Overnight, Israeli soldiers entered the West Bank city of Ramallah leaving a trail of clashes between residents and soldiers as army vehicles motored toward the downtown quarter.
According to a witness who spoke to Mondoweiss on the condition of anonymity a convoy of soldiers entered Ramallah around 2:00 am from the south. The witness saw ten army vehicles and a series a private cars with Israeli forces inside stop at a municipal library. The soldiers then removed the main doors of the library. Local media reported the Israeli forces confiscated security camera footage from the buildings. Outside nearly 100 Palestinian youth clashed with soldiers setting on fire tires and trash cans.
A spokesperson for the Red Crescent said six Palestinians were treated for wounds sustained from rubber bullets.
During the operation the Israeli military detained a Palestinian from Qalandia refugee camp, Mutaz Abu Kwick. The reason for Kwick’s arrest remains unknown, yet last week in a similar operation the military entered Ramallah to capture a Palestinian who allegedly attacked Israelis near the West Bank city of Nablus, and was hiding out in a Ramallah hotel.
Ramallah is in Area A of the West Bank and falls under full Palestinian security control per the Oslo Accords. Because the agreement stipulates Israeli soldiers cannot enter the region, Palestinians who are wanted by the military for security offenses have in the past, been known to evade arrest by relocating to Ramallah.
Yet this morning’s military presence in Ramallah was the first of its kind in over a year. Soldiers last entered the city in the lead-up to the 2014 summer war in Gaza between Israel and Hamas. In that operation Israeli forces took over the local police station.
Palestinians view army activities inside of the de facto capital as an escalation to an already tense few months.
Since October 1, 2015 Israeli soldiers and civilians killed at least 116 Palestinians and Palestinian attackers killed 15 Israelis in unrest that began in Jerusalem in early fall, but quickly spread across the West Bank with no signs of slowing down.