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Affidavit No.3479/2007

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, Mahmoud Theeb Yousef Abu-Qteish, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 080604523, born on 4 April 1940, a retired teacher and a resident of Bitouniya, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the following:

In 1967, I was living in my village 'Imwas, located west of Ramallah. I was 27 years old. I was working in the village junior high school. I was living alone because my mother was dead and my father had re-married with another woman and was living in Ramallah.

On 5 June 1967, the war broke out between the Arab and Israeli armies. On 6 June 1967 at around 2:00 am, while I was at my uncle Raghib Abu-Qteish’s home, we
heard stories that were spreading amongst the citizens that the Israeli soldiers were approaching the village from the west. I checked and saw that a number of Israeli tanks were indeed proceeding towards our village. As a result, my uncle Ragheb, my uncle Abed and I left the village to go to the orchards area known as "'Ein al-'Aqed", which is only a kilometre and a half from the village. There, I found hundreds of villagers from my village of all ages. It seemed that all the villagers had left their houses like me, without carrying anything. Many of the fathers and mothers were carrying their children on their shoulders. Fear was dominating all of us and it was clear in the faces of each of the citizens including me. Fear and panic took us over as a result of the stories we had heard that the Israelis would kill, demolish and force out the residents of the village out as they did in the wake of 1948 war. We were all silent out of shock. I imagined that day as if it were Judgment Day.

The sun rose and I was still in 'Ein al-'Aqed with hundreds of villagers. From that place and from amongst the trees, I saw Israeli military jeeps and tanks coming to
our village through the mountain roads. Some of them were coming via the 'Imwas -Yalo road. There were no flags on the tanks and jeeps indicating that they were
Israeli. However, I knew that the Jordanian army had withdrawn from the area and there was no Arab army presence in the area. There was no resistance from the
village and I did not hear any firing. All I heard was the sound of explosives.

After dawn, dozens of our villagers, including myself, showed up from amongst the trees and proceeded towards the village. On the way, I saw a man from our village bleeding from his back. His name was Ahmad Husein. I carried him with the help of other villagers and took him to an Israeli First Aid Centre located in the vicinity of 'Abbas al-Sheikh on the edge of the main street of 'Imwas. The Israeli soldiers refused to help him and told us in Arabic: "Go back to your homes." That man [Ahmad Husein] died later on. As I was returning home, I heard heavy firing and showers of bullets. I found refuge in the house of 'Isa Yousef, who was at home with his wife and two daughters aged between 18-20 years old.

After approximately 15 minutes in 'Isa Yousef’s home, two Israeli soldiers raidedthe house with their weapons pointed at us. These two soldiers were wearing olive green uniforms and iron helmets of the same colour. The two soldiers threatened us with their weapons and asked us to leave the house and go out to the main street of the village. They said in Arabic: "Out… out!" We left without taking anything with us. On the main street of the village, I saw many women without veils on their heads carrying their children. At 8:00 am, when the number of villagers outside had reached hundreds, dozens of Israeli soldiers told us to walk towards Ramallah, which was approximately 25 kilometres from our village. There were villagers of all ages and the Israeli soldiers threatened us with their weapons.

I walked in the company of our villagers, lifting a white flag and sometimes carrying a child or helping an old man so as to protect myself. Whenever, I got tired from
carrying the flag or the flag dropped down a little, the women told me to lift it up. After walking about 5 kilometres in the sun, I reached Beit Nouba village. After
another 3 kilometres, I reached Beit Liqiya village. All along that way, I did not hear any firing. I saw the Israeli tanks and jeeps going towards Palestinian villages. At the end, I reached Beit 'Our village. I reached it thirsty, hungry and exhausted. I saw people drinking from a well and I quenched my thirst from it as they did. Then I continued my walk until I reached al-Tira village in the vicinity of Beit 'Our village.

There I bought bread and chicken and entered an open house. There were no residents in the house and I spend the night in the company of 'Abd-al-Rahman  Ragheb. At around 11:00 am on 7 June 1967, we learned that the Israeli army was besieging al-Tira village and were ordering the village residents to leave it and go towards Ramallah. We did as the others did and left al-Tira village with Nihad Abu-Ghosh, one of our villagers, who joined me on the walk to Ramallah with dozens of men and women and children. We walked toward Ramallah until we reached the borders of Rafat village in the vicinity of the military camp. It was approximately 4:00 pm when a number of Israeli soldiers stopped us. They took my Jordanian passport, watch, and my boot-laces and forced me, along with another 23 men, to kneel down and put my hands on my head. They forced us under the threat of weapons.

At that moment, I felt that my life had come to an end, especially given that the Israeli soldiers were pointing their weapons at us. What increased my fears is that they erected a big automatic gun in front of us. The soldiers cuffed our hands behind our backs, blindfolded us and forced us into cars. The cars moved, stopping in more than one place before we reached Sarafand, where the soldiers untied our hands and removed the blindfolds from our eyes.

On the morning of 8 June 1967, we were taken to 'Atlit detention centre. This centre was a British military building to which a prison was attached. In that centre, I met many Egyptian and Syrian detainees; some of them were injured but were offered no treatment. If any of the detainees did not obey orders, the Israeli soldiers would order him to stand out in the sun carrying a large stone.

After one month of my detention in 'Atlit, I was taken with others in buses to Ramallah where they dropped us near Ramallah Park. Immediately, I proceeded towards my father's home located in Qaddoura Camp. I learned from my father that our village was destroyed and that there was no way to return to it. After that, I moved to live with my cousin Husein 'Abd-al-'Aziz located in al-Bireh in the al-Sharafa quarter. After that, I rented a house in Ramallah and moved between Ramallah, Jerusalem and Abu-Ghosh, where my aunts live.\

I remember that in September 1967, I made the first visit to my village 'Imwas. I saw that it had been leveled with the earth. Since I was moving from Abu-Ghosh to
Jerusalem, I was counted in the population census conducted at that time and was given the Israeli ID, which gives me the right to live in Jerusalem. Since then, I have lived in Ramallah and worked in Bitouniya Boys School. As I hold the Israeli ID, I occasionally visit 'Imwas, which is now known as "Canada Park" and I also visit the Latroun Monastery from time to another.

 

Affidavit No.3479/2007
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, Mahmoud Theeb Yousef Abu-Qteish,
of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 080604523, born on 4 April 1940, a retired
teacher and a resident of Bitouniya, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the
following:
In 1967, I was living in my village 'Imwas, located west of Ramallah. I was 27 years
old. I was working in the village junior high school. I was living alone because my
mother was dead and my father had re-married with another woman and was living in
Ramallah.
On 5 June 1967, the war broke out between the Arab and Israeli armies. On 6 June
1967 at around 2:00 am, while I was at my uncle Raghib Abu-Qteish’s home, we
heard stories that were spreading amongst the citizens that the Israeli soldiers were
approaching the village from the west. I checked and saw that a number of Israeli
tanks were indeed proceeding towards our village. As a result, my uncle Ragheb, my
uncle Abed and I left the village to go to the orchards area known as "'Ein al-'Aqed",
which is only a kilometre and a half from the village. There, I found hundreds of
villagers from my village of all ages. It seemed that all the villagers had left their
houses like me, without carrying anything. Many of the fathers and mothers were
carrying their children on their shoulders. Fear was dominating all of us and it was
clear in the faces of each of the citizens including me. Fear and panic took us over as
a result of the stories we had heard that the Israelis would kill, demolish and force out
the residents of the village out as they did in the wake of 1948 war. We were all silent
out of shock. I imagined that day as if it were Judgment Day.
The sun rose and I was still in 'Ein al-'Aqed with hundreds of villagers. From that
place and from amongst the trees, I saw Israeli military jeeps and tanks coming to
our village through the mountain roads. Some of them were coming via the 'Imwas -
Yalo road. There were no flags on the tanks and jeeps indicating that they were
Israeli. However, I knew that the Jordanian army had withdrawn from the area and
there was no Arab army presence in the area. There was no resistance from the
village and I did not hear any firing. All I heard was the sound of explosives.
After dawn, dozens of our villagers, including myself, showed up from amongst the
trees and proceeded towards the village. On the way, I saw a man from our village
bleeding from his back. His name was Ahmad Husein. I carried him with the help of
other villagers and took him to an Israeli First Aid Centre located in the vicinity of
'Abbas al-Sheikh on the edge of the main street of 'Imwas. The Israeli soldiers
refused to help him and told us in Arabic: "Go back to your homes." That man
[Ahmad Husein] died later on. As I was returning home, I heard heavy firing and
showers of bullets. I found refuge in the house of 'Isa Yousef, who was at home with
his wife and two daughters aged between 18-20 years old.
After approximately 15 minutes in 'Isa Yousef’s home, two Israeli soldiers raidedthe
house with their weapons pointed at us. These two soldiers were wearing olive green
uniforms and iron helmets of the same colour. The two soldiers threatened us with
their weapons and asked us to leave the house and go out to the main street of the
village. They said in Arabic: "Out… out!" We left without taking anything with us. On
the main street of the village, I saw many women without veils on their heads
carrying their children. At 8:00 am, when the number of villagers outside had reached
hundreds, dozens of Israeli soldiers told us to walk towards Ramallah, which was
approximately 25 kilometres from our village. There were villagers of all ages and the
Israeli soldiers threatened us with their weapons.
I walked in the company of our villagers, lifting a white flag and sometimes carrying a
child or helping an old man so as to protect myself. Whenever, I got tired from
carrying the flag or the flag dropped down a little, the women told me to lift it up.
After walking about 5 kilometres in the sun, I reached Beit Nouba village. After
another 3 kilometres, I reached Beit Liqiya village. All along that way, I did not hear
any firing. I saw the Israeli tanks and jeeps going towards Palestinian villages. At the
end, I reached Beit 'Our village. I reached it thirsty, hungry and exhausted. I saw
people drinking from a well and I quenched my thirst from it as they did. Then I
continued my walk until I reached al-Tira village in the vicinity of Beit 'Our village.
There I bought bread and chicken and entered an open house. There were no
residents in the house and I spend the night in the company of 'Abd-al-Rahman
Ragheb.
At around 11:00 am on 7 June 1967, we learned that the Israeli army was besieging
al-Tira village and were ordering the village residents to leave it and go towards
Ramallah. We did as the others did and left al-Tira village with Nihad Abu-Ghosh,
one of our villagers, who joined me on the walk to Ramallah with dozens of men and
women and children. We walked toward Ramallah until we reached the borders of
Rafat village in the vicinity of the military camp. It was approximately 4:00 pm when a
number of Israeli soldiers stopped us. They took my Jordanian passport, watch, and
my boot-laces and forced me, along with another 23 men, to kneel down and put my
hands on my head. They forced us under the threat of weapons.
At that moment, I felt that my life had come to an end, especially given that the Israeli
soldiers were pointing their weapons at us. What increased my fears is that they
erected a big automatic gun in front of us. The soldiers cuffed our hands behind our
backs, blindfolded us and forced us into cars. The cars moved, stopping in more than
one place before we reached Sarafand, where the soldiers untied our hands and
removed the blindfolds from our eyes.
On the morning of 8 June 1967, we were taken to 'Atlit detention centre. This centre
was a British military building to which a prison was attached. In that centre, I met
many Egyptian and Syrian detainees; some of them were injured but were offered no
treatment. If any of the detainees did not obey orders, the Israeli soldiers would order
him to stand out in the sun carrying a large stone.
After one month of my detention in 'Atlit, I was taken with others in buses to Ramallah
where they dropped us near Ramallah Park. Immediately, I proceeded towards my
father's home located in Qaddoura Camp. I learned from my father that our village
was destroyed and that there was no way to return to it. After that, I moved to live
with my cousin Husein 'Abd-al-'Aziz located in al-Bireh in the al-Sharafa quarter. After
that, I rented a house in Ramallah and moved between Ramallah, Jerusalem and
Abu-Ghosh, where my aunts live.
I remember that in September 1967, I made the first visit to my village 'Imwas. I saw
that it had been leveled with the earth. Since I was moving from Abu-Ghosh to
Jerusalem, I was counted in the population census conducted at that time and was
given the Israeli ID, which gives me the right to live in Jerusalem. Since then, I have
lived in Ramallah and worked in Bitouniya Boys School. As I hold the Israeli ID, I
occasionally visit 'Imwas, which is now known as "Canada Park" and I also visit the
Latroun Monastery from time to another.
This is my declaration and hereby I sign, 5 March 2007.
Signature: Mahmoud Abu-Qteish
Name not withheld
Field researcher: Manaf 'Abbas

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 3479/2007
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 5 March 2007
  • Name: Mahmoud Theeb Yousef Abu-Qteish
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