Palestinian youth activist Basil al-Araj’s home again raided by Israeli forces as 16 arrested overnight in West Bank


As 16 Palestinians were seized by Israeli occupation forces throughout the West Bank in a series of pre-dawn raids, Palestinian youth activist Basil al-Araj once again evaded an arrest raid on his home. One of six Palestinian youth who were released from Palestinian Authority prisons after nearly six months of detention when they launched a hunger strike, Al-Araj and other youth were seized in April in what was touted as a victory for security coordination between the PA and Israel. After their hunger strike and widespread attention to their case secured their release, four of the youth – Mohammed al-Salameen, Seif al-Idrissi, Haitham Siyaj, and Mohammed Harb – have been seized by Israeli occupation forces. All four have been ordered to administrative detention, imprisonment without charge or trial.

Al-Araj’s family home in the village of Walaja near Bethlehem has been repeatedly stormed by occupation forces, most recently this morning, Wednesday, 7 December, at 1:00 am. His mother stated that they also invaded the homes of his uncles, ransacking their belongings and damaging their property, and ordering Al-Araj’s father and brother to interrogation with the Israeli occupation intelligence.

Also early this morning, five Palestinians were seized in Bethlehem, reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society, including a child: Mohammed Sabah, 12 years old. The others arrested include Mohammed Ahmed Ali Sheikh, 21, Mohammed Maher Sheikh, 20, Mahmoud Ahmed Sheikh, 22, and Amir Khalil Afaneh, 19. In al-Khalil, occupation forces seized four Palestinians, including Said Sharawi, 43, and his son Ramadan Sharawi, 23; the former prisoner Rajeh Abu Ajamia, 45, and Basil El-Skafi. In Ramallah and El-Bireh, occupation forces seized Nidal al-Hindi and Ahmed Hussein Al-Khasib. In Qalqilya, occupation forces seized Mohammed Ali Radwan, 24, and Asem Omar Sweidan, 21. In Jerusalem, they arrested Odeh Ahmed Khatib, 20, and Amin Hamed, while in Salfit, occupation forces seized Ahmed Mohammed Bouzaya, 26.