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Affidavit No. 5067/2009

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, Khader „Azmi Muhammad Hassouna, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 901138404, born on 20 October 1976, an employee and a resident of „Ein Sarah neighbourhood, Hebron city, Hebron governorate, would like to declare the following:

I live in a four-storey house along „Ein Sarah Main Street in the city of Hebron. The first floor comprises of commercial shops. My family and I live on the second floor. I have three children: Shurouq (seven-years-old, Suhayb (five-years-old), and Jana (one-year-old). Rawhi Abu-Hammad 27-years-old, a tenant, lives on the third floor. He is married and has one child, who is two-years-old. The fourth floor is empty. My brother „Azzam and his family used to live on that flour. Two months ago, however, they moved into a new house in another part of the city. The entrance to our building is a small road that is approximately 20 metres away from „Ein Sarah Main Street.

At around 1:30 am on Tuesday, 1 September 2009, my wife woke me up and said that Israeli soldiers were banging on the door of our house. At the same time, I heard the sound of loud banging one of the doors. In addition to shouts and footsteps on the staircase, I heard the door of the flat on the upper floor opening.

“Open! It‟s the army.” Soldiers knocked on doors and shouted. I went to the flat door and opened it. I saw some cracks on the door caused by the strong knocking. I saw two soldiers, who had their faces painted with dyes, pointing their weapons at me. They had lights on their rifles. The two soldiers pulled me out of the house and demanded that I wait along the main street outside. There, I met with my neighbour Rawhi, along with his wife and son. An officer requested my ID card, but I said I was not carrying it with me. He was blond, of strong build, and seemed to be around forty years of age. The officer demanded that Rawhi‟s wife go and bring it.

Another officer inquired about the names of residents in the building and said he wanted to search the flats. I told him there were no residents other than Abu-Hammad‟s family and my family. However, he insisted that there were other residents and that I was lying to him.
“Who do you want? I will help you.” I offered.
“Shut up and sit down.” he replied.
The officer requested other forces through his wireless telecommunication device. Minutes later, a number of soldiers arrived with a dog. Then, another group of soldiers arrived. The officer told Rawhi‟s wife to call my wife and children out of the house. They came out, and a number of soldiers with a dog entered my house. Rawhi and I requested that we accompany them, but they refused. From outside, I could hear the noise of banging on doors and pieces of furniture being dropped on the ground. Meanwhile, the officer asked me for my brothers‟ names and I answered. Then he inquired where they lived.

“You are destroying my house and want me to tell me where my brothers live!” I exclaimed. The officer, who spoke Arabic, refused to state his name. I told him I would not speak unless he allowed the women and children to enter the house. I heard the officer talk to a more senior officer, whose name was Samir. The latter requested that I be brought to the main street, to which two soldiers led me.

A short while later, a number of soldiers arrived in the company of the so-called Samir (he was short, of brown complexion, a bit fat, in the military uniform, and about 37 years of age.) A soldier gave Samir Rawhi‟s ID card, as well as my ID card. Samir demanded that I accompany him into a jeep and guide him to my four brothers‟ houses. I refused and said that because of what the troops had done to our houses, I would not tell them anything. Samir replied that if I did not guide him to my brothers‟ houses, he would go in the house and destroy all its contents and would interrogate my wife and children.

“I am not a spy to guide you to my brother‟s houses” I stated.
At this point, Samir shouted obscenities at me, cursing my father. In reply, I cursed his father. Following this, he went to my house and brought my son Suhayb with him.
“Don‟t talk to the enemy.” I told Suhayb as he was crying.
The soldier stood with Suhayb at a distance of ten metres from me and then brought him back to where my family was. Later, my wife told me that the officer took Suhayb to a corner and tried to get some information from him.

Officer Samir came back and claimed that he had a solution that would save me from getting into trouble with my brothers. I had to show him their houses on a laptop he had. As he talked to me, he turned on the laptop and opened a file containing aerial images of houses. However, I refused to do so.
“Sit here, you rubbish.” He addressed me. It was around 3:00 am.
Later, Rawhi told me that the officer had asked him about the person who leased the house to him. Rawhi said it was Abu-Tareq. Having asked for Abu-Tareq‟s first name, Rawhi said he did not know it. However, he had Abu-Tareq‟s telephone number. The officer demanded that Rawhi call Abu-Tareq, who was my brother Ghassan (about 47 years of age). After Rawhi dialled the number, the officer grabbed the telephone and told Ghassan to come by.

After Ghassan arrived, officer Samir told some soldiers to put me into a Hummer jeep. I was placed on the floor of the jeep in the midst of ten soldiers. Five minutes later, I heard a soldier tell others to release me in Hebrew. Israeli troops released me, but they did not give me my ID card back. Additionally, they did not return Rawhi‟s mobile telephone.

Later, Israeli troops arrested my brother „Azzam after they had forced Ghassan to show them „Azzam‟s house. After he had been released, Ghassan brought back my ID card and Rawhi‟s cellular telephone.

When I returned to my flat, I found that soldiers had tampered with and searched two bedrooms. They had thrown clothes, which had been tucked into cupboards, on the ground. They had also turned over sofas and destroyed the door of the flat on the third floor. My wife‟s gold was on the dressing table. It was not stolen or touched, making me feel assured that nothing had been robbed from the house.

The incident took place during the holy month of Ramadan. Before we went to bed, we tidied the house and had our last meal before daybreak (suhour). At around 7:00 am, I was about to leave my house. I wanted to make sure that a sum of 4150 NIS was in my pocket, but I only found 200 NIS. I asked my wife about the lost money (3950 NIS), but she said she knew nothing about it. I realised that the soldiers had taken it from the jacket. I had been saving that money to prepare a banquet for Ramadan.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5067/2009
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 2 September 2009
  • Name: Khader „Azmi Muhammad Hassouna