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Affidavit No. 4455/2008

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, Tha’er Ibrahim Jabr 'Awawda, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 948811021, born on 8 January 1939, a farmer and a resident of Deir Diwan village, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a farmer and own a herd of sheep. For over 40 years, I have been living the life of a Bedouin. I own a piece of land in my village of Deir Diwan, where I live with my children and my herd of sheep. From my herd of sheep, I earn a living by selling cheese, yogurt, lamb meat, and other such products. In the year 1984, myself, my family, and my sheep lived in an area called "Maghayer al-Deir" in the locality of Arab al-Mleihat, meaning that my land was included within the village of Deir Diwan. I own that land and it is registered in my name at the Land Registration Department.

Overtime, the number of my family members increased, reaching 12 in the year 2008. About five other families, comprising around 60 persons in all, also live near me. Of these, approximately 40 persons are under 18 years of age. On Wednesday, 29 October 2008, Israeli forces, including border guards, police officers, and a number of special forces troops, surrounded the area where we live, bringing a bulldozer with them. Immediately, I approached one of the soldiers, whom I believed to be the officer. He was Druze and spoke Arabic fluently. I asked him, "Why do you want to demolish my tents and the sheep enclosures? I own this land." I got out the land registration certificate to prove my ownership of the land. However, the officer tore apart the certificate and said, "This is not your land." Immediately then, the bulldozers started to demolish our tents, in which we slept, and also demolished the sheep enclosures. The bulldozer destroyed everything in its path to the extent that it also damaged about ten tons of barley, a ton of which costs me 1,200 Israeli shekels. The general scene was one of terror and fright, which was evident from the eyes of the children and women. When I asked the Druze officer why he had not given me any advanced notification, he replied, “I did notify you a while ago.” So I looked him in his face and shouted, “You did not notify me. No one notified me.”

When the demolition was over, all contents of the tents were destroyed, including pieces of furniture and kitchen tools. In order to destroy everything and to make me suffer even more, the bulldozer driver mixed the demolished tents and enclosures with soil. He then dug a pile of soil and dumped it on the demolished structures and mixed them together again. This method of demolition means all of the contents of the tents were completely destroyed. After the occupying troops left the area, I looked at our home where we used to live, reduced to a heap of destruction and soil.

As a result, I took my family to a cave and we have been living this cave since, until I can manage to find another place of residence.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4455/2008
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 30 October 2008
  • Name: Tha’er Ibrahim Jabr 'Awawda
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