Four people, 17 to 45 year-old, were arrested by the army in Ni’ilin tonight, in the first pre-dawn raid operation in months. The renewal of night raids and arrests may signal a return to their use as a scare tactic to quell demonstrations and the village’s struggle against the Wall and theft of their lands.
Large military forces closed in on Ni’ilin at around 2 AM tonight, just before dozens of soldiers staged a raid on the village, entering it from four sides in order to arrest residents for their alleged part in the weekly demonstrations against the Wall. Initially, no armored jeep or other vehicles were used – infantry soldiers entered the village on foot, sneaking into the sleeping village under the cover of dark like common thieves.
The first house to be raided was that of 17 year-old Mohammed Ameerah. the house was surrounded by large forces that then continued to forcefully enter the house and arrest the teenage boy.
Mohammed Ameerah’s older brother, Youssef, was critically injured by Border Police officers on July 30th, 2008, and died of his wounds five days later at the Ramallah Hospital. Youssef he sustained mortal wounds when Border Police officers shot him in the head with rubber-coated bullets that penetrated his skull, from inside an armored military jeep, at close range. At the time of the shooting he was standing in a yard overlooking Ni’ilin’s main street during a demonstration protesting the killing of ten year-old Ahmad Mousa the previous day.
After leaving Mohammed Ameerah’s house, soldiers continued to the house of 45 year-old Othman Ameerah who was taken from bed, cuffed and blindfolded. The arrest and the raid on the house also caused great distress to Ameerah’s wife who suffers from late stage caner, and whose sole care taker is her husband.
It was around then that seven military jeeps entered the village. The soldiers first hurled the blindfolded Mohammed and Othman Ameerah into one of the jeeps, and then continued to raid the houses of twenty year-old As’ad Nafe’ and eighteen year-old Tareq Musleh who were both arrested. Musleh regularly volunteers as a medic with the Palestinian Red Crescent association. He takes part in demonstrations in this capacity, and his arrest is a clear infringement on the rights of medical forces at places of conflict as guaranteed by international law.
Since demonstrations in Ni’ilin began in May 2008, Israel used unprecedented force to try and suppress the village’s unarmed struggle. More than 120 arrests were made and no less than forty people were shot with live ammunition – including 29 by the forbidden 0.22″ caliber bullet. The military’s disproportionate use of force has also caused the death of five demonstrators, two of them minors – one Ahmad Mousa, as young as ten years-old.