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From the field

Israeli intelligence officers threaten a Palestinian to get him to collaborate, November 2002

S., age 26, unemployed

In the year 2000 I finished my academic studies at the college in Jerusalem. When I was a student, I had entry permits into Jerusalem. Each permit was valid for three months. I finished my studies and received a diploma in optics. I worked for a year in a clinic in the a-Dhahariya region, but due to the closure the trips got harder and harder until I was unable to get to work on time. I didn't work during the incursions into Bethlehem and eventually I left my job and remained unemployed. I thought about traveling abroad in order to work and I called a relative of mine who lives in Abu Dabi. I asked him to arrange a work contract for me. He got me a job with a company in Abu Dabi, and sent me a copy of the contract. According to the contract, I am supposed to begin work on 1 December 2002.

On Friday, 15 November 2002, I went to the Allenby Bridge [the crossing point from the West Bank into Jordan, B'Tselem]. At the crossing, the Israeli Intelligence asked me where I was traveling. I said I was going to Abu Dabi to work. They demanded I wait, and an hour later they handed me a note saying that I must meet with a commander in the Israeli Intelligence called Mazen in the Etzion prison facility, near Bethlehem. The intelligence people informed me that they just wanted to find out about a few simple things.

Two days later, on Sunday, 17 November 2002, I went to Etzion, at the time that had been arranged for me and I asked for commander Mazen. I was taken into a room. A man sat there and identified himself by the name Mazen. He asked me about the reason for my trip to Abu Dabi, about my studies, and about the period that I was in prison. In 1993 I was imprisoned under the accusation of throwing stones. I told him that this happened years ago and that after that I continued with my academic studies. He asked about my family and told me: "You have siblings studying in university. That costs a lot of money. Your situation is very tough, especially since you don't work". He told me that he would help me travel if I help him. I asked him: "How would I help you?" He said: "We'll speak about that later." I told him that I refuse to help him. He took out photographs of beheaded people and said: "These are the photographs of youths who refused to cooperate with the Israeli Intelligence, and met their deaths."

At that moment, some people dressed in civilians clothing entered the room and asked the commander: "This is S.? Should we kill him? That he won't travel ever?" I think they asked this in order to provoke me. Commander Mazen tried to entice me to collaborate with the Israeli Intelligence and promised that he would allow me to travel in the near future if I agree to help him. He asked me to take his telephone number so that I could talk to him if I need anything, but I refused. He said: "Don't bother going to a lawyer for consultation regarding to your trip, because it won't help you." I left Etzion and went immediately to the human rights organization St. Yves in Bethlehem, in order to check why I was forbidden to travel and whether something could be done. I have not yet received an answer.

S., age 26, is single, unemployed, and a resident of the Bethlehem district. The testimony was taken by Suha Zeid at the witness' home on 19 November 2002.