Affidavit No. 7129/2012

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, Imad Awni Kamel Abu Shamsiyyah, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 917759102, born on 1 April 1970, a shoemaker, and a resident of the Tal Rumeida neighbourhood, Hebron city, Hebron governorate, would like to declare the following:

I have a family of seven members. My eldest daughter is Madeline, 14 years old. My house is located in the Tal Rumeida neighbourhood on a hill west of the Ash Shuhada’ Street. An Israeli army checkpoint, where at least two soldiers are usually positioned, is located on an elevated area at a distance of about 12 metres west of my house. The Israelis called this checkpoint the Gilbert checkpoint. My house is also almost 300 metres west of the so-called Shoter checkpoint, set up at the northern entrance to the Ash Shuhada’ Street. This checkpoint comprises a caravan that blocks the road. It is divided into two sections, one for entry and the other for surveillance. The two sections are separated by a divider, the upper part of which is made of glass. A gate, which occasionally opens to allow handcarts, is on the eastern side of the caravan. The side gate is made of iron bars, so one can partially see what is going on behind the checkpoint. My house is below the street level. The Israeli army has placed a surveillance cabin on the roof of my house. Usually, a soldier is positioned in the cabin from Friday afternoon until Saturday evening. When they move around our neighbourhood, settlers frequently climb onto the roof of my house, which overlooks the city centre.

On the evening of Friday, 3 February 2012, my wife and I were on a family visit outside the neighbourhood. On our way back home, we reached the checkpoint at the northern entrance to the Ash Shuhada’ Street at around 7:40 pm. We wanted to cross the checkpoint and go to our home. The soldiers, who were positioned at the checkpoint, closed the electronic gate, preventing us from crossing. My wife and I saw two Palestinian young men, about 17 years of age, who were detained by the soldiers. Both stood against a wall behind the iron gate and lifted their arms up. The soldiers and two young settlers beat the Palestinian youths. The soldiers kicked and beat them with rifle butts, and the settlers kicked and punched the young men. I saw the settlers running one after the other, moving fast and kicking the young men. From my place, I heard the Palestinian young men talk to the soldiers.

“Why are you beating us? We have called you because the settlers beat us.” They said.

At about the same time, two foreign peace activists, including a young man and woman, arrived at the checkpoint and took footage of the incident from the place where they had stopped behind the checkpoint. After we had arrived, the Israeli soldiers continued to close the checkpoint for almost ten minutes. Meanwhile, they continued to assault the Palestinian young men. Other citizens had also gathered at both sides of the checkpoint and waited to cross. When my wife and I crossed, the soldiers had stopped beating the young men. My wife and I stood near the checkpoint with the peace activists. While the foreign peace activists continued to take footage, my wife and I tried to recognise the assaulted young men. About three minutes after the checkpoint gate had been opened, I heard the soldiers tell the two settlers in Hebrew (which I speak fluently) to run because the police are on their way to the area. The settlers ran south to the so-called settlement outpost of Beit Hadassah. Two soldiers took the young men in the western direction towards the Gilbert checkpoint. The foreign peace activists, my wife and I followed them. Meanwhile, I saw an Israeli police car driving downhill to the checkpoint at the northern entrance to the Ash Shuhada’ Street, where the two young men had been detained. The soldiers forced the young men to sit on the ground near the Gilbert checkpoint. My wife and I remained in the area. My wife talked to the young men, who said they were from the Abu Isneinah family. About five minutes later, the police car, which we had seen driving downhill while the two young men were taken to the Gilbert checkpoint, arrived. I saw two police officers going out of the police car. Of these, I recognised a police officer, whose name was Bassam. I told him I wanted to report what I had seen. He told me to wait. He went and talked to the soldiers, and then to the two young men. My wife managed to get close to the young men while police officer Bassam was talking to them.

My wife heard the young men tell Bassam “A settler beat us while we were walking down the eastern hill. We went to the soldiers at the checkpoint at the northern entrance to the Ash Shuhada’ Street and asked for protection, but they beat us.”

About ten minutes later, police officer Bassam asked me and I reported what had happened. He tried to intimidate me, saying that he would verify the truth through two video cameras installed on the checkpoint, near to where the two young men had been assaulted.

“If it is proven that you have lied, you will be in great trouble.” Bassam told me.

Police officer Bassam then requested that my wife and I wait near to our home so that he would take down our statements. It was very cold then. Despite the fact that he knew our house, Bassam did not allow us to get in and wait inside until he took our statements. While we were waiting, my wife talked over the telephone to a journalist and reported the incident. Bassam warned me to not let my wife talk to B’tselem [The Israeli Information Centre for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories]. The police officer took down statements of the young men, soldiers, my wife, and me. While he listened to us, the police officer stopped at intervals and made some telephone calls.

We were detained until around 10:00 pm. Before we were allowed to leave, a man and woman who were relatives of the young men arrived. They were allowed to leave together with the young men. Then, my wife and I were allowed to go home.

At around 11:30 pm at the same night, when I was watching TV, I heard the sound of water flowing from the roof. I thought a water tap had been open. I went out barefooted to see what it was. When I got out of the house door, I saw three settlers urinating on the front yard of the house. I saw them well under the lampposts installed by the Israeli occupying army. At least one of them had beaten the Palestinian young men I mentioned above. He was of medium build, of around 20 years of age, and put on a jeans trousers and a black blouse with one-centimetre-wide, lengthwise white stripes. I shouted at the settlers to go away. When I went out to the street, I saw them running down the eastern hill. I returned to my home, put on my shoes, and got back to the street. Meantime, I saw a police car was driving downhill, and I stopped it. The police officer refused to talk to me in Arabic, so I spoke in Hebrew and explained what had happened. I requested that he come down and see the urine. He said he would come back, but he did not.


This is my declaration, which I hereby sign, 22 February 2012

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 7129/2012
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 22 February 2012
  • Name: Imad Awni Kamel Abu Shamsiyyah
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