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Affidavit No. 5099/2009

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, Nader Ahmad Nasr Hreizat, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 915136477, born on 5 March 1974, a driver, and a resident of the Salah al-Din Street, Yatta town, Hebron Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I transport workers from the southern area of Hebron to Bedouin villages around the area of Bir al-Sabe’. Because they do not possess work permits, workers clandestinely enter Israel from the southern and south-eastern areas of the town of Yatta. Usually, I travel along rough, mountainous roads through the villages of al-Ka’abna and Khirbet Janba until I reach the Bedouin villages. On other occasions, I arrange with Bedouin drivers, who hold Israeli ID cards, to transport workers from the border to Israel.

At around 2:00 pm on Monday, 12 October 2009, I transported 12 workers from Yatta and travelled along the rough road until I reached a location called Tulou’ al-Tabaqa, east of the village of Khirbet al-Majaz, approximately seven kilometres away from the border area near the village of Khirbet Janba. As I was driving along the Tulou’ al-Tabaqa, I saw a Palestinian Volkswagen Caddy car travelling downhill at a great speed. I should note that a short while earlier, this same car had been in front of our car, travelling in the same direction, towards Israel. I realised that something was not quite right with the situation. I

stopped my car across the road and asked the driver of the Volkswagen what was going on. He said that an Israeli officers’ jeep had been chasing workers’ cars along the road. As a result, I turned my car back and drove eastwards to Khirbet al-Majaz at a great speed. Having travelled for about four kilometres, I was surprised when an Israeli Hummer jeep arrived from the east (that is, from the opposite direction) at a distance of almost 500 metres from my car. I tried to escape, but the Hummer jeep driver noticed me and pursued my car.

Meanwhile, the workers protested about how fast I was driving in fear that that a traffic accident might occur and kill them. Therefore, I stopped the car and the workers got out. My son Nasr (about 11 years old) and Salem Rateb Mughannam, a Bedouin of about 18 years of age and holder an Israeli ID card, remained with me in the car. I continued to drive fast for a distance of almost three kilometres along a flat area. At that time, I felt the right front suspension break. As it affected the car’s direction and steering wheel, it was difficult for me to control the car. Still, the Hummer jeep continued to chase us until it was virtually impossible to control my car. Therefore, I decided to stop in fear that I might endanger my life and the lives of my son and the passenger. After I stopped the car, my son, the other passenger and I ran towards an opposite hill, which was approximately 300 metres away from the car. At that point, I saw the Volkswagen Caddy car continue to flee and pass by us when we were running away. Having dropped off two soldiers near my car, the Hummer jeep resumed chasing the Volkswagen Caddy for a distance of about 700 metres and managed to capture it.

The two soldiers who had stepped out of the Hummer jeep threw stones and broke my car’s glass windows and damaged the tyres with knives. From my position on the hill, I also saw two soldiers get out of the Hummer jeep and began to attack the Volkswagen car in the same way. The Volkswagen car was near the Bedouin village of Hamida, which is part of the area of Yatta and workers had managed to flee before the Hummer jeep captured it. Soldiers continued to damage the Volkswagen for about ten minutes. Then, they joined the two soldiers who were near my car.

I saw the soldiers take out two spare wheel tyres, which I used to carry with me, and put them underneath my car. Then, I saw a soldier go to the Hummer jeep, fetch a can, and splash a liquid material on the tyres under the car and on the seats. When I saw fire erupt from the car, I realised that the soldier had splashed a flammable material on car’s seats and on the wheels.

While it was burning, the soldiers stayed near the car for about ten minutes and then travelled to Khirbet al-Majaz. Then, my son, Salem Mughannam, and I ran towards the car, hoping that we could put out the fire, which had erupted quickly. At this time, I saw a civilian jeep approach my car. When it was close, it appeared that Israeli human rights activists were onboard the jeep. Later, I saw the military Hummer jeep return to the location of my car, so I ran away, leaving behind my son and Salem Mughannam, who tried to fight the fire by throwing soil on the car.

After I escaped to the place where I had hidden earlier, I saw the human rights activists take photographs of my burning car. I also watched soldiers come closer to the activists and quarrel with them, but I did not hear what they said. After the soldiers had expelled the human rights activists from the scene, the Hummer jeep remained positioned in the area for about 20 minutes and then left. Later, Salem told me that soldiers had attempted to prevent the human rights activists from taking photographs. Soldiers also asked the activists and Salem about the car’s owner, but Salem said that he had escaped and did not know who he was. Thereafter, the car was burned to the ground.

The human rights activists returned in their jeep and transported us to the village of Hamida. After the activists had taken my statement about what had happened, I went back to the location of my car. I called a friend of mine, who arrived and took me home.

Later, I was informed that at the same time my car was being chased, four Israeli military Hummer jeeps were pursuing workers’ cars in the area. Soldiers had also caused damage to several cars in the area. I should note that the Israeli troops had confiscated my Ford Transit car on the preceding day when I was travelling back to Yatta at around 2:00 pm. My other car, which the soldiers burned was also a Ford Transit. Its price was approximately NIS 5,000 and the price of the car that had been confiscated was about NIS 6,000.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5099/2009
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 14 October 2009
  • Name: Nader Ahmad Nasr Hreizat
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