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From the field

Kafr Qadum: Soldiers plaster notices with photos of four minors, incl. witness below, to deter demonstrating and throwing stones

Raed Shteiwi, 14

Raed Shteiwi, 14. Photo: ‘Abd al-Karim Sa’adi, B'Tselem, 3 June 2013 I’m 14 and half years old. I’m in the ninth grade in the Kafr Qadum high-school. I’m the eldest son in my family and I have three siblings. We live at the western end of the village, about a kilometer away from the village center.

On Saturday, 1 June 2013, at around eleven o’clock in the morning, a friend phoned and told me that soldiers had come to our village at night and put up posters with pictures of four boys, including me. He said that under each picture, they’d written “We’re the army, watch out, we’ll catch you if we see you or if we come to your home”. He told me that posters like that had been put up in eight different places around the village, on the walls of houses and of the mosque.

In the beginning, I didn’t take him seriously and thought that he was kidding. But I started getting worried and thinking about it more when my father, who works in Jericho, called me. He told me the same thing, and that the other three boys in the posters are older than me. It turned out that my parents had known about it from early in the morning, after the army left the village, but they meant to keep it from me so that I could concentrate on studying for my end-of-year exams without worrying.

My father asked me to relax and not to worry about it. But after I talked to him, I was worried and scared and it was hard for me to concentrate. I asked myself – why are they putting a picture of me up on a wall? I thought that the soldiers can go into any house in the village, so why didn’t they come to my home, even though I’m always here? I couldn’t find an explanation and I thought the army must want to scare us, because of the demonstration that’s held every week in the village.

I could tell that my mother was worried and scared, even though she tried to hide it. My little siblings were afraid, too. My sister Lena, who is nine years old, asked if she could go to my grandfather’s house because she said she’d be safer there. My mother and father tried to calm her down and let her sleep in the room with them.

Being afraid affected me during exams. Yesterday I had my English exam, and I couldn’t concentrate. Today I have a history exam and tomorrow a general health exam. It’s affecting my family, too. Since the posters have been put up, there’s a feeling of sadness at home.

Raed Nasser Hassan Ishteiwi, 14, is a ninth-grader, of Kafr Qadum. His testimony was recorded by ‘Abd al-Karim Sa’adi on 3 June 2013, at the witness’s home.