Affidavit No. 5263/2010

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, Najla Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif Ayyoub, of Palestinian nationality, holder of identity card number 959221532, born on 18 November 1951, housewife, and a resident of al-Nabi Saleh, Ramallah district, would like to declare the following:

I live to the north of the village of al-Nabi Saleh, and my house is around 200 metres from the main entrance to the village, looked over by the settlement of Halamish, which stands on the land of our village and the village of Deir Nizam. The settlement is around one kilometre from our house. Our house consists of three floors, where I and my family live on the third floor, and my married son and his family live on the second. In the apartment where I live there is a veranda looking out over the main entrance to the village, which has a glass front all along that side for a length of around four metres. It opens onto the guest room, kitchen, and sitting room. Also on the veranda is a door which is the only entrance and exit to my apartment. Every Friday the people of the village demonstrate against the activities, hostilities, and expansions of the settlement, which the settlers of Halamish are carrying out on the land of the village. Most of the time the protests pass close to our house and they are also opposed by occupation soldiers close to our home. On Friday 29 January 2010, around 25 people were gathered in the house, among them my husband, my son and daughter, his wife, their children, and also my brother and his daughter and a number of our relatives, with around ten children among us. We often gather like that at the house, especially on Fridays, because most of my relatives are also our neighbours. We had been sitting on the roof of the house since about 9:30 am. We knew that occupation soldiers had encircled the village from all sides to block the protestors and prevent them from getting to the land enclosed by the settlement. I saw them gathering at the edge of the village when I was on the roof of the house, since our house consists of three floors and the third floor looks out in different directions over the village. At around 11:30 am six military jeeps appeared and gathered in front of our house. There was an infantry unit stationed in front of the house at different distances and locations, some of them lying on the ground and others standing up. As for us, we remained on the roof of the house observing what was happening, and journalists and foreign protestors gathered around us. At around 1:00 pm the protestors went out after Friday prayers in the direction of the main road, towards the entrance to the village. When they arrived close to the house the soldiers began to fire rubber bullets, gas grenades and sound grenades towards them, so we all went down to the third floor of the house. While we were in the house a metal round covered in rubber smashed the window of the veranda and shattered glass, however no one present was injured. That was at around 3:00 pm. We moved to the opposite side from the glass, however less than two minutes later two teargas grenades followed the rubber bullet, breaking the glass in the corner close to the entrance to the house and landing near the curtains, causing them to catch fire. My husband and my son’s wife moved towards the fire and began to put it out before it could spread, but they were affected by severe choking. My husband went outside, while my son’s wife followed us to one of the bedrooms, where we gathered and tried to treat her. However the gas fumes had started to spread intensely, going into all the rooms in the house. The children were terrified and everyone began to get scared. We decided to leave the house, and my daughters Mays, who is 19 years old, and Maha, who is 27, Na’im, who is 14, and Marwan, 35, followed me and we went back to the room that the two grenades had fallen in, which had the only exit out of the house. When we reached the outside we could still smell the fumes and what seemed like the smell of animal waste or dung. The smell was intense and the soldiers were spraying it out of a spray machine. Even though I had moved outside I was still suffering from faintness and shaking. A group of youths came over to me to treat me, and gave me the necessary care. When I woke up I learnt that Maha, Marwan, Mays and Na’im had been affected by the same condition and also taken for treatment, and I also learnt that the youths had taken some of the women and children who had remained in the house out through a bedroom window by means of a ladder. I wasn’t able to return home that day because of the gas which remained absorbed in the house and we went to the houses of our relatives and stayed the night there. The following day I returned home and cleaned the house, but the fumes of the gas are still absorbed in the house until now. I should like to point out here that this is not the first time that soldiers have fired gas grenades and bullets towards our house; this takes places during every demonstration, and during every demonstration windows are broken and the curtains catch fire.

This is my declaration and hereby I sign, 31 January 2010


Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 5263/2010
  • Field researcher: Hadeel Haneti
  • Affidavit Date: 31 January 2010
  • Name: Najla Muhammad ‘Abd al-Latif Ayyoub