IDF soldier stabs Hamed Sadkah with penknife, N'ilin Checkpoint, August 2006

Hamed Sadkah, laborer

Hamed Sadkah

I have been working in Israel since I was eighteen. I worked in the area of Ben Shemen and Gamzo, and in the past ten years, in Modi'in, which is next to al-Midya, where I live. There were times that I received permits from the Civil Administration to work in Israel , and at other times I worked without a permit. I support a family of seven, five of them children, who range in age from nine years old to five months old. The last permit I had expired on 20 April 2005. Since then, I have been working without a permit.

I sneak into Israel via hilly and steep paths that bypass the main roads to Israel . That way, I avoid the Israeli army and police. I have no other option. There are not many jobs in the village or in the Palestinian Authority in general. The soldiers know the bypass routes that Palestinians use to enter Israel , and they set up ambushes. Many times, soldiers stopped me and others, chased us, beat and humiliated us.

The last time was last Tuesday [22 August]. I was walking with my brother Jamal, 31, and another laborer, who was from Qibya and whose name I forget, on our way home from work in Modi'in. My brother is a school teacher, and during the summer he works as a laborer. We walked via the hills and olive groves. We had bicycles but were not riding them because it was very hilly. We didn't have a permit to work in Israel , so we went around the Ni'lin checkpoint, which leads to the Kiryat Sefer settlement and into Israel . The path we took was about 300 meters from the checkpoint, and it crossed land belonging to Palestinian farmers from Ni'lin.

Around 4:35 P.M., I heard gunfire coming from the fields in the area. I thought that soldiers hiding in ambush had opened fire. About ten shots were fired. I became scared and confused. My brother dropped his bicycle and ran. The other worker was about thirty meters from us. I didn't consider running because I knew that, at worst, the soldiers would detain me for a few hours and let me go. That is what usually happens.

When the shooting stopped for a few seconds, I saw two soldiers. One of them went over to the third worker, and the other soldier shouted at me in Hebrew: "Stop!" He was about twenty meters from me and he had his weapon aimed at me. I understood that I was caught, so I did what he said and I stopped. He rushed toward me, and I walked toward him. He was of average height, had a moderate build, a dark-brown complexion, and a ring in his ear. He was in his twenties. He had on an army uniform and wore a blue cap with white stripes. The soldier asked me: "Why did you run away?" I replied, "I didn't run away!" Then he swore at me, "Shut up, bastard." Again I asked him, "Why are you shouting and swearing at me, if I speak nicely?" The soldier took a silver-colored penknife from his pocket. He opened it in front of my face and shouted, "Shut up." Then he punched me in the face, injuring my left cheek. Then, without even asking my name or to see my ID card, he put the blade of the knife to my left cheek and pressed. It cut my cheek and it started to bleed. Seeing the blood really frightened me. I didn't know how deep or large the cut was. I asked him again why he was assaulting me. He took the knife and stabbed me in the left shoulder. It felt as if my back was bleeding. My clothes got dirty. I was afraid he would injure me even worse, so I stopped asking him why he was assaulting me.

Afterwards, the soldiers ordered me to take off my shirt, and I took it off. He grabbed the shirt from my hand. It had blood stains on it. He used it to clean the blood from my cheek. I think he did that to show me how deep the cut was. Then he took my ID card, glanced at it and threw it to me. He ordered me to go away. I picked up my ID card and told him I wasn't going home but was going to complain about him to the soldiers at the checkpoint. He replied: "OK. Let's go together, but don't say anything about what happened." Then I reconsidered. He looked angry and very violent, and had assaulted me for no reason. I was afraid he would kill me on the way to the checkpoint, so I changed my mind. "I want to go home and to the doctor," I told him. He let me go, and told me the faster I go the better. "Quick. Go home." He stood there and watched me leave.

I went home. My clothes were drenched in blood. I changed clothes and went to a doctor in Ni'lin. He cleaned the wounds, which were light. The cut on my cheek was superficial, about a centimeter in length. The cut on my shoulder was deeper, but also small. The doctor decided to put a band-aid on it rather than stitch it. He treated me and I went home.

Hamed Rashad Muhammad Sadkah, 35, married with five children, is a laborer, and a resident of al-Midya, Ramallah District. His testimony was given to Iyad Hadad at the witness's home on 27 August 2006.