Home Archive 14/August/2017 03:30 PM

Israel’s collective punishment policy: Entire family in prison, whole village under siege

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El-Abed family home in Kobar stands at empty of people and furniture in anticipation of Israeli demolition. (WAFA photo/Baha Nasr)

By Ihab Rimawi

KOBAR, WEST BANK, August 14, 2017 (WAFA) – The family home of Omar el-Abed in the Ramallah area village of Kobar stood at empty of people and furniture.

Omar el-Abed is the 19-year-old Palestinian from Kobar who on July 21 sneaked into the illegal settlement of Halamish, not far from his West Bank village, to avenge earlier Israeli police killing of three young Palestinians during pro-Aqsa protests in East Jerusalem and stabbed to death three Israeli settlers. He was shot, wounded and arrested.

Ever since the incident, his family composed of his parents and four siblings, two of them handicapped, along with other relatives, have come under severe and inhuman harassment from the Israeli army and intelligence.

Army units raid their village and  home almost every day in a way to punish not only the entire el-Abed family, but the whole village of 6000 young and old people.

The family, anticipating demolition of its home as has been the case with every Palestinian involved in the killing of Israelis, emptied it from its essential furniture and moved to live with another relative.

The mother, Ibtisam, was arrested two days after the incident under the pretext of incitement.

While she was released few days later after posting around $3000 bail, she was rearrested few days later along with her husband, Abdul Jalil, and two of her sons: Khaled, the eldest who works as driver of a company van, who was arrested while waiting for his wife to give birth at Ramallah hospital, and Munir, a senior at Birzeit University studying finance. Omar, the assailant, who is also in detention, has just completed first year in college at al-Quds Open University in Ramallah.

A handicapped brother and sister were the only two members of el-Abed family the army has so far spared. Yet, they were left with no one to take care of them after the arrest of their entire family.

Abdul Jalil’s brother, Ibrahim, who gave shelter to the family after evacuating their home, was also arrested.

Khaled was also in the process of building a second floor on top of his parent’s home to house his family, but had to stop work after expecting that their entire home will be demolished.

“My brother and his family had abandoned their home and the family has become homeless,” said another brother of Abdul Jalil. “They arrested my brother, his wife and their three sons, even they arrested my brother Ibrahim and I expect that they will come after me as well,” he said.

“The occupation is waging a psychological war against my family and the entire village in addition to the physical war,” he added. “The soldiers come to the village every night, they bring a bulldozer and go by my brother’s house where they stay until the morning and then they leave without doing anything. It’s part of their psychological warfare.”

Kobar mayor Izzat Badran said the village has been under army siege ever since the incident. The soldiers have closed the main roads to the village to prevent people from moving.

“We have people who are diabetic, cancer patients and those who have to do dialysis and when the roads are closed, they cannot reach hospitals,” he said.

“When the army leaves, the village youth come out and reopen the roads. But every time we do it, the army comes back and blocks the roads. It happened six times so far,” he said, stressing that “we cannot surrender to the occupation. We have to keep our country open.”

Meanwhile, there is no end in sight for when Israel’s collective punishment policy in Kobar is going to end and leave the Palestinian village to live in peace again.

M.K.

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