by ISM Nablus, Monday 30th October
Photo credit: Ma’an News Agency
About five o’clock this morning, Israeli Special Forces invaded Balata refugee camp east of Nablus. It was an unusually quiet military incursion and a large number of Balata inhabitants did not even notice the Israeli army presence until a few children started throwing stones at jeeps stationed in key corners of the camp to cut off streets and alleyways. An Apache helicopter hovered overhead during the entire operation and other reinforcements in the form of Merkava tanks stood by outside the camp perimeter in case of widespread resistance.
Israeli forces followed 20-year old Mo’az Maseemi to his home and waited until he had closed the door behind him. When they knocked on the door, Mo’az asked who it was, to which one of the Israeli soldiers answered “Me!” in Arabic. Mo’az then opened the door, only to be faced with six assault rifles pointed at his head. Mo’az Maseemi, wanted by the Israeli military for some time, was taken away to an unknown location, without even being allowed time to put his shoes on. His 23-year old brother Mahmoud Maseemi, although not officially wanted, was also abducted from his home at gunpoint.
A third member of the Maseemi family was arrested by Israeli forces only ten days earlier. Israeli Special Forces operations are a common occurrence in Nablus. In the last month, 10 men have been arrested during nightly operations in the camp. Israel claims these men are to have been “wanted” by the Israeli military – always for undisclosed reasons and based on information from secret sources. Many of the people arrested in Palestine end up being held in administrative detention for years at a time, without charge or trial.