By Hasan Faqih
AL-KHALIL, (PIC)-- Hundreds of heavily-armed CIA-trained Palestinian troops on Saturday stormed the village of al Burj, 30 kilometers south west of Al-Khalil (Hebron), raiding homes, vandalizing property and detaining a number of teachers and college students suspected of “carrying out anti-Israeli activities.”
The operation, code-named “Isrhaqato Watan” (Sunrise) started around dawn, with masked troops, backed by some 20 jeeps, sniffing dogs, arriving at the village, apparently in coordination with the Israeli occupation army.
Al-Burj, situated along the former armistice line (the Green Line), is classified as area C and totally controlled by the Israeli army.
However, the Israeli army recently allowed PA troops to operate in area C for a short duration provided that only anti-Israeli elements, particularly pro-Hamas supporters, are targeted.
The PA asked Israel to allow PA troops to arrest some local Shin Beth informers mainly as a cover-up for the anti-Hamas campaign.
Masked troops, presumably including local Fatah informers, raided the home of Amin (Arab) Hijjeh, thoroughly vandalizing his furniture and property and assaulting his family, before arresting him. Hijjeh had spent seven years in Israeli jails in connection with resisting the Israeli occupation.
One Fatah source said he believed the troops were searching for firearms.
Some of the other people arrested include Yousuf Muhammed Faqeah, Hashem Muhammad Itbeish.
A local cameraman, Ghaseb Khalil Talahmeh, was badly beaten by masked troops when he tried to film the violent rampage in the village.
The locals, who often referred to the troops as “Fatah Jews” or simply “the collaborators”, were especially incensed by the use of sniffing dogs inside their living rooms.
“We have experienced the repression of the Israeli occupation army for 40 years, but we haven’t seen such a bestial manner,” said Halima Talahmeh, an elderly woman.
Ragheb al-Kanan, a worker, referred to the troops “as dogs using dogs.”
“They are themselves human dogs used by the Jews to suppress and terrorize their own people. And they are using animal dogs to scare us.”
Last week, PA troops, also in coordination with the Israeli army, raided the two small towns of Yatta and Sammou’ to arrest suspected Islamic activists.
At least 25 people were arrested during the raids which lasted for 12 hours. Among the people arrested were two Israeli informers who were later released after an Israeli officer threatened to arrest all the Palestinian troops and confiscate their weapons.
According to local inhabitants, masked PA troops entered mosques with their boots on, tearing up Islamic wall-magazines and anti-Israeli literature.
The all-out campaign against suspected Hamas activists seems to contradict Fatah proclamations about its willingness to hold reconciliation talks with Hamas in Cairo next week.
A Hamas official in Hebron, who spoke on condition of anonymity, accused Fatah of speaking like patriotic Palestinians but acting like Israeli collaborators.
“They are deceiving the people and the Arab mediators. If they were sincere about wanting to end the rift with Hamas, they wouldn’t be colluding and collaborating openly with Israel against patriotic Palestinians. They are simply liars and hypocrites.”
In a related development, Israeli occupation forces on Friday stormed the town of Dura. The troops opened fire on stone-hurling boys, wounding three of them, one seriously.
Palestinian troops stationed in the town quietly withdrew into their barracks during the Israeli raid.
When the raid ended toward the evening, the Fatah troops returned to the streets with people shouting at them “where were you when the occupation soldiers were shooting at us? Are you lions with us, but rabbits with the Jews?”