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Israeli forces storm, ransack PA-run charity in Tulkarem

March 22, 2016 2:00 P.M. (Updated: March 22, 2016 9:40 P.M.)
TULKAREM (Ma’an) -- Israeli forces on Tuesday stormed and ransacked the headquarters of a charity run by the Palestinian Authority in Tulkarem district, destroying and confiscating equipment, a PA minister said.

Palestinian Minister of Endowment Sheikh Yousif Ideis said several Israeli military vehicles and an “excavator” arrived at the charity headquarters, removing its main doors and smashing windows and tables.

Ideis said Israeli soldiers “ravaged” the headquarters and confiscated all files and computers they found. The minister estimated there were at least 30,000 shekels ($7,789) in damages.

“The Israeli occupation is fighting our people at all levels, including fighting their subsistence and seeking to destroy our social fabric and our economic and national institutions.”

The charity is one of a number of official charitable committees approved by the PA Ministry of Endowment that offer financial and other forms of aid to needy families and individuals, Ideis added.

An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports on the incident.

Charitable organizations in the occupied Palestinian territory have been raided or shut down in the past by Israeli forces who say the groups’ activities are a “security threat.”

Such raids are often carried out in Area A, segments of the occupied West Bank under full Palestinian jurisdiction.

Israeli forces late last year stormed the Bethlehem headquarters of the district’s PA-run committee for charitable work, also breaking down doors and confiscating equipment.

Weeks before, forces raided al-Sadaq Medical Clinic in the center of Bethlehem, removing the clinic's main door and confiscating equipment.

A number of Palestinian radio stations have also been shut down in recent months by Israeli authorities -- most recently Filastin al-Yawm in Ramallah -- on the grounds that the media outlets were encouraging “incitement” against Israel.

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