Wednesday, September 20, 2006
One of the money-exchanges broken into by the IOF
By Khalid Amayreh
"like gangsters, armed robbers and common criminals, Israeli occupation troops last night stormed, vandalized and partially destroyed several banks and financial institutions in several Palestinian towns, stealing millions of dollars, victims and Palestinian security sources said.
The sources said Israeli soldiers, using explosives, blasted the outer doors of many money-changer offices before smashing computers and furniture and stealing large amounts of cash.
In Nablus , soldiers stormed the Ahli Bank, causing widespread havoc. Moreover, six money-changer premises were raided shortly after midnight after their metal doors were blasted using explosives.
“This is not the behavior of a state, this is the behavior of gangsters and common criminals. Even the mafia doesn’t behave this way.”
“They took me from home and forced me to open the door and took everything I have: Money, checks, dollars, shekels. They didn’t leave me anything except for the rubble.”
Similar raids reportedly took place in Jenin, Tulkarm, and Ramallah where financial institutions were broken into and large amounts of cash were stolen by soldiers.
Israeli army spokespersons refused to answer questions on why the raids were ordered. However, the Israeli media quoted an army officer as saying that the targeted institutions may have been involved in bringing money from outside Palestine in violation of a hermetic Israeli financial blockade on the Palestinian Authority.
Israel which is withholding hundreds of millions of dollars of Palestinian customs money is refusing to allow Palestinian banks to bring Arab and Islamic aid money into the occupied territories.
Israel is also barring Palestinians from accessing food and work, pushing numerous families, especially in the Gaza Strip, to the brink of starvation.
Palestinians are generally denied serious legal protection in Israel since the Jewish state uses defunct draconian emergency laws dating back to the British mandate era. According to these law, a military officer can order the confiscation of property, including homes and land, without any court warrant."