At 3am on January 17th, Israeli Occupation Forces invaded the villages of Huwwara and Beita. In Huwwara, they closed off the main street and used rubble from nearby construction sites to block side streets while several jeeps took up positions at either end of the village. While no official curfew was announced, several village residents were prevented from walking the streets. The head of Huwwara’s municipality was also prevented from entering his home. Nearly 12 hours later, around 3pm, the IOF withdrew from the villages having made no arrests.
The army claimed that they were punishing the villages for alleged rock throwing at settlers from the illegal Yitzhar settlement. The IOF originally threatened to maintain the closures for several days if the villages didn’t hand over those responsible for throwing rocks.
This act of collective punishment was not only damaging for residents of these two villages. The main street in Huwwara is part of the major road connecting Ramallah and Nablus. By blocking this road, the IOF were disrupting travel for hundreds of Palestinians from these cities as well.
Later that day, at approximately 4:30pm, around 20 children from Huwwara, accompanied by a small contingent of adults, walked to the nearby Za´atara checkpoint and held a small demonstration. For half an hour they chanted and held signs denouncing the mistreatment of the Palestinian people. The demonstration ended when a dozen Israeli soldiers, accompanied by the DCO, arrived and ordered the boys to return home.