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I was tortured, evicted from home for my media, rights work: West Bank activist

By Syed Zafar Mehdi

There is “an announced and official war” on the besieged Gaza Strip and “an unannounced and unofficial war” on the occupied West Bank, says a Palestinian human rights activist.

Issa Amro, a prominent human rights activist based in the occupied West Bank, in an interview with the Press TV website on Monday, said the Israeli military has laid crippling siege around the territory.

He said all checkpoints have been closed in the occupied West Bank, most of the roads have also been shut, and the majority of communities are not allowed to leave their respective areas.

The Israeli regime launched an indiscriminate aerial bombardment of the besieged Gaza Strip early last month, which was followed by attacks and military raids in the occupied West Bank.

One more Palestinian man was killed by the Israeli army fire in the West Bank on Monday, taking the death toll to 154 since October 7, the Palestinian Authority-run health ministry said.

According to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, at least 2,150 Palestinians have been detained in arbitrary military raids by Israeli forces in the occupied West Bank in the past four weeks.

In the besieged Gaza Strip, the death toll has risen to over 9,500, most of them children and women.

Amro described the detention of Palestinians in the occupied West Bank as “random and arbitrary”, saying over 2,000 people have been held under the controversial “administrative detention” policy.

The West Bank-based human rights activist who has been attacked by Israeli forces on multiple occasions said Israeli settlers dressed as soldiers have been “harassing” local Palestinians and carrying out “organized violence” towards Palestinians in different villages of the occupied region.

Israeli settlers, he maintained, have been on the rampage, warning Palestinian residents, attacking them, burning their houses, and beating them up despite any provocations.

In his village, Amro said, a strict lockdown has been imposed and local inhabitants are allowed to leave their homes only on Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday “for one hour each to get food and return.”

“It is not a normal life, it’s a very very bad life, and it’s a really scary life,” he told the Press TV website, adding that he was ruthlessly beaten on October 7 “for ten hours continuously” and later evicted from his home as well.

“I returned home only yesterday (Sunday) after my lawyer intervened.”

On the relentless targeting of journalists in both the Gaza Strip and West Bank, Amro said journalists are not even allowed to film Israeli soldiers, cover their stories, or write anything on social media.

“Journalists here are afraid of their lives, about their freedom. Many journalists have been arrested in the West Bank in last month, they were beaten up and their cameras were broken.”

Amro is a prolific writer and contributes his articles to many reputed international publications.

He told the Press TV website that he is scared for his life, like other Palestinians, including journalists – “to be shot, to be arrested, to be tortured.”

“I was myself tortured (by the Israeli military) as I shot films and spoke to media on October 7. It was due to my journalism and human rights work,” he asserted.

Amro said the Israeli regime used the Hamas operation on October 7, ‘Al-Aqsa Storm’ operation', “to announce a war, to end what they started in 1948, the Nakba, ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.”

“Without a real intervention of the international community and stopping the support for Israel, it will go on killing the civilians and targeting Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza,” he remarked.

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