Affidavit No. 7710/2012

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, Mazin Niyaz Muhammed ‘Awwad, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 960600971, born on 7 March 1967, a farmer, and a resident of ‘Awarta village, Nablus governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a resident of the ‘Awarta village, which is almost nine kilometres south of Nablus city. My family and I live in a house located in an area called ‘Ain al-Ghoutah, south of the village. My wife and I have seven children: George, 22, Hakim, 19, Julia, 18, Nour, ten, Jibril, nine, as well as my little daughters Karam, five and Shahd, three. My wife is Nof Salim Hasan ‘Awwad, 39.

On 5 April 2011, the Israeli occupying authorities detained my son Hakim, after accusing him of killing five settlers in the Israeli settlement of ‘Itamar’, east of the village. Hakim was sentenced to five terms of life imprisonment plus an additional five years. Recently, my family has been harassed by the Israeli occupying soldiers. Because of what my son did, soldiers raid my home, intimidate my children, and threaten my family. Hakim was detained and sentenced to imprisonment. He is now being held in the Israeli Shatta Prison. As a form of collective punishment, my wife, my sons who hold ID cards and I have been deprived of visiting Hakim in prison.

At around 3:00 am on 29 August 2012, Israeli infantry soldiers surrounded my home and knocked on the outer door. After I opened the door, I saw almost 19 Israeli soldiers, who were heavily armed and wearing military uniforms. A number of soldiers had on black masks and others had black paint on their faces. The occupying soldiers pulled me out of my home, forced me to stand against the wall of the house, and searched me. They told me to bring out all the men, but I said that there weren’t any men inside. I explained that only my children and wife were at home. I talked to an Israeli military officer. Then, my wife brought my sons and daughters out of the house. My nine-year-old son Jibril stayed in the hallway. Jibril had strained tendons, so had casts on both his legs. Then, the Israeli occupying soldiers immediately stormed into the house. Pointing their weapons at us, about five soldiers stayed near my family and me in front of the house. The occupying soldiers searched the house for almost half an hour. Later, the Israeli officer came out, told me to follow him into the house, and show him the room where my son George usually sleeps. The officer and I went to my son’s room. He also asked about the rooms of my other sons and daughters as well as about my bedroom. George was not at home, so the officer demanded his mobile telephone number. In front of the officer, I called my son, but his telephone was turned off. Over his wireless telecommunications device, the officer talked to someone in Hebrew, which I understand. He reported that my son George was not at home. The recipient of the call told the officer to write down orders summoning my wife and me to the Israeli Intelligence agency. The officer wrote the two summonses, one for me and the other for my wife, ordering us to report to the Israeli Intelligence agency at 9:00 am sharp on 30 August 2012.

At around 7:00 am on 30 August 2012, I received a call on my mobile telephone. Introducing himself as Mazin, an Israeli Intelligence officer inquired about the people to whom the summonses had been addressed. I said they were given to my wife and me. He said I should tell my wife not to come to the interview, but that I had to arrive on time. After that first telephone call at 9:00 am,, I received about five more telephone calls from the Israeli Intelligence officer. During the second call, the officer inquired about my son George, but I said I did not know where he was. He insulted me and called me a liar. During our third conversation, the Intelligence officer Mazin threatened to arrest all the members of my family if I did not hand over George. During the fourth call, he asked where I was. I said I was at the ‘Huwwara District Coordination Office (DCO), about to be interviewed. I handed my personal ID card and summons to a guard at the ‘Huwwara DCO camp and waited for the interview. In the meantime, the officer called me for the fifth time and I said I was in ‘Huwwara, still waiting for the interview.

After waiting for about two hours, I entered a room where I met with two Intelligence officers. An officer introduced himself as Mazin, and said he was in charge of the ‘Awarta area. While he was inquiring about my son George, he insulted my son and daughter. When I challenged him, he ordered soldiers to tie my hands behind my back and drop me on the ground. While handcuffed and lying on the ground, the officer inquired about my son Hakim and said he was a killer.

I said, “I was detained. The Intelligence agency told me that my son and his friend Amjad Muhammad Fawzi ‘Awwad had committed murder in the settlement. Then, I told the Intelligence I did not know anything about them.”

Officer Mazin explained the details of the murder committed by my son and his friend. I said this did not matter to me.

I said, “My son is detained by you. He is sentenced to five terms of life imprisonment and an additional five years. I am not responsible for what my son did. I am only responsible for my little children, whom I support.”

The Intelligence officer in charge asked how much time my son had spent in detention. I answered that he had been detained for almost 17 months at that point.

“Of course, your wife and you are forbidden from visiting him in prison,” the officer said.

He also told me to cooperate with the Israeli officer.

“Do you want me to be a spy?” I exclaimed.

“We will give you a house in any location you want in Bat Yam, Haifa.”

I answered, “I do not need to visit my son. Also, I do not see any of the collaborators living in Haifa or Jaffa. I am 46 years old and I will not be useful to you.” 

Using my mobile telephone, the Intelligence officer called my house, put it on speaker phone, and held it to my ear while I was still handcuffed and sitting on the ground. He told me to ask my wife if she knew anything about my son George and whether she had asked his friends about him. I talked to my wife in front of the officer, who listened to the conversation. My wife said that my son used to work in Ramallah and that she had no news of him. While I was handcuffed, the officer called the house almost ten times. At around 12:00 pm, the officer demanded that I call my son’s friend Mahmoud Fat’hi and ask him about my son George. The officer told me not to say where I was detained, and I consented. Using my phone, he dialled a number. I immediately told my son’s friend that I was detained by the Israeli Intelligence agency. The officer took the telephone away and insulted and cursed at me. Then, I told the Israeli Intelligence officer that I would not cooperate with him, nor would I talk to anyone over the telephone.

“You are my guest. You are not accused. I just want to question you”, the officer said.

I replied, “I am handcuffed and sitting on the ground. I will not cooperate with you.” 

The officer called over an Israeli soldier and ordered him to remove the metal handcuffs. The officer then told me to go outside and smoke a cigarette, which I did. Then, he called me in and offered to let me leave for half an hour so I could go to Mahmoud Fat’hi’s house and ask him about my son George. He would then call me and inquire about what had happened. I agreed and left the ‘Huwwara camp, knowing that I was being watched. About ten minutes later, I reached the village, went to Mahmoud’s house, and spoke to him. At that moment, my mobile telephone rang; it was the Israeli Intelligence officer, asking what I was doing.

I told him, “Mahmoud says that he saw my son George during ‘Eid (Muslim holidays) and knows that he works in Ramallah. If you want to talk to him, please go ahead.” 

The officer said he did not want to talk to Mahmoud and that I should come back to the Israeli ‘Huwwara camp in five minutes. I immediately went back to the camp and waited from 8:00 pm until 12:00 am, but I did not meet with any Intelligence officer. Then, an Intelligence officer asked me about Salim Hasan Awwad’s house, but I said I did not know where it was. He said Salim had two houses in Nablus city. At around 12:00 am, I was handcuffed and blindfolded. An Israeli soldier accompanied me to an unknown area and made me sit on a chair. At around 4:30 am on 31 August 2012, an Israeli Intelligence officer came in, removed the blindfold, and said he would make coffee for me. He told a soldier to remove my handcuffs because I would be leaving the camp. Later, an Israeli soldier took me out of the detention camp. Meanwhile, I saw Muhammad Ghazi, a detained resident from the village. I left the detention camp and asked Muhammad what had happened. He said he had been detained along with Mahmoud Fat’hi Darawshah and Baha’ Fazi’ Darawshah. I saw them leaving the camp through the gate the same way I did. Later, I was told that the Israeli army had detained Salim Hasan ‘Awwad and his wife Fawziyyah Mahmoud Qawariq, who are both elderly. After being interrogated by the Intelligence agency, they were released the same day.

At around 10:30 pm on 4 September 2012, my family and my son George were at home and I was in the village. Israeli Special Forces, in Israeli civilian vehicles, raided the village. My daughter Nour told my wife that the Israeli occupying soldiers had surrounded the house, so my family called to tell me the news. A soldier shouted at my daughter. My wife went to open the door, but the soldiers were forcibly removing it. She shouted that she would open the door. When I reached the house, I saw about nine soldiers, two of which pointed their weapons at me. Another two soldiers had detained my son George, who was handcuffed. The door to the house had been removed. On the ground, there was a black machine operated with oil. It was about half a metre long. A soldier asked where I was going. I told him I was going into my house. He allowed me to get close to my son George, but did not allow me to talk to him. About two minutes later, the soldiers allowed me to enter a room on the ground floor, where my children and wife were being detained. In the meantime, the occupying soldiers had dispersed around the house. I stayed with my children and wife for ten minutes. Then, an Israeli officer and soldiers searched the room where we were detained. Through the north-facing window, I saw bright lights and heard the sound of military patrols arriving. An Israeli soldier took me to the living room. There, I saw my son George and two Israeli Intelligence officers, including Officer Mazin. I sat down on a chair. Barefoot and with his hands tied behind his back, my son George was also sitting in a chair in the same room. Officer Mazin held a knife in his hand and stood at the door. Another Intelligence officer damaged some pots, pictures and chairs. Later, my wife was brought into the room and the door was shut. My son George, my wife, two Israeli officers, the two soldiers who were guarding us, and I were in the room. Officer Mazin held the knife against my neck.

“You are Hakim’s father. This is Hakim’s brother and mother”, he said, pointing the knife at my son and wife.

I tried to talk, but he told me to shut up.

“You came to the camp, and we respected you. We have come here to cause damage. This is a message for you, for the residents of ‘Awarta village, and for the people whom we summon, but do not respond. I am want that residents of ‘Awarta to see what will happen to the house”, the officer said.

My wife shouted that collaborators had guided them to our home. The Israeli officer Mazin told my wife to stay silent and shut her mouth. He was holding a pot.

“Do you want to punish me because of my son, whom you sentenced to 500 years in prison?” my wife exclaimed.

The officer threw the pot from a distance of about two and a half metres, but it did not hit my wife. The two Israeli officers damaged all the contents of the room, including the pots, vases and pictures. Using the knife, Officer Mazin tore apart our pillows and sofas. My wife protested and shouted at them. The officer told me to shut my wife up or they would arrest my daughter Julia and me. My wife replied that he could take and detain whoever he wanted. The soldiers and officer continued to search and damage contents of the house for about an hour. Then, the Israeli occupying soldiers took my son George out of the house. Later, the Israeli officer came back and broke something that had not been broken.

“This is good”, he said, meaning it was enough.

At around 11:40 pm, the patrols and occupying soldiers withdrew from the area. They took my son George, barefoot, in a patrol car and prevented me from catching up with them. Then, I went to the room where my children and wife had been detained. They cried and were so frightened. My wife and I calmed them down.

Before they left, the occupying soldiers confiscated personal pictures of my sons George and Hakim as well as some shields of honour, which are presented to prisoners’ families. My son Hakim is detained in Israeli prisons.


This is my declaration, which I hereby sign, 8 September 2012

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: Affidavit No. 7710/2012
  • Field researcher: Muhammad Ra’i
  • Affidavit Date: 8 September 2012
  • Name: Mazin Niyaz Muhammed ‘Awwad
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