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IOF Death Threats, Harrasment & Interrogation – Life in Balata as “Normal”

by Micheal and Lina

Last night, July 28th, at approximately 3:00 am, Saeed Haettalla, 53, from Balata refugee camp, was arrested and interrogated for the second time in two day, aparently without reason.

In the middle of the night, Saeed was awoken by over 30 soldiers of the Israeli Occupation Force (IOF), backed by six armored jeeps and one armored bulldozer. These forces arrived at his home in Balata camp, and the soldiers entered his home in search of Saeed’s son, Hathyem.

Saeed and his son run the small internet café inside Balata camp, which is why the IOF keeps harassing them. Hathyem is not suspected of doing anything illegal, but according to the arresting officers, someone has used one of the computers in his café for “illegal activity” related to the Israeli onslaught in Lebanon. After the IOF searched Saaed’s home on the 28th, they forced him to open the cafe at approximately 4:00am. He was coerced to agree to the search. The soldiers entered the café, searched the premises, and photographed the interior. After finishing in the café, the soldiers told Saeed that he had to be transported to Huwarra camp for further questioning. Once again Saeed agreed, as he had no choice. He was transported to the camp to face interrogation from an IOF “commander,” and spent an additional nine hours in questioning.

This is the second time in two days that Saeed was interrogated about his son’s whereabouts. The day prior, a similarly sized force of soldiers entered his home in the middle of the night, searched the premises, and interrogated Saeed. The IOF informed Saeed that if he did not surrender his son by 12:00 on Sunday (tomorrow), that his son would be assassinated or Saeed would be arrested once again. Saaed’s two other sons, Hani and Ahmed, are already serving jail sentences in Israeli prisons. Hathyem is now planning on giving himself up to be interrogated at Huwarra, although the entire family is of course worried that they will lose yet another son.

This type of harassment is regular inside Balata Camp. Nightly, soldiers enter the camp, harassing and arresting residents and occasionally carrying out assassinations.