WATCH: Army raids three West Bank villages, arrests activists

Israeli army arrests 11 Palestinians during night raids on West Bank villages participating in the popular struggle against the wall and settlements.

The Israeli army raided three West Bank villages this past week, arresting a total 11 activists in connection with organizing weekly demonstrations against the occupation, local activists said. According to the activists, the villages of Nabi Saleh and Ni’ilin were raided in the dead of night between Monday and Tuesday, while the village Kufr Qaddum was raided during during the early hours of Thursday morning. Among those arrested were a minor and a photographer. Four out of seven Qaddum detainees were released later Thursday morning; the minor from Nabi Saleh is expected to be released later today, while the rest remain in custody.

UPDATE: According to Israeli human rights organization B’Tselem, one of the detainees from Qaddum was reportedly beaten by soldiers following his interrogation and has been hospitalized with head injuries.

Night raids are one of the tools used by occupation forces to try and suppress the popular struggle. As a video from this week’s raid on Nabi Saleh (above) shows, the soldiers enter houses fully armed, some of them masked. They wake up children, check the IDs of everyone in the house and conduct a search, which usually ends with the confiscation of empty tear gas canisters, used stun grenades and rubber coated bullets fired by the IDF – often collected by the residents and can be found in abundance in the streets of any village participating in the popular struggle.

While the practice of night raids as a tool of law enforcement is questionable to begin with, the almost immediate release of five out of the 11 arrestees strengthens doubts about the so-called “security reasoning” behind these raids, which terrorize entire villages. Earlier this week, the chief West Bank military prosecutor told the Jerusalem Post that the army is considering putting an end to the practice, and instead implementing a policy by which Palestinians will be summoned for questioning.

Popular unarmed demonstrations against the wall and settlements continue in the three aforementioned villages, in addition to Bil’in and Al-Ma’asara, on a weekly basis, yet are almost never reported on in the Israeli media. On Friday, February 28th, Bil’in will commemorate nine years of struggle against the separation wall.

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