Israeli army raids three civil society offices in West Bank at 1 a.m.

Israel/Palestine

The above video from Wattan TV of Israeli soldiers raiding NGO offices in Ramallah early today and seizing posters. (h/t Ben White)

Early Tuesday morning the Israeli Defense Forces raided the offices of three Palestinian non-governmental organizations in Ramallah. From 1:05 a.m. to 3 a.m. eight armored Jeeps full of Israeli soldiers came to the offices of Addameer and the Palestinian Non-Governmental Organizations Network, located in the same building. Soldiers were seen ransacking the offices, by the landlord and his son. Around the same time the union of Palestinian women’s committee in Qadura Refugee Camp was raided.

Al Jazeera reports:

Israeli soldiers have raided the offices of three civil society organisations in the heart of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.

Entering before dawn on Tuesday, troops wrenched open the doors of the Women’s Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails.

The raids 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.

Addameer reports:

At 3 am this morning, 11 December 2012, the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights office was raided by the Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF). Four laptops, one hard disk and a video camera were taken among other materials. The IOF destroyed the office; desks, ransacked filing cabinets and files and scattered files around the office. At this moment, we are not clear as to what has been confiscated, but in the coming days we will know more about the level of destruction and damage. This is the first raid by the IOF since 2002, when the Addameer office was raided during the invasion of Ramallah.
 
The offices of the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committee and the Palestinian NGO Network were also raided and ransacked last night.  Addameer condemns this attack on human rights and civil society organizations, and sees it as an attempt to cripple solidarity with the  prisoners  movement.
 
UPDATED STATEMENT
 12  The Israeli Occupation Forces raided three non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Ramallah at 3 am this morning, including Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association. Five computers and a camera were stolen from Addameer, as well as a number of legal files, pictures and posters of prisoners and detainees on hunger strike. Ironically, this attack coincides with the 64th anniversary of the ratification of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights
 
Addameer believes that this brutal assault is part of the constant targeting of the association’s staff and mission to defend Palestinian political prisoners.

While inside of Addameer’s office, the Israeli military tore posters of hunger strikers from a 2011 campaign where over 1,800 prisoners fasted in protest of administrative detention. As well, case files for individual prisoners were rummaged through and left open on the desk of an advocacy officer.

“This raid means that they [the Israeli military] have their eye on us for being in solidarity with the prisoners on hunger strike,” said advocacy officer Randa Wahbe.

Speaking to Mondoweiss, Wahbe said that all of the content in the case files concerning could have been legally obtained by the Israeli authorities through a military court request. This raid comes as the latest obstacle to Addameer’s work for prisoners’ right, following last month’s arrest of a researcher and a recent travel ban placed on the organization’s chairman.

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