Ra’fat ‘Askar, 16 years old
Ra’fat Ahmad Muhammad ‘Askar, 16, is a highschool student and a resident of Hizma, al-Quds District. The following testimony was given to Kareem Jubran at the witness’s home on 27 Jan. 2007.
I live with my family near the Pisgat Ze’ev settlement. The Separation Barrier separates my house from the rest of the village of Hizmeh. I go to school in a-Ram and am in the eleventh grade.
Last Tuesday [23 January 2007], around 7:00 P.M., I left home to go and visit my uncle ‘Abd al-Wali ‘Askar, who lives in Hizmeh. I went by foot, crossed the Hizmeh checkpoint and continued along the Hizmeh-‘Anata road. From my house to my uncle’s house is about one and a half kilometers. I walked slowly, and got to the road leading to his house at about 7:30.
When I was about to cross the road, a dark-grey Toyota pick-up truck stopped next to me. A guy got out. He was in his thirties and had a light-complexion and blond hair. He had an average build and was about 1.7 meters tall. He asked me, in Hebrew, “Are you Arab?” I said I was. Suddenly, I felt a blow to the back of my neck. It felt as if an electric current ran through me, and I fell to the ground. I think I lost consciousness. I found myself lying in the truck, which was moving, but I couldn’t get up.
The truck stopped. My ears really hurt. Then two guys beat me. One was the guy who asked me if I was Arab. The second guy was tall, had a short beard, and a big black skullcap that covered his whole head. He was wearing blue pants and shirt. Under his shirt he had pieces of thread [ritual fringes] and had a black birthmark under his right eye, the size of a fava bean. Another guy was standing outside the truck. He tried to kick me while the other two were beating and kicking me all over my body. I tried to defend myself, and warded off their blows. The guy with the skullcap pulled a razorblade and tried to cut my face. I pushed the razor with my right hand, and he pulled the razor toward him fast and cut me. My hand started to bleed. I continued to kick them. The guy who asked me if I was Arab left the back of the truck, and the guy who was standing next to the door came in. Again I felt an electric current running through me, which made me shake. I think I lost consciousness a second time.
After a while, I don’t know how long, I found myself lying on the sidewalk near the road leading to my uncle’s house. I could barely get up. I walked along the road until I got to the gas station of S’adeh a-Sa’id, whom I know. I felt as if I could not go any further, and fell to the ground. I couldn’t move. My body hurt so much and my hand was bleeding badly. S’adeh rushed me to the clinic of ‘Azmi Abu Khalil, where I was given first-aid. The doctor told me that I had to go to the hospital. S’adeh called my uncle Saleh ‘Askar, and he took me to Hadassah Hospital at Mount Scopus, where they treated me and X-rayed my hand. Police came to the hospital and took a statement from me. I think the doctors called the police. Later I was transferred to Hadassah at Ein Kerem, where they gave me tests and X-rayed my head in the area of my ears. They discharged me around four in the morning.
The next day, police came to my house and took me to the place where I was assaulted. Then they took me to the police station in Binyamin and showed me an album of photos to see if I could identify my attackers. Their pictures were not in the album. The investigator tried to pressure me and scare me. He said I was lying and that he would give me a lie-detector test. I said that I was ready to take any test he wanted, because I was telling the truth. He took the blood-stained clothes I had worn the day before.