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Vandalism, Army Incursions and Arrests in Small Villages

Between the night of November 25 and November 28th four villages in the Salfit District reported vandalism to property. The villages of Deir Istiya, Jinsafut, Kafr Qaddum, and Haris all had tires slashed on verhicles and racist graffiti spray painted. On Wednesday morning, an IWPS and a MPT team member went to the municipality of Deir Istiya to survey the damage done to the village in an early morning incursion. The mayor drove them to the area near the village entrance where the damage had occurred. The following is the report from the IWPS [International Women’s Peace Service – Human Rights 382] website. http://www.iwps.info/en/articles/index.php?section=2&category=3

Description of Incident:

During the night of November 25th to November 26th, 2008 three private vehicles, a tractor and an ambulance were vandalized by so far unknown persons.

According to the estimation of residents of Deir Istiya, the perpetrators must have entered the village through its main entrance after midnight.

In the morning of November 26th residents of the village found that three private vehicles, all parked along the main road of the village, had slashed tires. Two of the cars were additionally spray-painted with Hebrew letters reading "Death to the Arabs". The same message and a star of David were reportedly also spray-painted on a parked ambulance. Further two tires of a tractor were slashed, leaving damage amounting to 3000 NIS

[MPTand IWPS photos inserted here for the blog ]

Slashed Tire
Slashed tire

Slashed tire and "Death to Arabs" spray painted

Four tires slashed on this car.

Spray paint on car

Slashed tires on tractor. Very expensive to repair or replace.

Residents suspect either settlers or Israeli army personnel to be responsible for the deed.

The village of Deir Istiya has recently been the target of increased army activity. Apart from daily and nightly patrols, army vehicles are frequently parked at the main entrance of the village and civilians entering or leaving Deir Istiya are being stopped and ordered to show their identification. Approximately two weeks ago the Israeli army imposed a curfew and reportedly threw sound bombs and tear gas on the streets.

Additionally parts of the lands of Deir Istiya are currently unofficially confiscated and used for the expansion of the settlement of Revava. The affected farmers have been repeatedly prevented by settler security to enter their lands, which is slowly being turned into a construction site. [End of report]


Israeli military vehicles entered the village of Haris the evening of November 26th. They drove back and forth along the main street for over an hour. An MPTer was present, took photos and tried to communicate with the Israeli soldiers. They returned after midnight and boys were arrested in the early morning.

In Haris the wall of a private home was spray-painted with a five-pointed star and the name "Hebron" in Hebrew. According to Haris residents, the tires of seven vehicles parked alongside the main road were slashed and a window was broken.
[MPTphotos inserted here for the blog ]

Tire damaged

Sprayed painted wall

There was also vandalism –desecrating a Muslim cemetery in Kifl Haris villages near Deir Estriya in the last few days The day after the vandalism by settlers or the army, two youth, 13 and 17, were picked up by the Israeli army. Very worried parents are calling an Israeli human rights organization to try to locate their sons.

The following is the updated report on the army incursion into Haris by the IWPS [International Women’s Peace Service – Human Rights 383] website. http://www.iwps.info/en/articles/index.php?section=2&category=3

Description of Incident :

Two teenaged boys were arrested in the early hours of yesterday morning in Haris, Salfit following an army incursion into the village on Wednesday.

Late Wednesday afternoon four military vehicles entered the village and drove back and forth for approximately an hour and a half, leaving shortly after 6 p.m. Several boys responded by throwing stones at the vehicles.

Later that night the army came back and arrested two boys from the village. An aunt of the older boy, a 17-year-old student, said Israeli soldiers started to throw dirt and tear-gas canisters through the boy’s father’s bedroom window at about 1 a.m. Two adults and four children, including the arrested teenager, were in the home at the time. The aunt said the family had never been visited by the army before, and she was reluctant to open the door. Eventually she did, and said that soldiers took her brother and her nephew outside the house for questioning, demanding their identification. The 17-year-old was taken away in handcuffs and a blindfold, she said.

The second boy, aged 14 years, was taken from a nearby home. Soldiers arrived at the house around 2 a.m. and stayed for an hour, the boy’s parents reported. Several army vehicles were present, and although soldiers did not enter the house or use tear gas, they reportedly pelted the door and windows with rocks. The family of nine – two adults and seven children, ranging in age from two to 13 years – were eventually forced from their home. The mother of the family, who is six months’ pregnant, said that soldiers pushed her. Another four soldiers restrained her husband, she reported, while two more soldiers handcuffed and blindfolded their eldest son (age 14) and took him away.

The father of the 17-year-old boy reported that his son was returned to the family home from Ari’el police station at around 2 p.m. yesterday afternoon.

An Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson in the Humanitarian office told IWPS that the 14-year-old boy had likewise been taken to Ari’el police station, and then to the IDF base at Huwwara, Nablus district, where he was released because he is a minor. However, two other organizations (Defence for Children International and the Palestinian Prisoners Club) determined that the boy had been taken from Huwwara to Salem prison in Israel. On November 30th he appeared before a military court, charged with throwing stones, and was refused bail. His lawyer (from Defence for Children International) said he would appeal the denial of bail; the boy’s next court appearance is scheduled for January 11, 2009.

[End of Report]

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