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Mysterious arrests in Awarta

3rd February 2009

Thursday 29th of January, about one hundred illegal Israeli settlers entered the small village Awarta close to Nablus at about 11pm. The soldiers forced the villagers not to move by stating that they would kill everyone who did so. This lasted until dawn the next day.

On Tuesday 3rd of February, between 1.45am and 3am in the morning, various groups of Israeli soldiers broke into a total of five different houses in the village of Awarta, close to Nablus. During the confrontations 3 young men were arrested without reason. Two others where demanded to go to the Israeli military camp Huwwara the following day without explanation. At around noon the same day the two were immediately arrested when entering the camp. Neither of them where told why they where arrested, nor what charges they face.

Around 1.45 am in the morning approximately 30 Israeli Israeli soldiers surrounded the house of the Qawareeq family and silently broke into the sleeping family’s home. The soldiers asked for one of the family’s’ 21 year old son, Hindawi, who at the time was sleeping in the house of his nephew. The family, frightened by the sudden wake-up from several armed foreign soldiers in their home, were not told why the soldiers wanted their son. During the time the soldiers where searching for Hindawi, they entered Hindawi’s older brother Suliman’s room, who is suffering from a serious case of cancer. While searching his room, the soldiers found and stole, the family’s 4 mobile phones, on which had the emergency numbers for the sick boy’s doctors. Suleiman asked the soldiers not to take the phone because of their importance with regard to his health issues, but the soldiers did not care. While leaving the house, the soldiers also brought the family’s computer which among other things contained crucial information with regard to Suliman’s very complex medical schedule.

About 30 minutes later, the 30 Israeli soldiers marched to Hindawi’s nephew’s home, and forcefully broke into their small house, causing severe damage to the house’s front door and window. The soldiers where shouting and screaming to scare the family upon arrival. The soldiers turned everything in the house up side down, searching inside every closet and underneath every table. They found Hindawi sleeping in the guest room, and arrested him immediately, without letting him get his winter coat or clothes. Hindawi was accidentally carrying some of Suliman’s important medical papers brought from Ramallah. During the soldiers visit in the house they also threatened the family’s 14 year old son violently.

At about 3 am in the morning, another group of Israeli soldiers silently broke into the house of the Shurrab family. The father in the house woke up because he heard some strange noises from the childrens’ bedroom. When he woke up, he saw several soldiers blocking the door of their bedroom, preventing him to enter the childrens’ room to see what was happening. The soldiers beat him in the stomach, and shouted loudly at the mother. When the parents finally managed to enter their childrens’ room, they witnessed several soldiers beating up their 4 sons in their early twenties in their bedroom. Later the soldiers started to ask about the family’s 22 year old son Samer Jafar Shurrab who is recently living and studying in Nablus. They were asking the family intricate and detailed questions about Samer. When they realized that he was not in the house, the soldiers gave the father a document, demanding Samer to go to the Huwwara camp the following day. Samer was immediately arrested upon arrival at the camp around noon the same day. The soldiers destroyed the house’s front door lock mechanism, and broke a window.

At the same time, around 3 am in the morning, an additional group of soldiers also entered the house of the family Darawsheh in the village. The father in the house woke up because of some strange sounds outside, and realized that the house was surrounded by soldiers and military jeeps. The soldiers demanded to speak to his son, Baha’ Edeen Fazi’ Darawsheh, and the soldiers and Baha’ spoke alone in the house’s kitchen for about 20 minutes. 10 minutes later, the soldiers blindfolded Baha’s eyes and put on handcuffs on his hands, taking him away. The family were not told why the soldiers arrested their son.

At around 2am in the morning about 15 soldiers broke in to the house of another family in the village. The soldiers demanded that all family members were to undress completely including the women. They refused, and all the other family members were locked in a room while the oldest brother of the house had to show the soldiers every room and open every closet. He was told that if they were to find more people than what he told them, they would kill him and the additional persons. The soldiers were looking for the family’s son Hani Suleiman Quawareeq, and when they realized that he was not in the house, the family was told to inform Hani that he had to visit the Huwwara camp the following day. Hani was arrested when he went to the camp around noon. Again his family does not know why.