24 June 2009
In the early morning hours of Wednesday, June 24, 2009, the Israeli Army invaded four houses in Awarta, a village south of Nablus. The soldiers claimed to be looking for weapons and caused mayhem in every room of these houses. They left after six hours without arresting anyone.
Between midnight and 6am on Wednesday morning, soldiers invaded four houses in Awarta village, one of which was not inhabited at the time. According to the villagers, some 50 soldiers entered the houses while another 50 encircled the houses. They had two dogs with them.
House 1: Said Salim Hassan Awad
The husband and father of this family was in Jericho at the time of the invasion. His wife and their children were sleeping when some 50 soldiers woke them up demanding that they open the door. They ordered everyone into one room and pointed their gun at the two-year old son, telling him that they would kill his brother if he did not tell them where the gun was. Although the family assured the soldiers that there were no weapons in the house, the soldiers searched every single room, throwing the furniture upside down, slitting chairs open. They destroyed wardrobes, light bulbs, and children’s toys, and threw vases full of flowers on the floor, shattering them. The interior of this house was in complete shambles and the children were still visibly frightened.
House 2: Abdul Kader Ahmed Ibrahim Abdad
The scenario was similar in this house. Around midnight, some 50 soldiers had demanded entry to the house. Here, too, the soldiers ordered all the family members (8 children and both parents) into one room. One soldier pointed his M-16 at the 4-year old girl and asked where the weapons were. As he saw a poster of Saddam Hussein on the wall, he asked her 10-year old brother who this was. When the boy told him that he liked Saddam, the soldier ripped the poster off the wall. While searching the house, they threw furniture around, pulled out drawers, and broke one of the children’s beds. This house has been invaded several times before, the last invasion having occurred four months ago. The soldiers left after six hours without arresting anyone.
House 3: Jewer Mahmud Derawish
Around 2 am, the family inside this house was woken up by shouts of soldiers who demanded entry to the house. Here, only women (8 in total) were at home at the time. Some 40 soldiers entered saying that they were looking for something. While searching the house, they tipped over the family’s food storage containers of rice and olive oil. Thereafter, they destroyed part of their wheat field.
House 4: The owners were not at home at the time
Since this house was not inhabited at the time of the invasion, the soldiers forced the door open, breaking the lock in the process. The footprint of a soldier’s boot is clearly visible on the door. Furniture was overturned, the doors of a small wardrobe were ripped off, a children’s bed was broken, and clothes were scattered everywhere on the floor.
According to the villagers, house invasions are frequent in Awarta.