Affidavit No. 5093/2009

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, Ashraf Bassam Muhammad Abu-Suleiman, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 804643617, born on 27 November 1993, a student, and a resident of the Jabalya Camp, Northern Gaza Governorate, would like to declare the following:

My name is Ashraf Bassam Muhammad Abu-Suleiman. I am 15 years old and a student in grade 11 at the Mu‟awiya Bin-Abi-Sufian Boys School in the area of al-„Atatra in the town of Beit Lahiya. I live with my family near the al-Fakhoura School in the Jabalya Camp in the northern Gaza Strip.

At around 9:00 am on Sunday, 4 October 2009, I went to the area of al-Waha on the beach west of the town of Beit Lahiya to visit my friend Husam Abu-Halima. When I reached the beach, I decided to take off my clothes and swim. After I took off my shoes, I was surprised by fire opened at sea. I saw several Israeli boats heading towards the beach from the direction of Israel‟s northern marine border with the Gaza Strip. At this time, the Israeli boats opened intensive fire on Palestinian fishing boats sailing from the Gaza Fishing Port in Al Waha, where fishing is allowed, and which is approximately two kilometres away from the Israeli border. Usually, fishing boats are present in this area because it is abundant with fish. As I was frightened, I put on my shoes and decided to leave the area. After I walked for a short distance towards the east, I saw the Israeli boats open fire on the beach. In fear that I would sustain a bullet wound, I hurried northwards and reached an area that was almost one kilometre away from the Separation Fence at “the northern border”. There, I saw two Israeli tanks and one military jeep positioned at the gate of the northern border.

“Stop... Stop...” I heard the sound of a voice from a loudspeaker calling from the border area.
At that moment, Israeli troops began to open fire on me from the two tanks and military jeep. After I turned back, I felt that something had hit my neck. I felt dizzy and fell on the ground. Having checked myself, I saw that I was bleeding heavily from my neck and located two holes from which blood was flowing. I also felt that my feet and body were heavy. At that moment, I saw police dogs advancing towards me at great speed from the area of the border, followed by a tank. A black dog reached me, tore my clothes apart and attacked my left foot. I fought with it for a short while before I took out my cellular telephone from my pocket and hit the dog with it forcefully. I tried to get up and escape from the dog, but I fell on the ground and lost my balance because of the bullet wound in my neck. At that time, the tank arrived. A soldier got out and kicked me forcefully on my mouth. Then, the soldier carried me to the tank, which drove towards the border. From there, they transported me by helicopter to a military post at the Erez Crossing Point. After the soldiers put me on a bed inside a clinic, two physicians arrived, assessed my bullet wound, offered me medical aid, and connected me to an artificial breathing device. I fell unconscious. When I came around, I found myself on the same bed with the artificial breathing machine on. An Israeli officer, whose rank I do not remember, came and inquired whether I was a terrorist or a member of Hamas.

“I will shoot you.” He said as he pointed his weapon at my stomach.
“I am a secondary school student.” I replied.
Then, he inquired about my name, personal information and place of residence. Having verified my information, the Israelis coordinated with the Ministry of Health and Palestinian District Coordination Office to transport me to Gaza.

About two hours later, I reached the Erez Crossing Point, where an ambulance belonging to the Palestinian Ministry of Health and another to the Palestine Red Crescent Society were waiting for me. After Israeli soldiers quarrelled with Palestinian medics, I was moved to the ambulance, which transported to the al-Shifa‟ Hospital in Gaza. It was around 6:30 pm on the evening of the same day. When I was admitted to the hospital, physicians assessed my condition and told me that I had sustained a bullet injury in the neck with an “entrance and exit” wound and that I suffered from fractures in the fourth and fifth vertebrae on the neck. Later, doctors told me that they had placed wax material on the bullet wound in order to seal the entrance and exit holes. They had also put me in a device to secure my neck. After four consecutive days under medical supervision, doctors transferred me to the al-Wafa‟ Hospital for Medical Rehabilitation east of Gaza. Now, I am undergoing treatment at the hospital but remain motionless. I suffer from inability to move my feet and body.

This is my declaration and hereby I sign, 12 October 2009
Signature: Ashraf Abu-Suleiman
Name not withheld
Field researcher: Muhammad Abu-Rahma
I, the undersigned, Bassam Muhammad Abu Suleiman hereby certify that my son Ashraf has made the above statement to Al-Haq and signed it before me.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5093/2009
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 12 October 2009
  • Name: Ashraf Bassam Muhammad Abu-Suleiman
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