Palestinian youth activist’s family harassed, raided as he remains outside occupation custody

Israeli occupation forces have continued to raid the family home of Palestinian youth activist Basil al-Araj in Al-Walaja village near Bethlehem. Over the past four months, since al-Araj’s release from Palestinian Authority prison, his family home has been raided on numerous occasions and al-Araj has never been found.. He had been imprisoned with five other youths, who launched a hunger strike demanding their release after five months of imprisonment without charge or trial. Four of his fellow youths – Haitham Siyaj, Seif al-Idrissi, Mohammed al-Salameen and Mohammed Harb – have been arrested and ordered to administrative detention without charge or trial.

On Tuesday, 3 January in the pre-dawn hours, occupation forces again invaded the family home, ransacking the house and issuing summons for Al-Araj’s mother, 53, father, 55, and two brothers Said, 34, and Mohammed, 26, for questioning with the Israeli occupation intelligence at the Etzion interrogation center south of Bethlehem.

Mohammed al-Araj told Quds News that occupation forces had previously raided the home and arrested him, noting that this was an attempt to pressure his brother to turn himself in. His mother also stated that his uncles’ homes had been searched and their possessions ransacked. On one day, the Araj family home was stormed three times by occupation forces in one 24-hour period.