Affidavit No. 4997/2009

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, „Abd-al-Baset Muhammad „Abd-al-Rahman Ahmad, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 761896954, born on 24 February 1968, a worker and a resident of „Asira al-Qibliyya village, Nablus governorate, would like to declare the following:

At around 4:45 pm on 23 July 2009, I was present on the roof of my one-storey house. My home, located east of my village of „Asira al-Qibliyya, is at a distance of 150 metres west of the last settler houses in the settlement of Yitzhar. During this time, I saw three Israeli police vehicles and a military patrol travelling westward; that is, towards my house, the houses of my brothers „Abd-al-Rahman (about 32-years-old) and Abd-al-Fattah (about 60-years-old), and the house of Mr. Ibrahim (about 48 years old). Approximately 15 settlers were walking behind these vehicles. They were dressed in white, black and blue civil uniforms. Some settlers were carrying long weapons. The settlers stopped at a distance of about 100 metres away from our houses. However, the patrols continued travelling along the detour road and stopped at a distance of about 70 metres east of our houses.
I went down and informed my family of the incident. My family is comprised of my wife Maysa‟ (about 35-years-old) and my children Rafiq (about 17-years-old), Anis (about 16-years-old), Bisan (about 12-years-old), and Hadil (about three-months-old). My sister-in-law Fawziyya – „Abd-al-Fattah‟s wife (about 63-years-old) -- was also present at my home.

I stayed inside the house for about 20 minutes, and informed my wife and many of those who were present at home about what was going on outside. I then climbed back on to the roof. Two minutes after I arrived, I saw the same patrols moving and stopping in front of my neighbour Ibrahim‟s house, which is eight metres south of my house. I also saw my neighbour Ibrahim leave his house and approach them. Immediately then, I went down and exited my house. Ibrahim had reached the military patrol. After I arrived there, I heard Ibrahim ask an officer, who stood beside the patrol, why they were present in the area. I refer to the officer as such because I saw several insignias on his shoulders. He was in the regular military uniform, carried a long weapon, and was about 30-years-old. However, he refused to answer and told Ibrahim to get into his house.

Ibrahim and I then approached a policeman, who stood near a police car. We realised that he was an officer, as we saw a number of insignias on his shoulders. We asked him in Hebrew, which we speak fluently, about the reason the police, army and settlers were present in the area. I estimate that the police officer was about 30-years-old.

“We have no problem with you. Our problem is with them, the settlers. They will withdraw in five minutes.” The police officer replied and told us to get back into our houses.

I went up to the roof of my house and Mr. Ibrahim went back to his house. On the roof, I called the Palestinian Liaison office in Nablus and reported the incident. Five or six minutes later, I saw the patrols leave, but the settlers remained positioned in the area. About three minutes later, I saw settlers approach our houses, carrying stones in their hands. They stopped at a distance of about 40 metres east of our houses. I estimated that these settlers were between 15 and 25 years of age. In the meantime, dozens of the village youths arrived and dispersed themselves around our houses. We were afraid that settlers would attack our houses. About ten minutes later, a Palestinian ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) arrived and stopped west of my house. Someone might have called the PRCS and reported that settlers had been present in the area.

After about five minutes, or perhaps less than that, I saw the first Israeli patrol return to the area. Immediately, as it arrived, four soldiers, including the aforesaid officer, disembarked from the patrol and took position between the village youths and settlers. Then, a number of settlers threw stones at the Israeli soldiers. Others threw stones at the village youths and houses. At that time, soldiers shouted at the village youths to leave the area and go to their homes, and not to confront settlers. In light of settlers‟ violent actions, however, the youths remained positioned in the area and threw stones at the settlers.

About 15 minutes later, three or four Israeli patrols arrived from inside the village. We knew that these patrols belonged to the Israeli Border Guard (the Druze soldiers). More than 15 soldiers stepped down from the patrols and started to shout at the village youths to return to their houses. Other soldiers also fired tear gas and sound grenades at the village youths and at our houses. I continued to watch as the settlers threw stones at our houses, the village youths threw stones at the settlers and the army, especially the Druze soldiers, fired sound and tear gas grenades.

Ten minutes later, I saw a tear gas grenade enter my house from the western staircase window. I immediately went down to see what had happened. My family members were screaming as a result of the gas smell. They felt suffocated and were shouting for help. My wife carried Hadil in her arms, but was dizzy and disorentated My sister-in-law sat in her chair, but could not breathe. I immediately carried my infant daughter Hadil, who was stiff and unconscious. I took her outside and shouted for help. As I went out, a solider watched me, but did not offer any help. A PRCS medic saw me and took Hadil away from the house and gave her first aid. Had the medic not intervened, Hadil could have lost her life. Another medic and several other persons entered my house and brought out my family members. Taking them to a remote place, the medics provided first aid to my family. If the medics had not done so, my sister-in-law could have died. She had already suffered several brain strokes.

Meanwhile, the soldiers continued to fire tear gas and sound grenades. Half an hour later, my brother „Abd-al-Rahman and his family of ten members, including women and children, were shouting for help. Myself and many other village residents ran towards „Abd-al-Rahman‟s house. There, I saw my mother, Thaqila (about 75-years-old) unconscious. A few other persons and I carried her outside of the house. Other people brought the rest of my brother‟s family outside the house. A medic offered first aid to my mother and my brother‟s family. They were all suffering from shortness of breath.

In addition, gas grenades were fired on Mr. Ibrahim‟s house. About 15 minutes after the Druze soldiers had started to fire tear gas grenades, I saw Mr. Ibrahim‟s family leave their houses and shout for help. Several residents offered to help Mr. Ibrahim‟s family. Had they not intervened, someone could have suffocated and died.

I do not exaggerate when I say that approximately 70 tear gas and sound grenades were fired within one hour towards our houses and at the village youths who were present in the area. Meanwhile, settlers continued to throw stones at our houses. The soldiers never prevented them from doing so over the time mentioned. As was evident, the soldiers were aiming to prevent any young persons from the village from being present in the area. An hour later, the soldiers had managed to prevent the village youths from staying near our houses. Even we ourselves – the house owners – had to escape and leave our houses due to the intense smell of the tear gas.

Finally, 65 minutes after it had all begun, the settlers left the area and returned to the settlement. Following this, all of the Israeli troops also left for the settlement. Later, I returned to my house. I did not see any damage caused to the house. However, I found ten tear gas and sound shells on the house roof and on the staircase. I also learned that other houses had not been damaged either.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4997/2009
  • Field researcher: Yousef Qawareiq
  • Affidavit Date: 27 July 2009
  • Name: „Abd-al-Baset Muhammad „Abd-al-Rahman Ahmad
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