Pity the Village
Mass Arrests in Awarta
Palestine Monitor, April 7, 2011
In the third Israeli lockdown of Awarta since the murder of five in Itamar, villagers report that 200 were arrested in what are becoming routine invasions by the IOF.
Amjad Suliman Qawariq, the Chief of the Service Department of Awarta, reported that 200 villagers were arrested last night, 6 April, after the Israeli Occupation Forces rolled in at 10:30 pm.According to Qawariq, Israeli police entered with the IOF, ordering villagers to return to their homes and imposing a curfew on the town. At 11:000 pm, police and soldiers began entering homes, conducting searches and detaining residents.
According to Abu George, 44, soldiers did not shy away from arresting the elderly, sick or disabled: "Some couldnt walk, so they carried them."
Abu Georges son has now been arrested twice, and his house raided three times.
Those arrested were taken to the Huwarrah military base, not far from Awarta. Once there, they had their pictures taken and were required to give saliva samples and fingerprints. All prisoners were also subjected to an interrogation into their relationship to the killings in Itamar.
By 8:00 am this morning, 7 April, all those who were arrested returned to Awarta.
Currently there are 41 villagers from Awarta still awaiting their release in Israeli prisons.
According to Abu George, this third seize of the village was less violent than the past two: "This time was different, their behavior. They arrested us and put us in the car. The second time was ugly. They threw sound bombs at our homes, and they forced my son to walk without any clothes are shoes on."
Yet for some, the soldiers did not appear any gentler.
Nidal Awad, 53, a shop owner in the northern part of Awarta, was arrested along with his father, mother, and brother.
According to his mom, Tamam Mahmoud Awad, 70, the soldiers hit her in the chest when she asked them why they were arresting her husband, Malik Said Awad, 80. Expressing disdain, Tamam said, "He is sick, but they didnt care."
When asked what the soldiers asked him at the military base, Malik laughed, "They asked me if I killed the Itamar family, they asked if my wife killed them. Look at us."
Soldiers returned to the Qawariq family home, who first met tragedy this time last year when two of their sons, Saleh, 18, and Mahmoud, 19, were killed by the IOF when working in their fields.
Huda Mohammed Awad Qawariq, 43, the mother of the slain boys, deplored the armys incessant attacks on her family. Last night, they arrested her husband, Faisel Qawariq, and once he returned home this morning, they called him to request that he return to the military base.
Currently, two of her sons, Aymad, 20, and Ayman, 24, are still in prison.
"Democracy, what is democracy, where is democracy?" Huda asked.