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Israeli military takes computers and servers from Palestinian NGO in night raid

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Israeli forces busted through the doors of a Ramallah aid organization founded by a leading Palestinian politician in the early morning hours Wednesday, taking away computers, servers and security camera footage, and leaving behind a mess of shattered glass and tossed papers throughout the downtown office.

The staff at the Health Development Information and Policy Institute (HDIPI) worked alongside the disarray in the afternoon hours, shuffling reporters and officials from the Palestinian Authority around the space. In a hallway, the walls bore gaping holes, bashed in by soldiers the night before.

While Israeli military incursions into Ramallah, the seat of the Palestinian government, are frequent occurrences, it is uncommon for forces to enter the workspaces of non-governmental organizations. Even less so to cart away computers and servers.

HDIPI was founded in 1989 by Mustafa Barghouti, the head of the Palestine National Initiative, an independent political party.

“We think this is part of an attack on civil society organizations,” Barghouti said. “The Israeli army can invade whenever they want, wherever they want.”

“The alarm system worked,” Walid Azzat, director of the HDIPI, said, explaining he discovered the break into his office when the in-house security system notified the Palestinian police, who then called him to inform someone had entered around 2:30 AM. But it was not until the morning when Azzat checked the local news reports that he learned the breach was caused by the Israeli military.

Another employee said she was phoned by a neighbor who told her soldiers had been in her office. Exactly what Israeli forces would want with electronics from a health advocacy organization is a mystery not worth solving, according to personnel. “Ask them what they were doing here,” scoffed the employee who requested not to be named, before walking off to answer a phone call inquiring about the raid.

Under previous agreements between the Israeli and Palestinians governments, military operations inside of Area A of the West Bank—including Ramallah—are strictly forbidden. However, this line item is routinely ignored, causing much condemnation from Palestinian leaders who decry army actions in Palestinian cities as a violation of their sovereignty.

Earlier this year in another army incursion in downtown Ramallah, soldiers accidentally set fire to a half of a city block after detonating explosives on a safe at a money exchange shop. While the blaze was still burning stalls at an outdoor fruit and vegetable market, Palestinian firemen were prevented from reaching the site by Israeli forces who were still operating in the area. Army officials told the Times of Israel soldiers were working “to confiscate terror funds.” 

Palestinians business owners awoke to tens of thousands of dollar worth of damage. 

It was the second time the military had entered the HDIPI offices. In 2002 during the second Intifada Israeli forces took control of the workplace, converting it into a de facto base camp during a period when the Israeli military took control of Ramallah for 40 days.

“The office is in a strategic point they can see all around,” Azzat said. He added that the damage was more significant in the last operation: “It looked like an earthquake.” 

In the conference room, a series of photographs catalog the 2002 damage.

After the Israeli military left the office a clash ensued in the center of Ramallah between soldiers and Palestinian youths. A statement from HDIPI said two Palestinians were injured by Israeli forces in the encounter, adding soldiers fired tear gas rubber bullets and stun grenades. while Palestinians threw stones and burned tires.

Allison Deger

Allison Deger is the Assistant Editor of Follow her on twitter at @allissoncd.

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10 Responses

  1. eljay on November 17, 2016, 9:00 am

    Israeli military takes computers …

    Whether it’s computers, territory or lives, taking is what the Israeli military – and Zio-supremacists – do best.

    • Froggy on November 17, 2016, 3:30 pm

      eljay :: “Whether it’s computers, territory or lives, taking is what the Israeli military – and Zio-supremacists – do best.

      Called ‘stealing’ in the world’s civilised countries, (where taking lives is called ‘murder’, of course.)

  2. brent on November 17, 2016, 12:26 pm

    Another reason for Palestinians to exit the IDF game and get serious about a campaign for equality or independence.

  3. xanadou on November 17, 2016, 12:41 pm

    The parochial wanna-be global power practices statehood by employing its army to invade a health advocacy organisation in the middle of the night to steal and destroy property, because there are no grounds to employ legal options.

    Is this how the silly Booboo commemorates the anniversary of Kristalnacht? How are such stunts different from the Nazi racist brutality? Kristalnacht was a one-day affair. Palestinenachts have been happening every night for the last 68 years.

  4. Ossinev on November 17, 2016, 12:46 pm

    Just finished reading a terrific book by Mark Thomas an English comedian / political activist who a couple of years ago walked the West Bank separation barrier / wall / land grab bucket line. Called “Extreme Rambling:Walking Israel`s Separation Barrier”. Highly recommended.
    One review summed it up as “Horrific and Hilarious”. Some of the hilarious which he narrates is pure Monty Python and illustrates just how mentally screwed up Israeli Zionists have become. I particularly liked the story about the Palestinian apartment in East Jerusalem which is notionally split in two by the barrier route and the raid by the IDF charging the Palestinian occupants with the crime of illegally entering Israel for using their family living rooms. Sadly the bulk of the narrative is the “horrrific” for example the number of pregnant Palestinian mothers and babies who have died while being deliberately detained at checkpoints.
    Mark does his best to try and see both sides of the narrative but with the settler Zionists he is invariably at his wits end. Time after time as he tries to get them to explain the logic and justification for their philosophy and actions they invariably retreat back into their “God gave us this land” “We are chosen”.default setting. Zero awareness of the casual barbarity which they routinely visit on other human beings just like their 1930`s forebears.
    Zionist Israel it appears on top of its other magnfiicent ground breaking contributions to mankind including the 21st Century cherry tomato is now a world leader in the use of shit,sewage and pollution as a low cost casual use weapon of war = eg skunk water , Palestinian childrens school connection passage under the barrier with a dedicated sewage channel built in and slightly higher tech a factory in Israel which is programmed so that the prevailing wind blows the air pollution into the West Bank.
    His Israeli fixer almost ashamedly at the end is at pains to point out that the majority of Israeli Jews are not at all like these settler extremists and are somehow more sensible,civilized and “democratic ” in their outlook. They live in what is described as the “coffee and croissant ” region of Tel Aviv and the Mediterranian coast and are aware of what is being done in their name but choose not to face up to it. If anything it makes them the real “crazies” as they think that the status quo can continue ad infinitum and nothing will interfere with their European lifestyle.
    Roll on BDS and the one state reality.

    • eljay on November 17, 2016, 3:20 pm

      || Ossinev: … His Israeli fixer almost ashamedly at the end is at pains to point out that the majority of Israeli Jews are not at all like these settler extremists and are somehow more sensible,civilized and “democratic ” in their outlook. … ||

      Yup, like jon s they probably believe in a “peace” that:
      – absolves Israel of its obligations under international law (incl. RoR of refugees);
      – absolves Israel of responsibility and accountability for its past and on-going (war) crimes;
      – lets Israel keep as much as possible of what it has stolen; and
      – lets Israel remain a religion -supremacist “Jewish State”.

      Very sensible, civilized and “(Jewish and) democratic”.

  5. xanadou on November 17, 2016, 2:09 pm

    Thanks for the book recommendation, Ossiniev.

    Coffee, croissant and skunk water is the definition of israeli lifestyle, not European. To eat at the local mall is not a measure of sophistication anywhere else on the planet.

  6. Mayhem on November 22, 2016, 7:18 pm

    “Exactly what Israeli forces would want with electronics from a health advocacy organization is a mystery not worth solving, according to personnel.”
    Oh yeh, such sweet innocence.
    15 year old Palestinians created FB page honoring terrorist who killed 3 bus passengers in capital last year. It’s all about incitement and promoting terrorism.

    • Mooser on November 22, 2016, 8:17 pm

      “15 year old Palestinians created FB page honoring terroris”

      Off course! So clear! A 15 yr old did something, so it’s time to wreck a health NGO.

    • echinococcus on November 22, 2016, 11:25 pm

      Ah, you mean what is a basic right in any civilized country, as opposed to the barbarian colonial dictatorship of the Zionist entity: freedom of speech.

      Besides, the invader has no right to interfere with anything because he has no right to be there in the first place, even by the rules that the pro-Zionist colonial powers have agreed to.

      Not to forget that the “terrorist” label is totally meaningless: the right of occupied populations to resist the invader by all means available is clear; also no invader civilian is a protected person under the Geneva IV rules. Again, even according to the pro-Zionist colonial powers in the J’lem corpus separatum. Look it all up.

      Hard to understand some people open their mouth before checking up these basic things.

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