The Israeli occupation forces continue to impose their strict siege and conduct extensive raids on the town of Aqraba, south of Nablus, for the fifth consecutive day. This comes after the Huwwara shooting incident last week. The Israeli forces close all secondary entrances to the town except for the main entrance, which witnesses tightened security and thorough inspections, leading to significant traffic congestion. Checkpoints are deployed in most areas of the town. In addition to the repeated incursions, field interrogations, and detentions of young men, houses are being searched. Since the beginning of the blockade on August 20, 2023, which coincided with the first day of the new school year, students from Aqraba who attend the mixed Yanoun Elementary School located in the Yanoun hamlet northeast of Aqraba have been suffering. The occupation completely blocks the road leading to the school. Daily coordination takes place between Aqraba Municipality and the Israeli army to allow students and teachers from Aqraba to enter the school. However, students and teachers face harassment due to daily inspections before entering or exiting the only open access point of Aqraba.
In the early hours of Thursday, August 24, 2023, a large force affiliated with the Israeli army consisting of more than 30 military vehicles and more than 100 soldiers raided the town. They initiated a wide-ranging campaign of home invasions that affected more than 20 houses, conducting searches and causing destruction. The residents were arbitrarily detained within these homes. The Israeli occupation forces also detained more than 30 young men and interrogated them in homes or nearby areas before releasing them all. Furthermore, among the houses that were raided, one belonging Issa Bani Fadel was targeted. He and his son Mohammad were arrested, and the house was marked and measured for demolition at a later time.
The Israeli occupation forces' policy of collectively raiding homes, conducting searches, and collectively detaining Palestinians is in violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which prohibits collective punishment. According to the convention: “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed, collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.”
Addameer Association calls upon the high contracting parties to the Geneva Conventions to pressure the Israeli state to cease the policy of collective punishment against Palestinians, to halt punitive collective arrest campaigns, home invasions, and the intimidation of children and the elderly.