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Hunger Strikes, Force Feeding & Arrest Campaign - June 2014

 
Source:  addameer.org, June 2014
 
Summary
 
On 12 June, it was announced that three illegal Israeli settlers disappeared on the roads between Hebron and Bethlehem. Since the announcement, the Israeli government has sanctioned widespread attacks on Palestinians in the form of invasions, mass arrests, killings, home demolitions and new legislation that curbs the rights of Palestinians and prisoners. The following is an analysis by Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association of the collective punishment of the Palestinian people, with a focus on the mass arrest campaign and its implications.
 
The disappearance of three illegal settlers on Thursday 12 June has created the perfect pretext for the Israeli government to attempt to crush Hamas in the West Bank and destroy the recently formed unity government as well as collectively punish the Palestinian people. Despite the fact that no Palestinian faction has taken responsibility for the disappearances, the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF) is using this opportunity to crush Hamas in the West Bank.
 
According to Israeli military spokesperson Peter Lerner: “We have two efforts ongoing in parallel. First is to bring back the boys, and the second is to take a toll on Hamas for its actions." This comment, one of dozens made by Israeli officials in recent days, implies a tactic of intimidation and ulterior political motivations that go beyond a search for the missing illegal settlers.
 
Ongoing now is the largest Israeli military operation in the West Bank since the second intifada, and the timing is not coincidental. The negotiations have collapsed in the face of the formation of a unity government, with elections to take place in five months, the first after eight years, and the prisoner’s movement has revived itself in the form of the longest mass hunger strike in its history which today has reached its 57th day.
 
Israeli officials have stated that this is the beginning of a larger and prolonged operation, which can be interpreted as a way to strategically capitalize on the disappearance in order to wage destruction and terror across the West Bank.
 
As a human rights organization, we are deeply concerned about the collective punishment and mass arrest campaigns that have been imposed on the Palestinian people, especially due to the widespread silence of the international community in the escalation of human rights violations of the Palestinian people.
 
An Opportunity for an Intensified Military Occupation
 
This most recent campaign of terror is further exposure of Israel’s intention of prolonging and intensifying its military occupation. The facts say it all: A siege has been imposed on the 300,000 residents of Hebron, 800 homes have been raided and one home demolished. Three Palestinians, including an 8-year old child, were injured in Hebron when the IOF used explosives to enter a home. Over 125 roads have been closed across the West Bank, 26 flying checkpoints have been instated in addition to the hundreds of fixed checkpoints currently in place. A curfew has been imposed on Nablus and nightly arrest raids occur in all major cities in the West Bank and East Jerusalem. Twenty-four “Dawa”, civil society, organizations have been raided and shut down. One 20-year old was killed in Jalazone Refugee Camp during these raids and dozens have been injured in raids and clashes. Birzeit University was also attacked by IOF, with the Palestinian university security personnel locked in a room, in an attempt to arrest students. Homes and schools have been occupied by the IOF in Hebron and Nablus and settlers continue to attack Palestinians with impunity, including the attempted abduction of a Palestinian child.

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