23rd June 2014 | International Solidarity Movement, Nablus team | Hares, Occupied Palestine
During the early hours of Saturday 21st June, before dawn, the Israeli army invaded the town of Hares and raided 11 houses. The house raids were generally violent and property was damaged.
During the raid, Jamil Ali Jaber (60-years-old) – whose house wasn’t raided according to a local witness – suffered a heart attack while arguing with the soldiers during the invasion and died soon after. Unlike other villagers, he was allowed to receive medical attention by Palestinian paramedics, although their ambulances are not equipped to deal with heart attacks and could not save him. No arrests were reported that night.
A local source stated that he heard a helicopter nearby which could have transported the soldiers by air. The Israeli army deployed approximately 150 soldiers loaded into 3 buses. Then at 01:30 the house raids began, starting at Dawood’s family house. At first he thought that the noises outside could have been wild animals but then the Israeli soldiers knocked on Mr. Dawood’s door and he opened up on their command. The rest of the family was detained outside the house while he was in one of the rooms. The search began, furniture was being turned upside down, crockery was broken, and a door lock was broken. The soldiers demanded silence while they searched the house, they did not state why they were raiding his house. Mr. Dawood stated that they used pepper spray in the room where he was held, exacerbating his delicate health condition as he has recently had surgery before and suffers from low blood pressure. He required medical attention but the Israeli army did not allow the Red Crescent ambulance to enter into Hares. Mr. Dawood only received medical attention, and was taken to the nearby town of Biddya, once the soldiers left, there he learned about Jamil’s death.
Jawad Muhammad Dawood, the brother that lives next door, went outside to see what was happening. He counted 30 soldiers approximately – many of them covering their faces – raiding his brother’s house and tried to support him, but him and a younger member of the family were pushed back by the soldiers. Jawad’s wife has heart problems and the situation worsened her condition. At that point Jawad, who is receiving psychiatric treatment, lost his temper and physically confronted the soldiers. They kicked and then hit him with the rifle butt on his hand which was still swollen when he was interviewed, but it wasn’t broken as some media outlets suggested. Jawad’s son called for an ambulance but again they were denied entry into the town of Hares. Fortunately, Jawad’s wife fully recovered from the episode.
Afterwards, at 02:00 a building nearby hosting five families was raided. The soldiers knocked on the door and went into the house quickly when they realized the door wasn’t locked. All the family members were detained in a room, sitting on the floor for the duration of the search which lasted over two hours and there were no witnesses while the soldiers searched the various floors. The families asked if the 13 kids could carry on sleeping but the Israeli soldiers insisted in waking them up and keeping them with the rest of the family. Their mobile phones were temporarily confiscated so they couldn’t contact anyone.
Shops nearby were also searched and the soldiers noticed that in one of the shops, they were recording the surroundings of the residential building. “They demanded the cameras to be turned off or else they would break them” said Bilal, one of the residents in the building. His brother quickly turned off the cameras and deleted the footage from the hard drive to avoid further problems with the soldiers.
As in other houses, while their homes were being searched the soldiers used excessive and unnecessary force. Again the soldiers turned the furniture upside down, using knives to cut into the sofas in the living room and also broke one wardrobe. Bilal speaks Hebrew fluently, but the soldiers refused to answer any questions and simply demanded him to translate their commands to the rest of the family members.
One of the last houses to be raided was that of Talal Hosni Dawood. The Israeli soldiers knocked loudly on the door at around 03:30. One of the family members opened the door soon after after seeing that that soldiers were about to break into the house. The eleven family members were held in their the living room, again sitting on the floor until 05:00 when the soldiers left.
Israeli forces, with their faces covered or painted in black, searched the house without any witnesses to oversee them. In this house, many items and valuables were broken. Among the items or furniture broken are: a door, a sink and a couple of sofas that were cut open, two windows were cracked, one smartphone, and one laptop valued at around 4,000 NIS (850 euros). In fact Israeli soldiers turned on the computer and they saw a Palestinian flag as the desktop image, they turned to Talal and questioned him as to why he had that photograph on his laptop. He said it is the flag of his government, to which the soldier replied: “if you want you can go to Ramallah and show it [Palestinian flag] to Abu Massen [Mahmoud Abbas]” and then smashed the laptop on the floor. The laptop was taken to a repair shop in Salfit, hoping it can be repaired.
Talal’s eldest son was taken apart from the rest of the family into another room and the commander asked him “where is it?” He didn’t know what the Israeli soldiers were talking about nor did they specify, so they continued ransacking their home.
Under the pretext of an Israeli military operation in search of the three missing settlers – initiated 10 days ago – episodes of collective punishment are erupting all over the West Bank. This is just another example.