Israeli forces ransack family home during arrest in Beit Ommar
At 11:30 pm on Monday, January 19, more than a dozen Israeli soldiers accompanied reportedly by prison guards from Ashkelon prison, swooped on Beit Ommar. They arrived at the home of Yousef Badr Mahmoud Khlayl, 27, who lived with his wife of 4 months, his parents, and 6 small children. The family was forced outside at gunpoint, and held there for over 3 hours whilst the Israeli Occupation Forces wreaked havoc throughout the house.
Two weeks previously, Yousef’s brother Mahmoud Badr Mahmoud Khlayl was arrested from his home and taken to the prison in Ashkelon. He was placed in ‘administrative detention’ (i.e. no charges necessary) and it is assumed that his detention prompted the prison guards from Ashkelon to join the Israeli soldiers during this arrest – an unheard of practice. Needless to say, this arrest was without charges either.
During Yousef’s arrest, the soldiers enquired about another brother, asking whether he was in the house. Yousef was forced to hand over his phone to the soldiers who then called the brother and ordered him to come to the home. He refused to do so, and as a result was not arrested.
Thus thwarted, the Israeli forces then began destroying the home, cutting open the couches, tearing school books apart, emptying wardrobes and tossing the family’s clothes onto the floor. Their computer was completely destroyed and ornaments were smashed. The bedroom furniture was torn apart, with the bed broken into pieces. Their water heater was damaged and an outdoor cage of 23 birds was opened so that they escaped.
In an act of what can only be described as vandalism, the soldiers also destroyed food packages that the family had received from the World Food Program. They poured salt into a bag of sugar, poured bags of lentils and beans on the floor, and tipped a bowl of bread dough onto the floor.
They even smashed open several large gourds, alleging that they might contain guns! Presumably these were city soldiers who have never seen vegetables before.
The destruction of the Badr Mahmoud Khlayl family’s home has been estimated at over US $2,000. The mother of the family said, “Do you see this? Do you see what they do in Gaza? Is this peace?”