In a report issued early this week, the Israeli rights group B’Tselem said that the Israeli occupation action against the Palestinian homes “intimidates them, infringes upon their privacy and impedes their ability to lead a normal daily life.”
B’Tselem said that this is a “blatant violation of these families’ rights,” noting it “was not a response to any wrongdoing on their part.”
The report of the Israeli NGO reads: “At 2am on Thursday, 24 November 2016, soldiers came to the home of the Abu-Munshar family in Jabal a-Rahma, a neighbourhood overlooking the Old City of Hebron (Al-Khalil).
“The soldiers woke the family and informed them they had a warrant permitting them to take over the house. The family demanded to see it and the officer in charge showed them the warrant, which in fact permitted the soldiers to deploy on the roof only.
“After the family argued the point, the officer said that he would agree to take over the roof only, on condition that the family leave the door of the house open to enable the soldiers to use the bathroom. The soldiers remained on the roof until morning, when they left.
“That evening they returned to the roof and stayed until late at night. Throughout their time on the roof, the soldiers used the family’s bathroom and kitchen.”
B’Tselem’s report gave another example: “At about 8pm the next day, Friday, 25 November, soldiers also showed up at the home of the Da’na family in Wadi a-Nasarah, Hebron, a neighbourhood adjacent to the security fence of the Kiryat Arba settlement.
“They presented a warrant allowing them to take over the entire house, not only the roof. The soldiers entered and took over parts of the house, including the bedroom of 17-year-old Warud Da’na. They stayed until 8am.
“During that time they slept in Warud’s bed and on the floor of her room, ate in the kitchen, and used the bathroom and even the family’s towels. Fearing for their children’s safety, the parents sent some of the children to relatives.”
Speaking to B’Tselem, Warud Da’na said: “It was hard to watch the soldiers walking over the carpets in my room with their shoes and sitting on my bed after moving the dolls. I asked my father to tell them to leave, but he said he could not.
“I asked him if I could go sleep at my grandfather’s with my younger brother, who was scared of the soldiers. They were masked and held weapons. We stayed with my grandfather all night but I couldn’t sleep because I was worried about my family.
“The next day, the soldiers left at eight o’clock in the morning and I went back home. It was very obvious that the soldiers had slept in my bed.
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The thought of them sleeping in my bed and in my room really bothers me.”
Israeli army recognises violations
Commenting on these incidents, the Israeli army spokesperson said: “The soldiers were commandeered to secure the Tomb of the Patriarchs (Al-Ibrahimi Mosque) during the weekend of the reading of the Chayei Sarah [Life of Sarah] Torah portion.”
Settler-affiliated websites reported that the festivities were attended by some 30,000 people, including Israeli MKs and ministers, and was celebrated under the slogan “Sovereignty over the Land of Israel Now”.
B’Tselem said that military’s conduct in the incidents “illustrates its view of Palestinian homes as no-man’s land that can be entered and used as Israeli security forces see fit at any time, with no regard to the rights and routine of the people living in those homes.”
It continued: “Having soldiers enter one’s home is a violent, degrading experience. It intimidates the residents, infringes upon their privacy, and impedes their ability to lead a normal daily life.”
The Israeli organisation added: “The blatant violation of these families’ rights was not a response to any wrongdoing on their part – they simply had the misfortune of living near areas taken over by settlers with the state’s support.
“This unacceptable conduct is but another illustration of what daily life is like in central Hebron, where occupation authorities subjugate the lives of Palestinians to the whims of settlers,” B’Tselem says.