Daily Attacks on Beit Ommar Intensify as Ramadan Draws to a Close

29 September 2008

Local residents can’t help but think that Israeli Occupation Forces are trying to provoke a fight with youth, as yet another evening passes with the sounds of explosions and live ammunition in the air. IOF soldiers, for the past week, have entered Beit Ommar in the late afternoon, often setting up a checkpoint at the entrance to the village to interfere with traffic for two hours or so, just when people are trying to get home after a day of fasting for Ramadan. They then proceed to the center of town where they position massive Armored Personnel Carriers outside the main mosques, daring residents to go to evening prayer as the month-long religious holiday comes to an end. Wednesday, July 24, one Israeli Army jeep simply parked itself in the middle of the main street. There was no checkpoint, the soldiers did not even exit the vehicle; they simply opened the passenger door to force Palestinian drivers to drive into the ditches on either side of the road to go around the obstruction.

This was done in the name of security, of course.

Several houses have been broken into and “searched”, including the home of Ahmed Alami, in which soldiers tore up a copy of the Koran and threw pages of it on the floor of the bathroom before arresting Mr. Alami. On Sunday, September 28, several APC’s entered the village and almost immediately began firing sound grenades before turning quickly to live ammunition which could be heard in short bursts for the next several hours. Young men have been detained for hours at a time outside their homes and at the entrance to the village, all in what seems to be little more than practice for the soldiers who disrupt the lives of the 12,000 residents here.