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Testimony from Student , R2E Campaign, An-Najah National University , 15 July 2008
* Name of student has been changed
Some of the many students who have to pass military checkpoints on their way to and from university try to speed up their journey by avoiding the checkpoints. Instead of going through the often time consuming and humiliating procedures, students bypass the checkpoints by walking through fields or by taking rough roads in the hills. However, this makes them vulnerable to Israeli military patrols and reactions from the military. The following is the story of Ahmad, a 4th year accounting student at An-Najah who had his arm broken by a patrolling soldier whilst returning home from university.
|Ahmad was on his way home from university, when he was attacked by a patrolling soldier and his arm was broken|
On 12th June 2008, I left the University to head home. I live in a village called Anabta near Tulkarm and I have to go through Beit Iba checkpoint on the way. Beit Iba lies at the west side of Nablus, controlling the flow of people to Tulkarm and Qalqilia. When I got close to the checkpoint I could see it was crowded. I had arrived at the busiest time of the week – it was 12.30 on a Thursday, the day when everyone who stays in Nablus during the week goes home for the weekend.
I decided to take an alternative route because it was going to take too long to queue up at the checkpoint. There is a way to avoid the checkpoint by going up the hill and behind a quarry. There isn’t a road, only a rough track. And on the way there is a gully with a piece of wood across it like a bridge. I had cleared this bridge and was following behind two other students. Suddenly an Israeli army jeep appeared and we started to run. By this time we were approaching an olive grove. The other two were much faster than me and managed to get away, but behind me an Israeli soldier was shouting at me and chasing me.
He shouted at me to put up my hands. I had to stop and put them up. He yelled at me in Hebrew, but I couldn’t understand. He threatened me with his gun. I heard the English word ‘Shoot’ and I thought he was going to shoot me. He was still running at me at full speed when he hit me on my left knee with his gun which made me collapse on the ground. He shouted at me to raise my arms, and then he started to hit and kick me. His boots seemed to be made of steel. I felt my right arm snap, and it started to wobble about of its own accord. The pain was intense. I was crying out with the pain but the soldier continued to hit and yell at me. I told him my arm was broken but he said in English, ‘You have broken my foot’.
Then he asked me to get up and walk towards one of the olive trees. He asked me to stay there. Even though my arm was broken he insisted I keep it up in the air. I was detained by the olive tree for almost 45 minutes during which time he interrogated me and asked me about the other guys who were with me. This was the first time I had met them and hardly knew them. He kept yelling at me and threatening me with his gun to tell him who they were. During this time I felt my arm swell and I could not move it at all. The Israeli soldier did not offer me any first aid and he kept yelling at me.
I could tell from the soldier’s features that he was young, hardly 20 years old. After 45 minutes he told me to go back to Beit Iba checkpoint. He took my ID. I had difficulty walking because of the injury to my left knee.
When I got there, five Israeli soldiers interrogated me about who had hit me. I told them that it was an Israeli soldier. One of them said, ‘Why didn’t you follow his orders? If you had he would not have hit you’ and I said, ‘Actually, I did I follow his orders but he still attacked me and beat me’.
Amongst the soldiers there were two officers – I knew this by the badges on their shoulders. One of the soldiers talked to me and asked me what happened. I answered that the soldier hit me even though I followed his orders and then the soldier asked me to stand there and I heard them talk about first aid, but it was in Hebrew and I could not understand all of it. One of the officers told me to go through the checkpoint without offering me first aid. Then one of the soldiers gave back my ID.
I headed to the Dr Thabat Thabat Hospital in Tulkarm. I arrived at the hospital at about 3pm. The doctors at the hospital treated my injuries. They x-rayed my arm and put a plaster cast on it. Then I went home.