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Reprehensible actions by Israeli troops against Palestinians following killing of Rabbi Raziel Shevach: Demolishing a home with inhabitants still inside, strip searching 3 women, setting dogs on 3 residents

On 9 January 2018, Israeli Rabbi Raziel Shevach was fatally shot, apparently in a drive-by shooting, near the settlement outpost of Havat Gilad in the West Bank. The shooters fled the scene and Israeli security forces mounted a search for them. On 6 February, in the village of al-Yamun in Jenin District, Israeli forces killed Ahmad Naser Khaled Jarar (26), whom they alleged had carried out the attack, and demolished the room in which he had taken cover.

In the month between the attack and the killing of Jarar, Israeli forces demolished four homes in Jenin – one while the inhabitants were still inside. B’Tselem documented two cases in which Israeli security forces entered homes in nearby villages and set dogs on three people. Three women were also subjected to degrading strip searches. In all cases, soldiers entered the homes in the middle of the night or in the early hours of the morning.

In testimonies given to B’Tselem, members of the Palestinian families whose homes were invaded by soldiers and dogs in the middle of the night described destruction, degradation, trauma and injury. These accounts indicate wanton, unchecked violence by the Israeli forces, and utter disregard for the dignity, bodily integrity and lives of the Palestinians whose homes they entered, including young children. The troops involved in these incidents – including the commanders who gave the orders – are well aware of their complete impunity, as well as of the fact that the residents facing them are defenseless, even inside their own homes – and exploited this to the full.

18 January 2018, Jenin: Israeli forces kill Ahmad Isma’il Muhammad Jarar and demolish four homes

On the night of 17 January 2018, at around 10:00 P.M., Special Police Unit forces entered the neighborhood of Wadi Burqin in west Jenin together with soldiers and ISA (Israel Security Agency) agents. The forces surrounded a street in which the Jarar family lives and exchanged fire with armed Palestinians, including Ahmad Isma’il Muhammad Jarar (30), who was killed in the gun battle; two police officers were injured – one moderately and one sustained minor wounds. In clashes that later developed there, the forces injured two residents with live fire, one of whom was seriously injured.

During the exchange of fire, which lasted several hours, the forces called on residents to come out of their homes. At around 1:00 A.M., Isma’il Jarar (65), the father of Ahmad who had been killed earlier, opened his front door. To his surprise, he saw soldiers standing there, pointing their guns at him. The soldiers ordered him to come outside, and drove him and the rest of his family to the home of a relative, Rida Jarar. When they got there, they found other relatives already gathered there. The soldiers handcuffed all the men, except Isma’il Jarar, and assembled them on the first floor. They assembled the women on the second floor.

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Isma’il Jarar’s demolished home. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 18 January 2018

 

At approximately 3:00 A.M., the forces began demolishing the homes of both families. They also began demolishing another home, while the family was still inside. In the third home lived ‘Ali and Nassim Jarar and their four children, aged 7 to 20. When they heard shooting and noises outside, the family gathered in the bedroom of the youngest daughter, which is the farthest from the entrance to the house, but then bulldozers began demolishing their house. Nassim Jarar related:

Shortly after 3:00 A.M. we heard cars and a bulldozer approaching our house. The bulldozer started demolishing the western side of the house. My husband, children and I started screaming because we were scared the house would collapse on top of us. We felt the ground shake and heard parts of the house come crashing down. We stood in the kitchen, confused and scared, and our kids were so frightened they were in tears. The sounds of the demolition grew louder.

We decided to chance it and leave through the eastern side of the house to go to my brother-in-law Walid Jarar, whose house is about 20-25 meters away. We knew we’d die and be buried in the wreckage if we stayed inside, but we were also afraid the soldiers would shoot us the moment we stepped outside. I asked my husband and children to pray before we left and recite the verse “There is no god but Allah”. I left in my pajamas, without even putting on my head scarf.

There were soldiers in Walid’s yard and they shone the laser sights on their guns at us, lighting up our faces. My husband asked them, “Why are you demolishing my house?”. One of the soldiers answered: “Quiet, be quiet”. I asked the soldiers if we could go into Walid’s house and they said we could. Walid was at home, and there were soldiers on the roof. We stayed there until morning.

הריסות ביתם של עלי ונסים ג'ראר. צילום: עבד אל-כרים סעדי, 18.1.18, בצלם.
‘Ali and Nassim Jarar’s demolished home. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 18 January 2018

 

All told, four residential units –  home to sixteen people, including three minors – were demolished that night: two by bulldozers and two by a missile.

3 and 8 February 2018, the town of Birqin: Forces search residents in the nude and set dogs on them

On the morning of 3 February 2018, at approximately 6:00 A.M., dozens of soldiers came to the town of Birqin, Jenin District. The troops surrounded the house of Mabruk (40) and Inas (37) Jarar. The couple woke up from a loud bang – apparently when the front door to their building was blown up – and the sound of stun grenades. They quickly brought their two children, one aged three and other nine, into their bed. Several minutes later, the force blew up the door to the second floor, where they live.

A dog then came into their bedroom, sank his teeth into Jarar’s left shoulder and knocked him to the ground. Inas tried unsuccessfully to pry him from the dog’s grip. The children hid behind the bed, screaming and crying. Inas described what happened next in a testimony she gave B’Tselem on 4 February 2018:

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Inas Jarar

I ran to the door to cry for help, and then I saw soldiers standing on the stairs leading to our apartment. They shouted at me in Arabic to get everyone out of the house. One of them told me to get Ahmad Jarar who is a wanted man out of the house. I begged them to save my husband from the dog, but they just stood there doing nothing […]. The children wet themselves. They were so afraid, they couldn’t even stand up.

Mabruk Jarar recounted what he underwent after the soldiers took him downstairs, in a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 14 February 2018:

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Mabruk Jarar

At the foot of the stairs, a soldier released me from the grip of the dog’s jaw, after he cut my shirt with scissors. He got the dog away from me. Then another soldier came up and punched me in the nose twice. The soldiers put me in a room on the first floor. All that time, I was bleeding from my left arm and from my nose. Then a high-ranking officer came in. I think he was surprised when he saw what the dog had done to me. He took a photo of my arm on his mobile phone and ordered the soldiers, who had handcuffed my hands behind my back, to untie me. He talked to the soldiers in Hebrew, which I understand a little.

Only some two and a half hours later, did the soldiers transfer Mabruk Jarar to hospital. He was taken to a hospital in the city of Afula, Israel. There, he was shackled to the bed by his legs and two soldiers stood guard at the door. About a week later, on 11 February, he was untied and informed that he was being released without any charges. On 13 February, Jarar was transferred to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus for further treatment.

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Mabruk Jarar in Rafidiya Hospital, Nablus. Photo by Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem, 14 February 2018

 

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The front door.

On 8 February 2018, while Mabruk Jarar was in hospital in Afula, some twenty soldiers came to his house at approximately 3:00 A.M. His wife, Inas, was at home with her mother-in law Huriyyah (75) and sister-in-law Dalal (50), who is mute and suffers from Down syndrome. The two women had come to help Inas cope with what had happened. Since the incident, the children had been staying with Mabruk’s first wife.

The soldiers broke down the first-floor door and immediately went up to the second floor. Inas Jarar opened the door and they entered the living room and asked if there was a man at home. They also asked Inas if she had cash on hand and said that if so, it was Hamas money that they had to confiscate. She replied she did not, and the soldiers then searched the house. Their search yielded nothing. They then ordered Inas to go into the bedroom with a female soldier to be searched. Once there, a female soldier demanded that she take off all her clothes, and then she strip searched the other two women as well. In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 8 February 2018, Inas related:

In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi on 8 February 2018, Inas related:

The female soldier ordered me to take off all my clothes. I did as she said. I thought she wanted to search me with a metal detector. To my surprise, she insisted that I remove my underwear, too. I did as she said and she searched the clothes I had taken off. I stood there stark naked, and she ordered me to turn around. I felt broken and humiliated. I wished I could die, so I wouldn’t have to experience another second of this. Then she ordered me to kneel. I stayed like that for two or three minutes. They were the longest minutes in my life. Then she told me I could put my clothes back on. I think that soldier has no moral or human feeling.

Huriyyah Jarar described what happened next in a testimony she gave B’Tselem on 13 February 2018:

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Hurayya Jarar

Inas and the female soldier came into our room. The soldier said she wanted to search us. I started crying and said: “What do you want from me? I can hardly move and I’m an old woman. Shame on you.” I sat on the bed and Inas and the soldier helped me undress. I felt helpless and so sad about what the soldier did to me. I cried the whole time. How could a young soldier force an old woman like me to take off all my clothes in front of her and expose myself like that? Then the soldier ordered Inas to help her take Dalal’s clothes off. Inas did as she was told and the soldier inspected Dalal naked as well. I couldn’t stop crying.

3 February 2018, the village of al-Kfir: Soldiers set dog on family

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Nur a-Din ‘Awad

On 3 February 2018, at about 4:00 A.M., soldiers came to the home of Nur a-Din ‘Awad (48), his wife Samaher (42) and their four children. The soldiers broke down the front door and Samaher awoke from the noise to find a dog in her bedroom. She screamed, and Nur a-Din awoke. He leapt from the bed to chase the dog out of the room. There were soldiers at the entrance to the bedroom, but they stood by doing nothing, and the dog bit Nur a-Din in his right arm. The soldiers ordered the family to stay inside the house and left. A few minutes later, the family heard knocking at the back door.
 

Samaher ‘Awad described what happened next in a testimony she gave B’Tselem on 4 February 2018:

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Samaher ‘Awad

I was holding Karam, my two-year-old son, who was crying against my breast. I opened the back door the soldiers had knocked on and a dog jumped at me, landing on my chest. I dropped Karam. The dog bit me in the chest and I struggled to get him off me. I managed, but then he bit my left thigh. I tried as hard as I could to get him off. The soldiers stood there watching and did nothing. The whole time, my husband was begging them to call off the dog. One of the soldiers said something in Hebrew to the dog and then it grabbed my left arm for a few minutes, until another soldier came. My arm was bleeding. My husband asked them to treat it but they ignored him.