Multiple Israeli raids on the West Bank – as UN announces food cuts

Palestinian youth confront Israeli troops in the West Bank
Palestinian youth confront Israeli troops in the West Bank

ISRAELI forces on Wednesday conducted multiple overnight raids across the West Bank and detained at least 28 Palestinians, said the Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS). Israeli military police detained at least 15 Palestinians after storming their houses in the East Jerusalem neighbourhood of al-Eissawiya.

In Bethlehem district, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians and ransacked several houses during a raid that triggered confrontations in Duheisha refugee camp, south of Bethlehem. Soldiers indiscriminately opened fire on local youths who protested at the raid, wounding one with a live round in the chest and another with a rubber-coated steel bullet in the foot. Several other protesters suffered from excessive tear gas.

They hurled a gas bomb toward a Palestinian-owned vehicle, causing fire to break out.

Elsewhere in the southern West Bank, soldiers detained three Palestinians, including two former prisoners, from Hebron district.

Soldiers reportedly raided Beit Ummar and Beit Awwa towns, north and west of Hebron, where they ransacked several homes. No detentions were reported though.

Similar raids were reported in the central West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh, resulting in the detention of three others.

Similar military raids that sparked confrontations were reported in the northern West Bank districts of Tulkarem and Jenin, where soldiers rounded up three Palestinians.

Two other Palestinians were reported during separate raids into Tubas city and Tammun town, south of Tubas.

Israeli forces frequently conduct large-scale overnight detention raids almost on a daily basis across the West Bank on the pretext of searching for ‘wanted’ Palestinians, triggering clashes with residents. According to Palestinian figures, some 6,500 Palestinians continue to languish in Israeli detention facilities, including scores of women and hundreds of minors.

• The United Nations’ World Food Program (WFP) says it will cut food aid to around 190,000 impoverished Palestinians in the besieged Gaza Strip and the occupied West Bank – half of all its recipients there – due to funding shortages.

The UN food agency on Wednesday blamed the funding shortages on cuts by the United States, the agency’s biggest contributor, and other nations in aid to Palestinians. ‘WFP has been forced, unfortunately, to make drastic cuts to the number of people that we support across Palestine, both in Gaza and the West Bank,’ said Stephen Kearney, WFP country director in the Palestinian Territories.’

The cuts in food assistance will reportedly take place starting January 1. Food assistance provided to 27,000 people in the West Bank would be suspended, the WFP said, adding that food aid to 165,000 people in the Israeli-occupied territory and in Gaza would be slashed by 20 per cent.

Kearney said the agency was making the cutbacks ‘mainly because the amount of funding that we are receiving is dropping drastically’. ‘It’s not just WFP, it’s across the whole humanitarian community as donor contributions significantly fall,’ he added.

On Monday, the UN and the Palestinian Authority appealed for $350 million in humanitarian relief for Palestinians next year, noting that much more was needed but they had to be realistic after a year of funding cuts, especially by the Trump administration, which has taken an increasingly hard-line stance toward Palestine.