A group of International volunteers including many Christians, are currently living in refugee camps in Israel/Palestine as observers. They sent us this report yesterday. Evidence of Israeli Occupation Force terror tactics against a defenceless civilian population was witnessed today by two British International Solidarity Movement volunteers, Siama and Alison, in Balata Refugee Camp near Nablus. Two nights ago Balata camp was woken at 2am by Israeli soldiers invading the camp. For several hours machine gun fire, explosions and Apache helicopter fire could be heard all over the camp and city. Today we witnessed more of what the soldiers had been doing. Going from house to house in at least one part of the camp they took the heads of the families, stripped them, beat them and left them outside their homes whilst inside they shot randomly. Families described how they crowded into a single room for protection, young, old, men and women huddled together unsure whether they would be the next to be shot at and why their home was being targetted. The devastation was plain to see with bullet holes peppering walls, ceilings and doors. In one house we visited an energy bomb cartridge and M16 cartridges are evidence of the destructive weapons used. This operation can only be seen as an effort to terrorise and traumatise an entire community. The same night four homes in Balata were invaded by the military, entire extended families taken hostage and forced into a single room with no access to food, water or medication. Today we visited these homes, the soldiers having left during the night, and witnessed the vandalism they left behind. Furniture upturned and slashed, the contents of cupboards and wardrobes strewn all over, the remains of the food the soldiers had helped themselves to left all over the floor. In one house the soldiers had defaecated all over the bathroom floor. In two cases they stole thousands of shekels of savings plus two mobile phones. Last night four more families that we are aware of were taken hostage in their homes. Gaining access to one home this morning we saw with our own eyes the entire family of ten forced into one small room, a tiny baby in the arms of its mother. The family begged us to bring milk for the baby but after just one minute of speaking with the family the soldiers told us to leave forbidding us to return. At another home the soldiers refused to even open the door to allow us to talk to the family. With none of the world's media here to report on this terrorisation of a civilian community and no international peace keepers to intervene, who knows how many more families will become hostages and human shields to the IOF in an operation that the Israeli army claim is necessary for their national security.
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