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Israeli Raid Violates Palestinian Freedom of Association

Thursday, 17 May 2012 16:09 - 7-13 May - Ref.:110/2012
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In the past week, Israeli authorities raided the offices of the Palestinian Grassroots Anti-Apartheid Wall Campaign (Stop The Wall) and the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), located in the same building in al-Bireh. Al-Haq documented the raid and expresses its concern about such practices by the Israeli authorities, which amount to violations of the rights to freedom of association and of expression.

Haytham Muhammad Nofal

Israeli-Raid-Violates-Palestinian-Freedom-of-AssociationHaytham (39 years old) works for the PPP and when he cannot return to his home in Hebron, he sleeps in the party’s office. On 8 May, at around 1:30 am, Haytham was awakened by hammering on the main door of the office. He turned on the lights, and when he looked through the door’s peephole, Haytham saw about eight soldiers gathered outside. When he opened the door, an Israeli soldier pushed him backwards and ordered him to stand beside the door. The soldier asked him in Arabic about the office that he works for and Haytham explained that he worked for the PPP. Haytham was then confined to one of the rooms, with a soldier stationed at the door with a gun pointed in his direction.

From within the room, Haytham could see the soldiers breaking into the other rooms and conducting a search. After about 30 minutes, a higher-ranking officer moved Haytham to the reception room, where he questioned him about the PPP’s office and the type of work that they do. Haytham was then asked the names of the employees and activities of Stop The Wall, which is on the floor above PPP’s office and how to gain entry to their office. Haytham was further interrogated about posters and documents that the soldiers found and photographed in the office.

Ten minutes later, the Israeli soldiers left the office. From the window, Haytham saw seven Israeli military jeeps surrounding the building. He then heard hammering on doors and breaking sounds. Haytham called a colleague, who then called the coordinator of Stop The Wall, Jamal Mousa Ja’afra. At around 3:00 am, when the Israeli soldiers left, Haytham went to check on Stop The Wall’s office and found that the soldiers had broken the locks on the doors and forced their way inside. Jamal phoned Haytham and asked him to go into his office to check if the Israeli soldiers had confiscated his laptop. When Haytham entered the office, he saw that the Israeli soldiers had searched every room and had taken a number of computers. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7315/2012) 

Jamal Mousa Ja’afra 

When Jamal heard of the raid, he went to Stop The Wall’s office. He found that the lock to the main door of the office had been broken and that some equipment had been taken, including three computers, two laptops, ten flash memories and about 100 CDs. Jamal also saw that some posters had been taken and the rest thrown on the floor. In addition, the locks of two drawers were broken and the meeting minutes and confidential documents contained within were gone.

 

Jamal recalls that this is the second time that their office is being targeted. On 8 February 2010, Israeli soldiers confiscated documents, computers and other electronic devices. These attacks by the Israeli authorities are debilitating for Palestinian associations such as Stop The Wall that often rely on personal donations of equipment to sustain their work. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 7316/2012)