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From the field

Israeli soldier beats Shadi Shatareh at Jit Checkpoint, 9 November 2006

Shadi Shatareh,

Shadi Shatareh

I am twenty-four years old and live in the Askar refugee camp. A week ago, I started to work in book binding at the Immanuel settlement, which is near Qalqiliya.

This morning (Thursday, November 9, 2006) I went by taxi to the Jit checkpoint, arriving there at about 6:30 in the morning. There were about twenty cars and the soldiers didn't let anyone pass. After waiting an hour, the guys waiting decided to talk with the soldiers and ask for their ID cards back, so they could return home. By then there were forty cars. The soldiers took the ID cards of everybody in the cars but didn't let anyone pass from either side, neither people coming from Nablus nor those coming from Qalqiliya.

When the guys spoke with the soldiers, I was standing outside the taxi and was about ten meters from the soldiers. When the guys came back, they told me that the soldiers weren't willing to give back the ID cards, and that they said everybody should stay where we were, until the soldiers decided to let us pass or return to Nablus or Qalqiliya. When I heard that, I went back to the taxi I had come in. Muhammad Tantawi, 21, who works with me at the settlement, was standing next to the taxi. We stood there and talked, just like a lot of the other people at the checkpoint were doing.

A few minutes later, I heard two soldiers shout in Hebrew. They were standing two meters from me. I couldn't understand them. One of the soldiers, who was wearing a helmet, butted Muhammad and then hit him in the chest with his rifle. The other soldier tried to hit me in the abdomen with his rifle, but I pushed the rifle aside without grabbing it. The first soldier, who was short, assaulted me and butted me in the face. My upper lip started to bleed. Then he hit me in the midsection, on the right side, with his rifle butt. That hurt a lot. The two soldiers shouted in Hebrew. The only word I understood was "man."

After that, the two soldiers grabbed my by the shoulders and dragged me to the checkpoint, about thirty meters. While they dragged me, they hit and kicked me. At the checkpoint they bound my hands very tightly with plastic handcuffs. I heard the first soldier shout in Hebrew but didn't understand what he said. Another guy who was being held there told me, "Lie down on the ground." While he was talking to me, the first soldier hit me in the legs, and I fell on my face. Another guy tried to wipe the blood from my lips, but the soldier shouted at him. He mumbled that he was sorry he couldn't do something to help. Ten minutes later, the two soldiers picked me up by the shoulders and threw me into a concrete cell, about two meters long and one meter wide, and then left.

After another ten minutes passed, the first soldier came over to me. He stepped on my face and neck with force, making it impossible for me to breathe. He did that three times, walking on the right side of my face. I cried out in pain. Then he left. He came back a few minutes later and told me, in Hebrew, to sit up. I understood what he said by the motions he made with his hands. I had difficulty sitting up. He kicked me twice in the legs. He shouted things at me that I didn't understand, and then hit me in the top of my head with his rifle. The room smelled and was full of flies. I think the soldiers urinate in that room.

Later, around 8:30, I saw cars passing through the checkpoint and I also saw an ambulance. One side of the room was open, so I could see. I heard someone say, "We need an ambulance, somebody is injured!" I realized he was talking about me. That calmed me a bit. Afterwards, I didn't see anybody and the ambulance drove away. I was afraid the ambulance would leave without rescuing me.

After about twenty minutes passed, three medics came, cleaned the blood from my face, put a salve on me, and gave me first-aid. Fifteen minutes later, somebody came from Rabbis for Human Rights and asked the soldiers to let the ambulance take me to hospital. The medics said that the soldiers wouldn't let them take me. Zakariya, from the rabbis' organization, told me he would stay with me until the soldiers let the ambulance evacuate me. About fifty minutes later, the soldiers agreed. I was taken to the Arab Hospital in Nablus , where they treated me and stitched the inside of my lip. I was X-rayed and admitted. I still have pain in my head, face, and midsection.

The soldier who beat me was short, about 1.6 meters tall, and had a light complexion and blue eyes. He looked to be twenty years old, a bit more.

Shadi Hussein Ahmad Shatareh, 24, is a laborer and a resident of 'Askar refugee camp, Nablus. His testimony was given to Salma a-Deb'i, at the hospital, on 9 November 2006.