Affidavit No: 3700/2007

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, Zakariya Muhammad Khamis al-Sunbati, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 954635140, born on 30 November 1957, a worker and a resident of Beit Sira village, Ramallah Governorate,would like to declare the following:

I was nine years old at the time of the Six-Day War which broke out between the Arab armies and Israel on 5 June 1967. I lived in Beit Sira village which is located six kilometres from Beit Nouba village, directly overlooking Yalo and Beit Nouba villages.

After the war started, I witnessed the displacement of thousands of villagers in the area who fled as the Israeli tanks approached their villages. I was with my family, comprising of six children in addition to my father. The eldest of my brothers, ‘Abbas, was 12 years old at the time.

On the morning of 6 June 1967, we left the cave where we were hiding and as we approached the girl's school in Beit Sira, I heard the sounds of intensive shooting all around. I also saw some birds falling to the ground. My father continued leading us along the path through the valleys and the olive fields until we arrived to the area between Saffa and Kufr Ni'ma. There, I saw an Israeli tank firing a missile which fell in an area called as "Njara." We continued along the path, without food or drink, until we arrived in Kufr Ni'ma village. There was a man there by the name of ‘Izzat al-Dik, who owned a lorry and was carrying passengers out of the area to allow them to flee to Jordan. My family and I were among these passengers. However, the lorry soon broke down and we all got off.

We stayed in Kufr Ni'ma for two consecutive nights before returning to Beit Sira upon hearing an Israeli military jeep driving through the area and telling residents, via loud speakers, to return to their villages. It was 10 June 1967 when we returned to Beit Sira. I remember seeing Israeli soldiers, accompanied by tanks and military jeeps, imposing curfew on the villages every night at 6:00 pm. From my village I could see and hear the Israeli army destroying the buildings which belonged to Beit Nouba and Yalo villages. I saw thick dust rising from the demolished buildings, and I could hear the sound of the explosives they used for the demolitions.

I also remember that two days after we had returned to Beit Sira, my family and the other families in my village had run out of food. My father then asked myself and my brother to go to one of the Jordanian army bases, known as Nakhlet Halif. When we entered the base we found it deserted. We have only found half a loaf of dry bread and took it with us back to the village. The following day our father asked us to go the Latroun villages and look for agricultural produce or food of any kind, since we were only young children and the Israeli soldiers would not use force against us; whereas there were many stories circulating that the soldiers were killing the Palestinian men who tried to return to the Latroun villages. When we arrived in Beit Nouba we found many of the houses completely destroyed. While walking in the village I saw part of a dead man's body sticking out from under the rubble of a demolished house. I also saw two Israeli bulldozers demolishing the houses of Yalo village.

We found food to bring back to Beit Sira village, using a donkey to carry everything. We repeated this process approximately ten times, each time returning to our village with food and some furniture that had been left behind by those residents who had been expelled from their villages. I also recall seeing the dead body of an elderly man in traditional Palestinian clothing on the main road connecting ‘Imwas village with Beit Nouba. He was lying on his back in an unharvested wheat field.

Also, on one of the occasions when I was walking with my father we saw the body of a soldier, an Egyptian soldier according to my father. The smell of the body was awful. The soldier was in military uniform but had no weapons on him. My father buried him in the area we found him. I also recall my brother ‘Isa finding a burnt skull on our way to Beit Nouba. We were later told that the skull belonged to an Egyptian soldier, the first of three skulls we found in that area which belonged to Egyptian soldiers.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 3700/2007
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 30 July 2007
  • Name: Zakariya Muhammad Khamis al- Sunbati
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