Testimony: Ruqaya D.
||25 September 2017
||Ad Duheisha, West Bank
On 25 September 2017, Israeli soldiers break open the front door of a home in the Ad Duheisha refugee camp in Bethlehem. The soldiers threaten to demolish the home if a mobile phone is not handed over and cause property damage before detaining one adult.
I was up at around 4:00 a.m. getting ready visit one of my sons who is in an Israeli prison when I heard a noise at the front door. Suddenly my front door was broken open and I was shocked to see around 12 Israeli soldiers enter my home. One of the soldiers was wearing a mask. I was terrified.
When I asked the soldiers what they wanted they told me to "shut up". I stood at the front door and saw many more soldiers outside. I also saw a service dog but thankfully they did not bring it inside my home.
The soldiers wanted to know who lived upstairs and I told them one of my sons and his family. I also told them they must not go upstairs with the dog because my son and his wife have two young daughters aged 2 and 11 months. I got into an argument with the soldiers over this.
At the time a friend of my son's was staying over and he asked the soldiers to treat me with respect. In response one of the soldiers pulled out a taser and tried to beat him with it. I stood between the two and managed to separate them. Then they tied the hands of my son’s friend behind his back with one plastic tie and took him outside. When I asked why they were detaining my son's friend I was again told to "shut up".
Then one of the soldiers asked me to hand over my mobile phone. When I told him I did not have a mobile phone they threatened to demolish our house with us inside if I did not hand it over immediately. Then two soldiers started to shove items off a shelf onto the ground; books, vases, cups and plates, everything. They also broke the door to a cupboard in the hallway.
The soldiers left my apartment at around 6:00 a.m. and went upstairs to my son's home.
This is not the first time my home has been raided by the army. I've lost count how many times but I think at least 20 times. The army deliberately enters our refugee camp and provokes riots.
I find it hard to sleep at night. I constantly worry about my children and my grandchildren who are growing up with a lot of violence around them. I feel physically and mentally exhausted during the day when I don’t sleep at night. I have high blood pressure and I feel pain in my joints. I keep my clothes next to my bed because I need them handy in case my house is raided. The minute I find out soldiers are in the refugee camp I prepare myself for the worse.
I constantly monitor the refugee camp’s facebook page to see if soldiers have entered the camp and which neighbourhood has been targeted. They won’t leave us alone, not for one second. Sometimes I think they enter our camp for training purposes.