07 April 2011 | International Solidarity Movement
At approximately 10.00pm last night the army once again entered the village of Awarta, throwing sound-bombs into the streets and declaring it a closed military zone, putting the residents under house arrest. This time the army arrested over 200 people, amongst them women and the elderly. The arrested were marched two kilometres out of the village before being tightly packed into buses and taken to Huwwara military base. Some of the villagers were in their pyjamas and without shoes when they were taken to the base and questioned, before having their fingerprints, DNA and photographs taken. Villagers were held until 4.00 in the morning; during this time those who were ill with conditions such as asthma were denied their medication. The oldest villager taken was 80 year old Nabil Awad who was arrested with his 70 year old wife. The soldiers entered his house by breaking the door, they hit his wife and his son and daughter who asked them not to take Nabil who is sick with heart failure. Nabil’s house had been searched in the previous weeks by the army who had destroyed many of his possessions and poured oil into his sugar supply.
The Qawariq family whose son and nephew where killed in 2010 by the Israeli army have been especially targeted and last night had their house searched for the 9th time before the father was again taken away to the military base. Although he was later released with the other villagers, he received a phone call from the army later in the morning demanding that he return to the base. Two sons of the Qawariq family are still being held in prison since being arrested early on in the raids. Whilst searching the house, the army again destroyed the families’ belongings, making a hole in the bathroom wall, pulling clothes and blankets out of the cupboards and pulling apart the washing machine. The army also once again brought dogs into the house who contaminated the familes’ food making it inedible.
Today the village enters its 28th day of army incursions following the killing of the Fogal family in the nearby illegal settlement of Itamar. Since the 12th March, villagers have been at the mercy of the Israeli army who have subjected them to military curfews which have left them lacking food, water and gas and have prevented ambulances and press from entering the village. ISM activists have been present in the village during some of these curfew, including the first one lasting five days, and have witnessed the army brutality first-hand. The army has arrested hundreds of villagers in the past 28 days, with 41 still imprisoned in Israel. None of the arrested have yet been charged with any crime. They have conducted numerous house searches in which they have destroyed and stolen property, and evicted families from their homes and occupied them for military purposes. Villagers have been beaten and hospitalised in acts of army brutality from which now even women and the aged are not spared. Huda Qawariq, the mother of one of the young boys killed last year, today described her and her families’ fear at the soldier attacks, telling us: ‘Soldiers have dogs and guns; all we have is God’.