Affidavit No. 4664/2009

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, Muhammad ‘Isam Sharif Abu-al-Rub, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 851929463, born on 7 April 1989, a university student and a resident of Qabatiya, Jenin Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I come from the town of Qabatiya, which is located to the south of the city of Jenin. I live with my family, which consists of 11 members. Our two-storey house is located in the eastern neighbourhood of Qabatiya. The first floor is rented out to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) as a health clinic. I live on the second floor with my family, which consists of my father ‘Isam Sharif Abu-al-Rub, 45 years old, my mother ‘Aysha Mustafa Abu-al-Rub, 40 years old, and my siblings Ala' al-Din who is 21 years old, Milad, 17 years old, Jala', 15 years old, ‘Ala’ who is 12 years old, Farouq, 11 years old, Ahmad, seven years old, Mahmoud, six years old, and Raghd who is three years old.

An external staircase leads to our house on the second floor, which has an iron door.The house consists of four rooms and a kitchen. The room that is located after the iron door is the guest room, which has two internal doors. The northern door leads to the northern room, which is my and my brother ‘Ala’ al-Din’s room. The eastern door leads to the middle room, which is where the rest of my brothers sleep, and which also serves as a living room. My parents' room is located on the southern side of the house. The middle room also has a door that leads to the northern room, which is my brother ‘Ala’ al-Din’s room. My brother, ‘Ala’ al-Din, is wanted by the Israeli occupation army because of his activity in the al-Quds Brigades, which is part of the Islamic Jihad Movement.

Around the beginning of January 2009, the Israeli army stormed our house looking for him. An Israeli officer threatened to kill him if he did not surrender. ‘Ala’ al-Din does not spend the night at home, but instead comes home at dawn, stays for several hours and leaves. Sometimes he does not come home at all.

What happened is that at dawn, around 4:00 am on Thursday, 5 February 2009, my brother ‘Ala’ al-Din came home. He had a weapon with him. I do not know a lot about guns, but his gun was not modern. It was primitive, locally made and long. He entered the house and changed his clothes to his pyjamas. Then he had some food and sat at the computer in our room. I was awake, lying on the floor on a mattress beside my brother. The light in the room was on. Everything was normal and quiet. ‘Ala’ al-Din put his weapon under the computer table, and it seemed that he also had some locally made grenades inside something that looked like a bag, which he also put under the table.

Suddenly, at around 4:30 am on the same day, and without any prior warning, and without us feeling anything going on outside, a very strong blast exploded inside the house. Immediately after, around seven Israeli soldiers in full military uniform, which is well known to us with its dark green colour, entered carrying long, black guns. A number of them were wearing black masks, and some had night goggles on their foreheads, making them look very scary. Everything happened in a matter of seconds. The moment the soldiers entered the room, they aimed their guns at ‘Ala’ al-Din and shot several bullets at him. ‘Ala’ al-Din could barely turn towards the door to see what was going on before he had been shot. Several bullets hit his face, cheek and various parts of his body, which caused ‘Ala’ al-Din to fall over directly on top of me. I got up and sat on my knees next to ‘Ala’ al-Din.

The occupying soldiers shot ten to 15 bullets the moment they stormed the house and the room, without issuing any prior notice or warning, and then the shooting stopped completely. When ‘Ala’ al-Din was shot, he was not holding any weapons. He could not even look towards the door, because of the speed with which the house was stormed and the shooting occurred. The distance between the external door and our room is no more than four metres. Soldiers came to me and asked me in Arabic, "Who is this?", and "Who are you?" I said, "This is my brother and I am Muhammad," which proves that they fired before identifying the person for whom they had come. This was accompanied by screams from my father, mother, brothers, and sisters, who tried to enter the room through the middle room, but the soldiers threatened to kill them if they attempted to open the wooden door again. Israeli soldiers continued to enter the house until there were no less than 40 to 50 soldiers, all of whom were armed. ‘Ala’ al-Din was killed the moment he was shot, as he did not make any movement that would indicate that he was still alive.

The soldiers came to me and started beating me and asking me "Where are the weapons?" and I said "I do not know." However, they noticed the gun and the grenades mentioned earlier, under the computer table. This made them beat me brutally, using their hands and feet all over my body. Then they handcuffed and blindfolded me and sat me in the middle of the room. All of this happened amidst the screaming of my father, mother and brothers. Nevertheless, at around 5:00 am on the same day, the soldiers untied me and took me, together with the other members of my family, outside the house. At that time, I saw that the main iron door of the house had been pulled out and destroyed because the soldiers had blown it up when they stormed the house. We were taken out and as I was walking in the courtyard of the house, next to the first floor, I saw a large number of Israeli soldiers surrounding the house in all directions.

We were taken inside a house that is under construction, which is the property of my uncle, Rafiq Sharif Abu-al-Rub. It is around 40 metres to the north of our house. There, the Israeli soldiers forced us to sit under the staircase of that house, while a number of soldiers pointed their guns at us. I told my father and mother that ‘Ala’ al-Din had been martyred while he was inside our room at home. A few moments later, the soldiers ordered us to use our hands to cover our ears, because an explosion was about to occur. I realised that the soldiers were going to detonate the bombs that had been with ‘Ala’ al-Din and that the blast would occur inside the house. Indeed, a strong blast exploded, and then tens of soldiers started to gather in the large external yard in front of the house, where they began mounting the jeeps and troop carriers that had arrived.

They then departed from the location. It is worth noting that we saw one solider carrying my brother's personal weapon and leaving with it. At around 5:30 am on the same day, the forces left Qabatiya and we rushed into the house, where in the meantime, we had noticed heavy smoke coming out of the windows. We shouted for help, especially as my brother ‘Ala’ al-Din was still inside the house, which was on fire because of the blast which had occurred inside of it. A number of our neighbours arrived and we started throwing water inside the house. Some young men managed to enter and bring out the body of my brother, ‘Ala’ al-Din. They dragged him outside, placed him inside a Palestinian ambulance that had arrived on scene, and took him to the Jenin Public Hospital. I rushed to the hospital, where as you can now see, my brother is inside the morgue. We will hold his funeral in a while.

This is what happened to us. I wish to point out again that the storming and shooting of ‘Ala’ al-Din took place in a few moments and without any prior notice or warning. They hot ‘Ala’ al-Din without verifying his identity. The explosion inside the house caused the destruction of some internal walls and the burning of all the furniture and everything inside the house. I would also like to point out that it seems as though the Israeli soldiers snuck into the house on foot, so nobody noticed them before the incident. We did not even feel or hear sounds of any military vehicles surrounding the house before the incident took place, especially not the loud and distinctive sound of Israeli jeeps, the sound of which has become very familiar to us given their repetitive incursions into Qabatiya using these jeeps. It should be noted that, at the moment of the shooting, the distance between the Israeli soldiers and my brother ‘Ala’ al-Din was, at maximum, no more than five metres.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 4664/2009
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 5 February 2009
  • Name: Muhammad ‘Isam Sharif Abu-al-Rub
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