December 22, 2008
At 2.30 am on the 22nd of December, more than 100 soldiers invaded the village of Ni’lin, abducting three people in their homes. A fourth person they were looking for was not captured. The three arrested were:
Saeed Ibrahim Mustafa Amireh, 17
Mohammed Daoud Husain Khawaja, 17
Mohammed Abdallah Yousef Amireh, 32
At the house of Saeed Amireh the soldiers came by foot and surrounded the house. Approximately 25 soldiers entered the home searching for evidence to connect the family to participation in the resistance against the construction of the wall, yet they found nothing. During the raid the Israeli army put the whole family of ten in one room. After harassing the family for an hour and a half, Saeed was arrested and taken to Ofer prison.
One of the soldiers said in Arabic to Saeed’s father Ibrahim Amireh, “we arrested you two months ago, now we are here to take your son”. Saeed’s father, who is a member of the Popular Committee of Ni’lin, was arrested on the 14th of August also during a night invasion of Israeli soldiers in the village. He was imprisoned and daily interrogated during 16 days and then released. This resulted in him losing his permit to work in Israel.
At 2.30 the army came to the house of Mohammed Khawaja, 17 years old. First they went to his brother’s home downstairs, where they entered and searched the house. They did not find Mohammed so they went upstairs and arrested him immediately. One soldier searched the house looking for evidence in connection with the popular resistance. As it was a swift arrest the parents didn’t have a chance to give him extra clothes, Mohammed has also been taken to Ofer Prisoner Camp, near Ramallah.
At around 3am, 20 soldiers came to Mohammed Abdallah Yousef Amirehs house and called him out, before then arresting him. They also entered his mother’s house downstairs harassing her and searching her house. They took him by foot to the checkpoint from were he was taken to Ofer Prisoner Camp. He is the father of five small children. Without him his family have no income.
During the arrests two jeeps were parked outside the municipality in the village centre. Around ten soldiers stood shooting teargas and sound bombs towards the surrounding houses. They used flares to see if there were any people outside. The army finally left the village at around 5am.
Israeli forces invade Ni’lin regularly in order to arrest people who have been active in the popular resistance against the Annexation Wall being built on their lands. Since the start of the construction of the Annexation Wall in April 2008, more than 60 villagers have been arrested. Out of the 60 held 31 are still in jail, six of them under the age of 18.
The wall annexes 23 hectares of agricultural land from the village. In addition to the wall, two tunnels that are planned that will act as the only entrances in and out of Ni’lin will annex a further 2 hectares.
432 hectares of farming land have already been annexed by the Israeli state since 1948 leaving Ni’lin with only 23 hectares of land that includes the land the village houses are build on.
When the Annexation Wall is finished it will completely encircle the village together with two roads that can only be used by Israelis. The construction turns Ni’lin into a small enclave closed off from the rest of the West Bank.
Excluding Saeed and Mohammed, 4 other children have been imprisoned and so far, they have been held for more than a month. They are:
Ibrahim Khalqel, 16
Majed Hisham Nafea, 17
Sufyan Khawaja, 17
Mohammad Ata Mousa, 14 – On Wednesday 17th December Mohammed Mousa was sentenced to four months and fined 2000 NIS (starting from the day he was arrested).
These children have had their education interrupted and they risk losing a school term. Saeed and Mohammad have been arrested just one week before their final exams of the semester. This is another strategy from Israel to make the daily life increasingly difficult for the Palestinian population, particularly those involved in popular resistance against the occupation.
These latest arrests mark a continuation of the Israeli policy of arrests of those believed to be involved in demonstrations against the Wall.