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Affidavit No. 4084/2008

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, ‘Abd-al-Karim ‘Abd-al-Hakim Farrah, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 980304638, born on 12 March 1973, lawyer and legal advisor of the Islamic Charitable Association, and a resident of Hebron, Hebron Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I work as the lawyer and legal advisor of the Islamic Charitable Association, which is located, and has its activities, in Hebron city; I started my work with the Association ten years ago. The Association was established in 1962, during the Jordanian governance, nand it has a Jordanian license. This license stayed in effect after the occupation in 1967, and in accordance with association law number 1-2000, we regulated the situation of the Association with the Palestinian law, from the Ministry of Interior (Palestinian Authority).

The Association was established with the efforts of a group of Hebron citizens, led by the late ‘Isa ‘Abd-al-Nabi al-Natsha, and the set objectives of the Association were to care for the orphans in the Hebron Governorate, as well as orphans from other Palestinian cities, and other children who live in situations of social hardship. Full board is provided for some of the orphans at the Association’s various buildings, while there are also some who come to the Association on a daily basis. Today, the Association is run by an administrative assembly of 11 persons, nine of whom are elected by the general assembly in accordance with the law, and it now carries out its activities within the scope of Palestinian law. The Association receives financial aid from donors and benefactors and from different organizations around the world. It also receives internal financial aid (from within the occupied territory). The Association has several projects, and there is an accountant for the Association who follows up all financial issues with a high level of transparency, and who works with the Association’s financial section, which is composed of 4 employees. As well, there is an authorized auditor (Sameh Naser-al-Din of the Naser-al-Din institution). All procedural financial matters are very well considered in accordance with Palestinian law, and the budgets are annually presented to the specialized Palestinian ministries. There is no record of any problems. Everybody acknowledges the transparency of the Charitable Association concerning its financial matters, in particular, and as a result the Association has won the respect of all official and semi-official institutions, as well as the public, both inside the occupied territory and outside it.

The main branch of the Association is located in Hebron city, and it administers the work of all the Association’s branches in the governorate, including the boys’ secondary Shari’a school, which was established in 1968, and where 615 students get their education. The students are distributed among 16 classes, between the seventh and 12th grades. A large number of the students are orphans. The total area of the school grounds (the building + classrooms + the administration area + the playground) is four dunums. This location includes the main administration building of the Association in Hebron city (the first al-Hawouz area). There is also the primary al-Rahma boys’ school, which was established in 2000. It has 500 students, is built on approximately four dunums of land (the buildings + the playground + the courtyards) and is located at the al-Sabta square “Qaren al-Thor” in the middle of Hebron city. The students are in classes from first to sixth grade. The majority of the students are orphans (50% are orphans, 20% are cases of social hardship, and the rest are ordinary students).

There is also the Shari’a school for girls, which was established in 1983, on al-Salam street in Hebron. It includes a boarding house for orphan girls, and is built on approximately 3 dunums of land (the buildings + the playground + the courtyards). The total number of students is 700, the majority of whom are orphans (500 are orphans and students in need and the rest are cases of social hardship). The school teaches the curriculum that has been adopted by the Palestinian Ministry of Education and is subject to the relevant ministries’ regulations. The Association has a number of sections and departments that implement the administrative assembly’s policies and plans, including the public relations department, whose work primarily involves developing and maintaining contacts with organizations inside and outside the country in order to build the Association’s projects and to cover expenses, and to follow up all related internal and external matters.

The Association owns al-Anwar al-Ibrahimiya library for children, which is considered a public library for children in Hebron city. It has approximately 18,500 books, and covers the needs of the children aged five to 18 years old. The library was established in 1999, and is located on the third floor of the al-Huda Market building, which has four floors. The ground floor has commercial shops (12 in total, most of which are rented to others), the first floor has offices that are rented to members of the private sector (medical clinics, etc.), the second floor includes the orphan care and social relief sections, which belong to the Association, and the third floor holds the library. Each floor has a surface area of 700 square metres. This building is located in the area of King Feisal street, near the Ministry of Education, and was built in 1998. It should be noted that a part of this building, almost 30% of it, is owned by a private citizen (Wahid Hijazi ‘Arafa).

Among the Association’s other properties is the Numra building, which is composed of ten residential floors, with a first floor of commercial shops, located in the area of Habayel al-Riyah in Numra in Hebron city. Most of the building - the apartments and the shops – is rented to citizens. There are approximately thirty apartments. It was built in 1997, and the surface of the built area is 700 square metres for each floor. There is also approximately 700 square metres near the building where a mosque was built and where there are garages, and all this is the property of the Association.

The Association also owns boarding houses for male students at the Association’s schools in the area of Dweirban-Hebron, where 150 orphans are residing. These are built on four and a half dunums of land, and there are three buildings, each with a surface area of 350 square metres and four floors. Work on them started in 2002, so they are new buildings, where students currently reside. The buildings are divided into apartments, which was to get the orphans out of the school’s atmosphere in order to feel a different life, so they can go to homes that are different than the school.

The Association also owns a cow farm, located on the land of Halhoul, the al-Rama suburb, near al-Mizan hotel, Hebron, and established in 1990. It is a farm for milk products, with 150 cows. As well, the Association owns al-Huda school for girls (al-Harayeq school) in al-Harayeq area, Hebron city. It is ready for use but it is not open yet (according to the plans, it may serve as a school if needed). Near the school building there is a commercial mall, and the main storage area for the Association. The total surface area of the property is 18 dunums. In terms of the buildings, the school’s surface area is 950 square metres, with four floors and an accessible roof, and a playground of four dunums. The commercial mall has a surface area of 1150 square metres, with two floors. This includes the storage areas.

Of course, the Association owns a number of buses in order to service its schools. There are five buses, four of which are for twenty passengers. There is a Mercedes 1996 model, and a Mercedes 2000 model bus for 55 passengers, in addition to a Volkswagen 2001 model for the administration, and a Peugeot 1998 model. The buses transport the students from the boarding houses in the morning to the schools and get them back after school to these houses (the distance between the houses and the schools is four kilometres). These buses work daily. The total number of the employees at the Association’s sections is 400 (administration, teachers, observers, workers, guards, cooks, drivers). The total value of the aforementioned properties is millions of USD. The beneficiaries of the Association’s work are over 5,000 students, each of whom comes from a family. The Association offers each student a food package for his family on a weekly basis, and on different occasions and feasts, and the value of each package equals 250 shekels. On different occasions there is a feast gift of about 15 Jordanian Dinars offered to each student. As well, each orphan that is not a resident of the school’s houses receives pocket money and transportation when he leaves to his home at the end of the week (those living inside the city receive 40 shekels, while 80 shekels is given to those living outside the city, both on a weekly basis). Of course, all the expenses of the Association are for charitable purposes, and it has no connection with any political fraction. Nevertheless, it has been subject to incursions by the Israeli occupation forces during the past years, starting in the nineties.

Each time a number of computers were confiscated, as well as photocopiers and administrative files, and several locations belonging to the Association were closed, the most important one being the administrative offices of the Association in Hebron. The last of these incursions was on the night of 26 Februray 2008, when a force of the Israeli army attacked a number of the Association’s locations (the seven mentioned above). They handed the guards at these locations military orders ordering the seizure and closure of those places, and the confiscation of their contents. Among the places with the commercial shops that I mentioned – at the al-Huda market, and the Numra building – the owners of the rented shops were given a notification period to evacuate their shops since these shops were confiscated according to the military orders. It was noted in the military orders that the Association had a period of 14 days for appealing, from the date of the military orders, which were issued on 24 February 2008, and signed by the military commander of the Israeli “Defense” Army in “Judea and Samaria”. It was also noted that this procedure was the result of data that the military commander had and which showed that these properties belonged to an illegal organization. We at the Association started to organize accordingly, and to collect information and contact specialized lawyers in order to take legal action, including appeals before the judicial advisor for the area of Judea and Samaria. Annexed to this affidavit is a copy of the seven military orders, “orders of closure and confiscation. It should be noted that not one member of the Association staff was arrested that night.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4084/2008
  • Field researcher: Ziad Hmeidan
  • Affidavit Date: 1 March 2008
  • Name: ‘Abd-al-Karim ‘Abd-al-Hakim Farrah
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