On 15 February, Israeli soldiers raided and took over the residence of a Palestinian couple living in Tura village, south west of Jenin. Information from the field including a sworn testimony, indicate that the raid took place within a context of a military training exercise. Al-Haq’s field researcher reported that the individuals residing in the house were not wanted nor were there other wanted individuals in the area.
Ahmad Sabri Qabha– Tura – Jenin
On 15 February, Ahmad, 29, and his wife were at his family’s home intending to stay overnight. At approximately 3:30 am, Ahmad received a phone call from his neighbour, Mohammad Qabha who informed him that Israeli soldiers were breaking into his house. Ahmad and his mother, 50, headed towards his house immediately and arrived there by 3:45 am. Upon arrival, he witnessed approximately ten Israeli soldiers, fully armed and in uniform, surrounding the premises of his house. One of the soldiers ordered Ahmad to open the door after they had initially failed to break it.
One of the soldiers then ordered Ahmad’s mother to enter the house, take out all the money and jewellery and leave. The officer informed Ahmad that this military unit would be taking over his house from 4:00 am until 12:00 pm that day. The officer also told Ahmad that he would be required to remain in the house with them. Ahmad entered the house along with 30 Israeli soldiers who ordered him to open all the doors in the house. Afterwards, Ahmad was held in the guest room on the first floor while a number of soldiers kept guard. The remaining soldiers then dispersed throughout the house while Ahmad remained unaware as to what ensued.
Ahmad expressed his objection against being held in the guest room. At that time, a number of his relatives and village residents had arrived at the scene and attempted to assist Ahmed to no avail. Following this, three soldiers kicked Ahmad twice all over his body as well as verbally and profanely insulting him. Young Palestinians from the village threw stones at the Israeli military surrounding the house, and the soldiers responded by firing tear gas and sound canisters at them.
At approximately 10:45 am, another military unit arrived at the scene to reinforce those soldiers retreating from the house. Ahmad was held in the guest room for approximately six hours. Within this timeframe, soldiers had confiscated Ahmad’s identification card and cell phone but returned them to him as they left. The soldiers had raided all the rooms in the house and some furniture was damaged. Ahmad believed himself to be in real danger while isolated among 30 Israeli soldiers fully armed and equipped. He believes that the soldiers were conducting a training exercise. (Al-Haq Affidavit No. 9340/2014)
Under both international humanitarian law and human rights law, the Occupying Power must respect the right of the occupied Palestinian people to enjoy their home and family life free of arbitrary interference. Further, any destruction by an Occupying Power of real or personal property is prohibited, unless rendered absolutely necessary by military operations. The law of armed conflict also provides that, protected persons are entitled, in all circumstances, to be humanely treated and shall be protected against all acts of violence or threats thereof and against insults. Within the framework of international human rights law, Israel is also under an obligation to ensure that the occupied population is not subjected to any form of ill-treatment. Israel’s failure to protect the Palestinian civilian population during such operations is a further indication of its flagrant disregard of its legal obligations as an Occupying Power.