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Israel takes over Palestinian homes to secure settlers’ celebration

Israeli occupation forces in Hebron [Aandolu]
Israeli occupation forces [Aandolu]

Israeli occupation forces took over Palestinian homes in Hebron last month in order to “secure” a mass Sabbath dinner held by Jewish settlers in the city.

According to Israeli NGO B’Tselem, on 24 November, Israeli soldiers invaded a family home next to Hebron’s Old City, and occupied the roof – “on condition that the family leave the door of the house open to enable the soldiers to use the bathroom.”

The next day, another family home was invaded, and the soldiers “took over parts of the house”, including a teenager’s bedroom. Over 12 hours, the soldiers slept in the child’s bed, “ate in the kitchen, and used the bathroom and even the family’s towels.”

The teen told B’Tselem researchers: “It was very obvious that the soldiers had slept in my bed. The thought of them sleeping in my bed and in my room really bothers me.”

The NGO said the Israeli army’s conduct “illustrates its view of Palestinian homes as no-man’s land that can be entered and used as Israeli security forces see fit at any time, with no regard to the rights and routine of the people living in those homes.”

The blatant violation of these families’ rights was not a response to any wrongdoing on their part – they simply had the misfortune of living near areas taken over by settlers with the state’s support. This unacceptable conduct is but another illustration of what daily life is like in central Hebron, where occupation authorities subjugate the lives of Palestinians to the whims of settlers.

The army acknowledges that “the homes were commandeered as part of efforts to secure the area near the Tomb of the Patriarchs during the weekend of the reading of the reading of the Chayei Sarah [Life of Sarah] Torah portion.”

B’Tselem notes how “settler-affiliated websites reported that the festivities were attended by some 30,000 people, including Israeli MKs and ministers, and was celebrated under the slogan ‘Sovereignty over the Land of Israel Now’.”

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