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Affidavit No. 4924/2009

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, Rashed Khader Naji Jaber, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 974657363, born on 25 June 1965, a farmer, and a resident of al-Baq’a, Hebron Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am the father of 15 children, ten of whom are less than 18 years of age. My house is located at a distance of about 100 metres from Road No. 60, which connects the southern quarter of Hebron to Jerusalem. I am a farmer. My children and I, cultivate a total of 15 dunums of land around my house with grapevines and tomato seedlings. I use the drip irrigation method to water my crops. I have a subscription to a water supply at Bani N’eim Municipality, which is registered under my brother Naji’s name.

In the morning of Monday, 8 June 2009, the Israeli occupying authorities started to demolish water pools in the area of al-Baq’a. At the same time, they seized drip irrigation pipelines from a piece of land measuring dozens of dunums. A private Israeli company working for the Israeli occupying authorities also damaged irrigation networks on our groves.

At around 11:00 am, while I was at my nine-dunum piece of land, which is cultivated with tomatoes, ten workers from the said private company arrived, and started to cut off irrigation pipelines. An employee from the Israeli Water Company Mekorot was accompanying the workers. “Why do you want to cut off my irrigation pipelines? I have a water subscription from Bani N’eim Municipality.” I addressed the employee from the Israeli Water Company. “There are no water subscriptions here. Get out of here. You just want to cause problems.” He replied to me in Arabic. He then threatened me saying that if I did not go away, he would call the army and have me evacuated.

While I was talking to the Mekorot employee, a worker from the private company came along. “Get out of here. We want to work.” He told me. He carried a pair of scissors to cut off the irrigation pipelines. “You get out of here! This is my land!” I replied, taking the scissors from him and throwing them away. At that point, six soldiers physically assaulted me. They beat me with their fists, feet, and rifle butts. They also threw me to the ground and tied my hands behind my back. About ten minutes later, two soldiers dragged me to Road No. 60. I suffered pain in various parts of my body.

A little while after I reached the street, a Palestinian ambulance arrived. Medics wanted to offer me first aid, but the soldiers rejected. The medics quarrelled with the soldiers for about ten minutes, but to no avail. Then the Medics left. Just after that an Israeli military jeep with three soldiers onboard arrived. Two soldiers were sitting in the front seat and one on the rear seat.
The two soldiers next to me handed me over to the soldiers in the jeep. During the “hand-over” one of the soldiers said to the ones in the jeep “Tetzinito!” a Hebrew word which literally means “screw him!” The soldier was obviously referring to me.

I was placed in the rear seat of the jeep and a soldier sat right opposite of me. He punched and hit me with the butt of his rifle on my head all the way. We arrived at an Israeli military camp west of the road connecting the settlements of Kiryat Arba’ and Kharsina. It took us approximately seven minutes to arrive there. At the military camp, I was forced out of the jeep, ordered to sit on a plastic chair and finally blindfolded with a piece of cloth. I was detained for a total of 11 hours or more, sometimes held in a tent and sometimes in a caravan. During that period, no food was offered to me, I only received some water to drink.

I asked soldiers why I was being detained. They only said that the Police would come and take me. Then a military jeep transported me from the camp to an Israeli police station. Inside one of the rooms of the police station, my blindfold was removed. A clock in the room indicated that it was 11:00 pm. One of the soldiers who had transported me was talking to a policeman about why I was being detained. They were speaking in Hebrew, which I understand well. The soldier said that I had obstructed the work of the employees when they were removing the pipelines. The Police officer replied that he could not arrest me because I had not assaulted a soldier, nor had I thrown any stones. “You took him and you should deal with him.” The police officer told the soldier.

I was detained at the Israeli police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba’ for almost two hours, all the while being watched by the soldier. Then, a military jeep arrived and I was once again blindfolded, handcuffed, and forced to get in. The jeep drove for about ten minutes. Then, I was forced out and my handcuffs and blindfold were removed. I realised I was in the area of Wadi al-Mghayyer, which is approximately one kilometre southeast of my house. It was 1:00 am then. I was exhausted. As a result of having been beaten and forced to sit for an extended period of time, I could not walk. “This is not where I live and I cannot walk.” I told the soldiers who had released me in that area. Nonetheless, they departed and left me there. I sat on a rock. Ten minutes later, the jeep came back and soldiers saw that I was still sitting in the same place.

“Why are you still here?” the soldiers asked me. “I am not able to walk.” I answered. Once again, they left. Ten minutes after the jeep left, ‘Izz-al-Din ‘Arafat al-Rajabi, my brother in law who is about 26 years of age, arrived on a motorcycle. He picked me up and took me to my house, which I reached at around 1:30 am. ‘Izz al-Din told me that soldiers onboard a military jeep had stopped him earlier and told him where I was sitting, indicating that I could not walk, which is why he came to pick me up.

On our way to the house, ‘Izz-al-Din called an ambulance from the Palestinian Red Crescent Society, which arrived and transported me to Hebron Governmental Hospital. My son ‘Adel, who is about 22 years old, accompanied me. At the hospital, I was x-rayed and diagnosed. I had sustained scratches underneath my left foot and right eye as well as contusions on the upper part of my neck. Until today I still suffer from pain in my chest, the bottom part of my back, as well as in my head and neck. I am still on medication, which the doctors prescribed me at the hospital.

On Wednesday, 10 June 2009, I went to the Palestinian District Coordination Office and filed a complaint against the perpetrators. Later I found out that the Israelis had cut off the pipelines of my irrigation network on my groves. Let alone my work and effort to get them installed, the irrigation network cost me approximately 20,000 NIS, not including the work done on its extension. This is a real problem, which threatens to entirely ravage the tomato crops this year.

 

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4924/2009
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 14 June 2009
  • Name: Rashed Khader Naji Jaber
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