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An-Najah University student, Zajel, An-Najah University, Nablus, 16 May 2006
“My story started the first time I ever went to the university. That evening I saw my friends and agreed to meet early in the morning. Word had spread that most of the roads were closed and that the way to Nablus was extremely complicated, so we agreed to meet at 4 o’clock the next morning. This was how I started my academic life and this was my schedule every morning. Sometimes, in order to continue my studies, delays meant that I had to walk kilometers.
The worst story, and one which I could never forget, was what happened to me one day during the holy month of Ramadan, a month when Muslims are required to fast. I was walking with some other inhabitants of my village when suddenly some Israeli soldiers started to chase us, shouting: “Stop…or we’ll shoot”, and so we stopped. We were ordered to sit on the ground. They took our I.D’s and started checking them. I was the youngest among the group. After three hours, soldiers gave the other two people with me their I.D’s, while I was kept on the ground, tied and blindfolded. Several hours passed and I couldn’t move. My eyes started to cause a lot of pain as they were tied strongly, so I thought it would be good if I could stand up to move my body which had started to suffer from cramp from being in the same uncomfortable position for hours. But I could barely do this as soldiers started beating me, especially on my head. They threw me back to the ground and I felt the soldiers’ bodies pressing on my back. They continued torturing me for a long time and later one of the soldiers stood up close to my head and started shouting: “If you want us to leave you; say ‘Long Live Israel'”. I consistently tried to refuse but it was becoming unbearable.
It was getting dark, and sunset Athan, (call to prayer) was announced, when people ended their fast with an Iftar meal. I was still living what seemed to me an endless agony – the Israeli soldiers were still kicking and beating me until I had to concede: “Long Live Israel”. I am sorry Palestine, but they forced me. This continued until late at night until, finally, an Israeli jeep arrived. They put me in it while I was still tied and after approximately half an hour they threw me somewhere else, in a place I couldn’t yet recognize. I managed to open my eyes and I was glad to see that I wasn’t very far from my village. I started walking, exhausted as I was, until I reached the first house in the village. By this time it was almost 2 a.m.
This is one of the harshest memories I have from the daily ongoing sufferance on my way to and from the university. I hope whoever reads this will understand the misery of my people and will relay its sadness to the rest of the world in the hope that one day we Palestinians will get some of our violated pride back.”
|Road block of the main road in Asira.|
The story of Northern Asira does not differ much from other besieged Palestinian villages. For more information about the plight of students at An-Najah University, please visit the Right to Education page of the University’s Zajel website.