HARIS, SALFIT – Several Israeli military jeeps entered Haris, a village in the Salfit district of the West Bank, again tonight and declared an all-night curfew, allegedly in response to stone-throwing on Highway 5, which is used by Israelis. This was at least the second time in the past month that curfew had been declared in this village; on February 24th the army also placed a roadblock in front of Haris’s main entrance, which it did not remove for five days. Tonight was also the first time that soldiers entered the home of the international peace team based here.


Villagers returning to Haris tonight, including an International Women’s Peace Service team member, were questioned as they entered and asked to show identification. A few metres on from the entrance of the village, soldiers from two jeeps surrounded the IWPS team member with guns pointed, demanding to know where she was going, and to open her bag.


By 9:30 p.m. two military vehicles had arrived on the street and at the house where this peace team is based. Outside the house, IWPS's landlord, who holds a responsible position with the local government, was questioned as to his international tenants. One soldier insulted him by calling him a bad name, he reported.


The soldiers then entered the home of the landlord and of one of his brothers next door, bringing the brother out of the house and asking him about the stone-throwing – and what he did for a living. The landlord was also asked about the stone-throwing. He was at home alone with his young son (aged seven), and worried about his wife returning home during the curfew with their four-year-old daughter (from a visit with their eldest son in prison).


Soldiers insisted that the landlord and the IWPS team member come out of the house; the soldiers again had their guns pointed, and the team member was once again asked to show her passport. One young soldier told her it was illegal for her to be  living in Haris, as it was a "closed area," though later retracted this statement after consultation with his senior officer.


Soldiers then demanded entry into the IWPS flat, on the second floor of the house, and two soldiers searched from room to room with guns drawn. Only one team member was at home at the time. The house was not ransacked or searched for anything other than people, and the incursion was brief.


The visit marks the first time that soldiers have entered the apartment of this volunteer organization. As well, Haris has not had a roadblock in front of its main entrance for several years, nor is curfew routinely declared. Since February, military planes and helicopters have also been heard flying overhead at night. These incidents form part of an increased army presence and control over Salfit (West Bank) villages in the last two months.