The village of Deir Istiya was again subject to Israeli military invasion on Monday 4th February, with soldiers again invading and occupying a family home.
In activities almost identical to those that took place on 24th-25th January 2008, Israeli soldiers entered the village at approximately 7pm on Monday night, before forcibly occupying a multiple-story family home at 9pm, refusing to disclose to the family for how long they would be stationed there.
International Human Rights Workers (HRWs) were able to access the house and joined the frightened family to stay with them for the length of the ordeal. At the appearance of the HRWs, surprised soldiers advised that they would only be occupying the premise for one day. When questioned further, the unit commander refused to clarify, stating that he “didn’t know” how long they would tresspass upon the family’s property.
At least nine Israeli soldiers continually occupied the premise from 9pm on 4th until 9pm on 5th February – for supposed “security reasons”, but without obvious purpose or activity. At approximately 4pm on Tuesday 5th, soldiers were seen carrying out multiple cardboard cutouts of human figures – commonly associated with training exercises.
The identical pattern of these seemingly pointless incursions and home occupations led villagers and HRWs to speculate as to whether the peaceful village of Deir Istiya is being used by the Israeli army for training exercises – a practice the Israeli military supposedly halted after an expose by the Human Rights group Yesh Din, in March 2007.