Israeli Military Ransack Office, Demolish Building, Occupy Homes in Beit Ommar

20 February 2008

For several days the Israeli army has continued its harassment of the residents of Beit Ommar. On February 18, soldiers entered the village at approximately 10 am. They ransacked several houses and then moved on to the city council office that is in charge of issuing id’s and other legal documents. Soldiers tore apart files, destroyed the office’s computer, pulled fixtures from the walls and damaged furniture. On the same day they demolished a shed built adjacent to a home on the outskirts of town, declaring that this structure of corrugated metal was built “without a permit”.

They have been occupying several homes in the evenings, imprisoning the families in one room and cutting electric and phone lines. On the evening of the 19th, on the fourth consecutive day that one particular house in the village center had been invaded, Israeli activists managed to enter the house, though they too were corralled into one room by soldiers and prevented from meeting with the family until the soldiers left. The soldiers stopped the activists from filming their illegal occupation (of the house, not to mention the country) and attempted to steal the video tape, though the activists managed to keep it. More information about this incident is available at http://israel.indymedia.org

Some of the more than 50 people arrested on February 13 have been released. They report being interrogated at length about the popular resistance being organized in Beit Ommar and were questioned about members of the Popular Committee and PSP’s committee. Family members of PSP committee members have also been harassed by Israeli security forces in an attempt to stop the growing popular resistance in the village.
The Israeli Occupation Forces have always maintained a level of repression in Beit Ommar, but it has significantly increased over the last month through acts of collective punishment and outright terror in “retaliation” for an attack on settlers in the nearby illegal settlement of Kfar Etzion in January.