Palestinian NGO offices raided by Israeli troops

Wed, Dec 12, 2012, 00:00

Israeli troops have raided the offices of Palestinian NGOs in a rare incursion into the West Bank city of Ramallah, as foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman called for soldiers to shoot to kill any Palestinian police trying to harm them.

Soldiers raided the Ramallah offices of the Agricultural Work Committees, prisoners’ group Addameer, the Union of Palestinian Women’s Committees and the Palestinian NGO Network, confiscating equipment. An army spokesman confirmed the overnight raids, saying they targeted offices affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine group.

Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO Network said the raid was linked to the recent UN General Assembly vote to upgrade the status of Palestine. “This is a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organisations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us.”

Palestinian activist Mustafa Barghouti described the Israeli raids as “piracy”, adding that targeting civil society organisations was unacceptable.

The West Bank has seen mounting clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protesters in recent weeks, leaving two Palestinians dead since last month’s Gaza war.

Foreign minister Avigdor Lieberman yesterday called on troops to respond with lethal force to attempts by Palestinian police to harm them.