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Testimony: Amal E.


Name: Amal E.
Age: 49
Date: 2 November 2022
Location: Aida refugee camp, West Bank
Event: Night raid / child arrest
On 2 November 2022, Israeli soldiers entered a home in Aida refugee camp, near Bethlehem, at 3:00 a.m. and arrested a 16-year-old boy and his adult brother. After searching the house the soldiers left without providing the family with any information. 
My 16-year-old son woke me up at around 3:00 a.m. I immediately knew something bad was happening because as this only occurs when Israeli soldiers raid our home. Sure enough, soldiers were at our front door. This was the 13th time the Israeli military has raided my home. My heart sank and I was worried about my 20-year-old son who had recently been shot by the army and had just been released from the hospital two days earlier. 
My husband rushed to open our front door and about 20 soldiers entered our home. Many of the soldiers were masked and looked like they were on a battlefield. The commander immediately asked for my wounded son. My 7-year-old daughter was terrified and started to cry. The only thing on my mind now was to protect my wounded son. I pushed one of the soldiers away from my son’s bedroom with such force I did not know I had. The soldier aggressively pushed me away and shouted at me saying “don’t force us to beat him up”. 
The soldiers searched our home but did not tell us what they were looking for. When I asked for information a soldier told me I would find out soon enough. They had a special device and used it to locate mobile phones. They were able to find my younger son’s phone inside the oven where he had hidden it. They broke a wardrobe and made a huge mess in our house. They remained inside our house for about an hour. 
After about an hour the soldiers told us they wanted to arrest both my 20-year-old son and his younger brother, who is 16. I was so scared I would lose my mind. I was on the verge of a nervous break down. The soldiers pushed my husband into one corner and when he moved towards our son, a soldier pushed him away and caused him pain in the chest. Then they told my two sons to get dressed and we were allowed to say goodbye to them. We were not given any documents nor were we told where they were being taken or why. On the way out a soldier pushed me into a bedroom and shut the door because he did not want me to follow my sons outside. I pushed the door open and followed my sons as they were taken out of the house. I told them to be brave and not worry about us. 
Israeli soldiers are always in our refugee camp, patrolling the streets especially near the playground where children play football. They often fire tear gas to stir up a response from the boys, and then the parents try intervene to protect their children. The soldiers get information about us from social media and from informants. They know who is involved in what and when. Although there are informants amongst us, we are aware of them and try to be as careful as possible. 
Following the arrests, my husband’s application for a permit to visit Jerusalem during Ramadan was rejected. They sent my husband an SMS at 5:30 a.m. saying his application for a permit to pray in Jerusalem had been rejected. He was also denied a prison visit although he was standing outside the prison gate. He wanted to visit our sons but he was not allowed to.