Testimony: Raifeh G.
||28 February 2018
||Al 'Ezariya, West Bank
On 28 February 2018, a 15-year-old youth from Al 'Ezariya is arrested by Israeli soldiers at 4:30 a.m. His mother, Raifeh, describes the night arrest and the impact it has had on her family. There is a heavy military prensence in the village due to a nearby military base.
I was up at around 4:30 a.m. preparing a cup of tea and getting ready to go to work when I heard loud banging at our front door. At first I thought it was my son-in-law who lives downstairs but then I heard Israeli soldiers telling us to open the door.
I woke my husband up and quickly ran back and opened the door. Five soldiers, including a female soldier, entered our home. As I opened the door they were just about to break it down.
One of the soldiers pointed his gun at me and pushed me back into the middle room. I was terrified. They wanted to go into my daughters’ bedroom but my husband prevented them and told them he wanted to wake our daughters up himself.
I hoped the soldiers would just search our house and then leave. At one point some soldiers entered my bedroom and started to throw our clothes on the floor after taking everything out of the wardrobe.
Then a soldier told my husband they were looking for our 15-year-old son. They checked my husband’s identity card and told him they wanted to arrest our son. I was in shock because I know my children are not involved in anything. Our children run home and hide during clashes when they see soldiers on the streets.
The soldiers then said they wanted to search our son’s wardrobe told us they were looking for a T-shirt shown in a photograph they had with them. They stormed into our son’s bedroom and threw all his clothes on the floor. When they did not find the T-shirt they were looking for they made me open the washing machine which had wet clothes inside. They also looked in the laundry bin and did not find what they were looking for.
Then the soldiers told our son to put his clothes on because he was under arrest. They did not give us any documentation but they told my husband they were taking to the settlement of Ma’ale Adummim for questioning.
I was in shock as this was the last thing I had expected. I nearly broke down but I held my tears back because I wanted to be strong in front of our son. The minute they took him outside I burst into tears. I was very worried about him. His sisters started to cry while he was still in the house and I could tell he was scared.
The soldiers remained inside our home for about an hour. They turned everything upside down and then left with our son. I felt a deep sense of emptiness and fear and could not stop crying.
Although our son was released 10 days later due to a lack of evidence, the experience has left him terrified of soldiers. He now runs home as soon as he sees a soldier in town.
Our youngest daughter, who is 13, was terrified by the experience. For weeks she would not go into the bathroom on her own. She is scared of the darkness and often tells me she wants to sleep somewhere else. She jumps each time there is a knock on the door or a sound outside the house.
This is not the first time that our house has been raided by soldiers. About six months ago soldiers came in the middle of the night but left without doing anything. The reason for the heavy military presence in our neighbourhood is the nearby military base. Military vehicles drive up the main street and young boys throw stones at them.