Israeli Forces have recently escalated their military operations in the in the West Bank city of Bethlehem, arresting several people, invading towns, erecting road closures, and violently attacking residents. 

Eyad Sha’alan, a resident of Dihisha refugee camp in Bethlehem, was attacked and detained late Sunday evening by Israeli army troops stationed at the main checkpoint at the city entrance.

Soldiers stopped him at the checkpoint while he was coming back from his work Jerusalem, then checked his ID card, and then started to beat him with clubs and rifle butts.

Medical sources in the city said the man sustained several cut and broses all over his body and was moved to the public hospital in the city.

Israeli forces have also stepped up their general raids into villages and towns throughout the West Bank.

On Sunday afternoon the Israeli army invaded the village of Mount Fourdis,  East of Bethlehem. Six military jeeps surrounded several homes, conducted searches, and arrested a 22 year old from the Askar family. Israeli soldiers first photographed and fingerprinted the young man before transferring him to a currently unknown location.

Earlier in the day, Israeli forces also raided the neighboring village, Dar Salah, implementing the same procedure, followed by the arresting of another young man. Eyewitnesses report that Israeli soldiers severely beat the young man in front of his mother and other family members before arresting him and taking him to an unknown location.

Israeli forces also established several military roadblocks preventing freedom of movement in violation of international law.  

Throughout the Bethlehem area, the Israeli military imposed several roadblocks, including separating Al ‘Ubeidiya Village from Beit Sahour, the town closest to Bethlehem City. Israeli forces stopped cars, harassed and detained several Palestinians, and searched possessions while scrutinizing identification.

The Israeli military also blocked Palestinian movement on The Western Road that runs from Jerusalem to Bethlehem and further south to Hebron, near the Israeli military and settler Gosh Atzion Junction

Also last night Israel forces suddenly closed the existing barrier at the top of Beit Jala, a small city west of Bethlehem. The unnecessary closure caused a major traffic jam, as cars were unable to move for more than three hours

Israeli forces also forbade neighboring village residents from driving their cars from 10:00 pm Saturday night through Sunday morning. The announcement was delivered by Israeli forces occupying the area via loudspeaker without explanation.

The recent military escalation was sparked 24 hours after of the Israeli assassination of two young men in Al ‘Ubeidiya at dawn on Friday morning. After the killings, Palestinians from the area began their nonviolent resistance with a tent sit-in.

The Bethlehem District is suffering from settlement expansion and Wall construction, and the ensuing land confiscation that comes along with the Israeli violations of international law.

*Sourced from PNN