Home / Press Releases / Israeli forces abduct minors from Ni’lin

Israeli forces abduct minors from Ni’lin

Ni’lin – Thursday September 10th 2008

At 2am Thursday September 10th Israeli forces invaded the West bank village of Ni’lin and arrested 9 persons, three of them are under 18 and are still being kept in jail.

Israeli forces invaded the village in the early hours of the morning, firing live ammunition, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas and sound bombs. They entered many houses, arresting 9 residents. Among those arrested were at least 3 minors, including a 12 year old and 13 year old.

Witnesses have reported that the Israeli forces were in the cases of two of the minors looking for other people, taking the minors when they could not find those they intended to arrest. Mohammed Salah Khawaje (12), Mohammed Loi Khawaje (13), Arafat Amira, Sofian Nawaf Khawaje (17), Imad Azzam Khawaje (18), Mustafa Khawaje (20 year old journalist), Milhim Amira (22), Yousef Amira (34) and Salah Mira (36).

The father of the 12-year-old says that the army came to look for him but since he was not at home they roughly searched the house and ended up taking his 12-year-old son, the father sees it as a reaction to threaten him because he is active as a medic in the demonstrations.

The army handcuffed and blindfolded the 12-year-old boy and pushed him down the hill outside the families home while his terrified mother and sister were held back., and could only watch the soldiers violent assault of the little boy.

The brutal behaviour the Israeli army has exposed on the villagers of Ni’lin did not stop them from carrying out the planned demonstrations against the apartheid wall at 1pm the next day.

The military stopped the protest before it got out of the village and started shooting tear gas and rubber coated steel bullets at the about 20 protesters.

Almost 6000 Palestinian children have been arrested since the start of the Al Aqsa intifada in September 2000.

The Israeli law as well as the United Nations Convention on children’s rights defines a child as a person under the age of 18. The Israeli military law, the apartheid law system Israel has imposed on all Palestinians, defines a child as a person under the age of 12.

Yesterday Yousef Khawaja, 32 years was shot in the leg with live ammunition by Israeli forces operating in Ni’lin. Fortunately his situation is not critical and he may be released from Ramallah hospital today. Two other protesters were also injured by Israeli rubber-coated steel bullets.

The Israeli Human Rights organisation, B’Tselem, last week released a statement condemning the violence used by Israeli forces in Ni’lin (to view the statement click here), after the shooting of Awad Sror, stating that;

“The recent wave of similar cases, which led to B’Tselem’s request, raises the grave suspicion that soldiers and Border Police officers systematically breach the Open-Fire Regulations in their use of rubber-coated bullets, often with the knowledge and approval of officers.”

Ynet article on the abductions:

IDF forces apprehend West Bank boy suspected of involvement in violent demonstrations against West Bank security barrier. Father: Soldiers led him away like a sheep, used him as human shield

By Ali Waked

To view original article, published by Ynet on the 11th September, click here

Large IDF forces arrived Wednesday night at the West Bank village of Naalin in order to arrest 12-year-old Muhammad Hawaja, who is suspected of involvement in violent riots held in protest of Israel’s construction of the security barrier.

His father, Salah Hawaja, told Ynet that the forces, “came in from the mountains, surrounded the house and removed Muhammad from his bed.

“My wife and I can’t forget the image of IDF soldiers grabbing hold of Muhammad’s pajama collar and leading him away as if he were a sheep crying and screaming,” said the father, a paramedic.

According to him, the troops used Muhammad as a sort of human shield as they left the village, located near Modi’in.

“Upon leaving the house the forces were confronted by village youths, who hurled stones,” Hawaja said. “Muhammad was used as a shield.”

The father, who was recently been arrested during two separate anti-security fence rallies, says the detainment of his son was conducted as “an act of revenge”.

“If they (soldiers) came because of me, then I’ll say it again – I was merely fulfilling my duty as a paramedic and do not pose a threat of any kind.

“My 12-year-old son should certainly not have to be a victim of the IDF’s attempts to get back at me,” he said.

Salah said he has yet to be notified where his son is being held.

About a month ago the father was beaten by Colonel Omri Burberg, who was relieved of his command following the incident in which a soldier fired a rubber-coated bullet at a bound Palestinian in Naalin. The indecent was caught on tape.

Residents of Naalin and the Anti-Fence Committee fear that Muhammad’s arrest was part of a new strategy aimed at applying psychological pressure on them.

The IDF Spokesperson’s Office said in response that Muhammad was arrested after evidence that was gathered linked him to violent disturbances, including attacks on security forces with cinder blocks and stones.

On Wednesday evening a resident of the village was injured from live fire. The man, in his 20s, sustained injuries to his leg.