Home Invasions in Deir Istiya

Every few weeks or months, the families of Deir Istiya are subjected to Israeli military raids. Such was the case on early Tuesday morning, when soldiers entered the homes of ten families in the village to search, take ID numbers, and harass individuals.

In the Dhyaab family were shocked to find soldiers banging on their doors at 1:15 am that morning. Three brothers in the family live in separate apartments in the same house. There are many people in that space, but none of them have had any trouble with the Israeli military in recent years.  Despite the families presumed innocence, soldiers still entered their home, forced everyone out of bed and into one room, and ransacked the house, before taking the ID and mobile phone numbers of each individual.

The pattern played itself out in many other homes that night, with groups of 5 – 10 soldiers entering houses, turning them upside down, taking ID numbers, and leaving again. No arrests were made, nor were any property removed from the homes. This is normal for raids in Deir Istiya, which occur every two weeks to two months.

Israeli soldiers on patrol outside Deir Istiya

Israeli soldiers on patrol outside Deir Istiya

The residents of Deir Istiya don’t know exactly what to make of the ongoing raids that are clearly not targeted at political dissidents or those who have broken Israeli military law. Rather the army enters the homes of quiet civilians. Many in the town believe that these raids are conducted as a training exercise – that soldiers are given the name of one or more individuals and told to go collect the correct ID and mobile phone number to confirm. The other option is that this was a “Demonstration of Presence” Mission, where soldiers enter a home or residential area simply to remind those living there that they are under occupation.

Whatever the orders were, there was no justification for a home invasion of this manner, against the quiet civilians in Deir Istiya. The Israeli military is there to remind Palestinians that they are not safe in their own homes.