Last night, Balata refugee camp saw yet another invasion of the Palestinian Authority controlled West Bank by the Israeli Occupation Forces. Reportedly, the camp was invaded by hundreds of settlers escorted by IOF to pray at Joseph’s tomb, a religious site to the Jewish Nationals who regularly invade the camp to pray at it. Three residents of the camp were arrested.
Without provocation from the residents of Balata, the IOF shot tear gas canisters and sound bombs into the narrow residential streets, damaging cars and wakening the residents. Sometime after 12am, the soldiers blocked the side entrance to Balata and were faced with a crowd of shabab. From a building nearby, the WAAHS delegation witnessed a two-hour spread of tear gas canisters and sound bombs fired by the IOF, before the clash moved south. Shots were heard well into the morning.
The shabab held strong and met the fire with stone throwing and laughter. In the morning, there were reports that three of the shabab were arrested. An ambulance came into the camp, but there are no reports of who was injured. While staying at Balata, IOF invasions have been heard every night. This morning, a source from the camp commented on the regularity of the invasions and that “the shabab have broken the limit of fear.”
This marks the third invasion of IOF into the West Bank in two days. Tuesday saw three Palestinians shot by the IOF in Jenin Refugee Camp, resulting in the death of Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh (22) and critical injuries to Karim Sbeih and Alah Abu Khalifa. Last night, a 21 year old Palestinian from Dheish Refugee Camp in south Bethlehem was shot and a 16 year old arrested. As the first Palestinian-Israeli “peace talks” in three years resume, the Israeli Government are not leaving any doubt to their true intentions: to further the violent segregation of their apartheid state.