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PHOTOS: Gaza's children face an uncertain future

Israel’s latest offensive on the Gaza Strip killed more than 500 children. Those who survive must endure ongoing trauma and displacement.

Photos by Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org
Text by Anne Paq

Mohammed, age 11, stands in the remains of his home in the Al Nada Towers of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes. The towers had 90 flats, the homes of many families.

Mohammed, age 11, stands in the remains of his home in the Al Nada Towers of Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes. The towers had 90 apartments, home to many families. (photo: Activestills.org)

I visited Al Nada towers in Beit Hanoun in the northern Gaza Strip after they were destroyed by Israeli strikes. The towers had 90 apartments, home to many families. Mohammed, an 11-year-old child, was sitting on top of rubble, waiting to go to school. As I was working on a series of images of destroyed bedrooms, I asked him to bring me to his home to show me his room. We climbed together over more rubble to access the second floor of the tower. Almost nothing remained of his room. It was completely burned and the walls had been blown off. Mohammed told me what he misses the most is “everything” — but especially his computer and his books. Since that encounter, I keep asking myself: what will Mohammed’s view of the world be after his little universe was destroyed this summer? A home can be rebuilt, but what about the psychological impact on his generation?

In Gaza, where the population is very young (over 60 percent of Gazans are under the age of 25), children are everywhere — and they are also the most vulnerable in conflict. Stuck in Gaza, these children only know the occupation and many have already witnessed several Israeli military operations. The latest Israeli offensive, named Operation Protective Edge, lasted for seven weeks and killed more than 500 children. More than 3,000 were injured, and 1,500 lost at least one parent. Most are traumatized. According to the UN, 373,000 children in Gaza are in immediate need of psychological assistance.

Their feeling of insecurity has worsened as many children lost what they consider to be their safe haven: their homes....

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PHOTOS: Palestinians protest Ramallah firm's role in displacing Bedouin

Palestinians in Ramallah protest the Assia architectural firm’s collaboration with the Israeli Civil Administration in a project to forcibly relocate Bedouin in the West Bank.

Palestinian activists protest in front of the office of Assia architectural company in Ramallah, West Bank, September 21, 2014. Activists discovered major cooperation between Assia company and the Israeli Civil Administration in connection with the 'E1' project east of Jerusalem. Last week, Israel announced that government plans to forcibly relocate 12,500 Palestinian Bedouin east of Jerusalem to a new town in the Jordan Valley were drafted without consulting the tribes. According to activists, Assia has agreed to take on the project. The new town, to be named Ramat Nu’eimeh, will be built in Area C, near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and is slated to house about 12,500 people from Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and the Ma'ale Adumim area. (photo: Activestills)

Palestinian activists protest in front of the office of Assia architectural company in Ramallah, West Bank, September 21, 2014. Activists discovered major cooperation between Assia company and the Israeli Civil Administration in connection with the ‘E1′ project east of Jerusalem. (photo: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills)

Israel’s Civil Administration, the military government that rules over Palestinians in the West Bank, is pushing forward with a plan to remove thousands of Palestinian Bedouin from lands in the occupied West Bank, including an especially contentious area east of Jerusalem known as ‘E1.’ The plan calls for the forcible relocation of as many as 12,500 Bedouin to a new town in the Jordan Valley.

Activists recently discovered that the latest plan was commissioned to a Palestinian architectural firm called Assia, which is based in Ramallah. To protest the company’s collaboration with the Israeli Civil Administration, Palestinian activists held a protest outside the firm’s office Sunday.

[Op-ed] When displacing Arabs, the Green Line doesn’t exist

Haaretz reported that members of the Rashaida tribe currently live on the land that is earmarked for the new town in the Jordan Valley, and four years ago they consented in principle to its establishment, reassured by the fact that the planners were Palestinian.

The new town, to be called Talet Nueima, will be built in Area C near Jericho in the Jordan Valley, and is slated to house about 12,500 people from Bedouin communities in the Jordan Valley and the Jerusalem area.

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PHOTOS: Amid rubble and trauma, Gaza goes back to school

With displaced families still living in some schools, and despite severe damage to classrooms, Gaza’s children return to school after a summer of Israeli bombardment.

Photos by: Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org
Text by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler

The high school certificate of Adeel,Balata in the ruins of the home of her father Abdelkarim Balata, which was destroyed during an Israeli strike which killed eleven members of the family, Jabalia refugee camp, September 14, 2014. Adeel (17) whose nickname was 'Delo' was killed during the attack. She was a brillant student and wanted to be a doctor. Amid the victims were the almost entire family of Naim Balata who was killed together with his wife and 6 of his children. Only Ala Balata, 18, survived out of the family of Naim who were actually taking refugee in the home of Naim's brother, Abdelkarim. Also killed was the brother of Abdelkarim, Nasme together with his wife (Wafa) and his 1 year and an half son (Abdelkarim). During the seven-week Israeli military offensive, 2,131 Palestinians were killed, including 501 children, and an estimated 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless.

The high school certificate of Adeel Balata lies in the ruins of the home of her father Abdelkarim Balata, which was destroyed in an Israeli strike that killed 11 members of the family, Jabalia Refugee Camp, September 14, 2014. Adeel (17), whose nickname was ‘Delo,’ was killed during the attack. She was a brilliant student and wanted to be a doctor, her family says. Among the victims was almost the entire family of Naim Balata, who was killed together with his wife and six of his children. Only Ala Balata, 18, survived.

Despite damaged classrooms and destroyed schools, Gaza’s school year began this week after delays due to the recent Israeli offensive known as Operation Protective Edge. According to Gaza Education Ministry official Ziad Thabet, the first weeks of classes will focus on recreational activities and psychological counseling to help children recover from the trauma sustained during this summer’s attacks.

During the seven weeks of military strikes, 29 schools were totally destroyed and about 232 damaged. According to the UN, Israel’s attacks killed least 2,131 Palestinians, including 501 children. Rockets launched from Gaza killed six civilians in Israel, including...

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PHOTOS: Working class neighborhood takes to TA streets ahead of evictions

On the eve of the Jewish New Year, Rosh Hashana, 20 families are expected to be evicted from their homes in the Givat Amal neighborhood without just compensation. Neighborhood residents and supporters took to the streets in north Tel Aviv and blocked main roads to protest the imminent eviction.

Photos and text: Keren Manor/Activestills

Residents and supporters of the embattled north Tel Aviv neighborhood of Givat Amal gathered on Monday to demonstration against the feared impending eviction of 20 families. The families, whose homes sit on land purchased by Israeli tycoon Yitzhak Tshuva, are in danger of immediate eviction next Wednesday, without just compensation, and may find themselves on the streets on the eve of the Jewish New Year. Tshuva plans to build luxury apartment towers where the homes stand today.

At a Tel Aviv City Council meeting held on September 14, a majority voted to order the municipality to contact police and ask them to postpone evictions until after the holidays. In addition, the city council decided to follow up on mediation efforts by the municipality between residents and landowners.

About 200 residents and supporters gathered in the neighborhood’s protest tent before starting their march. MKs Dov Khenin and Ayelet Shaked who took part in the demonstration put out a joint statement, saying:

“We urge entrepreneurs and police to stop the evictions and to act in accordance with the requests of the Knesset and the municipality. Hold fair negotiations with the residents about compensation and not to throw people out of their homes.”

The protest tent in the neigborhood. (Keren Manor/Activestills)

The protest tent in the neighborhood. (Keren Manor/Activestills)

The demonstrators descended from the neighborhood toward one of Tel Aviv’s busiest intersections, blocking the road and chanting against the planned evictions. Residents of the Kfar Shalem Summayel neighborhoods, which are facing similar eviction orders, came to express their solidarity and support in the fight.

Demonstrators blocking the road in the entrance to the neigborhood. (Keren Manor/Activestills)

Demonstrators blocking the road at the entrance to the neighborhood. (Keren Manor/Activestills)

Blocking Namir road. (Keren Manor/Activestills)

Blocking Namir Road. The sign in the center reads: ‘Eviction without compensation – over my dead body’ (Keren Manor/Activestills)

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PHOTOS: Hundreds attend Ramallah funeral of young Palestinian killed by IDF

A 22-year-old Palestinian man was shot in the chest by Israeli soldiers at about 5 a.m. Wednesday after troops raided the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah.

Hundreds of people attended the funeral Wednesday of Issa al-Qatri, who was killed earlier by Israeli soldiers during a raid on the al-Amari refugee camp near Ramallah. According to Ma’an News Agency, soldiers entered the camp to arrest a wanted Hamas member when they were met with resistance from young men who threw stones and Molotov cocktails at the forces. The soldiers responded with live fire, injuring and killing al-Qatri. The 22-year-old was set to be married next week.

Palestinians carry the body of Eissa al-Qotri during his funeral at the Al-Amari refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 10, 2014. Al-Qotri was killed by the Israeli army early on September 10, 2014 during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers after the Israeli army raided the camp. (photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills)

Palestinians carry the body of Eissa al-Qotri during his funeral at the Al-Amari refugee camp near the West Bank city of Ramallah, September 10, 2014. Al-Qotri was killed by the Israeli army early on September 10, 2014 during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers after the Israeli army raided the camp. (photo: Faiz Abu Rmeleh/Activestills)

Haaretz reported that the soldiers had opened fire on the young Palestinian when they reportedly saw that he was about to throw an explosive device toward them. The army stated that the raid on the refugee camp led to the arrest of a wanted Palestinian, who was found with weapons in his possession.

During al-Qatri’s funeral procession in Ramallah shots were fired into the air and mourners expressed their outrage that 32 Palestinians had been killed in the West Bank by Israeli forces in a two-month period beginning on June 13, according to Ma’an.

Violent clashes also broke out Monday between police and Palestinians after the funeral of a 16-year-old Palestinian who died on Sunday, a week after being shot by Israeli police and sustaining a head injury during protests in the city.

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PHOTOS: Fierce clashes in East Jerusalem after police kill young Palestinian

Sixteen-year-old Mohammad Sunuqrut died Sunday, a week after being shot by police. Following his funeral procession, clashes broke out throughout East Jerusalem between Palestinian youths and Israeli police.

Hundreds of Palestinians took part in the funeral Monday evening of Mohammad Sunuqrut, who died on Sunday, a week after being shot by Israeli police during a protest in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi Joz.

Sunuqrut, 16, was allegedly shot with a new type of sponge-tipped bullet, which caused his injury and him to collapse. Police admit to shooting at him but claim that his death was caused when he fell and hit his head. According to the family, however, he was shot directly in the head at close range, which caused his injury and subsequent death. The results of an autopsy conducted Monday have not yet been released.

Hundreds of people escorted Sunuqrut’s body in a funeral procession Monday evening in Wadi Joz. Following the funeral, which passed through the Al Aqsa compound, riots and heavy clashes broke out throughout East Jerusalem between Palestinian youths and Israeli police.

Muhammad Sunuqrut's body is prepared for the funeral procession, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Sunuqrut’s body is prepared for the funeral procession, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Women gather at the Sunuqrut family home in Wadi Joz, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Women gather at the Sunuqrut family home in Wadi Joz, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Sunuqrut’s funeral procession passes through the Al Aqsa compound, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Muhammad Sunuqrut’s funeral procession passes through the Al Aqsa compound, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Rioting and clashes in Wadi Joz following the funeral of Muhammad Sunuqrut, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Rioting and clashes in Wadi Joz following the funeral of Muhammad Sunuqrut, East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A policeman is seen following clashes on Salah a-Din Rd. in East Jerusalem, September 8, 2014. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

A policeman is seen following clashes on...

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PHOTOS: Living in the ruins of a shattered Gaza neighborhood

Palestinians struggle to survive among the rubble of their neighborhood, Shujaiyeh, which was leveled by Israeli shelling during last month’s offensive.

Photos by: Anne Paq and Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org
Text by: Anne Paq

A Palestinian child stands in a destroyed house in the Shujayea neighborhood, which was heavily attacked during the latest Israeli offensive, east of Gaza City, September 4, 2014. During the seven-week Israeli military offensive, 2,101 Palestinians were killed, including 495 children, and an estimated 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. (Activestills.org)

A Palestinian child stands in a destroyed house in the Shujayea neighborhood, which was heavily attacked during the latest Israeli offensive, east of Gaza City, September 4, 2014. During the seven-week Israeli military offensive, 2,101 Palestinians were killed, including 495 children, and an estimated 18,000 housing units have been either destroyed or severely damaged, leaving more than 108,000 people homeless. (Activestills.org)

A group of Palestinian men sit in one of the completely destroyed streets in Shujaiyeh, a neighborhood of east of Gaza City. In front of them, a huge area has been reduced to rubble. Water is flowing into the street as one of the pipes has been damaged. Some tried to dig to fix the pipes but did not manage. Palestinians are very ill-equipped to even clean the rubble, as the level of devastation is overwhelming.

Most of them come to their homes during the day, but go to sleep in another area at night. Most of their homes were destroyed. They still struggle to come to grips with what happened. Their once-lively neighborhood was turned into a ghost town, especially at night when complete darkness covers the streets since the electricity infrastructure was destroyed.

When asked about hopes that their homes might be rebuilt soon, one Palestinian man, Maher, shrugs his shoulders and says, “It all depends on politics.” Like many of his neighbors, Maher lost his home. Built floor by floor starting 30 years ago, the 15 other members of his family who lived there are also now homeless.

“All my money went into this house,” he says. Now Maher has to borrow money in order to rent a place for his family. Rent in Gaza has become much more expensive because so many displaced Palestinians are looking for shelter, increasing the...

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PHOTOS: Israeli forces damage youth centers in Nablus raid

A youth sports club and center for children with disabilities in Nablus sustain serious damage after Israeli forces raid a multi-story building in search of wanted Palestinians.

Text and photos by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

A Palestinian examines damage to a youth sport club which was raided by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus, September 03, 2014. Israeli forces arrested 26-year-old m Al-Din Abu Riyala, who was injured by live bullets, while others managed to escape. (Activestills.org)

A Palestinian examines damage to a youth sport club which was raided by Israeli forces in the West Bank city of Nablus, September 3, 2014. Israeli forces arrested 26-year-old Husam Al-Din Abu Riyala, who was injured by live bullets, while others managed to escape. (Activestills.org)

As happens almost every night in Palestinian cities, towns and villages throughout the West Bank, Israeli forces raided Nablus neighborhoods at 1:30 a.m. on Wednesday. Military jeeps spread out to different areas of the city, especially to refugee camps.

The biggest military operation took place in the southern part of the city, where Israeli forces targeted six Palestinians who were sleeping in a local youth sports club. Their main target was Husam Al-Din Abu Riyala, 26, a Fatah activist who had been issued a summons order last month. Soldiers surrounded the building of the sport club, which was located on the third floor of an apartment building, while another group of soldiers occupied the roof of a neighboring house.

Locals reported that the military fired a heavy barrage of live ammunition toward the club while another group of soldiers used explosives to blow open the main door and enter the building.

Five youths managed to escape from windows, while Abu Riyala was shot in the foot with live bullets before being arrested, according to Ma’an News.

Following the arrest, the military operation ended with a raid on a health center for handicapped children and nursery school located in the same building. At 3:30 a.m., one of the workers from the health center managed to enter the building, discovering that doors had been bombed and other extensive damage.

In a nearby incident, Israeli forces raided al-Ain Refugee Camp in Nablus in an attempt to arrest 77-year-old Palestinian Legislative Council member Ahmad Haj Ali of Hamas. Haj Ali was not in his house when the army arrived. Soldiers have...

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A week in photos: Beyond ceasefire

Palestinians in Gaza celebrate after Israel and Hamas declare a long-term ceasefire to end 51 days of fighting that left at least 2,104 Palestinians and 68 Israelis dead, as well as one Thai national working in Israel. While both Hamas and Israel have declared victory, those most affected by the war are left homeless and mourning.

Israeli activists protest in centre Tel Aviv against the Israeli attack on Gaza, calling to end the violence, August 23, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Israeli activists protest in central Tel Aviv against the Israeli attack on Gaza, calling to end the violence, August 23, 2014. (Activestills.org)

Palestinians flash victory signs as hundreds Gazans gather in he streets to celebrate the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on August 26, 2014 in Gaza City.A Palestinian youth holds a sign calling to boycott Israeli goods during the weekly protest against the Israeli occupation in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, August 22, 2014.(Activestills.org)

Palestinians flash victory signs as hundreds of Gazans gather in the streets to celebrate the ceasefire between Israel and Hamas on August 26, 2014 in Gaza City. (Activestills.org)

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PHOTOS: Losing your home twice in one war

Photos and text: Basel Yazouri / Activestills

Sixty-year-old Ibrahim Abu Odeh, otherwise known as Abu Alaa, lives in Beit Hanoun, Gaza. He was forced to flee his house with his family and the rest of the residents of Beit Hanoun, who ran in search of “anywhere close, safe, and provides shelter” when the Israelis began striking it. Abu Alaa lives in a three-story building with six apartments. Each one is occupied by one of his five married sons and their families. That makes 33 people in total, 21 of them children.

“We were all gathered on the ground floor,” he says, “to escape the top floors that are more vulnerable to shelling. We were in the last days of Ramadan, we heard heavy explosions all over town and the surrounding areas. The next morning, the shelling got stronger, we heard the neighbors shouting and we saw houses around us hit directly by missiles, which forced everyone to flee in search of safer places, leaving behind everything we own.” Abu Alaa and his family took refuge in a secondary school for boys in the Jabalya refugee camp, where he said living conditions were unbearable.

After two weeks there, when the first humanitarian ceasefire came into effect, some of Beit Hanoun’s residents, including Abu Alaa and his son Alewa, were able to return to the neighborhood. “We found a horrific sight,” he says. “Houses were destroyed on top of each other and you couldn’t tell them apart. At first I thought that our house was ruined, but as we moved forward we saw four houses that partially survived. One of them was ours.” The house was severely damaged from continuous shelling for days. Last week, Abu Alaa and some of his family members returned to the house again, “because living in the school is no life.”

This story was originally published on August 17, 2014 on the Heber website. Since its publication, the family has had to flee once again due to the renewal of Israeli airstrikes on the Gaza Strip.

Abu Alaa makes a fire to prepare tea for the family because there is no gas in the house after the shelling of Beit Hanoun. August 11, 2014. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Abu Alaa makes a fire to prepare tea for the family. There has been no gas in the house after the...

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Photos of the week: Ceasefire begins and ends

This week: Palestinian and Israeli protests across the political, ethnic and religious spectrum; homes and property damaged and destroyed in Gaza, the West Bank and Israel; aid for those suffering; and a wedding under protest.

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, Nablus, West Bank, August 15, 2014. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Hundreds of Palestinians demonstrate in solidarity with the Gaza Strip, Nablus, West Bank, August 15, 2014. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians check the damages caused to the house of wanted Palestinian Zakaria al-Aqra, 24, who was killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014. Six people from his family were wounded and parts of his house was destroyed during the 8-hour operation. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by Israeli army. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Palestinians check the damage caused to the house of wanted Palestinian Zakaria al-Aqra, 24, who was killed by Israeli forces in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Nablus, August 11, 2014. Six people from his family were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the 8-hour operation. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by the Israeli army. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

Ibrahim Abu Odeh (Abu Alaa), 60 years old, stands at his window in the early morning examining what left of his neighborhood. Next to him is one of the rooms of his house, completely destroyed. Beit Hanoun, Gaza Strip, August 12, 2014. Abu Alaa lives in a three-story building that has six apartments, occupied by his five married sons and their families, 33 people in total, 21 of them children. He was forced to flee his house with his family, along with the residents of Beit Hanoun due to the Israeli attack. They took shelter in the Jabalya secondary school for boys, in Jabalya refugee camp, but returned to their bombed home because of harsh condition in the school. Since then they are living in their destroyed house without electricity and gas. (Basel Yazouri/Activestills.org)

Ibrahim Abu Odeh (Abu Alaa), 60 years old, stands at his window in the early morning, examining what’s left of his neighborhood. Next to him is one...

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PHOTOS: Tear gas not the only thing connecting Ferguson and Palestine

The tear gas used by the police in Ferguson, Missouri and the Israeli military in the West Bank is only one of several factors that connects the violence against unarmed youth in both communities.

Text and photos by: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org

A child holds a spent tear gas cartridge labeled "Made in U.S.A." as Bethlehem-area activists displayed U.S.-made crowd control weapons in Manger Square, West Bank, December 2, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A child holds a spent tear gas cartridge labeled “Made in U.S.A.” as Bethlehem-area activists displayed U.S.-made crowd control weapons in Manger Square, West Bank, December 2, 2013. (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

The New York Times’ Robert Mackey recently tweeted a photo of the tear gas cartridges found on the streets of Ferguson, Missouri, where police have been using the weapon against demonstrators angry at the shooting death of an unarmed black teenager. Both the cartridge and the tactics looked very familiar, and for good reason.

A different tweet noted that the same brand of tear gas was used in Egypt’s Tahrir Square. As reported here last December, those shining shell casings, as well as the rubber-ball variety and spent stun grenades made by the same company, had decorated a tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square at Christmastime as activists gathered those used by the Israeli military less than two kilometers away in Aida Refugee Camp and displayed them for holiday tourists.

A sign hung by activists on a tree in Bethlehem's Manger Square among used tear gas and concussion grenades reads, "This is the USAid to the Palestinians." (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

A sign hung by activists on a tree in Bethlehem’s Manger Square among used tear gas and stun grenades reads, “This is the USAid to the Palestinians.” (photo: Ryan Rodrick Beiler/Activestills.org)

As I wrote at the time:

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PHOTOS: Israeli forces kill Palestinian and bulldoze his family house

In an overnight raid in the West Bank village of Qabalan, Israeli forces kill 24-year-old Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra and injure six others. They then bulldoze part of his family’s house.

Photos and text by: Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org

Israeli soldiers search the area during an army operation in which soldiers killed Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, at his family home in the West Bank village of Qabalan, near Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel. Six other people from his family were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the operation which lasted eight hours. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by Israeli army.

Israeli soldiers search the area during an army operation in which soldiers killed Palestinian Zakaria Al-Aqra, 24, at his family home in the West Bank village of Qabalan, near Nablus, August 11, 2014. Al-Aqra was wanted by Israel. Six other people from his family were wounded and parts of his house were destroyed during the operation which lasted eight hours. Qabalan village has been raided several times in the last two weeks by Israeli army. (photo: Activestills.org)

At about midnight on August 11, the Israeli army raided the West Bank village of Qabalan near Nablus. As clashes erupted with the local residents, the military focused its operation in the eastern part of the village on a hill called Al Qantara. Locals reported that they heard fierce exchanges of gunfire at about 2:00 a.m. as the army surrounded two houses of the Al-Aqra family. They said Israeli forces used live bullets and rifle-fired grenades. The army also bombed the entrance of one house.

I arrived at 5:30 a.m. The area was quiet. The clashes had stopped. The army was everywhere in the village. About 15 jeeps were still surrounding the Al-Aqra family house from every side. Two bulldozers were in the area. I could see a whole family detained in one room. The army prevented anyone from entering the area of the operation – even medical staff and journalists. I went to the roof of a nearby house for a better view. I saw a small bulldozer trying to clear a path for a bigger D9 Caterpillar. The smaller bulldozer destroyed electricity towers and platforms. Then, the D9 started to destroy parts of the house, allowing soldiers to enter.

At about...

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