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Middle East

Israel raids West Bank human rights group

media Israeli soldiers near the southern city of Beersheba Reuters/Nir Elias

At approximately  3.00 am yesterday, Israeli forces raided the offices of three separate West Bank NGOs in an act that Palestinian politician Mustafa Barghouti labelled “piracy”.

Among the three organisations were a women’s committee based in a refugee camp and the office of the Agricultural Work Committee.

The third was prisoners' rights group Addameer, whose offices last suffered a raid during the second intifada in 2002. Their offices are located in the centre of Ramallah, in an area classed as “Area A”, meaning it is under full Palestinian military and administrative control.

Dossier: Gaza 2009

Israeli forces are nominally prohibited from entering Area A but can do so with permission from the Palestinian Authority.

Among the articles taken in the raid were four laptops, a hard disk and a video camera.

Addameer gained prominence throughout 2012 through its advocacy work during the mass hunger strike by Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails.

The raid follows the successful bid to upgrade Palestine’s UN status, an act which the Israeli government has warned will result in reprisals.

Yet Addameer spokesman Mourad Jadallah told RFI that he feels the raid was part of a longer-running campaign:

“They arrested our colleague Ayman Nasser, who is a legal researcher, 55 days ago," he said. "Also the director of the board of Addameer is living in Jerusalem and since one year he’s not allowed to come to Ramallah for the meetings of the board of Addameer. During the hunger strike, our lawyers have been banned from visiting the prisoners without giving a reason.”

Jadallah was also concerned by the implications of the raid:

“We think this is exactly like what they did in Gaza where they delegitimised all the journalists by considering them as military targets,” he warned.
 

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