Plunder by Israeli soldiers

Philip Ferguson plf13 at it.canterbury.ac.nz
Mon Apr 8 16:44:53 MDT 2002


This recently arrived from the Middle East via London:

Plunder in Ramallah:

Hello: evidence is mounting that the Israeli Army is
stealing people's belongings as they search homes.
Even the very precious stores of foods that remain in
Ramallah are being plundered.

We have been hearing about this since the begining of
this occupation on Friday the 29th of March, 2002. It
took some time for the picture to develop clearly. Here is
what they do: they enter to search a home, place all
family members in one room, search and leave.
When they leave, family members come out of their
room and realize that their belongings are missing.

Examples:

1.Stealing Money, Equipment and other Items, and
eating people's food.

Saturday March 30, 10 a.m. right behind the Muqata'a in
al-Bireh:

"They broke everything when they came in, and stole as
well ... we are merchants and have money at home
always, they stole all the money we have, lots of money,
at least $25,000, and also batteries,  3 mobiles and
expensive watches. It is crazy, but they also stole our
prayer rugs and Qur'an!"


At around 11 am the same day:

"They came in, placed us all in one room, searched the
house, and when we came out we realized that the
following was missing: $3000, NIS 1800, pens, a
watch, a video camera battery, brand new in its box...
they left the box, and took also my 050 (Israeli) mobile
phone".

At around 12 of the same day:

"When they left I went to see if they took anything, as we
have been hearing about this... they stole my two
diamond rings, my gold, my money, $1000 and
1000 Jordanian dinars,  three watches and a video
camera and two ordinary cameras, they even stole the
precious $800 that the Sri Lankan maid has saved
to get back home"

At around 1 pm in the same area:

"They searched and stole my money, 23,000 IS that I
kept for emergencies... I realized this quickly and came
out running after them and told the commander. he told
me he will get back to me.. instead, they ran over my
BMW car, parked right outside the house, and then
burned it. It seems that this was done because I
complained."

And in an apartment near the Ramallah Municipality:
April 1st around 4 pm.

"After the search, I discovered that NIS 800 and 60
Jordanian Dinars I had kept in a drawer were missing.
They had broken the drawer which was locked, to get to
the money. At the neighbors, they stole a camera, and
ate their cake"

And I have more documentation like this, with exact
times, dates and places, and what was stolen, but
names of people have been withheld for obvious
reasons.

2. Stealing of Ramallah's remaining and by now
precious food supplies:

Report of stolen food items from the biggest food
supermarket in Ramallah, situated close to Masioun,
between Masioun and Imm al-Sharayet... This was on
April 1st Monday at midday:

"I live close to Max Supermarket. I saw all that
happened. The tank came and broke the front door, then
they closed the other door, went in, and broke another
door. Then they exploded the safe, obviously to
steal the money inside, this is the proof that they were
after money. Computers and offices all went in the
process. Also the special store for special foods was
destroyed. The safe did not open though, a small hole
only. We heard everything. Our neighbors said that they
had two  APC's full of soldiers with them,  and they
began to load in food items. they took them away and
came back and filled up again  with food and left. Later,
we went and saw how it was, the destruction and the
loss of food items. Two APC's were loaded with food."

When we raise this issue, apparently the Israeli army
claims that these are exceptional and isolated cases of
individual actions and not army policy.

The story on the ground however reveals that these
actions are quite
systematic, and have occured elsewhere and everywhere, as in Balata camp for
instance around a month ago, and can only lead to the
following possible interpretations:

1. That the army has given the go-ahead to soldiers to
steal and pilfer;
2. That the army has not, but is turning a blind eye,
perhaps as compensation for soldiers doing a "dirty and
dangerous job;
3. That the army higher echelons have not given these
orders but  that they have lost control, a most dangerous
realization and contrary to Israeli army claims of
discipline and strict control of the so-called Israeli
Defence Force (IDF).

Please circulate.
Rita



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