Thursday, February 5, 2009
looking for Ayala
Israeli soldier at Kalandia military checkpoint. photo: Markus Cuel at Flikr.
from B'Tselem, The Isreali Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories:
Testimony: Soldier beats Mahmoud 'Awwad, fracturing his skull, Jan. '09.
Read Mahmoud's brother's testimony of what happened at the West Bank Huwara checkpoint, one of many Israeli military gate-keeping practices, to keep Palestinians OUT of Israel. Mahmoud's brain had to be operated on because of the beating; he was put on a respirator and is in intensive care.
"A female soldier was at the checkpoint, and she saw what happened. She checked the ID cards of the young people crossing the checkpoint. Na’im heard soldiers call her Ayala. She is light-skinned, of moderate build, 1.65 meters tall, and has long, brown hair combed into little braids."
"I saw policemen talking with Fawzi. Fawzi took his ID card from one of the soldiers and asked him, “What about my brother? You detained him because of me, and I’m being released now.” The soldier said, “I detained him, and I’ll release him whenever I want.” I called to another soldier and said, “Let him take his things.” The soldier came over to me, took Fawzi’s things, and gave them to him. Fawzi left.
A tall soldier, about 1.8 meters high, light-skinned, with a thin face, came over to me and said, “Your nose is too much up in the air. You’ll lower your nose and bow now.” He grabbed my hand and pulled me out of the room. He called another soldier over and the two of them beat me. The other soldier was shorter, light-skinned, thin, and had a bit of a beard. They pushed me to the ground and hit me with the butts of their weapons on my shoulders and back. I tried not to fall. They wanted to humiliate me but I preferred to die than to be humiliated. I didn't do anything, my hands were cuffed. The soldiers beat me hard. They said, “You’ll go down on the ground, whether you want to or not.” I told them I wouldn’t. The soldier who had cuffed me said to me, “Now I’ll show you how you’ll go down.” Then he blindfolded me with a piece of cloth.
In the meantime, my brother Mahmoud, 29, arrived at the checkpoint. He was on his way to work in Israel and was waiting in line at the checkpoint. I heard him say to the soldiers, “Why are you beating him? What did he do?” The beating stopped and the soldiers shouted. Then I heard some commotion, but I couldn’t see what was happening. Somebody, I don’t know who, removed my blindfold. I saw my brother stretched out on the ground. His head was bleeding and he was unconscious. The soldiers shouted at people coming to the checkpoint to move back. Some people picked up Mahmoud and walked away. I ran after them. I couldn’t believe my eyes. Somebody told me that a soldier had hit Mahmoud in the head with his weapon, and that Mahmoud had immediately lost consciousness. We took Mahmoud by car to Rafidya Hospital."