HEBRON (Ma'an) -- Israeli forces raided Hebron city in the southern occupied West Bank before dawn Monday, shutting down and sealing off two bookstores after confiscating materials.
Locals told Ma'an that the Muhammad bookstore near Hebron University and the Hussam bookstore near the Palestine Polytechnic University in the city were targeted by the Israeli military raid, with soldiers posting notices on their doors claiming the bookstores were ordered to close down for being "involved in incitement."
An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma'an that the stores were closed for having "cooperated with local student cells of the Hamas terror organization, by providing a series of services to the cells, including printing incitement material." Separately, the spokesperson informed Ma'an that two Palestinians were detained in predawn raids elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, both of which were in the northern Jenin district.
Israeli raids in Palestinian towns, villages, and refugee camps are a daily occurrence in the occupied West Bank, and in recent months, a number of bookstores, print shops, and media institutions have been shut down by the Israeli army, over allegations that the businesses were inciting violence against Israel.
At the beginning of April, Israeli forces shut down a bookstore in Nablus
, which an Israeli army spokesperson claiming it was had been used by a “Hamas terror cell” for weapons manufacturing and “producing inciting materials.”
The raids have come amid a wider crackdown by Israeli authorities on Palestinian freedom of expression, through censoring social media activity and jailing journalists
, and novelists
Israeli authorities have claimed that a wave of violence that peaked in the fall of 2015 was caused largely by “incitement” among Palestinians through social media.
Palestinians have instead pointed chiefly to the frustration and despair brought on by Israel's nearly 50-year military occupation of the Palestinian territory and the absence of a political horizon as reasons for the outbreak of violence. Many Palestinians have also pointed out that Israeli violence has continued to shape everyday life in the occupied territory, regardless of any recent “upticks” in clashes or attacks.