The Israeli military withdrew, on Wednesday, from the village of Awarta, near Nablus following it’s imposition of four days of curfew.The military’s action were in response to the murder of five members of the Fogel family, a family of Israeli settlers in Itamar, located near by to Awarta.
During the four days of curfew harassed residents and caused repeated damage to property. Local sources reported:
On the first day of curfew all boys and young men were ordered to report to a local school, at which point they were split into two groups of approximately 150 persons each. One group reported that they were held for around 2 hours in a square in the village, followed by 13 hours inside, during which he detainees were not allowed the use of bathroom facilities, were not allowed to receive the food residents took to them, and were not allowed to drink water.
During this detention young men were repeatedly beaten for speaking against this treatment, with those doing so taken to an unknown detention facility.
Three young men, one a child aged sixteen, who are brothers of a man from Awarta who was murdered by the Israeli military last year, were blindfolded, handcuffed and thrown to the ground, at which point the military personnel began to fire live ammunition on the ground around the bodies. These three persons are still detained.
A man, reported to be mentally ill, was attacked by a military dog, used for the search of explosive materials, whilst walking in the street.
Residents homes were repeatedly searched, with most homes searched three times in four days, leading to damage to property, the confiscation of mobile phones which were not returned, the theft of both cash and gold, with some residents reporting the loss of thousands of shekels, and the destruction of food.
The municipality building was ransacked, causing damage to furniture, and damage and disruption to archived materials.
Senior officers used the four day curfew to train younger soldiers as to tactics used during searches, explicitly instructing them to damage property.
During the four days of curfew ambulances were initially barred from entering the village, and once allowed by the military, were given limited hours in which they could do so, and were prevented from moving all of those sick and injured to the hospital in Nablus.
One of those allowed to be transported was a 75 year old man who had been beaten by soldiers, and was suffering from difficulty breathing. Following the assault on him, his four sons were detained. Two elderly women with heart conditions were prevented from traveling though.
As mentioned the curfew was imposed following the murder of the Fogel family form the settlement of Itamar. The Israeli security services claim that during investigation following the murders, Friday night, tracks were discovered leading from the crime scene away in the direction of the village, although Israeli spokesperson have disclosed proof of this to the media or public.
The Israeli government have condemned the attack as a “terror attack” committed by one or more Palestinians, although they have been unable to give any proof of this.
On Monday, reports began to surface that the murdered family had owed an immigrant worker, of Thai nationality, the sum of 10,000 shekels for services rendered, and that upon refusing to pay the money owed, the worker had threatened to murder the family if hey did not settle the debt.
Since these reports came to the attention of the public, the Israeli government has refused to comment on the issue, and has refused to rescind their previous statements accusing Palestinians.