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Army stages night-time Ramallah raid to arrest an international solidarity activist
By Amarat al Ramouni
Popular Struggle Coordination Committee/Ma`an
11 January 2010
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The raid was conducted to apprehend Eva Nováková, a Czech citizen, who has been the International Solidarity Movement`s media coordinator for the past few weeks. The raid was held despite a recent statement by president Mahmoud Abbas, who said the PA is considering scaling back security ties with Israel over area A operations.
Israeli soldiers raided the Ramallah home of Eva Nováková tonight at 3 am near the Manara square. The operation to apprehend Nováková, the ISM`s media coordinator in past few weeks, was carried out by a force of both soldiers and members of the “Oz” immigration police unit. During the raid, the army occupied a number of rooftops at a location adjacent to the Palestinian Police Ramallah headquarters. She is currently being held in Givon detention center awaiting deportation to the Czech Republic.
For more details: Eva Nováková (in jail): +972526878716
Adv. Yiftach Cohen: +972523563782
Jonathan Pollak +972546327736
This recent military raid into Palestinian-controlled Area A comes amidst Palestinian discontent over continued incursions and arrests. President Mahmoud Abbas has recently said that “If the [security] coordination does not lead to a halt in the incursions and the provocations, we will think anew”.
Nováková’s Attoreny Omer Shatz stated: “The Israeli immigration police work under the authority of the Israeli ministry of the interior, and as such have no jurisdiction in the Occupied Palestinian territories. This arrest is part of the continued and illegal use of the immigration police against activists, for political purposes”
This raid follows an extensive arrest wave targeting grassroots activists and oragnizers throughout the West Bank. Such raids have been conducted in the villages of Bil`in - where 32 residents have been arrested in the past six month, Ni`ilin – where 94 residents have been arrested in the past 18 months, the cities of Nablus and Ramallah and East Jerusalem.
Among those arrested in this recent campaign are five members of the Bil`in Popular Committee have been arrested in suspicion of incitement, including Adeeb Abu Rahmah, who has already been held in detention for almost six months and Bil`in`s Popular Committee coordinator, Abdallah Abu Rahmah.
Prominent Nablus grassroots activists, Wael al-Faqeeh (Nablus) as well as Jamal Juma (East Jerusalem) and Mohammed Othman (Jayyous) of the Stop the Wall NGO, involved in anti-Wall and boycott, divestment and sanctions campaigning have also been arrested recently. All three are currently being held on secret evidence and with no charges brought against them.
Foreign activist deported after Israeli night raid
Published today (updated) 12/01/2010 16:02
The Israeli raid was near Manara, Ramallah`s busiest intersectionBethlehem – Ma`an – Israel deported a Czech national on Tuesday, 24 hours after she was seized by soldiers during a late-night raid in the West Bank city of Ramallah`s city center.
Eva Nováková, 28, the International Solidarity Movement`s media coordinator, was taken from her Manara apartment at 3am Monday.
She was deported at 6am on Tuesday to Prague from Tel Aviv`s Ben Gurion International Airport, where she was taken late Monday night. Supporters failed to get an emergency injunction against the deportation, which came just one day after the raid.
Dusan Kralik, the Embassy of the Czech Republic`s envoy to Israel, said he was not planning to protest the move, which Nováková`s supporters say was carried out without due process, bypassing Israeli courts. `She was here illegally, without permission,` Kralik told Ma`an. `She`s supposed to leave.`
During Monday`s night raid, soldiers deployed on rooftops adjacent to the Palestinian Authority police headquarters, while three APVs patrolled the central urban area. Onlookers counted at least 20 soldiers participating in the operation, which lasted less than half an hour.
Also participating were forces belonging to Israel`s special `Oz` immigration task force, according to Israeli activist Jonathan Pollak, among others. Pollak said immigration police broke down Nováková`s door, checked her passport, and took her away. `I don`t know why it would be worthwhile for them to do that,` he told Ma`an. `It`s really alarming because she wasn`t charged with anything.`
An Israeli military spokesman insisted it was the army that carried out the raid, described as aimed at apprehending an individual who was `residing illegally in Ramallah.` He said the detainee was transferred to civilian police custody following the operation.
Her attorney, Omer Shatz, said Israel`s alleged use of its special `Oz` unit was illegal. `This arrest is part of the continued and illegal use of the immigration police against activists, for political purposes,` Shatz said in an ISM statement. Immigration police, in general, work under the authority of the Israeli Ministry of the Interior, Shatz added, and thus would have no business operating in Palestinian cities.
PA security sources said they were familiar with the case, but did not believe it represented a precedent as Nováková`s Israeli-issued visa had expired. Israel controls all the entrances to the West Bank, and is at present the sole issuer of visas for Czech citizens.
It was not immediately clear if the Israeli government now considers Ramallah, the de facto capital of the PA, off-limits to foreign-passport holders. But the city would be to Israeli forces even by their own government`s understanding of the limits placed on such activity in the occupied West Bank. Ramallah, a city in Area A, has supposedly been under full PA security control since 2009.
While raids targeting Palestinians in outlying districts are nightly events, the detention of Nováková was unusual because Israeli forces tend only to enter PA-controlled areas for the purpose of capturing Palestinians on their `wanted` list, and usually for alleged security grounds. One such incursion was in December, when Israeli forces assassinated three Fatah operatives in their Nablus homes.
Last week, President Mahmoud Abbas said the PA was considering scaling back security ties with Israel on operations in certain Area A sites such as Ramallah. `If the coordination does not lead to a halt in the incursions and the provocations, we will think anew,` Abbas said.
Monday`s raid follows an arrest wave targeting activists and organizers throughout the West Bank. In the hours since Nováková`s arrest on Monday, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians in Nil`in and another in Bil`in. At least 12 were detained overnight, military sources said.
In the past month, since 16 December, the army staged 11 night incursions into Ni`lin. Since May 2008, when anti-wall demonstrations began in the village, 94 residents have been arrested in connection to the protests. Similar raids were conducted in the village of Bil`in, where 34 residents were arrested in the past six months, and in the cities of Nablus, Ramallah and East Jerusalem.
Among those arrested in the recent campaign were five members of the Bil`in Popular Committee, all suspected of incitement, including Adeeb Abu Rahmah, already in detention for almost six months, and Abdallah Abu Rahmah, the Bil`in Popular Committee coordinator.
Nablus activist Wael Al-Faqeeh, as well as Stop the Wall organizers Jamal Juma of East Jerusalem and Mohammed Othman of Jayyous, were also arrested recently. Activists said the detentions were likely linked to involvement in anti-wall and boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) campaigning. All three were being held based on secret evidence and with no charges brought against them.
Nováková`s deportation also amid recent Israeli measures to control the flow of foreign-passport holders in the occupied territories. Over the summer, authorities began issuing `PA-only` visas to foreign nationals, in apparent violation of the Oslo Accords. In practice, the stamp bars holders of foreign passports from entering Jerusalem, areas west of the separation wall, or Green Line Israel.
During the holidays, Israeli security officials temporarily prevented internationals from using a key West Bank bus line between Bethlehem and East Jerusalem, redirecting them to a military checkpoint. The decision was eventually reversed, although not permanently.
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