Elderly American couple held hostage in their home by Israeli soldiers

Last week, dramatic video showed villagers expelling Israeli soldiers who had occupied the home of an elderly couple in the West Bank village of Silwad.

That couple were Palestinian Americans Muhammad Ali Ayad, 76, and his wife Nagma, 68, who were held hostage in the house by the soldiers for 14 hours until their friends and relatives freed them.

They gave their testimony – in the video above – to the human rights campaign group Euro-Mid, which also published a comprehensive account of the incident.

Screenshot of security camera footage that captures Israeli soldiers approaching Ayad home.

Euro-Mid’s video report includes security camera footage of the soldiers approaching the house in the early hours of Friday, 6 June, as Muhammad Ayad explains:

At 3:00am, the Israeli army knocked on the door, I opened and eleven soldiers pushed me out of the way and entered the house. They closed the doors, shut down the windows and held us captive. We didn’t know at that time what they wanted from us. I told them that only I and my wife live in this house and that there is no one else. They told us to shut up and took our cell phones, the keys of the house, and everything else. They locked us up in the living room for fourteen hours. From 3:00 in the morning until 4:00 in the afternoon. We both didn’t eat during all this time; we were very stressed and terrified. I had some coffee and my wife had some juice. Luckily, after fourteen hours, our neighbors suspected that we are being held captive as they saw the soldiers on the roof of our home.

Footage of their liberation, parts of which are included in the above video report, shows how distressed Mrs. Ayad was after the captivity. Euro-Mid calls the use of the couple effectively as “human shields” an “apparent war crime.”

Damage caused to Ayad home by tear gas canisters fired by Israeli occupation forces.

Ayad said that he and his wife, who reside in the United States, were spending the summer in their familial village, and that occupation forces frequently attack their home with tear gas, smashing windows and causing other damage, forcing them to seek refuge elsewhere.

Read more at Euro-Mid’s website. For all the footage of the liberation of the Ayad home, see The Electronic Intifada’s earlier post.




Israeli brutality is boundless and ruthless. A nation without a conscience.


The elderly couple were American and could influence U.S. public opinion, prompt U.S. officials to defend human rights in Palestine, and bring light to Israel's actions in the West Bank. So they were terrorized and intimidated, with the goal of forcing them to leave Palestine.