International Solidarity Movement
18 February 2010
Last night at around 2.30am, the Israeli army illegally stormed into 5 apartments in the Ashref Building on Suki Street in Nablus. The city is located in “Area A”, which is under full Palestinian Authority control under the Oslo II Agreement, making this raid illegal under international law.
Without any warning, Israeli soldiers forced their entry by blowing open all five apartment doors as it left visible dents on the metal door frame, deformed metals doors and cracked walls. Residents described the device to have been pushed against both sides of the door frame, as the dents on all the door frames indicate, with a control box in the middle, making a loud explosive sound as the doors blew open. After hearing the description of this device, two former Israeli soldiers have recognized it as a “Fox”, an Israeli military device loaded with two fingers of TNT to blow open doors.
In each of the five apartments, armed soldiers, three of whom wore masks, stormed directly into the bedrooms and separated the husband from his wife and children and proceeded to interrogate them in the apartment lobby. The husbands of all three families on the second floor said that they were questioned about the names of their families, neighbors and if they recognized different names soldiers listed off.
After the interrogation, soldiers locked all three husbands on the second floor in one room as their wives and children were crying, separated in other rooms. Residents also stated that one woman on the third floor was pushed by a soldier after she said that there is a doorbell and asked why they didn’t just knock. One of the families on the third floor also told us that the children had stayed home from school today as a consequence of the night raid. The simply still were afraid.
None of the families were asked the same questions regarding the names of the people the soldiers were looking for, yet the commander clearly stated they were searching for one individual. This inconsistency points to the possibility that In the past, other ISM volunteers have heard villagers explain that night raids have occurred as training for soldiers, especially before certain campaigns have been launched by the Israeli army.
This is the second time Ashref Building has been illegally raided in the past two months, but the first time such a device was used for forced entry. Each door will cost around 1,500 NIS to replace and the illegality of the Israeli army entering “Area A” will likely remain without any consequence.