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Israeli forces raid Bil’in in the night

9 November 2010 | International Solidarity Movement

Night-raid in Bil'in

Today at about 3 in the morning the Israeli army entered the village of Bil’in. About 50 soldiers came in by jeep and by foot. As they arrived to the two targeted houses, they ran and took positions outside, while a number of them entered the house of two brothers.

Soldiers hammered on the door of one house, demanding to see 30 year Ashraf al-Khatib. It turned out they were at the wrong house. They then went to another house by forcing one of Ahsraf’s brothers to show them the way to where Ashraf lives. Soldiers entered that house and his brother’s family’s house, and with the same procedure woke up the family, again asking for Ashraf al-Khatib. His brother, Haytham al-Khatib, is a journalist from the human right’s group B’tselem and was one of the people roused by the army. Though they had again entered a house where their target did not live, they remained inside for about one and a half hours, searching all the rooms.

Haytham al-Khatib tells about his 6 year old son’s reaction when he woke up and saw tens of soldiers in his house. “He asked me to close the door, because he didn’t want to see them.” Haytham himself was held back when he wanted to record the raid in his family’s houses -– the soldiers simply locked him in a room for more than an hour, away from his children and wife. The children in the houses are aged from 1 1/2 to 8 years, and this is not the first time they have seen their homes raided in the night.

Soldier during night-raid

However, after 1 1/2 hours of searching for the target in three houses, two of them in which he does not reside, Ashraf al-Khatib was not found. Five weeks ago Ashraf was shot in his leg with live ammunition by an Israeli soldier in a demonstration in Bil’in. The bullet went through his leg, breaking the bone. Even though he was heavily injured and in major pain, the soldiers tried to arrest him. Luckily he was brought to safety by fellow protesters and then to the hospital for surgery. Tonight the army decided to come and take him in front of his wife and 1 1/2 year old daughter instead.

The soldiers retreated from the targeted houses by foot, walking toward the military road that follows the illegal segregation fence in Bil’in, about 4:30 AM. The village of Bil’in has suffered from frequent night raids over the last few years, and a number of villagers have been taken for interrogation and imprisoned for their non-violent resistance to the occupation and segregation wall on Bil’in’s land.