Border Police officers beat residents of Beit Surik who block bulldozers from reaching their land on which the Separation Barrier is slated to run

Nabil al-Jamal, age 45

Nabil al-Jamal

About a year and a half ago, people started to talk about a wall being built, enclosing the village from the west. I didn't know then that the wall would cut across my brothers' and my land. At that time, the lawyer Muhammad Dahleh submitted a court appeal against the wall's proposed route. About a month later, we learned that the wall would cross through our land. We retained a lawyer, Ghaith Naser, because the wall was to be built on two dunams of our land, with three more to be used for patrolling the wall. Last Tuesday, May 31, the army's legal advisor invited residents to a tour of the wall's path. I went along with the lawyer Ghaith Naser; the head of the Town Council, Ahmad 'Amr al-Jamal; and the captain of the Border Police, As'ad `Atillah. The legal adviser explained that they would in fact start construction of the wall on my land, within the olive grove. He said that if we won in court, things would go back to how they were previously, but I told him that wouldn't help, since my olive trees are already fully grown. My trees are very old, some more than a hundred years-old. I suggested that they change the wall's route. They could shift it west some fifty meters'— there aren't any olive trees there. It would still be on t he land that belongs to my brothers and me, but at the very least we would save the olive grove. They promised to discuss the suggestion in court.

The next morning, at around 7 AM, a large force from the Border Police arrived with three big bulldozers in tow. As'ad `Atillah was commanding them. They tried to pass into the land. I was there with my brothers `Ali, age 42, Farah, age 39, and Ahmad, age 36, in addition to my wife Tamam, age 43, and several residents that own land nearby: Khalil Hilal, Saher Suhadeh(may be, it's Shuhadeh. How is it in Heb.?), and two of Saher's brothers. Five children were also with us: `Omer Ahmad, age ten; Ibrahim Ahmad, eleven; Ahmad `Ali and Muhammad `Ali, both twelve; and Riyadh (gould be Rida or Riyad) Farah, twelve. We all stood at the entrance to the land. I told Captain `Atillah that we wouldn't allow them to work on our land unless they had a military order. I said that the case regarding my land case was currently under discussion in court, and that there had not yet been a ruling on the appeal. I reminded him that he himself had been with the legal advisor yesterday, and he knew that they were still considering the matter. We refused to leave the land. We sat down and made a human chain of sorts.

As`ad called to the bulldozers to advance towards us, but we didn't move. He ordered the Border Police officers standing behind to come and remove us from the area. There were more than twenty officers present. Together with As`ad , they grabbed the children that were with us and forcefully removed them. They hit and frightened the children, who ran away. Muhammad `Ali stayed nearby, though. He was standing about one meter away from us, and As`ad `Atillah caught him by the neck, pushed him and forced him away. After that, As`ad and the police officers started trying to drag us away. They even drew their weapons on us. Before they beat us, I had warned As`ad that I have a bad heart, and he'd be responsible if something happened to me. He and the police attacked us, drawing their weapons and pushing us on top of each other. I don't remember what the police officers looked like, but I do remember As`ad . He is tall and well-built, with light-colored skin.

As they beat us, I felt like I couldn't breathe, and that all my strength had been drained from me. I passed out. After some time, I woke up and saw As`ad trying to move me with his foot. My horse was standing next to him. I asked As`ad to call an ambulance for me, but he didn't respond. I saw a group of Jews there in support of our struggle. They had also been there the day before. They were next to my wife and brothers, but the police didn't let them get close to me. I stayed on the ground for more than an hour, during which the police dragged me several times to move me away from the bulldozers' path. They pulled me for over thirty meters, on top of thorns and rocks. At that point I was almost unconscious.

Later on, my brother Farah and my cousin 'Issa `Odeh managed to get to me and take me out of there. That time the police didn't stop them. They placed me on a donkey, since cars can't access the land next to the village, and started to walk with me to the village. We went about half a kilometer, and I was in a great deal of pain. After around twenty minutes of walking, we came across an ambulance, and it carried me to the al-Carmel Medical Center. The doctors gave me first aid, took X-rays, and gave me a medical examination. It turned out that I was laying on the ground for more than an hour and a half before anyone helped me, despite the fact that Farah had asked the police to help and to call an ambulance. An ambulance from the Har Adar settlement would have been able to come to us easily, in less than five minutes, but the captain refused to make the call.

Nabil Ibrahim Hassan al-Jamal, 45, is a father of five, a farmer and laborer, and a resident of Beit Surik, near Jerusalem. The testimony was given to Karim Jubran in the witness' home on 6 June 2005.