Affidavit No. 5645/2010

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, Mahmoud Saleh Ahmad Hamad, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 975917766, born on 25 July 1960, a farmer, and a resident of Hamad Street, Beit Hanoun town, Northern Gaza governorate, would like to declare the following:

I own a piece of farmland, measuring 1,500 square metres, cultivated with lemon trees, and located along Sharab Street, northeast of Beit Hanoun town in the Northern Gaza governorate. My land is almost one kilometre away from the northern Israeli Border. The northern part of my land is neighboured by two other strips of land that belong to ‘Ayyad Abu-Taha and Hajj Ibrahim ‘Abdallah Abu-Sa’id. Every day, I cultivate and tend my land, as did my neighbour, Hajj Ibrahim, his. During al-Aqsa Intifada, Israeli bulldozers levelled my land on several occasions as well as the neighbouring land in the area. The last time the Israeli army levelled my land was at the start of the war on Gaza in late 2008.

At around 8:30 am on Sunday, 12 September 2010, I made the journey to my land by motorcycle in order cultivate it. When I arrived, I saw my neighbour Hajj Ibrahim Abu- Sa’id, who was 90 years old, working and grazing his sheep – approximately 40 goats – on his land, which is adjacent to mine. Husam, the 16-year-old grandson of Hajj Ibrahim, as well as Husam’s friend, Isma’il Walid Abu-‘Oda (also about 16 years old), were assisting Hajj Ibrahim.

At around 12:00 pm on the same day, I left the land and went home for lunch and a rest. Meanwhile, Hajj Ibrahim and the two boys remained and continued to work on the land. At around 3:00 pm, I returned to my land and observed that Hajj Ibrahim, as well as his grandson and Isma’il Abu-‘Oda, were still tending the land and grazing the sheep. I greeted them and started to work on my land. A short while later, my neighbour Ahmad
al-‘Afifi, who is 55 years old, arrived on an animal-pulled cart. We chatted a little and performed the afternoon prayers together.

At around 4:40 pm on the same day, I heard the sound of a loud explosion, which came from the direction of the Northern Border (towards the south). My neighbour and I sought protection on the land. Then, I saw an Israeli tank take position behind the border fence with the nozzle of its canon pointed southwards at us. I did not know where the shell had landed. My neighbour and I were scared and decided to collect our things and leave the area. Meanwhile, I saw Hajj Ibrahim and the boys collecting and guiding the sheep to the pen on their land. Almost three minutes after the first explosion, I heard the sound of a second explosion, which also came from the direction of the Border.

After the second explosion, Hajj Ibrahim; the two boys; my neighbour Ahmad and I were all collecting our belongings and preparing to leave the area when again, three minutes later, I heard the sound of a third explosion; this time louder and closer. Ahmad and I sought protection on the ground for almost two minutes. Then, I got up and looked around. I saw dust and smoke rise from the sheep pen on Hajj Ibrahim Abu-Sa’id’s land and heard screams, which lasted for seconds only. Then I walked to the public street and waited for ambulances. I was not able to check on Hajj Ibrahim and the two boys for fear that the tank would shell the area once more. About 10 minutes later, an ambulance driven by Yusri ‘Ayesh al-Masri arrived. He asked where the explosion had occurred and I pointed to the spot. He requested that I wait until he returned; I knew al-Masri already because he is a resident of our area. Another 10 minutes passed when Yusri came back and said that he and the medics had found the corpses of an elderly man and a child. He asked me if anyone else had been vicinity of the explosion. I said there was another boy, who had been working with Hajj Ibrahim and Husam. The ambulance set off to the hospital and I followed it on my motorcycle. I heard Yusri report on the presence of another child and request that colleagues bring another ambulance to the area.

After we reached Beit Hanoun Hospital, doctors immediately transferred the dead bodies of Hajj Ibrahim and his grandson to the mortuary. I saw a large injury on Hajj Ibrahim’s face as well as shrapnel wounds on various parts of his body. Husam had sustained wounds to the head, stomach and various parts of his body as well.

I went home and rested for a short time. Then, I went to my neighbour Walid Abu-‘Oda and consoled him for the death of his son Isma’il. Together with men from Abu-‘Oda’s family, I went to the hospital, collected Isma’il’s decapitated corpse from the mortuary, and buried it in the Beit Hanun cemetery.

On the morning of the next day, I went to the hospital with members of the Abu-Sa’id family, collected the dead bodies of Hajj Isma’il and his grandson Husam, and buried them.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5645/2010
  • Field researcher: Mohammad Abu Rahmah
  • Affidavit Date: 15 September 2010
  • Name: Mahmoud Saleh Ahmad Hamad