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From the field

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 Shqair, age 50

Nabil Shqair

My family owns about two hundred dunams of land, situated in the southwest part of Beit Surik. Most of the land will either lay behind the Separation Barrier, or will be used for its construction. I still don't know exactly how many dunams I'll lose.

Last Wednesday, June 1, 2005, I rode my donkey to my land, just as I've done all my life. I left at around 7 AM, taking with me a hammer, a pair of shears, and my cane. When I got there, I saw a bulldozer about twenty meters from the field I was going to work on. I got off the donkey, and stood in front of the bulldozer at the entrance to the field, so that it wouldn't be able to enter. The bulldozer was accompanied by a Border Police jeep and about six police officers. They came over to me on foot. Their captain was Druze, and I know him from earlier incidents - his name is As'ad `Atilah. He ordered the police to remove me from the area. Four of the police officers approached me and attempted to take my cane from me. It's a long rod made of metal, and I keep it with me at all times. They also tried to take my pruning shears, but I wouldn't give them my tools. Then they caught me by the hands, with two policemen holding me on either side. I threw down the shears in my right hand, and kept holding on to the cane in my left. They pulled at me from both sides, and my hands were in a lot of pain, but I refused to let go of my cane. I saw that As'ad was watching everything happening.

At the same time, two mounted policemen came over to me. One was on a white horse, and the other horse was reddish-brown. While the police officers were tugging at me, one of the mounted police kicked me in the back. They shoved me, trying to make me fall, but I didn't. Then one of the officers struck me hard on the bottom of my neck with the butt of his rifle. I felt dizzy. I was standing next to a terrace. On the side next to me it was about half a meter high, and on the other side two or three meters high. I leaned on it. After the policeman hit the bottom of my neck, the other officers let go of my hands and started to move away. I saw the brown horse racing towards me, and the policeman on it gave me a blow across the face with the horse's whip. I responded automaticallyby hitting the horse with my cane. The horse butted me, and I fell to the other side of the terrace .

I don't know what happened after that. I didn't regain consciousness until the next day, when I was at the government hospital in Ramallah. They determined that I received contusions in my right shoulder and a fissure in my neck vertebrae . I was kept in the hospital until yesterday, June 6, and I'm still confined to my bed. I suffer from extreme pain in my shoulder and in the nape of my neck. I'm often struck with dizziness, as well.

Nabil Ahmad Abed Shqair, age 50, is a father of 13, and a resident of Beit Surik near Jerusalem. His testimony was given to Karim Jubran in the witness' home on 7 June 2005.