Three testimonies from Jenin

The following three testimonies from Palestinians in Jenin refugee camp were collected during a visit to the camp the week after the Israeli assault.

Fatieh Shalabi, 67

‘When they begin shelling the houses, we want to go to our relatives’. So we all go to my brother’s house next to us. We all move over there. Then the Israeli soldiers come with the bulldozer and the tank. They tell us to come out of the house. My son, he is handicapped and can’t hear. He is in a wheelchair. He can not do anything for himself. I take care of everything. I wash and change him, I even take care of his private things. I tell the soldiers that he is still in there, and they say I should tell him to come out.

I say I can’t he is handicapped. My family says he can’t come out and the bulldozer starts to crash into the house. He starts to scream. I beg the soldiers, please let us go get him out of the house, but the soldiers say no. So I beg and I beg and we can hear him scream and I stary to cry. The soldier says I can go in and get him alone. But I am an old woman, I say, how can I get him alone, please let us all go in and get him. But the soldier says no and the bulldozers keep coming the whole time. The house crashes down on his head and we can hear him screaming and then we don’t hear him screaming anymore.

Nadera Ahmad Gazawi, 30

They shoot at us with big bullets for two days and they shoot the houses. We made a way between us and the other house and then we go to my uncle’s house to get away from the shelling.

Later on, they shelled thehouse with missiles and we were so afraid. We were all together and then we came back to the house and we find that it is so damaged by missiles. So then we go to his brother’s house becasue we can not stay in our house. When we get there he wanted to walk outside becasue he hears a missile coming and he was afraid for us and when he comes back inside then the tanks surround the house.

They begin to speak on the loudspeakers for the guys to come out, just the guys. It was three minutes before the last prayer for the day and he says to the guys he just wants to pray and get out. They say, come let’s go, but he says no, I just wants to pray and then get out. My husband was not a fighter, he was just an ordinary man.

He gets out of the house and they order him to take off his clothes so he begins to take off his sweater and they say take off all of your clothes so he continues to take off all of his clothes.

That was near the house, so they say to go to the center of the camp, that is where they are collecting the guys. He says I don’t know where the center of the camp is. So they say let someone from the neighborhood show you. He asks them for some of his clothes. He says, how can i go without clothes?

[The soldier] says put your clothes in the black bag and continue. So he puts his clothes in the black bag. When he reaches the middle of the camp, they just shoot him from the back.

He knows where the center of the camp is but he says he doesn’t know because he doesn’t want to go there like this, with no clothes.

After they shoot him, a boy of 15 from the neighborhood who walked him to the middle approaches his body and falls down unconscious from the sight of the body. So they asks some people to take him aside. They refuse, becasue they are afraid of the soldiers, but the soldiers are afraid to go near the body, so they force them by putting their guns up to their heads and tell them they must first take off his pants and take him aside, so they do it.

They don’t find anything in his trousers, they don’t find anything on his body as they suspect, so they just go inside the tank and come up on his body and then my husband’s body in the tank.

Ismael Hatieh, 33

I was in the house. There’s one for me and one for my brother/ I was in the house and they came into my house. A troop of the Israeli soldiers came into the camp and they begin to get into the houses.

They get into my house in a provacative way. My wife opened the door and they push her aside and they go into all of the rooms and search about them for wanted people and weapons. They ask who this house [above his house] belongs to and I say my brother and they say we are going in there.

When I get outside to get him to the house becasue the entrance to the house is from the outside and their was clashes and bullets outside so he takes me by the sholder and makes me stand in front of him to cover him. He used me as a sheild. He was covering himself with me to get to my brother’s house.

He later took me out and asked me to open the door to the neighbor’s house. I say there is no one there, just one woman from Haifa and she is not there now and he tells me to open the door or he will kill me. I said to him that I can not go into somone’s house that’s not mine and he says to me either I go into the house or I lose my life. I was screaming and I was shouting and I was confused. I ask him why you want to get into the house and he says becasue there’s a gunman in there and I want to get him.

At that time there was not so much clashes outside and I tried to all to the owner to come to the door but nobody comes so he forced me to climb the wall and open the door for him. So I open the door and he forces it open and all of them get quickly inside and spread all over the house. There was about 30 soldiers. When they get in the house the shooting came from the opposite way, they way that the house is facing. So one of them clutches me in front of him to try and get inside a locked room in the house. He was clutching me and putting the rifle on my sholder and then shoots randomly while he just pointed his rifle from the top of my sholder. I get shot by someone and fall down and he leaves me and continues.