Israeli troops loot orphanage
'Israeli soldiers forced open the main gate and outer doors and then started loading everything on trucks they brought with them," said an official at the Society's Inventory Department.
Hundreds of Israeli occupation troops stormed a Palestinian orphanage and a boarding school in the southern West Bank City of Hebron early Thursday, looting large amounts of frozen food, dairy products, clothes, shoes, refrigerators and kitchen equipments, local officials and eyewitnesses said.
The looted material were to be used to feed and cloth as many as seven thousand orphan girls and boys, many of them attending boarding schools run by the Islamic Charitable Society.
According to neighbors, the looting operation started around midnight Wednesday when soldiers stormed the al-Harayek neighborhood in Hebron where the inventory department of the Islamic Charitable Society is located.
"They (Israeli soldiers) forced open the main gate and outer doors and then started loading everything on trucks they brought with them," said Muhammed Awwad, an official at the Society's Inventory Department.
"They looted millions of dollars' worth of equipments and products, it is an organized robbery, except that it is carried out by the army of a state that claims to be civilized and democratic."
Awwad said the soldiers seized hundreds of crates of frozen meet, numerous food containers as well as a huge amount of clothes, including Pajamas, underwear, sanitary material, toilet papers, shoes, sport equipment, blankets, mattresses, and handkerchiefs.
'THEY EVEN LOOTED FEMALE CHILDREN UNDERWEAR'
"They even looted female children underwear, They robbed us clean."" Awwad said.
Ahmed Farrah, a Hebron charity official, accused the Israeli army of "treating us like the Nazis treated Jews during WWII."
'THEY BEHAVING LIKE GESTAPO AND SS'
"It is very clear that they are behaving like the Gestapo and SS."
An Israeli army spokesman said the increasingly draconian campaign against Islamic and other Palestinian charitable institutions is "part of the IDF efforts to fight Palestinian terror."
The spokesman said the army believed the Islamic Charitable Society in Hebron was linked to Hamas, which Israel views as the Zionist state's number-1 enemy.
However, Farrah strongly denies any connections with Hamas or any other Palestinian factions.
"We are a charitable society, we have nothing to do with politics. We have been functioning since 1964, before the Israeli occupation, and the Israeli army and intelligence services investigated us numerous times and they never found any evidence suggesting any illegal activities.
'THEY WANT TO WEAKEN PALESTINIAN SOCIETY'
"So the real reason is that they want to weaken the Palestinian society, they want to liquidate our social and educational infrastructures."
Farrah said he believed the real motive behind this "barbaric rampage" was related to the Israeli hatred of Islam as a religion, saying that Islam was the last-remaining obstacle obstructing a possible liquidation by Israel of the Palestinian cause.
"And the second reason is that they want to torment us and spite us off in the hope that we will surrender to their designs.
Last week, the Israeli army stormed and took over several school buildings, orphanages, businesses and other premises owned by the Islamic Charitable Society, the largest in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The confiscated property included an orphanage, two schools, a supermarket, and several multi-story apartment buildings and several school buses and thousand of other items.
The army brought in huge trucks for moving the looted materials, including computers, cabinets, chairs, kitchen appliances, and teaching aids to a nearby army base.
"They even took aluminum windows," said Mua'atsem Shawar, a charity worker.
According to the confiscation order, any Palestinian entering the sealed buildings for whatever reasons will be imprisoned for a minimum of five years and have his property confiscated or demolished.
ABBAS ISSUED A 'MILD' DENUNCIATION
The Palestinian Authority of Mahmoud Abbas issued a mild denunciation of "the Israeli aggression on our civilian institutions."
The PA (Fatah) governor of Hebron Hussein al Araj said he was "astonished and shocked by this behavior," which he said was incompatible with ongoing efforts to reach peace between the PA and Israel.
"It is an illegal and unlawful act. We will pursue this problem through legal channels."
However, some Hebronite figures have implicitly accused the PA regime of conniving with Israel against the Islamic Charities.
"They want to control these charities. And if Fatah is allowed to control them, they are finished," said Akram Nasseruddin, a local businessman.
'FATAH CAN NOT BE TRUSTED'
"Fatah can't be trusted. People here don't trust it, and wouldn't give them charity money."
The part of Hebron in which the Islamic Charitable Society is located is supposed to be under the authority of the Western-backed Ramallah regime of Chairman Mahmoud Abbas.
However, the Israeli government, especially ever since the rift between Hamas and Fatah last year, has come to view Abbas the PA as a quisling entity.
This is evident from almost daily Israeli raids and incursions inside Palestinian population centers, including the PA's own de facto capital, Ramallah.
Agencies Last Mod: 08 Mart 2008, 11:58