Despite Israeli media claims that a breakthrough in the murder investigation of the Fogel family is close, the village of Awarta continues to experience collective punishment. At about 2 AM on the night of 13 April dozens of soldiers entered Awarta as they have been for the past month. Soldiers targeted two homes, which were raided using force, arrested two men and caused the hospitalization of two women.
Two houses were raided by Israeli soldiers in the middle of the night tonight at the West Bank village of Awarta. The soldiers entered the houses violently, knocking down the doors and using concussion grenades. The two families were forced into one small room in the house belonging to Salim Awwad’s family, while soldiers searched the houses in and out. Twenty people, among them children and the elderly – the oldest 80 years of age and the youngest a mere six months old baby – were denied access to water, food, toilet and other necessities for nearly 12 hours.
During the night two of the women experienced medical problems, one of them due to advanced pregnancy. Despite having repeatedly asked for medical assistance, the women were not allowed to see a doctor. Only hours later, when the pregnant woman’s condition seriously deteriorated and when a second women lost consciousness due to dehydration, an ambulance was allowed access to the house. The two women were taken to hospital after another two hours delay.
Both the houses were ransacked and sustained substantial damages to their interior during the raid. Witnesses described one of the houses as “rendered nearly uninhabitable”. In the garden, the soldiers uprooted several olive trees claiming that they need to search beneath them.
Both Noam Sheizaf and Yossi Gurvitz have commented on this site about the punishment that Awarta has been given since the brutal murder of the Fogel family nearly a month ago. Their points address the crux of the problem of collective punishment of Palestinians in the absence of blame or responsibility for the murders and highly recommend that you read their posts. Looking at the series of events that has led to the curfew of Awarta, I am left wondering what the Israeli army is looking to achieve by placing the small village under curfew, attacking pregnant woman and incarcerating an entire village. The Israeli army, an extension of the State, seemingly never misses an opportunity to exercise collective punishment the defenceless and occupied Palestinians under Israeli control.