HEBRON: Israeli soldiers occupy homes, take belongings

14 September 2005

HEBRON: Israeli soldiers occupy homes, take belongings

by Dianne Roe

Ten days after six soldiers entered her home, stayed the night in one of the
bedrooms, and left the next morning with cases full of important family
documents Affaf Baatch still has not been able to recover her belongings.

On Saturday evening 3 September, soldiers entered the home located near the
CPT apartment and stayed the night.

CPTer Dianne Roe encountered Baatch shortly after eight o'clock Sunday
morning 4 September, minutes after the soldiers left the area. Roe alerted
TIPH (Temporary International Presence in Hebron) who followed up and
advised Baatch to file a complaint at the police station. She went to the
police station; the Israeli police told her to return the following day.

Roe accompanied Baatch to the station on Monday, 5 September. After Baatch
and Roe waited outside for two-and-a-half hours, Officer Yorem took the
complaint. Im Jihad gave him the written complaint, and told him the
soldiers had taken passports, photos, jewelry, and some other papers.
Officer Yorem told Roe and Baatch that he was transferring the matter to the
military police, who, he said, would contact Baatch.

While Baatch awaited resolution from the military police, she contacted the
DCO (District Coordinating Office), the Hebron municipality, and human
rights groups. On Wednesday 7 September, while patrolling near the Baatch
home, Roe asked soldiers nearby if they knew what had happened to the Baatch
family belongings. One soldier told Roe he had been one of the six soldiers
in the home. He said the military police gave the documents to the Shabak
(the Israeli secret police) who were "investigating" to see if family
members were Hamas. He said that they saw a magazine that made Israel look

"What was the magazine?" Roe asked Baatch.

About five years ago at the beginning of the Intifada, Israeli settlers who
live nearby attacked the Baatch home on several occasions, breaking glass,
and injuring the occupants. The magazine article the soldiers took was
about one of these attacks and the injuries sustained by Affaf Baatch.

Meanwhile, on many other occasions Israeli soldiers have recently occupied
homes near the CPT apartment. On Thursday 8 September two soldiers returned
to the Baatch home at 10:30 p.m. and stayed for ten minutes. On Friday 9
September, two soldiers came again, staying the night in the upstairs
apartment of Baatch's brother-in-law. On Saturday 10 September, soldiers
spent the night at another home nearby, also belonging to the Baatch family.

Meanwhile, Affaf Baatch waits for her belongings. This afternoon as Baatch
returned home, one of the soldiers who had been in her home ten days
earlier, pointed his gun and threatened to shoot her if she did not stop.
She stopped and waited until the soldier allowed her to continue.

CPT has contacted Israeli friends who are helping Affaf Baatch recover her
personal belongings, and who want to investigate other infractions by the
Israeli army and settlers.