Thursday, December 03, 2020

3 Palestinians shot in Israeli raid on Aida Camp

By Ruairi Henchy - February 24, 2015
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Dheisheh refugee camp] [Bethlehem]

Photo by Ruairi Henchy.

Several Palestinian youth have been injured after Israeli soldiers fired on them with live ammunition in Aida refugee camp, Bethlehem on Sunday February 22.

The Palestine Monitor spoke over the phone to Nidal al-Azza, the Head of the Board of the Lajee Cultural Center in Aida about the incident. “3 people in the camp were shot in the legs with live bullets and they’re seriously hurt,” he said.

“Four others were beaten by the soldiers, including my nephew Mohammed [al-Azza]. He’s a journalist and he was trying to cover the events,” claimed Nidal. The clashes between the camp residents took place on Sunday evening between 6 and 7 p.m. after the camp had been flooded following the opening of dams and water barriers in the adjacent Jewish-only settlement of Gilo.

Sami Hmedan, head of water pumps in the camp, told the Palestine News Network that the Israeli authorities released the barrage of water from excess rain and melted snow into the camp seemingly without any concern for Aida’s residents. 

Al-Azza argued, however, that the two events were unrelated. “Actually, there wasn’t any protest or action taking place when it happened. The soldiers invaded the camp because they wanted to arrest somebody so they fired teargas and then they fired the live ammunition to clear the area of people.”

Having failed to apprehend their target, the soldiers proceeded to arrest Haisam Da’amsah, a 46 year old bystander. “They dragged him behind them to use as a shield to get back out of the camp and then kept him for a few hours,” Nidal said.

Al-Azza's nephew, Mohammad, filmed the incursion. His video can be seen here: 

With regard to the flooding of the camp, Nidal explained, “This happens every time it rains heavily, they hold the water behind the wall of the settlement and then they release it into us. It even flooded the garden of the Lajee center because we don’t have any drainage system in the camp.”

The flooding in Bethlehem almost immediately followed the flooding of approximately 80 homes in the Wadi Gaza area of the Gaza Strip. Gaza’s Civil Defense Directorate accused Israel on Sunday February 22 of opening flood barriers in nearby settlements into the Gaza valley, but Israeli authorities strongly denied the accusation, saying there are no dams in the area.

Aida camp was established in 1948 following the Palestinian Nakba, in which approximately 750,000 people were forcibly expelled from their homes in present day Israel. Located directly between Bethlehem and the separation wall, and adjacent to Rachel’s Tomb, the camp is the scene of frequent clashes between local Palestinians and the Israeli military. 

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