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IDF soldiers beat Shadi Mahmud, throw eggs on him, and damage his car, Ramin Plain, August 2006

Tha'ir Muhsen, 18

Shadi Mahmoud

I am originally from 'Ajja, which is in the Jenin District. For a while, I worked in al-'Eizariya, and I changed my address to there because of the situation with the roads and checkpoints. Now, I sell eggs and cleaning materials. I sell to shops in al-'Eizariya and go three or four times a week from 'Ajja to al-'Eizariya. Because of the large number of checkpoints on the way, I leave early in the morning and go via bypass roads. Another reason I leave early is because the eggs can spoil in the heat, and I want to get to the markets on time, and they open early.

This morning [Wednesday, 23 August], I left the house around 2:30 A.M. and drove south on the Jenin-Nablus road. I got to the Ramin Plain about 3:00. There were no cars on the road. When I approached the "Town Club" building, five soldiers appeared and aimed their rifles at my car. They had flashlights attached to their rifles. They shouted at me to turn off my lights and stop. I stopped immediately. One of them yelled at me to get out of the car, lift my clothes, and give him my ID card. He spoke in Hebrew for the most part. I got out and lifted my clothes up. One of the soldiers took my ID card and asked where I was going and where I had come from. I told him I was going to my home in al-'Eizariya. He yelled at me and asked why I was using that road and not the main road, with the checkpoints. I don't understand Hebrew too well, but I managed to understand what he was saying from the context. I replied that the road is used regularly and that I know it well. The soldiers apparently didn't like the answer: they started to kick me and beat me with their rifle butts.

After a few minutes, one of them asked me, ""You want to die or do you want us to break the eggs on your head?" I replied that I didn't want to die. He ordered me to sit on my knees, facing the car. I did as he said. Two soldiers took cartons [of eggs] and started to throw eggs at me. They broke on my head and ran down my body. The soldiers laughed and shouted, threw eggs at me, and swore at me. The most delicate thing they said was, "All Arabs are bastards." They also cursed my family. About fifteen minutes later, one of them said to me again, "You want to die? Or do you want us to puncture your tires?" I told him that I didn't want to die, and that if he wanted to torch my car, he should torch it.

After that, he ordered me to get into the car, start it, and turn on the lights. I did as he said. Then he told me to drive forward and backward. When I did that, the air came out of the tires. The soldiers came over, made sure that the tires had no air, and ordered me to get out and sit down next to it. When I got out, I saw nails next to the tires. Apparently the soldiers had placed them there. Then the soldiers took more eggs and threw them at me. Other soldiers went into the car and damaged it. They slashed containers of shampoo and spilled cleaning materials. I stayed like that with the soldiers for more than two hours. At some point, one of the soldiers stood next to me and urinated, and the urine sprayed me.

After two hours or so had passed, the soldiers left me and went to deal with another car that had appeared. I went to check the car and saw that the soldiers had damaged the gear shift, the lever to turn on the blinkers, the plastic covering on the steering wheel, and the glove compartment. They also destroyed about thirty containers of shampoo.

After a while, the soldiers came back to me, took a towel from my car and forced me to clean the road with it. One of them told me that the eggs make the road stink. Then he told me to clean the car from the effects of the broken eggs, and another soldier sprayed me with air purifier because of the bad smell. Ultimately, the soldiers gave me back my ID card. When I put out my hand to take it, the soldier said, "No, take it with your mouth." When I grabbed it with my teeth and began to put it in my hand and then into my pocket, the soldier told me to leave it in my mouth. I held it like that for 20-30 minutes, until the soldiers left, around 5:30. They went by foot toward the Shevi Shomron settlement. I called a few friends and one of them came and brought four tires with him. I changed the tires and my friend towed the car. It was impossible to drive because the soldiers had damaged the gears.

I got home a bit after 9:00 A.M. I was in terrible condition, mentally and physically. My clothes were filthy and disgusting, I was exhausted, and was in great pain from the beatings. I went into the house and showered. My body still hurt. I constantly have the vision in my mind of the soldiers and what they said to me.

Shadi Riad Mahmud Mahmud, 30, married with two children, is a merchant and a resident of 'Ajja, Jenin District. His testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rob in 'Ajja, on 23 August 2006.