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Soldiers confiscate identity card of Palestinian for remaining in the Jordan Valley without a permit, February 2006

Ra'id Sawaftah , father of five

I am a resident of Tubas. For more than a year, I have been working as a plasterer in the village 'Ein al-Baida, where I stay with my mother's brothers, who live in the village, on the days that I work there. The Israeli army demands that every Palestinian wanting to enter the Jordan Valley have a permit, so I went to the Civil Administration to get a permit, which I had to renew every three months. The permit enabled me to stay in 'Ein al-Baida for a week or two at a time to work. So far, I have received three permits, covering a total of nine months.

Last Monday [7 February] at about 6:00 P.M., I was on my way from 'Ein al-Baida to Tubas. My permit had expired, so I wanted to go home and rest and renew it. When the taxi I was in got to the Tayasir checkpoint, the soldiers detained me and took my ID card and permit. They let the taxi continue on its way. When I asked them why they had detained me, the soldiers did not want to give me an explanation. One of them told me that I was forbidden to be there. I began to speak with him in Arabic, but I saw that he could barely understand me. The soldiers delayed me for two hours and then released me and gave me a slip of paper in place of my ID card. The slip said that my card had been confiscated because I had remained in the Jordan Valley without a permit. The soldiers ordered me to go to the DCO [District Coordination Office] in Sallem on the day noted on the paper, 10 February 2006.

The DCO is thirty-eight kilometers from my home. On the 10 th , a Friday, I went to the DCO, but it was closed. This morning [Sunday, 12 February], I returned to the DCO. The soldier at the window told me that I had to go to the DCO in Tubas. I went to the DCO in Tubas, where they told me that my ID card had been forwarded to the Palestinian Ministry of the Interior in Tubas, and that I could get it the next day, which I did.

Ra'id Hassan Muhammad Sawaftah, 27, married with five children, is a laborer and a resident of Tubas. His testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rob at the witness's home on 12 February 2006