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Affidavit No. 3477/2007

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, 'Aysha 'Ali Ahmad Hammad, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 988586118, born in 1932, a housewife and a resident of Bitouniya, Ramallah Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a Palestinian citizen. I was born and lived in the Palestinian village of Yalo. At approximately 3:00 am on the morning of 6 June 1967, I was in the yard of my house baking bread. My husband, 'Abd-al-Karim Mahmoud Nimer Mustafa, my disabled mother, Rahma, and my children (Najah, eight years old; Saleh, four years old; and
Salha, one and a half years old) were all in the house. At this time, a family of five from 'Imwas reached my house and told me, “the Israelis have invaded.” My husband joined us and we had a long conversation during which we learnt that the Israelis had occupied 'Imwas and had forced the residents to leave for Ramallah. This family left again at 5:00 am to go to Ramallah. At this time, I saw dozens of people leaving our village to go towards Ramallah, running from the Israelis. However, my family and I stayed in our house as it is far from the centre of the village. I did not see any Israeli soldiers nearby.

My husband encountered them in the streets of the village and would run away each time. During the day, I heard sporadic shooting. This situation remained the same for four days.

My family and I did not leave the village. On the fourth day, I believe it was 9 June 1967, several people who had fled the village returned. In the evening, my husband came home and said, “the Israelis are in the village and they are calling through loudspeakers.” The Israelis were saying, “all residents of Yalo must leave to Ramallah.

Those who don’t will be in danger.” I got my three children ready, but couldn’t carry anything, as I was six months pregnant. We walked to the nearby village of Beit Nouba, only one kilometre from Yalo. As I entered Beit Nouba, I saw several bulldozers guarded by Israeli soldiers razing houses in the village to the ground. We were thirsty and hungry as the weather was very hot. We were also scared as we were alone on the road, having been the last to leave our village. I spent that night in a mosque. In the morning, I tried to find food for us. My husband, accompanied by others, decided to go back to the village to get some food and clothes. My husband had left in the early morning and I later decided to leave my children with another woman to go after my husband to see what had happened to my disabled mother. As I was walking across valleys and fields on foot, I saw my husband coming back using a donkey to carry mattresses and other things. He asked me where I was going, and I told him. He said, “okay, there are no Israelis on the road, and I have brought some necessities like clothes and food. I am going to Beit Likiya to get my sister.” I continued and reached the village, but did not find my mother. I checked the house but could not find her. I was terrified as I could hear shooting. However, I did not meet any Israeli soldiers. The houses of the village were open and some were collapsing. I carried a cover and left the village to go back towards Kharbatha. On my way back, between Beit Nouba and Yalo, I saw the donkey that my husband had been using. It was alone with some of the things still on its back. As I moved forward, I saw people’s possessions left on the road. I also saw women and a man who had been killed, their bodies lying amongst the olive trees. I was extremely frightened. I was going down a valley towards Kharbatha when two Israeli soldiers saw me. They spoke to me in Arabic, asking me where I had been. I told them that I was in my village fetching clothes for my children.

One soldier asked me to leave what I was carrying on the ground and, threatening me with his weapon, ordered me to get into their jeep. I got in, and saw that there were several other women there. Every now and then, I would hear shooting. The jeep took us to one of the fields of Beit Likiya and released us.

That evening, at around 7:00 pm, I rejoined my children in the mosque. My anxiety over the well-being of my husband and mother was increasing. At 9:00 pm, Mustafa Abu-Khalil, who is from my village, arrived at the mosque together with a person called Jarad. They said, "May you have a long life. The Israelis killed your husband in the fields of Beit Nouba in front of us, but they let us go us because we are old.” My husband was 35 years old. I was in shock. I had three children and a fourth due shortly after. Who was going to raise them and bring in money? I started crying. However, I could not collapse as I had to remain strong for the sake of my children. Now that their father had died, I was their mother, father and guardian.

I left Kharbatha and went to my father’s house, in Beit Likiya. I stayed there for two months. We used to sleep outside in the open air, as there was no space left for us in the mosques or schools. I heard from people that my husband’s body had been left in the open air. People also said that the Israelis had left mines or bombs so that no one could approach the dead bodies. After sleeping outside in the open air for two months, I went with my father to Qalandiya camp, south of al-Bireh. I stayed there for seven years and gave birth to my fourth child, Theeb. I was also informed, by Husein 'Abd-al-Rahman Jibrin, that he had seen the murder of my mother near our house.

I recall my first visit back to my village in 1978 to what is now referred to as “Canada Park.” Some features of my village still remained and could be detected. I told my children, “This is the road to my father’s house, the road to the mosque. Here is where our house used to be.” Then I burst into tears. I also told my children that their father used to own 40 dunums of land. It is all gone. The most painful thing for me is that my daughter, Salha, and my son, Theeb, have no idea what their father looked like, since the only photo of him was lost when we were displaced.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 3477/2007
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 17 March 2007
  • Name: 'Aysha 'Ali Ahmad Hammad
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