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Ill-Treatment of Palestinian Civilians During House Raids

Saturday, 24 January 2015 08:29 - [12-18 January] - Ref.2/2015
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Al-haq-Danish-AwardAwrdOver the past week, Al-Haq documented six incidents of home raids conducted by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) in Jenin, Tulkarem, Ramallah and Tubas governorates. The house raids included ransacking, property theft and destruction, arrest of residents, and assaults against the residents.

Safi Muhammad Abu 'Ali - Sanour - Jenin

Safi, 49, lives in Sanour village, 15 kilometres to the south of Jenin city, in a two story house with his wife, Elham, 46, their five children, two daughter-in-laws and three grandchildren. On Friday 16 January at approximately 2:00 am, the family woke up to the sound of heavy knocking at their door. By the time Safi reached the door, the door had already been opened. A fully armed Israeli soldier pulled Safi from his clothes outside while four other soldiers started beating him using their rifles and feet, hitting him on his back and feet. They ordered him to be silent. He recalls seeing around 40 soldiers entering the house yard. An officer, who introduced himself as Captain Sava, told Safi that they are here to arrest his son, Muhammad, 24, and seize a weapon from the house. Safi denied that there was a weapon in the house.

Safi was taken inside the house and put in his bedroom where the rest of his family was already detained. Other soldiers had raided the second floor apartment and forced Safi’s son Majdi and his family to go downstairs to the same room where the family was. The soldiers spread out and searched both floors of the house. Approximately ten minutes later, Safi and his sons Majdi, Muhammad and Ahmad were taken outside where several soldiers watched over them as it rained. They were left outside for approximately an hour and a half while the soldiers searched through the house. Every now and then the mentioned officer would question Muhammad about the weapon.

At approximately 4:00 am, the soldiers retreated from the house, arresting Muhammad after they had blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back. They walked for around 300 metres where their vehicles were parked. Shortly after the IOF’s departure, Safi checked on the house only to find that 23,000 shekels (approximately USD 5,840) were stolen, in addition to his daughter-in-law's jewellery, worth 4,500 JD (approximately USD 3,190). The house raid resulted in the destruction of most of the furniture in the house, including the couches and electrical appliances. Safi's son, Muhammad, is currently detained in Al-Jalama prison in Israel. (Al-Haq affidavit No. 10362/2015)

Ya'coub Thalji Ya'coub - Beit Rima - Ramallah

On Sunday 18 January at approximately 2:30 am, Ya'coub, 31, woke up to find six Israeli soldiers in his bedroom, fully armed and masked, surrounding him. The soldiers were pointing their rifles and lights at Ya'coub. One of the soldiers took out a gun and beat Ya'coub on his forehead with it. Another soldier jumped on the bed and beat Ya'coub on the chest with his rifle. Ya'coub screamed from the pain. The soldier then put his knees on Ya'coub's chest and held him from his neck and choked him. One of the soldiers shut the bedroom door while the others continued to beat Ya'coub on his chest, head and the rest of his body. The beatings continued for approximately five minutes. A soldier had placed his hand over Ya'coub's mouth so he would not shout or make noise. Throughout the beating, Ya'coub could hear his mother and sisters scream in the house.

Ya'coub was then dragged from his feet outside his bedroom, down the stairs and to the main street. On the street, there were approximately 70 masked soldiers and two police dogs. A number of soldiers approached Ya'coub on the street and started kicking him all over his body and swearing at him in Arabic. Ya'coub was screaming from the pain. One of the soldiers approached Ya'coub angrily, placed the tip of his rifle on his chest and ordered him to remain silent. Ya'coub continued to scream. The soldier then sat on his chest and held his neck violently, strangling Ya'coub. The soldier flipped Ya'coub on his stomach while another soldier stepped on his face. The soldier kept kicking Ya'coub's head for approximately half an hour and threatened to shoot him. In the meantime, Ya'coub recalls hearing his family screaming in the background from inside the house. Ya'coub saw that they took 'Ali, Ya'coub's brother, from the house and beat him fiercely in the face.

Half an hour later, the soldiers made Ya'coub stand up, tied his hands behind his back and took him, barefoot, approximately 200 metres away, along with 'Ali. The soldiers beat both Ya'coub and 'Ali on the way. The two men would fall and then be dragged by the soldiers. The last thing that Ya'coub recalls is that he and 'Ali were beaten in the back of their heads with a rifle, making them lose consciousness. At approximately 6:00 am, Ya'coub woke up at the Ramallah Governmental Hospital. The doctor there informed him that he was bruised in the chest and forehead, and had strangling signs on his neck.

Upon his return home, Ya'coub learnt that all of his family members were beaten and assaulted by the Israeli soldiers who raided their house that morning, and that 'Ali was arrested. He also learnt that some family and friends who came shortly after the Israeli forces' departure, at approximately 3:30 am, found Ya'coub untied and thrown around 200 metres away from the house. (Al-Haq affidavit No. 10363/2015)

Al-Haq condemns the raids and the conduct of the Israeli Occupying Forces which clearly threatens the safety and security of the Palestinian civilian population. Al-Haq calls upon the government of Israel to ensure that such acts of arbitrary and excessive use of force practiced by its officers are investigated and prosecuted. Under international humanitarian law (IHL) and international human rights law (IHRL), protected persons are entitled in all circumstances to be humanely treated, with respect for their dignity and security, and are protected against all acts of violence or threats. As an Occupying Power, Israel is obliged to provide protection for Palestinian civilians. Al-Haq is further concerned with the resulting assaults on residents, and damage and theft of property that resulted from the raids. Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention stipulates that no one should be punished for a crime he/she did not personally commit. Moreover, any reprisal against such protected persons and their property is prohibited. Additionally, article 9 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights states that everyone has the right to liberty and security of person and that no one should be subject to arbitrary arrest or detention.

 

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