Overnight Israeli military raids against refugee camps in the occupied West Bank are nothing new, but they aren’t nearly so convenient for the occupation forces as they once were, as their raids are no longer a surprise. As with so many other places around the world, the Internet changes everything.
Now, some residents of the refugee camps stand guard at the entrances at all hours, keeping an eye out for Israeli incursions. They can’t stop the military, but they can warn the entire camp that a raid is ongoing on Facebook. Details about the size and direction of the raiding force gives refugees a heads up they otherwise wouldn’t have.
Such Israeli night raids are generally speaking aimed at capturing “suspects,” who they hold in military detention, often without access to courts and without charges for months on end. Information about the direction the troops are headed allows potential detainees to slip away before they arrive.
“Women get up and change so they’re dressed appropriately if Israelis come into their home, and when people are ready for the army, they know to be awake and listen for the knock on their door so they can open it before forces blow it off its hinges,” noted one of the activists.
Making the raids less onerous for the refugees is doubtless unwelcome for the Israeli military, but those running the social media accounts have so far been able to remain anonymous. If they are identified, they say, it is a given they will be detained by Israel on some unrelated charge.