Israeli army carrying out rampage of terror, sabotage in Palestinian town
|Friday, February 15,2008 03:00|
|By Khalid Amayreh|
For the third consecutive day, hundreds of Israeli occupation soldiers and agents of Israel’s chief domestic security agency, the Shin Bet, are savaging and terrorizing this small Palestinian town of 10,000 inhabitants, located just a few kilometers north of Hebron in the southern West Bank.
The occupation forces declared the town “a closed military zone” as crack soldiers moved from house to house, terrorizing civilians, beating youngsters, and vandalizing public and private property.
According to residents reached by telephone, Israeli soldiers were “carrying a wave of collective punishments sweeping arrests.”
“First, they ordered all males from 12 to 70 to school yards and streets in sub-zero temperature, and then heavily armed soldiers moved from house to house, beating youngsters, verbally abusing women, vandalizing property and smashing electrical appliances,” said Yousuf Abu Ayyash, an elderly resident.
Abu Ayyash said Israeli troops were behaving in patters “resembling the middle-ages”
“Where in the world today a state deploys huge bulldozers in the heart of urban centers in order to destroy businesses and shops. If they want to arrest someone, they can arrest him, but why destroy his business? Why demolish his home?”
So far, as many as sixty residents have been arrested and herded into large army trucks. Most of the detainees are likely to be sent to the notorious detention camp, known as Kitziot, in the Negev desert, where thousands of Palestinians, including professionals, students, doctors, and intellectuals are incarcerated indefinitely without charge or trial for opposing the Israeli occupation.
Israel is keeping more than 11,000 Palestinian in jails, apparently as a bargaining chip to blackmail the Palestinians into giving political and territorial concessions to the Zionist state.
The detainees rounded up Wednesday night include minors and children such as Muntaser Fakhri Ikhlayel, 15 and his cousin Adam Hasan Ikhalyel, 16.
According to municipal officials, a number of residents were wounded after being beaten severely by soldiers, apparently for violating the curfew imposed on the town. Medial sources named Fakhri Nasr Ikhlayel and his son as among the people injured.
The elected mayor of the town, Farhan Alkam, has been languishing in jail, without charge or trial, ostensibly for “holding religious ideas.”
Moreover, significant parts of the water and sewage disposal system were damaged. In addition, a large number of personal computers, mobile phones and personal documents were confiscated.
Residents said Israeli soldiers barricaded themselves inside private homes after confining family members at gunpoint into a small room or a kitchen.
On Wednesday, an army bulldozer demolished a grocery store owned by Sabri Zamel Abu Mariya in the center of the town. No reason was given for the demolition.
An Israeli army spokesman refused to comment on the rampage in Beit Ummar, saying the army doesn’t comment on military operations while still in progress.
Israel has stepped up systematic persecution of Palestinians lately despite continuing peace talks with the Palestinian Authority.
On Tuesday, the Western-backed Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayadh complained that Israel was not giving his government any chance to succeed.
He said that provocative Israeli actions, including daily incursions and raids in Palestinian population centers, were undermining the government’s stature among ordinary Palestinians.