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HR Report 132: IDF raids village of Rafat at night


HR Report 132: IDF raids village of Rafat at night

Text Box: Human Rights Report No. 132

Human Rights Summary:

IDF raids village of Rafat at night. Date of incident: 5 July 04 Time: 2:30 am - 9:30 am Place: Rafat, Azzawiya Witnesses: hundreds of villagers Contact details: IWPS withholds this information as a courtesy to those involved - we will do our best to furnish you with all the relevant information you might need to begin action.

Description of Incident

At 2:30 am on Sunday night, over 200 soldiers and border police reportedly entered the village of Rafat with dozens of jeeps. Two police cars accompanied them. The army declared curfew and threw several sound bombs.

In one area of town the IDF ordered everyone (approximately 100 people, 40 of whom were children) to open their windows and leave their houses. Soldiers took the group to the street, not giving them time to put on more clothes than they were wearing. The soldiers took 3 men and 2 women aside for separate interrogations. One of the women is pregnant, and the other is breastfeeding. The second woman was not allowed to get her baby when she heard it crying. These 5 people were relatives of M, a wanted man (the family does not know why the army wants him). M was not in the village that night, and his wife was sleeping in another relative's house. The soldiers demanded that relatives open the empty house. They took one brother upstairs, ordered him to open the windows, and threatened to blow up the house - with him in it - if he didn't share information.

One man was reportedly forced to carry a white bucket of explosives from one house to M's house, and place it on the wall outside the garden. The soldiers photographed this parade before blowing up the garden wall. Witnesses report that the bucket, as well as the explosives inside the bucket, came from the jeep and not from the village.

Villagers suspect that the soldiers will try to use these staged photographs in court. They also suspect that the IDF wants to connect these explosives with an alleged bomb found in a car near Azzawiya on Sunday afternoon. In fact, say villagers, nothing had been found in the car. The bag soldiers had claimed carried a bomb actually contained nothing but school books. Still, the soldiers had closed the Palestinian roads for at least 3 hours. Human rights observers had been surprised that the IDF had not closed the Israeli road directly above this alleged bomb, considering the potential danger if there really had been a bomb in the car. The IDF had arrested the two men in the car.

At a different place in the village of Rafat on Sunday night, soldiers reportedly took 2 families (including a 5 year old deaf boy) out of their homes around 3:00 am. These families were also related to M. About 30 soldiers entered one house with dogs, and found nothing. The soldiers would not let the oldest man drink water or take precautions for his diabetes.

Soldiers also entered the house of one of the men who had been arrested from the car on Sunday. They entered around 5 am Monday, ordering everyone to leave the house. They proceeded to rip the family's couches apart and break glass and vases. They allowed the family to return just after 8 am.

At approximately 7 am on Monday, one man was taken from Rafat to the nearby village of Azzawiya where his aunt lived. The soldiers were still looking for M, and reportedly beat the three children in the Azzawiya house (ages 9-12), and threatened to take them if they did not give information about M's whereabouts.

At approximately 9:30 am in Rafat, the soldiers allowed the 100 people to return to their homes. People found broken glass everywhere, particularly near and inside the house that was targeted. The army had fired bullets into the walls of the house as well.

Villagers fear that the army may return in the coming days. Report written by: Hannah Date report written on: 5 July 2004 Follow up required: Keep in touch with villages of Rafat and Azzawiya, and offer to stay at night if they feel they need it. The International Women's Peace Service, Haris, Salfit, Palestine.

Email:- iwps@palnet.com Website:- http://www.womenspeacepalestine.org Operating out of Haris, near Salfit, the International Women's Peace Service monitors and responds to Human Rights Abuses in the area.

Rafat. This is the wall of the garden outside M's house after it was blown up by the army.

Rafat. Broken windows and shards of glass on a table inside M's house.

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