Israeli soldiers make Palestinian wait 18 hours trying to get into Hebron

On June 3, Israeli soldiers stopped Izz a-Din Ghanem from Silwan who was heading towards Hebron and made him wait for 18 hours at the Hebron District Coordination Office after confiscating his identity card.

Testimony of ‘Izz a-Din Na’im Rushdi Ghanem, resident of Silwan, Jerusalem

The testimony was given to Najib Abu Rokaya at B’Tselem’s offices on 4 June 2003.

“Yesterday [3 June], Muhammad Salah Gheith, a friend of mine who lives in Jerusalem, picked my brother Munthar and me up to go to Hebron to get my truck. Muhammad was driving a red Toyota pickup. I had left my truck in Hebron the day before in order to get containers so that I could transport watermelons. From Route 60, we turned east at the intersection that leads to the DCO (District Coordinating Office). The way into Hebron was blocked with mounds of dirt and boulders, so we looked around for a dirt road through which to get to the city. When we got to the Hebron industrial zone, we made a U-turn and continued to look for a dirt road to access the city. Soldiers in an Israeli army patrol jeep apparently saw us. The jeep stopped in front of us, blocking our way. A soldier got out and demanded our ID cards. Muhammad, the driver, gave him another document, and my brother and I gave him our ID cards. The soldier also took the keys to the Toyota. He told Muhammad, “I told you before – don’t come here. Now, sit in your car until we return.” I asked the soldier to give my brother’s and my ID cards back. The soldier said, “This is your punishment for driving with him. Stay with him and be punished with him.” This took place around 7:10 A.M. The jeep left. The soldiers did not return our ID cards and the keys.

About noon, we called B’Tselem and HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual for help. While we were waiting on the side of the road, army jeeps passed by. The soldiers in the jeeps cursed us. At some stage, a white Toyota passed with a soldier inside. He told us to get out of there. We told him that they took our ID cards and keys. He told us to get out of the car and threatened that if we did not do as he said, he would blow up the car. We pushed the car further out. The soldier also ordered us to sit outside the car. It was very hot outside.

We stayed outside for about thirty minutes because we were afraid that the soldier would come back and punish us if he saw us in the car. But after a half an hour of sitting in the sun and heat, we went back inside the car. Luckily, the soldier didn’t pass by again. We continued to sit there, without food or water.

A Police jeep passed by. A police officer asked us what had happened, and we told him. He told us to wait. A Red Cross car also passed. The people inside recorded what he told them, gave us water, and continued on their way.

Around 11:00 P.M., two staff members of B’Tselem arrived. They brought food and water and tried to get back our ID cards, but they did not succeed. Around 1:30 A.M., we left the area with the B’Tselem staff members. They followed us until we reached our home. The next morning, we went to B’Tselem’s office. At 1:30 P.M., while we were still at B’Tselem, we were informed that our ID cards had been found. They were at the DCO in Hebron. We asked our father to go to get them.”

Related Links:

  • IDF Soldiers Seize Samah Suqiya’s Water Tanker and Hold it for Three Days, B’Tselem, 15 November, 2002
  • Delay of ‘Abd al-Hamid Hushiya and ‘Abdallah al-‘Omar for 36 Hours by IDF Soldiers, B’Tselem, 14 August, 2002