BEIRUT

Middle East

Israel raids Palestinians NGO offices amid heightened tension

Palestinian men gather around a crater caused by an Israeli air strike on the al-Dallu family's home in Gaza City on November 18, 2012. AFP PHOTO/MARCO LONGARI

RAMALLAH, West Bank: Israeli soldiers raided the offices of three civil society organizations on Tuesday in the heart of Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

 

Entering before dawn, troops wrenched open the doors of the Women's Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails, confiscating five computers from the latter group.

 

The sweeps were the first of their kind in a Palestinian city since the West Bank government won an initiative at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29 which recognised a de facto Palestinian state, stoking tensions with Israel.

 

"This comes in the context of the U.N.'s decision," Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO Network told reporters on Tuesday morning, "boycott Israel" leaflets strewn on the floor of the raided office.

 

"This a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organizations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us," he said.

 

The Israeli military did not immediately comment.

 

The West Bank has seen mounting clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protestors, leaving two Palestinians dead since the launch on Nov. 14 of an eight-day Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

 

Nighttime arrests of Palestinians Israel suspects of militant activity have awoken small towns throughout the West Bank in the last week, provoking exchanges of gunfire by troops and stones heaved at them by increasingly defiant locals.

 

The secular, Western-backed Ramallah government coordinates closely with Israel's security forces, despite Palestinian officials accusing Israel of trying to punish them and their people for their achievement at the United Nations.

 

"The Israeli government decided to dock our money as a punitive measure and announced its intention to build thousands of settlement units in and around Jerusalem," Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas told the Turkish parliament on Monday.

 

"This was a threat to us not to seek protection for our people and our land and our holy places through specialized international organizations," he said.

 

Israel says it will withhold $200 million in customs duties it collects on the Palestinians' behalf and has announced a large expansion of Jewish settlements around the West Bank's Jerusalem hub, to the dismay of European countries.

 

Palestinian leaders have warned they might retaliate by pursuing resolutions censuring Israel in the U.N. Security Council or filing complaints against Israel at the International Criminal Court.

 

Recommended

Advertisement

Comments

Your feedback is important to us!

We invite all our readers to share with us their views and comments about this article.

Disclaimer: Comments submitted by third parties on this site are the sole responsibility of the individual(s) whose content is submitted. The Daily Star accepts no responsibility for the content of comment(s), including, without limitation, any error, omission or inaccuracy therein. Please note that your email address will NOT appear on the site.

Alert: If you are facing problems with posting comments, please note that you must verify your email with Disqus prior to posting a comment. follow this link to make sure your account meets the requirements. (http://bit.ly/vDisqus)

comments powered by Disqus

Advertisement

FOLLOW THIS ARTICLE

Interested in knowing more about this story?

Click here