Testimony: Lubna H.
|Date:||16 May 2023|
|Location:||Husan, West Bank|
|Event:||Night raid / child arrest|
On 16 May 2023, Israeli soldiers entered a home in Husan at 3:00 a.m. and arrested a 14-year-old boy. The soldiers remained in the house for 45 minutes before taking the boy without giving the family any documentation.
Our neighbours phoned at around 1:30 a.m. to say Israeli soldiers were in our neighbourhood. I looked out the window and saw lots of soldiers on the streets. I also saw that they had opened the front gate to our house without making a sound. My husband and I woke up our children so as to prepare them for the immanent raid.
About one-and-a-half hours later there was a knock at our front door. My husband quickly looked out the window and told the soldiers to give us a minute to get dressed. I was surprised they gave us time and did not break in.
After we dressed my husband opened the front door and about 10 fully armed and masked soldiers entered our home. They looked like they were ready for war. They started by asking me and my husband questions about our family. The commander wanted to know who was at the hospital a few days ago. I told him it was my eldest son (25 years) who is severely handicapped and needs regular hospitalization. Then he wanted me to bring our disabled son for him to see but I refused.
Then the commander asked me to name all my children. I started to name them but he then interrupted and went on to name the ones I had not yet named. I was shocked and scared when I realized he knew the names of all our children. By now all our children were wondering who the soldiers had come to arrest. Our youngest daughter, who is 13, was terrified to see masked soldiers in our home.
When the commander named our 14-year-old son, A., he asked me to identify him. He then took A. to his bedroom but did not allow me or my husband to accompany him. They searched his room and asked him to take off his trousers to show him the gunshot wound he sustained a couple of months earlier during clashes with soldiers.
By this stage I was losing my temper and wanted to be with my son, but I decided against saying anything for fear they might take it out on A. I felt I was choking. About 15-minutes later the commander called me into A.'s bedroom and told me to prepare a backpack for my son because he was under arrest. The commander sarcastically told me he was going to take him on a trip.
At this point our 18-year-old son started to encourage his younger brother and gave him advice. I noticed the commander did not like this and so I put my hand over my son’s mouth and told him not to say anything. My only worry was that they might take it out on A. once he was out of sight. I told the commander to take care of A. because he is only 14 years. The soldiers did not give us any documents and did not tell us the reason for A.’s arrest.
The soldiers remained inside our home for about 45 minutes. Then they took A. outside where a soldier blindfolded him and tied his hands behind his back with one plastic tie. Then he aggressively pushed A. into the back of a jeep and drove away. I could not go back to sleep immediately, but by 7:00 a.m. I was completely drained and fell asleep.
Later that morning my husband received a phone call from the interrogator at the police station in the nearby settlement of Bitar Illit. The interrogator wanted to know about A.’s gunshot wound and summoned my husband to the police station. My husband quickly dressed and rushed to the police station hoping he would see A. but the interrogator did not allow him in. A. ended up spending a week in prison and we were fined NIS 3,000.
Israeli soldiers are constantly in our village, they don’t leave us alone. Thy placed concrete blocks at the entrance to the village and in the centre, to stop people as they go about their daily business and to harass children. Their presence is a constant cause of friction. I don’t understand the reason for harassing us.
We often see Israeli settlers doing their shopping in our village, and lots of men from our village work at the settlement. Unfortunately, the soldiers’ constant presence prompts some boys and young men to throw stones at them. One day, all our work permits to work at the settlement were revoked following and incident, but then the settlers objected because they need us to work at their settlement.