system that ensures their needs are met,’ said OCHA. Since 20th January, OCHA has recorded the Israeli authorities’ demolition of 42 Palestinian-owned structures in the Ramallah, Jerusalem, Jericho and Hebron governorates.

It said that in addition to those displaced, 59 Palestinians were otherwise affected, mainly due to the demolition of structures essential for their livelihood, mostly animal shelters. At least eight of these structures were funded by international donors.

In 2014, according to OCHA figures, the Israeli authorities destroyed 590 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C and East Jerusalem, displacing 1,177 people – the highest level of displacement in the West Bank since OCHA began systematically monitoring the issue in 2008.

‘Demolitions that result in forced evictions and displacement run counter to Israel’s obligations under international law and create unnecessary suffering and tension. They must stop immediately,’ added James Rawley, UN Deputy Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process.

Issuance of construction permits for Palestinians living in Area C, under full Israeli administrative and military control, is strictly limited, forcing Palestinians residing in such areas to embark on construction without obtaining a permit.

‘In contrast to the restrictive planning policy followed for Palestinian communities, Israeli settlements – all located within Area C – enjoy expansive allocations of land, detailed planning, hookup to advanced infrastructure and a blind eye regarding illegal construction,’ stated the UN agency.

‘Israel seeks to to empty the Jordan Valley, which makes around 40% of the West Bank area, from its Palestinian inhabitants in an aim to take it over and eventually annex it to Israel.’ stated B’Tselem, the Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, in a report published in October 2013.

‘In addition to the settlements sanctioned by the State of Israel and the Civil Administration, over a hundred settlement outposts were established in Area C with neither master plans nor state sanction,’ said the centre.