Nightly invasions in Ni’lin: Israeli army stormed a house, shooting one resident and arresting another

Palestine Monitor
1 September 2008

At 3 o’clock on Sunday night, the Israeli army stormed the village of Ni’lin in the North West of Ramallah.

Incidents and crimes have been happening on a weekly basis in Ni’lin for months, where the people have been carrying out non-violent struggles to defend their land against the building of a new section of the apartheid Wall.

In Ni’lin, the Israeli soldiers have been using violent methods in order to break the non-violent resistance of the villagers. High velocity and rubber bullets have been used -with soldiers shooting at close range on the demonstrators- along with poisonous teargas and sound bombs. Previous aggressions during the month of July already led to the death of one teenager and one child, and hundreds of injured.

On Sunday night, the first night of Ramadan, Israeli soldiers entered the town, targeting the Srour’s family house, intending to arrest Aqal Abu Srour, 34 year-old.

“We saw about 30 soldiers standing outside the entrance of my brothers’ house, knocking heavily and loudly at the door”, told Qassam Abu Srour, the brother who lives next door. “They entered the house in a very brutal and forceful manner”, he reported.

The soldiers blew up the doorway and stormed the house after launching teargas and sound bombs inside of the building; they ransacked the house and handcuffed Aqal Abu Srour, who was living on the second floor.

Awad, 40 years old, is Aqal’s older brother, and lives in the same house. When seeing his brother captured, laying on the ground and handcuffed by the Israeli soldiers, Awad, who has mental impairments, started “begging and shouting at them to release Aqal”, said Qassam, the third brother.

While defending his brother, Awad got shot by the soldiers, three times by rubber coated steal bullets fired from close range. Two bullets targeted his face: one entered the cheek; the second entered the right eye and stopped in the brain. The third bullet targeted his chest. The three ammunitions still remain in Awad’s body.

The man, father of four children, has been taken to Ramallah hospital where he is laying in a critical condition. According to the medical team, Awad lost his right eye and is suffering from internal bleedings. Doctors are worried for his critical health condition.

That night, the Israeli army also arrested Awad’s brother Aqal. Neighbours reported that he was heavily beaten by the soldiers, while handcuffed and taken into the army vehicle.

Salah Al-Khawajah, the media spokesman of the Ni’lin popular committee against the Wall emphasized that Ni’lin residents have been struggling for about four months to halt construction of the separation wall and the confiscation of their land. He said that resistance to Israeli atrocities will continue during Ramadan.

To Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative, “Israeli practices aim at breaking the popular struggle in Ni’lin and seek to make an example of the efforts of the village residents.” He condemned the “brutal” and “ugly” methods chosen to put down peaceful resistance and affirmed that this will not stop the anti-wall campaigns in Ni’lin, Bil’in, Al-Ma’sara or “any other place across Palestine.”

To the Deputy, “this Israeli crime is not first of its kind”, while reminding the shooting of Ashraf Abu Rahma two months ago at close range with his hands cuffed and eyes masked.

Barghouthi called for the “prosecution of Israeli soldiers and Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak who is personally responsible for such crimes in front of war crimes tribunals.”

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