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Army invades Deir Istiya, occupies house

Israeli soldiers invaded the village of Deir Istiya, in the Salfit region, at 3pm on Thursday 24th January, occupying a house and arresting one youth the following day. Approximately 5 jeeps entered the picturesque village, shooting sound bombs and tear gas outside homes for at least four hours, preventing passage of vehicles and pedestrians through the main streets.

Upon entering the village, soldiers immediately invaded a family home, occupying it, and refusing to allow the family access to the upper story and roof. When questioned by the family and human rights workers as to how long they would be occupying the house, soldiers refused to give a time frame, intentionally leading the family to believe that they could be there for up to one month. Three international human rights workers were able to gain access to the house and stay with the family throughout the invasion. The soldiers continued to occupy the house overnight, before finally withdrawing at 4pm on Friday afternoon.

Before departing soldiers arrested one youth, aged 18 – allegedly for questioning, but seemingly at random from a field in which he happened to be walking with his uncle when soldiers were passing by. He is the second youth to be arrested from the village in the past two weeks. Currently still in custody without charge, the youth suffers from a serious medical condition and is currently being held without the provision of medication – a potentially dire situation.

Surrounded by the settlements of Immanuel, Yaqir, Revava and Ariel, the village of Deir Istiya is subject to regular invasions, home occupations, and arbitrary arrests. As one villager explained “The life here is impossible”.