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Night raids on Palestinian homes: follow-up submission to the UN

[11 November 2015] – Today, WCLAC lodged a follow-up submission with the UN concerning the devastating impact that Israeli military night raids are having on Palestinian women and families in the West Bank. The latest submission focuses on night raids that occurred in just one month – October 2015 – and is based on 19 testimonies provided to WCLAC by affected women. 

According to research conducted by WCLAC, it is estimated that since June 1967, the Israeli military has conducted at least 65,000 night raids on Palestinian homes, or an average of four night raids every night. This figure does not include the more frequent day-time incursions conducted by the Israeli military into Palestinian centres of population, highlighting the intensively oppressive nature of prolonged military occupation.
With a rise in tensions in October, WCLAC has observed both an increase in the frequency of night raids as well as an increase in their intensity, including evidence of gratuitous property damage and threats to the life of family members, including women, in 42 per cent of the cases documented. The cases documented by WCLAC in October include:
  • On 12 October, Salimeh reports that around 30 Israeli soldiers broke into her home in the town of Dhinnaba at 3:00 a.m. after kicking down her front door. When her husband asked a soldier if he could fetch some water for her he was told the family would be shot if they moved. The soldiers then searched Salimeh’s home damaging furniture and doors, as well as throwing the family’s clothes on the ground. The soldiers then detained Salimeh’s 24-year-old son without explanation. Her son was later given a 6-month administrative detention order under which he is held without charge or trial. 
  • On 13 October, Attieh reports that around 40 Israeli soldiers broke into her home in the city of Tulkarm after kicking in the front door at 3:00 a.m. She reports that the soldiers were physically and verbally abusive towards her paralysed son after he explained that he could not stand up. The soldiers then searched her home damaging the doors and cupboards, whilst throwing the family’s clothes and kitchen utensils on the ground. The soldiers then detained her 20-year-old son without explanation. Her son was later given a 4-month administrative detention order under which he is held without charge or trial. 
  • On 20 October, Sahar R. reports how Israeli soldiers blew open her front door in Beit Furik at 4:30 a.m. without warning. Whilst searching the house the soldiers made Sahar’s 10-year-old son, Ibrahim, stand against a wall with his hands and one leg raised. Ibrahim remained in this position for approximately two hours and was too terrified to put his arms down even after the soldiers had left the house. The soldiers detained Sahar’s 18-year-old son, Ahmad, without explanation, and when she asked to see her son before he was taken away she was told to shut up or she would be shot.
As with WCLAC’s earlier submission to the UN on night raids, the latest evidence points to a close link between this policy of mass intimidation and the maintenance of Israeli settlements in occupied territory. The latest evidence confirms that on average night raids occur in Palestinian communities located within 2 kilometres of an Israeli settlement. The submission concludes that night raids are part of a military policy intended to protect nearly 600,000 Israeli citizens living in illegal settlements in East Jerusalem and the West Bank by intimidating neighbouring Palestinian communities into submission.

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