Testimony: Man used as human shield injured in Jenin camp

Majd Ghanem

Majd Mufid Abd al-‘Aziz Ghanem, 20, is a student and a resident of Jenin refugee camp. His testimony was given to ‘Atef Abu al-Rub on 19 May 2007:

I am a student at An-Najah University and live with my family in the entrance of the Jenin refugee camp. I was studying for my final exams on Tuesday, 15 May 2007 around 1:30am when I heard military vehicles coming into the neighborhood and parking in front of our house. The soldiers called to us on loudspeakers to leave the house.

One of the vehicles stopped before our entrance, lighting up the house — I understood that the soldiers meant for us to leave. I went into my parents’ room and found them awake. I went to the front door and opened it, and the soldiers ordered everyone in the house to come out.

We all went out and stood in front of the soldiers, and they ordered me and my father to take off our clothes. I took off my shirt, pulled down my pants and turned around according to the soldiers’ instructions. My father did the same.

The soldier asked me and my father to approach the jeep parked outside our house. The soldiers then took our identification cards and one of the soldiers asked if I was hiding anything inside the house. I told him that I was not hiding anything. The soldier screamed at me calling me a liar and warned me not to lie. He repeated the question a few times and kept saying that I was a liar. I told the soldier in reply that he could search the house.

The soldier pointed to our neighbor’s — Ghazi al-Jamal’s — two-story house. The ground floor belongs to his son Ahmad who went to the US and the first floor belongs to Ghazi’s father who has not been at home recently. He ordered me to go there, open the door, and turn on the lights. I explained to him that the owners had gone to the United States. The soldier insisted that he saw lights and that there was someone in the house. I went to the ground floor and knocked on the door. Nobody opened it. I knocked again and again then finally went back to the jeep.

A few soldiers stood next to the entrance on the ground floor. The soldier ordered me to go to the group standing next to the door. I drew closer and saw that they had managed to break down the door. The soldiers ordered me to go inside, turn on the lights, and open the doors to all the rooms. I went into the house, turned on the lights, and went outside. One of the soldiers who was inside Ahmad’s apartment also ordered me to go up to the first floor which belonged to Ghazi’s father.

I knocked on the outside door and there was no response. The soldiers broke down the iron door and went on to the roof which was locked. They came back to the first floor and ordered me to break the wooden door. I broke the door with the help of one of them and was then ordered by the soldiers to go back to the jeep.

I went back to the jeep which was parked in the middle of the road and told the soldier that I wanted to go back home. The soldier refused and told me to sit on the ground between the jeep and a bulldozer. About twenty minutes after I sat down, shooting started from the east of where I was seated. I was outside on the road while the soldiers sat in their military vehicles.

The soldiers in the house and in the jeep started shooting at the armed people. The exchange of fire lasted between 10-15 minutes and then I felt that I had been shot in the lower back. I knocked on the jeep and signaled to the soldiers that I was hurt by showing them my hand covered with blood. The soldiers from the jeep ordered me to sit down. I waited ten more minutes until another jeep came to protect the two that were already there. The soldiers opened the back door of one of the jeeps and took me inside. One of the soldiers bandaged my wound and sent me back home. When I got home I was still bleeding. I went inside only to find the soldiers still there. I asked for some first aid but the soldiers did nothing but put more bandages on the wound.

My father asked for the soldiers’ permission to call an ambulance but they refused. Finally, they called an ambulance that arrived about half an hour after I had gone inside. The ambulance took me to the government hospital in Jenin where I was treated. It turns out that I had a superficial wound from a bullet that had not penetrated deeply, and exited from the back of my hips.

Related Links

  • B’Tselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories