Israeli soldiers invade homes in AlKhili Old City Neighborhood, February 8 2012
8 February 2012
Israeli Soldirs Invade Homes in AlKhalil Old City Neighborhood
Early on the morning of February 8, more than 20 Israeli soldiers and border police broke into at least 30 homes in the Old City neighborhood of AlKhalil. The soldiers, many of whom are part of a unit of the Golani Brigade, used rifles, boots, and pry bars to break in doors and destroy locks. Soldiers ransacked more than a dozen houses, ordered families outside into the night, damaged and destroyed property and verbally and physically harassed families who were asleep in their homes when the raid began. Soldiers also broke down the door of the Ministry of Labor, which was empty in the early morning hours.
One family reported that Border Police arrived at their door at about 1:30 AM, awakened everyone and wrote down the names and ID numbers of all eight family members, and then left. Then, shortly before 4:00 am, 12 soldiers from the Golani brigade forced their way into the house and ordered the family, including two small children, into one room. The soldiers then ransacked the rest of the home, breaking the locks on interior doors and tossing belongings onto the floor. They remained in the house, not allowing the family to use the restroom, until almost 7:00am. The family reported that soldiers stole money and a child’s wristwatch during the raid.
One father reported that soldiers entered his home during the night and locked his toddler daughter, who is developmentally disabled and has severe breathing problems, into a room by herself. They forced the rest of the family to leave the house and wait outside while they searched the rooms.
Nearby, soldiers forced two women who were alone at home with five children to wait in the street for four hours while they broke all the doors of the house. Another man reported that soldiers broke the door to his house and forced their way in, saying that his two children, who are under the age of four, had been throwing stones.
Internationals who spoke with the families witnessed damage to doors and stonework, broken glass, scattered belongings and destroyed locks. At many homes boot prints were visible on the doors and owners were working to replace broken and bent locks and doors.
Civilians living the Old City have faced a sharp rise in human rights abuses since a unit of the Golani brigade arrived there in late December. Abuses have included the arrest and detention of children, serious physical injuries to children and civilian adults while in military custody, home invasions of civilians by soldiers, and an increase in the number and duration of arbitrary detentions of civilians at checkpoints.
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