At 2 am last night, convoys of the IDF entered the old city of Ramallah and raided the house of 46 years old Salah Khawaja. The house was searched, computers and his phone were controlled and then destroyed, together with the furniture. Salah was eventually arrested and driven away in the army jeeps. The big amount of soldiers inside a densely populated neighbourhood produced a feeling of threat and insecurity in the area so that the arrival of the Israeli military lead as well to clashes in the streets.
Last night at 2 am the IDF entered the old city of Ramallah in Area A, where even according to the Oslo Agreements the Israeli military should have no legal jurisdiction, to raid house the house of Salah Khawaja. The entire family – including Salah, his wife and his daughter – were sleeping when they were suddenly woken up by over twenty Israeli soldiers breaking in the apartment. The apartment was invaded and searched and in the process soldiers broke whatever possible. They broke the screen of one computer and confiscated the other. Salah was also unlawfully ordered to unlock his phone, which he refused to do. Salah was finally taken away by the Israeli military forces.
Salah Khawaja is a long standing Palestinian grassroots activist and political leader. He is part of the coordinating committee of the Stop the Wall Campaign, a leading figure in the Palestinian National Initiative (al Mubadara), member of the secretariat of the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement. Salah is currently completing his master on methods and impact of non-violent struggle. It is unclear what the soldiers were looking for just there is nothing known about the reasons for the arrest. His lawyer was later able to receive news he is being held in the military detention center Ofar.
The arrest of Salah Khawaja triggered as well heavy clashes in the streets of Ramallah. The presence of the large amount of Israeli military on the spot worried the people in neighbourhood and the tension escalated quickly after Salah’s arrest. Clashes between the police and the youth broke out and lasted until the early morning hours. The Israeli occupation forces tear gassed the entire area and, as always, the indiscriminate tear gassing targeted helpless families: one of the families was chunked with gas and is now at the hospital in severe conditions. It has been 2 months now since the last invasion of the Israeli army in Ramallah, when they tried to break into al Amari refugee camp and provoked heavy clashes.
There are still no indications on the reason of Salah Khawaja’s arrest, yet is seems reasonable to assume that this further aggression is part of the wider Israeli effort to silence human rights defenders that work against Israeli occupation, apartheid and colonialism through repression. We will provide you with updates as they are available, please check our website and social media.