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IDF Incursion into Al-Ein Refugee Camp

IDF Incursion into Al-Ein Refugee Camp

A major Israeli incursion was carried out in Al-Ein Refugee camp which ajoins Nablus today. From their vantage point the ISM activists in the area could see 11 military vehicles including several jeeps, a covered truck an armoured personnel carriers, a hummer (special forces vehicle) and two specialised vehicles carrying military demolitions experts. There was also a tank in the area, which fired shells and machine gun fire into the refugee camp but then left the area.

When a man, his wife and their three children (the oldest of which was six) requested that the ISM activists help them return to their home inside the refugee camp, three activists from the US, Sweden and Israel accompanied them. As they approached the camp, the soldiers ordered them to go back and the man went back in the hope that the soldiers would let his wife and children through without him. As the group proceeded they were approached by a jeep and Susan (from the US) went forward to negotiate with the soldiers. Without disembarking from the jeep, one of the soldiers pointed his gun directly at her head then fired a single bullet through her hair. The Palestinian mother, who was standing next to Susan received a flashburn on her forehead from the shot and became so upset that the group retreated and were offered shelter in a house which overlooked the scene of the incident

At 8.30 the Israelis pulled out of the area, having taken away three men from the refugee camp, and the ISMers were able to escort the family back to their home. They found the house completely trashed and the rest of the family in a state of hysteria after having being terrorised by the Israeli soldiers.

For further information contact: a.. Maria on 059 317 718 or b.. Hussein on 059 355 400

Azmut Checkpoint

At 10 am this morning Robin, a South African ISM activist, approached Azmut checkpoint east of Nablus on his way to the village of Salem to meet a friend there. As soon as the soldiers saw him the fired their rifles over his head and ordered him to go back. Then their commanding officer held a gun to his chest and told him to go back to Nablus or he would be killed.

Robin refused to obey this illegal order and waited at the checkpoint until five more activists (from Nigeria, Switzerland, France, the UK and the US) arrived at Azmut. By this time the soldiers at the checkpoint had already rounded up and were detaining several Palestinians trying to travel between Nablus and the villages of Salem, Deir Hatib and Azmut.

Later in the day a teacher, his wife, their 3-4 year old daughter and newly born baby approached the checkpoint as they traveled from Deir Hatib to Nablus. Again the soldiers fired at them and then ordered the man to come forward and squat down while they confiscated his ID card and tied his hands behind his back. They then fired in the air around him, prompting his daughter to rush forward to him. One of the soldiers then put the barrel of his rifle against the child's chest. The child then began to wail with fear.

"Give her some Candy," the soldiers told Myriam, the activist from the UK

"She doesn't want candy. She wants her daddy." she replied then went forward to rescue the child and take her back to her mother.

When it became clear that the man was not going to be released, the mother and her children returned to the village without him. The man was kept in the crouching position from 11 am until 4.45. At 2.45 he was allowed to go to the toilet and released from the handcuffs but when he had finished he was forced to return to the squatting position.

At 10.30 a gynecologist, his son, his patient and her husband were fired upon as they approached the checkpoint and ordered to stop. The international activists went forward to protect them and escort them through the checkpoint but when the commanding officer saw this he became infuriated and began shouting at the Palestinians. To distract his attention from them Patricia (from Nigeria) intervened by shouting that they only came forward because she told them that was what the commander wanted. When he heard this the commander lowered his head and pushed forward into Patricia with his steal helmet but she coolly lowered her head and stood her ground. Then they interrogated the gynecologist who told them that the border police, who had been at the checkpoint when he had traveled from Nablus to the woman's village, had let him pass on condition that he return in two hours, which h

At noon the soldiers spotted a shepherd crossing the fields with his donkey and about 20 sheep. They fired over the man's head and ordered him to abandon his sheep and come to the checkpoint. At the checkpoint they confiscated his ID, tied his hands behind his back and made him kneel on the ground until 3.45 when he was allowed to stand.

Later in the day, while the soldiers were distracted, one of the men being held gestured to Myriam to approach him and handed her some ID cards, telling her that they belonged to some women who were hiding further down the road. Myriam walked down the road and found a woman who was with her mother and carried a new born baby. The woman had had a caesarian operation and couldn't walk. She explained to Myriam that the man who gave her the ID cards was their taxi driver and asked her to help them back to the checkpoint and negotiate his release. Myriam did so and the driver was released to drive them home.

At about 4 pm Robin was released and allowed to go to visit his friend in Salem but by then several Palestinians were being detained at the checkpoint so the other activists decided to stay until they were released.

As night began to fall one soldier let the freezing men build a fire to keep warm but warned the ISM activists that if they annoyed him he would make them put the fire out.

Twenty minutes later the commanding officer kicked out the fire.

Throughout the day the commanding officer glared at Myriam and on several occasions shoved her and slapped her across the face when she intervened on behalf of the Palestinians.

"What are you doing here?" he asked her several times.

"I'm just helping these people," she would reply.

"I'm not human. I enjoy making people suffer," he would retort.

At one point Myriam was telling one of the soldiers about the Nakba of 1948 when unrecorded numbers of Palestinian civilians were massacred by the fledgling Israeli Army to terrorise the rest of the population from their homes.

When the soldier denied that such massacres took place, the officer interrupted the conversation.

"Yes, they were massacres. She's right," he said.

Following Robin's release about nine men were still being held at the checkpoint, some of whom had been held there since noon. Two of them (including the shepherd) had their hands tied behind their backs. All the men were made to squat while the soldiers cuffed them on their heads. While I spoke to the activists the soldiers released one of the men then chased after him and pushed him back with the others and punched him several times on the arm. At this point Myriam intervened, so that they let him go again.

At about 5.30 three of the men, who were returning to their homes in Salem, were forced to return to Nablus and Myriam went with them as their escort. Shortly thereafter the rest of the men were released except for the shepherd, the other man with his hands tied behind his back and another man who had just arrived at the checkpoint. These men were led away by the soldiers to an unspecified location. When two of the activists attempted to follow, the soldiers fired at their feet. Both activists were new to the ISM and so returned to Nablus.

The activists believe that the reason the shepherd and the other man were singled out for special punishment was because of their quiet dignity while under detention, which seems to have incensed the soldiers.

© Scoop Media

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