Salah Khawaja, the Secretary of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) and a leader of the Stop the Wall campaign, was kidnapped from his home on the 26th of October by Israeli occupation military forces. Since then, Israeli intelligence have conducted 27 rounds of practically non-stop interrogation with Khawaja, not allowing him to see his lawyer.
On Tuesday night at around 2am, Israeli occupation forces stormed Ramallah (Area A*), fired sound bombs, tear gas and rubber bullets and raided the offices of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute (HDIP), where Khawaja worked part-time. The army left Ramallah at around 4:30am. Two men were arrested and two were injured on the streets during the incursion.
I participated in a standing demonstration against his arrest yesterday in Ramallah alongside other prominent palestinian BDS activists.
Following the protest, myself and two other IWPS volunteers went to the HDIP office to record the damage done by the army and conduct interviews with other employees. The office had been well and truly ransacked. They took two servers, a security camera and Khawaja’s harddrive from his computer. Two other computers were destroyed, doors were smashed and broken, holes had been punched into walls and documents were strewn everywhere. The employees seemed very shaken by what had happened and the incursion has completely stalled their organisation for the near future, but somebody also told us “this is Palestine, it happens all the time”.
Khawaja was ordered to an additional eight days of interrogation at a hearing at the Israeli military court in Petah Tikva yesterday, where he was kept blindfolded throughout the hearing. Many people believe that the office raid was a ploy to prolong the interrogation under the premise of checking evidence.
*The Oslo II Accord divided the West Bank into three administrative divisions: Areas A, B and C. Area A (mainly cities) is exclusively administered by the Palestinian Authority, Area B (mainly villages) is administered by both the Palestinian Authority and Israel, and Area C, which contains the Israeli settlements, is administered by Israel.