Testimony: Nadine A.
|12 October 2022
|Beit Sira, West Bank
|Night raid / child arrest
On 12 October 2022, Israeli soldiers entered a home in Beit Sira at 3:30 a.m. and arrested a 13-year-old boy. Beit Sira is located close to a number of Israeli settlements and roads used by the settlers.
I woke up to loud banging at the front door and the sound of my daughter franticly calling me. It was around 3:30 a.m. My husband and I got up to see what was going on. Then we heard footsteps in the stairwell and a voice shouting “open up, it's the army”.
My husband, who was still in his boxer shorts, opened the front door and around eight Israeli soldiers entered our home. They had broken open the door downstairs with a sledge hammer before coming up to our apartment. More soldiers surrounded our house outside.
The soldiers went straight to the bedroom of our 13-year-old son without saying a word. My son was still in bed and thought he was having a nightmare when he woke and saw soldiers over his head. He later told me a soldier kicked him in the knee while he was still in bed and then grabbed him by his T-shirt and pushed him against the wall. He then passed out.
Meanwhile, when I went back to my bedroom to get properly dressed I was followed by a soldier who did not allow me to leave the bedroom. My other son was being held in the kitchen.
About 30 minutes later the soldiers gathered us all in the living room and sat us down on the couch. One of the soldiers aimed his gun at us and did not allow us to move or speak. I told the soldier that my two-month-old daughter was still in her crib and I pleaded with him to allow me to fetch her but he refused. I was terrified that the soldiers might accidentally harm her as they roamed around our home. All I wanted was to hold her in my arms.
When my other daughter stood up to go and fetch the baby a soldier threw a chair at her and aimed his gun at her head. I thought he was going to shoot her. I was also worried the soldiers might use tear gas inside our house and I was panicking that my infant daughter would suffocate.
The soldiers remained in our home for about an hour. They prevented my daughter from filming them. They took away her smart phone and deleted the footage. Then they asked for the phone of my son they had come to arrest and threatened to search the house for it. My husband told them he would hand it over and pleaded with them not to search the house because of the damage they would cause.
At one point a soldier showed my husband a document filled out in Hebrew and asked him to sign it. Then he took back the document without giving us a copy. Then they took my 13-year-old son outside. I looked out the window to say good bye to him and to tell him to be strong, but a soldier aimed his gun at me and yelled at me to shut the window.
When the soldiers left we all burst into tears, sobbing and crying uncontrollably. We could not sleep for the following two nights. Family and friends came to our house to comfort us. My husband blamed himself for allowing the solders to take our son away and started to bang his head against the wall expressing his regret. It was a hellish night I will never forget. Our son was released on bail two days later.
Our village is very close to the Green Line and to a cluster of settlements including Maccabim and Modi’in Illit. We are close to a road which the villagers refer to as the “road of death”. It is used by settlers to commute back and forth to Tel-Aviv and Jerusalem and no Palestinian is allowed to go near it.