Israel raids offices of Palestinian NGOs

Israeli soldiers raided the offices of three civil society organizations on Tuesday in the heart of Ramallah, the de facto Palestinian capital in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.

Entering before dawn, troops wrenched open the doors of the Women’s Union, the Palestinian NGO Network and Addameer, an advocate for Palestinians in Israeli jails, confiscating five computers from the latter group.

The sweeps were the first of their kind in a Palestinian city since the West Bank government won an initiative at the United Nations General Assembly on November 29 which recognised a de facto Palestinian state, stoking tensions with Israel. “This comes in the context of the UN’s decision,” Allam Jarrar of the Palestinian NGO Network told reporters on Tuesday morning, “boycott Israel” leaflets strewn on the floor of the raided office.

“This a message by the Israelis to the Palestinians, saying that when they take decisions or form patriotic organizations to seek their freedom, the occupation will use aggression to try and stop us,” he said. The Israeli military did not immediately comment.The West Bank has seen mounting clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian protestors, leaving two Palestinians dead since the launch on Israeli offensive in the Gaza Strip.

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