Israel’s military is on a daily basis raiding a Palestinian town in the north of the occupied West Bank, humiliating residents and damaging property in an attempt to expand nearby settlements, according to residents and eyewitnesses.
The mayor of the town of Awarta, Qais Awwad, announced the demolition plan on Monday and stated that Israel has also taken over land nearby in order to expand Jewish settlements, Ynetnews reported.
The Palestinian Authority condemned the raids and called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to halt them.
"Israel wants to destroy the town and expand nearby settlements," the PA’s foreign minister, Riyad al-Maliki, said.
An Israeli activist, Yaakov Manor, recounted one such raid on a Palestinian home. "The soldiers entered rooms and broke furniture, broke a washing machine belonging to the family and a refrigerator as well. The soldiers tipped over oil containers and broke closets," he said.
Hundreds of Israeli troops entered the town shortly after midnight on Thursday, and imposed a curfew after which they began rounding up more than 100 women, many of whom were elderly.
The women were taken to a military camp where Israeli soldiers questioned them for hours. The incident comes as the Israeli military has been conducting consistent raids on the town of Awarta for the past four weeks and arresting scores of residents.
According to the UN Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian refugees, Israel demolished 76 Palestinian homes in the West Bank in March compared with 70 in February and 29 in January.