Israeli army raids offices of Palestinian NGO

Addameer works to support Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons. (AFP)
Updated 19 September 2019

Israeli army raids offices of Palestinian NGO

  • Israeli soldiers forced their way into the offices of prisoner support group Addameer in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah
  • No staff were in the office at that time as thousands of dollars worth of equipment, including five computers were seized

RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories: Israel’s army raided the offices of a prominent Palestinian NGO early Thursday, its director said, in an operation Amnesty International said aimed to “crush peaceful activism.”
Israeli soldiers forced their way into the offices of prisoner support group Addameer in the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah at around 2:00 am, the organization’s director Sahar Francis said.
No staff were in the office at that time, she said, but Israeli forces seized thousands of dollars worth of equipment, including five computers.
“They searched the whole office,” Francis said.
Addameer works to support Palestinian prisoners in both Israeli and Palestinian prisons.
Israeli right-wing activists accuse it of links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, considered a terrorist organization by Israel, the United States and the European Union.
The Israeli army did not immediately respond to request for comment on the raid.
Amnesty International’s Deputy Middle East Director Saleh Higazi condemned the “chilling raid,” labelling it an Israeli attempt “to crush peaceful activism and silence NGOs.”
“This was a sinister and calculated attack designed to curtail Addameer’s vital human rights work,” he said in a statement.
The NGO, which documents allegations of abuse in Israeli prisons, has been raided twice before, most recently in 2012.
Francis said that time they had smashed the door and also seized computers.
“We never got back the things they stole in 2012, despite making a request,” she said.
An Addameer employee has also been detained without charge since last year under Israel’s administrative detention laws, Amnesty said.
Higazi said the raid was part of an intensifying Israeli campaign against civil society organizations.
Human Rights Watch’s director for Israel and the Palestinian territories is currently fighting an Israeli expulsion order over allegations he called for a boycott of Israel.
The country in 2017 passed a law banning entry to foreigners supporting a boycott.
Israel has occupied the West Bank since a 1967 war.
The office is in a part of the West Bank nominally under full Palestinian control, but the Israeli army regularly carries out raids in such areas.


Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters clash in central Beirut

Updated 49 min 5 sec ago

Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters clash in central Beirut

  • Teargas and rubber bullets fired at the protestors
  • Riot police put out calls through loudspeakers for people not to gather

BEIRUT: Clashes broke out on Saturday between Lebanese security forces and Hezbollah supporters in downtown Beirut, some of whom tried to break into a barricaded central district of Lebanon's capital.

Teargas and rubber bullets were fired at the protestors, and the Lebanese Red Cross said several members of the security forces had to be taken to hospital with injuries.

A heavy security presence was put in place central Beirut after the Hezbollah supporters tried to advance to the city’s main central Martyr’s square, and riot police put out calls through loudspeakers for people in he Al-Khandaq Al-Ghamiq area of central Beirut not to gather.

Hundreds of people were gathered as part of a wave of protests that have swept Lebanon since Oct. 17, furious at a ruling elite that steered the country towards its worst economic crisis in decades.

Since the protests pushed Saad Al-Hariri to resign as prime minister in late October, talks between the main parties have been deadlocked over forming a new cabinet.

Lebanon urgently needs a new government to pull it out of the crisis which has also shaken confidence in its banking system. Foreign donors say they will only help after the country gets a cabinet that can enact reforms.

State news agency NNA said the tear gas had made several people faint, while the Lebanese Red Cross said 14 people were injured, six of them badly enough to need taking to hospital.

The unrest erupted from a build-up of anger at the rising cost of living, new tax plans and the record of leaders dominating the country since the 1975-90 civil war. Protesters accuse the political class of milking the state for their own benefit through networks of patronage.