Further Israeli violations against Palestinians and their property continue in the West Bank, this week, with home invasion and harassment in the village of Awarta and the demolition of several structures in Khirbet al-Taweel.At 4:30 am, on Wednesday the 30th of April, a group of Israeli soldiers broke into a family home in the village of Awarta, near the illegal settlement of Itamar, according to a recent report by the International Solidarity Movement (ISM).
11 soldiers woke the family, under the pretext of conductiong a “security search”, upon which a member of the family asked to see the order and was shown a piece of paper written in Hebrew.
Once inside the house, the ISM reports, the soldiers forced the family into the living room, where they confiscated their mobile phones.
According to family member Muhammad Sharab, they were hdetained in their home for 12 hours. No one in the house was allowed to exit for work or school; there are six children in the family, all under the age of 14.
During those 12 hours, the soldiers slept in the house’s bedrooms and used the shower.
Muhammed described his exchange with the soldiers: “What you would do if I would come in your house in Tel Aviv and do the same as you?”
“I’m just following orders,” was his reply.
The soldiers finally left the home and the village.
Other reports surfacing in the village reveal soldiers raided another house, that same night.
The house is apparently located in the same area where, just under two weeks ago, Israeli soldiers entered houses and fired several tear gas grenades.
20 Palestinians, including children, were taken to the hospital for tear gas inhalation.
The village of Awarta has increasingly been targeted by the Israeli military, possibly due to close proximity of the illegal Itamar settlement.
In the last two weeks, a new settlement road connecting with the main village road has been built, and resident report that many local olives tree were destroyed during the construction.
In a related violation, on Tuesday the 29th of April, at 2:00 AM, the Israeli army invaded the small Bedouin village of Khirbet al-Taweel to demolish several structures, claining that they were built without permits.
In total, three houses, several animal shelters and the village’s mosque were destroyed.
Khirbet al-Taweel has an approximate population of 180 inhabitants, according to the ISM. 30 of them have now been left homeless because of the demolitions, 17 of which are children; the youngest only one-year old.
In the raid, three families were forced out of their homes at gunpoint, with no time to collect their belongings and able to take with them only the most necessary items before witnessing the destruction of their homes.
The Israeli army took two hours to carry out the demolitions, until 04:00AM, destroying three houses in addition to the village mosque, built in 2008.
The families also suffered the loss of their water tanks, due to the demolitions. In order to get drinking water, they now have to walk 30 minutes uphill to get to the nearest town (Aqraba), and then back, ISM stated.
During the day, Red Crescent provided the families with some tents. However, according to one of the women who were evicted, the army informed them that they were not allowed to stay in the area and had to leave immediately.
The woman replied: “We have nowhere to go. This is our land, our homes. Where should we go?”
During the past five years, the village has been the target of several demolitions. According to local villagers, this is simply a strategy from Israeli authorities to force an exodus fromlocal populations, thus expanding illegal Israeli farming settlements, located on the other side of the mountain from Khirbet al-Taweel.
More than 500,000 Israelis live in illegal settlements across the West Bank and East Jerusalem, in direct contravention of international law and with the full complicity of Western governments, in the form of billions in foreign aid and weapons, each year.
Despite the Israeli government’s relentless appeal to officials and taxpayers, in regard to ‘security concerns’, the Palestinian Authority has no official army, navy or air force to speak of.
The infamous Hamas rocket attacks, which Western mainstream media outlets are so quick to respond to, do very little damage, in fact, as the default projectiles are not even equipped with guidance systems and are tipped with only a relatively tiny warhead, if any at all.
Though outbreaks of serious violence do erupt from the Palestinian side, they are usually in response to Israeli violations and incitements against the Palestinian people and their property, with the majority of Palestinian child detainees being held on charges of throwing stones.
(Each year, around 500-700 Palestinian children, some as young as 12, are arrested, detained and prosecuted in the Israeli military detention system.)