Affidavit No. 4513/2008

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, ‘Abdallah Zidan Saleh Najjar, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 935795575, born on 16 October 1984, a university graduate, unemployed and a resident of Bourin village, Nablus Governorate, would like to declare the following:

On 19 November 2008 at about 3:20 pm, according to my watch, and about ten minutes after having left with three other citizens from Nablus in a hired taxi for four riders, we arrived at the stop for cars next to the Israeli Huwwara checkpoint at the southern entrance to the city of Nablus. As is well known, taxi drivers who transport passengers to their villages located beyond the checkpoint do not have permits issued by the Israeli authorities to cross the checkpoint. After searches and the examination of passengers' IDs, however, some vehicles belonging to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA), certain private vehicles and ambulances that possess access permits can cross the checkpoint. Therefore, I got out of the car with the other passengers and we walked southward for a distance of about 20 metres until the checkpoint. As this is the usual procedure, other citizens also got out of their cars and headed to the checkpoint in order to cross and reach their respective villages. I also need to cross the checkpoint in order to reach my village of Bourin, about five kilometres southwest of the checkpoint.

When we arrived at the checkpoint, dozens of citizens of various ages were waiting in the three lanes designated for men less than 40 years of age. There is also a fourth lane allocated for men above 40 years of age. In fact, soldiers positioned at the checkpoint determine lanes for various age categories. However, for women, there is no age stipulation. I stopped in the middle lane and waited. More than 30 people were in the queue in front of me. All were waiting to reach the gate, behind which four soldiers stood in the southern area. They were about eight to 12 metres away from us. As we reached the gate, the soldiers would search each person crossing the checkpoint, as well as examine their ID cards, as usual. After waiting for about half an hour, approximately 20 youths were in front me and over 50 others behind me.

The other lanes had virtually the same number of people or more. Meanwhile, two soldiers came up to us from the gate, which was about seven metres to the south. The soldiers were in military uniform and carried long weapons. They were between 25–30 years of age and of white complexion. Very quickly, I realised that one of the soldiers was an officer, due to the insignia on each of his shoulders. Immediately upon their arrival in front of our lane, the officer started to shout at us in Arabic that we should stand in a straight queue and step back several metres. He then, with his hand, pushed those at the front of the queue backwards. Moments later, the officer approached us and pushed back those of us standing in the lane with his hand and shouted at us to stand in a straight queue. When he approached me, he pushed me backwards forcefully with his hand and told me to stand in a straight queue. After this I exclaimed, "Why are you doing this?” I pointed with my right hand, saying, “look, the lane is overcrowded."

Immediately and without advance warning, the officer hit me with his right hand forcefully on my neck. Then, he grabbed my throat and the other soldier held my arm. Immediately then, they led me about nine metres into the southeast section of the checkpoint, to a concrete room that measured no more than three square metres.

The officer immediately took my ID card and kicked me forcefully on my right leg more than ten times consecutively. Also, he beat me with his hands on my chest and face several times. The other soldier also beat me forcefully with his fists and kicked me with his feet several times on my legs and chest. I was in a lot of pain and asked them, “Why are you doing this?” I tried to raise my arms to block the blows to my face and chest.

About two minutes later, two other soldiers, who I had seen through the open door, came to the room inside the checkpoint. They were in military uniform and between 20–25 years of age. Without any advance warning, they began to beat me with their fists on my chest and neck. Along with the aforementioned soldiers and the officer, they beat me on all parts of my body for about seven minutes continuously. There ere only a few seconds in which I was not beaten during this period. About five minutes into the beating, the officer turned behind me and hit me on the back with the butt of his rifle. After the beating, which as I mentioned lasted about seven minutes, the officer and soldiers left me and locked the wire door of the room.

About an hour later, the same officer returned and opened the door, carrying my ID card in his hand. "The next time you philosophise when you are at the checkpoint, I will kill you," he threatened me in Arabic. Then he gave me my ID card and allowed me to leave. After I crossed the checkpoint, I took a taxi to my village, and then to my
house. I felt severe pain in all parts of my body, especially in my back due to the blow delivered by the officer. For five days I felt immense pain in my back and could not sleep on it.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 4513/2008
  • Field researcher: Yousef Qawareiq
  • Affidavit Date: 20 November 2008
  • Name: ‘Abdallah Zidan Saleh Najjar
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