Palestinians freed on 18 October as part of the recent prisoner swap between Israel and Hamas have come to discover that their freedom comes at a price. In recent weeks, large financial rewards are being offered by certain settler groups for the killing of at least four of the former prisoners. Members of the settler community, in addition to officials from the Israeli government, have been involved in distributing flyers calling for the murder of these Palestinians. Disturbingly, the Israeli military and police force were witness to the distribution of the flyers but stood by without interfering. The flyers have also been widely publicised in Israeli newspapers without any recriminations.
More recently, former prisoners are being targeted from another side. During this reporting period, Israeli soldiers raided the homes of six Palestinians released in the recent prisoner swap. The ex-prisoners and their families, whose homes are located in the Jenin, Qalqiliya, Ramallah and Toulkarem governorates, were all disturbed late at night by these military operations. Witnesses reported that the Israeli soldiers threatened the released prisoners of being re-arrested and vowed not to leave them in peace.
Akram ‘Abd-al-‘Aziz Mansour
At around 12:30 am on 14 November, around 20 Israeli soldiers surrounded Akram’s home in the city of Qalqiliya (Qalqiliya governorate) and attempted to enter. An Israeli intelligence officer who goes by the name “Karny” approached Akram and told him that the soldiers were there on an unofficial visit. Akram refused to let them enter his home at such a late hour despite the fact that he was at gunpoint.
The officer told Akram that he was tasked with getting to know the prisoners who were recently released as part of the swap. He interrogated Akram for about 15 minutes, questioning him about his private plans for the future and how he was adjusting to a life of “freedom”. After the questioning, Akram was handed a police notice of summons for an interview with the Israeli Intelligence at the Eyal checkpoint, north of Jenin, on 11 December (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 6802/2011).
Wa’el Kamel Jalboush
On 18 November at around 11:30 pm, Israeli occupying forces raided the home of Wa’el’s brother in Marka village (Jenin governorate) and ordered Wa’el’s sister-in-law to call him to come to the house. When Wa’el arrived he saw that several military jeeps surrounded the house. As he went inside, an Israeli intelligence officer, who identified himself as “Mike”, approached Wa’el and asked to sit with him alone.
The officer warned Wa’el: “Listen, if you participate in any events organised by political factions like Hamas, Fateh or al-Jihad, I will re-arrest you personally without waiting for orders.” The soldiers then retreated and Wa’el saw them approach another former prisoner’s home nearby. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 6801/2011).
‘Imad Yaser Mousa
Around midnight on 19 November, approximately six Israeli soldiers raided ‘Imad’s home in Marka village (Jenin governorate) and searched the house for a few minutes. An Israeli intelligence officer, who introduced himself as “Munir”, spoke to ‘Imad after the search. The officer then asked ‘Imad to sit down with him alone in an empty room.
‘Imad reported that the Israeli officer then threatened him, saying: “We know that you are not allowed to leave Jenin and that if you go even one metre outside of the area, you will be arrested once more and I will not be satisfied with just imprisoning you, I will also tear down your house on top of you” (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 6800/2011).
Sumoud Yaser Karaja
On 19 November at 1:30 am, around ten Israeli soldiers forcefully entered Sumoud’s home in Saffa village (Ramallah governorate). The soldiers handed her an order written in Hebrew, a language she does not understand, compelling her to go to ‘Ofer prison the following morning for a meeting with the Israeli intelligence at 9:00 am. Sumoud went as ordered to ‘Ofer prison where she was forced to wait for nine hours before being taken to a room to be interrogated by an Israeli intelligence officer who goes by the name of “Fou’ad.”
Sumoud gave an account of the interrogation. “The officer threatened me. He told me that the Israeli intelligence is watching my every move and that they will keep watching me until they can put me back in prison. And that when I do get imprisoned again, I will spend my whole life inside and will never be able to leave” (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 6799/2011).