Affidavit No. 3360/2007

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, 'Ala’ Yousef Ibrahim Hoji, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 936127984, born on 17 November 1984, a student at Khdoury College and a resident of al-Aqsa Quarter, Toulkarem Governorate, would like to declare the following:

At approximately 10:30 am on Thursday, 25 January 2007, I was at home with my sister Thara' (21-years-old). I was at home because Thursday and Friday are free days at Khdoury College where I study electrical engineering. At the time in question, I was in the kitchen which is at the eastern side of our house. Our home is a bungalow and is surrounded on three sides by a yard. The yard is surrounded by an iron fence with a gate. My brother, Muhammad Yousef Hoji (7-years-old), who had been playing outside ran into the house saying, "There are Jews outside." He was very frightened. I asked him, "Where?" He answered, "Outside, outside." Our kitchen has a door leading to the yard. I hurried to close the kitchen door that Muhammad had left open after coming inside.

I looked outside and saw Fadel Naji Balawna (17-years-old) jumping over the eastern part of the fence that surrounds our home. This section of the fence separates our home from the home of my uncle, Riyad Ibrahim Hoji. The fence is 70 centimetres high and it is easy to jump over it. I know Fadel Balawna because his family’s home is located to the east of our home and is adjacent to my uncle's home. The Israeli army has raided Fadel's home previously. On each occasion they were searching for Fadel whom they allege is an activist for the Islamic Jihad Movement in the Toulkarem area. As his home is near ours, we were always affected when the Israeli army raided his home during the night hours. Fadel’s home was raided at least three times between November 2006 and January 2007.

I saw Fadel jump over the fence and run across our yard. I didn’t see any Israeli soldiers. I closed the door and looked through the windows to see what was happening outside. As I looked out the north facing windows, I saw several Israeli soldiers standing outside our garden fence. I was able to see them through the openings in the fence. I saw at least five soldiers. They were wearing Israeli military uniforms and helmets, and were carrying weapons. Their helmets were olive green like their uniforms. Some of the Israeli soldiers were wearing black masks.

I went into my bedroom, which is located at the western side of our house. I had seen Fadel running in this direction. This room has two windows. The first window faces west and looks out on our yard. The other window faces south and overlooks a narrow lane not exceeding 2 metres in width. This lane separates our home from 'Izz-al-Din al-Hoji’s home and it can only be accessed through 'Izz-al-Din al-Hoji’s home or by jumping over the roof of a small room. The room in question is part of 'Izz-al-Din al-Hoji’s home and is located in the south- western corner of our yard. It is not possible to see through the fence to the west of our home because it is covered with boards and has high trees in front of it. There is an open area of land behind the fence to the west.

When I looked through the west window, I saw Fadel standing at the corner between the fence and the wall of the above-mentioned room. He was about 2 metres away from me. Fadel asked me where the soldiers were. I told him that I had seen soldiers standing to the north of our home. Fadel was not carrying any weapons, and there had been no shooting. He asked me to open the door leading to the rooms inside our house. I told him that to do so would put him at risk because the Israeli soldiers were standing behind the fence to the north, and if he tried to reach the door, the Israeli soldiers would see him.

Instead, I gave Fadel a woman’s gown and a veil, which is a piece of cloth Muslim women use to cover their hair. I told him to wear these clothes as they might help to conceal him from the soldiers. I passed Fadel these clothes through the window. I saw him taking off his own clothes and changing into the gown. While Fadel was in the process of changing clothes, a soldier shouted at Fadel, "Stop! Don't move." The soldier appeared at the corner between the fence and the wall of the small room. At this particular spot there is an opening less than half a metre wide, which can be reached from the patch of open ground located to the west of the fence. At that moment, Fadel took off the gown and began to climb the wall. As he was doing so, a shot was fired and a bullet struck him in the lower back. Nevertheless, Fadel continued to climb the wall and succeeded in reaching the roof of the room. He walked about two metres and then fell off the roof into the lane located between our house and 'Izz-al-Din al-Hoji’s house; a distance of about two metres. I hurried to the south window overlooking the small lane and saw Fadel lying face down on the ground. I called his name but he did not answer. I went to the kitchen, got a cup of water and threw it on him through the window, but he did not move.

Fadel was lying on the ground less than one metre away from me. He did not move at all. Nothing happened for about half an hour. At 11:30 am, while I was still looking out the window, I saw an Israeli soldier. He was tall and well built, wearing an Israeli olive green military uniform and a helmet. This soldier approached Fadel from the direction of 'Izz-al-Din al-Hoji’s yard, through which one can reach the aforementioned lane. The soldier began dragging Fadel by the legs. I shouted as loudly as I could, "Haram, haram". The soldier aimed his weapon towards me and ordered me to get away from the window and go inside my house. I was very frightened. The Israeli soldier spoke to me in Arabic. I left the window and went inside. The soldier continued dragging the body and then he disappeared from my line of sight.

Shortly afterwards, around five soldiers entered our yard through the external gate which is easily opened. They walked into our yard, took the gown, veil and Fadel’s jacket, and left. They didn’t raid our home.

At 12:30 pm, the Israeli force left the area. Later, it was announced that Fadel had been killed by a bullet to the lower back that was fired by the Israeli soldiers.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 3360/2007
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 27 January 2007
  • Name: 'Ala’ Yousef Ibrahim Hoji
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