Israeli officer threatens to kill Palestinian youth and his family

Youth in Dheisheh refugee camp say threat of permanent injury will not stop protests during Israeli army raids.

Wisam Hashlamoun APA images

On 18 December, Israeli forces raided the homes of Ahmad al-Seifi and Khalil al-Banna, two youths in Dheisheh refugee camp, near Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank, and detained them.

According to a local source, al-Seifi and al-Banna are still in detention. The source, who is not being named for safety reasons, told The Electronic Intifada that al-Banna was shot in the knee and arrested earlier this year.

Residents of Dheisheh say they continue to be targeted with raids and arrests by an Israeli army unit under the command of a notoriously aggressive officer with Israel’s domestic intelligence agency Shin Bet.

The officer, who goes by the alias “Captain Nidal,” has previously threatened to make “all youth in the camp disabled.”

In several testimonies gathered by The Electronic Intifada earlier this year, youth in the camp say Captain Nidal has been provoking them during confrontations and threatening them or causing severe physical harm, especially to their lower limbs.

“Break your head and kill you”

In November, Captain Nidal summoned Ahmad’s relative, Bilal al-Seifi, for interrogation at two different West Bank checkpoints.

After Bilal refused to go to Qalandiya checkpoint near Ramallah on Captain Nidal’s orders “due to fear for his life,” the officer proceeded to threaten the Palestinian youth and his family, according to Badil, a human rights group based in Bethlehem.

“I will come to you this time and break your head and kill you,” Captain Nidal reportedly told Bilal al-Seifi in a phone call. He added that he “would also kill his brothers, and arrest his sister and his mother,” Badil states.

Badil notes that the threats were made in late November, around the time Israeli forces shot dead a 48-year-old man at Qalandiya checkpoint, claiming he had tried to stab a soldier. No Israelis were injured.

Days earlier, Captain Nidal and a group of soldiers raided the al-Seifi family’s apartment complex – where Ahmad, who was arrested last week, also lives – and destroyed the family’s possessions.

The officer has threatened neighbors of the al-Seifi family, “informing them that they would be responsible if they saw Bilal in his home in the camp” and did not notify him, Badil states.

“This has created a very tense atmosphere in Dheisheh,” the source in the camp told The Electronic Intifada.

Badil says it is “very concerned by the continuous threats made by the Israeli occupying forces to Palestinian youth.”

“These actions by the Israeli forces are aimed to induce fear and are made all the more serious by the increase in the use of excessive force to suppress resistance and the targeting of Palestinian youth since mid-2016,” the group adds.

The Israeli violence and threats “make [residents] think about their kids in the streets – and about how unsafe they are even in their houses at night,” the source in Dheisheh added.

Nightly assaults

The raids experienced by Dheisheh residents are part of near-nightly assaults on communities by Israeli forces. On Tuesday night, for instance, Israeli forces detained at least 26 Palestinians in sweeping raids across the occupied West Bank.

Seven of those detained were children, 15-17 years old. They are all from the Bethlehem-area village of Beit Fajjar, the Ma’an News Agency reported.

The Israeli army conducted at least 100 raids and arrested approximately 120 Palestinians in the West Bank, including 29 children, in the first two weeks of December alone, according to the UN monitoring group OCHA.

Israeli soldiers regularly swarm Dheisheh camp to arrest residents, while assaulting and injuring youths who resist.

Muhammad Yasser Rizq al-Malhi, a teenage resident of Dheisheh, was violently assaulted by Israeli forces during a raid on 2 November, according to the Ma’an News Agency.

He is currently being held in Ofer prison, near Ramallah, and suffers from severe pains due to fractures in his chest, doctors say. Al-Malhi was already severely injured at the time of his detention, having been shot with live bullets by Israeli forces several months earlier.

Shooting at knees

During confrontations between invading Israeli forces and camp youth on 12 December, soldiers shot and injured four Palestinians in their lower limbs, an indication that a long-standing pattern of targeting youths to cause deliberate injuries is continuing.

The soldiers shot the youths with stun grenades and live ammunition, according to Ma’an.

Under Captain Nidal’s directives, least 18 youths – between 14 and 27 years old – were shot in their legs in July and August alone, as The Electronic Intifada reported.

Eight were shot directly in the knee and several more in both legs.

“They choose [to shoot at] the leg to disable and torture you,” a youth told The Electronic Intifada at the time.

During raids, snipers shoot protesters under Captain Nidal’s directives, youths say.

Young Palestinians told the Tel Aviv newspaper Haaretz that they believe the Shin Bet officer is exacting revenge after someone took his photograph during a raid and posted it on Facebook.

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Comments

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The amount anti-Palestinian propaganda is utterly shocking. CNN and MSNBC make no apologies for interviewing the most right wing members of Congress on Israeli -Palestinian issues! We need strong voices of truth.

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....soldiers shot and injured four Palestinians in their lower limbs, an indication that a long-standing pattern of targeting youths to cause deliberate injuries is continuing...

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So this is the most moral army in the world!? I think they are moral cowards who act brave because they are armed to the teeth and know that their govt. secretly sanctions these violent attacks on unarmed and innocent Palestinian youths. They are the true Anti-Semites!

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Nora Barrows-Friedman

Nora Barrows-Friedman's picture

Nora Barrows-Friedman is a staff writer and associate editor at The Electronic Intifada, and is the author of In Our Power: US Students Organize for Justice in Palestine (Just World Books, 2014).