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From the field

IDF soldiers beat, imprison and humiliate four Palestinians at Huwwara Checkpoint, May 2003

Ahmad Kara'an, victim, age 18, resident of Balata refugee camp in central Nablus

I live with my family of seven in the Balata refugee camp, which borders the city of Nablus. For the past six months, I have been working transporting goods across the Huwwara checkpoint using a handcart. I am the only breadwinner in my family. My father used to work in Israel, but since the outbreak of the Intifada, he has not been able to enter the country and get to work. I begin my workday at 8:00 AM and end at 6:00 PM. I earn between 30 to 50 shekels every day. Sometimes my little brothers help me after they get out of school. The soldiers at the checkpoint have harassed me a number of times and hit me too. One of those times, about a month ago, I was trying to cross the checkpoint and there was a soldier standing there with a paintbrush and a can of black paint in his hand. He approached me, dipped his paintbrush in the paint and painted my face black. He did not let me cross. Later, he splashed paint on other people who were waiting in line. I stayed there because I wanted to continue working.

On Sunday, 25 May 2003, I arrived at the checkpoint around 3:00 PM. The soldiers at the checkpoint recognize me. When I got there, I asked one of the soldiers there to let me cross to the other side. The soldier did not respond so I asked again. Then, he grabbed my hand and hit me. Two other soldiers came up and began hitting me as well. The three of them beat me and afterwards handcuffed and blindfolded me. They put me in a small concrete room that was about one square meter. I stayed in that room for three hours. During that time, the soldiers hit me every once in a while.

After about three hours, they took me out of the room and stood me up next to it. I was still blindfolded. From time to time, the soldiers would come over to me and hit me again. From what I was able to tell, there was another group of people not too far away and the soldiers were beating them as well.

The soldiers only allowed civilians over sixty years old to cross the checkpoint until about 8:30 PM. At around 8:30 PM, they let other people return to their homes in villages south of Nablus. They also removed my handcuffs and blindfold and let me go.

I have a friend named Sai'd who also complained to an Israeli organization about the soldiers' behavior at the checkpoint. After he complained, the soldiers would chase him every time they saw him. So you see, I do not want to give my ID number or a picture of myself to anyone because I am afraid that the soldiers will begin chasing after me too and prevent me from working at the checkpoint. That would definitely hurt my family.

Ahmad 'Ali Muhammad Kara'an, is 18 years old. He works as a porter and is a resident of Balata refugee camp in central Nablus. The Testimony was taken by 'Ali Daragmeh at the Huwwara Checkpoint on 27 May 2003.