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Home » Parents »

Testimony: Rima S.


Name: Rima S.
Age: 45
Date: 29 October 2022
Location: Azzun, West Bank
Event: Night raid / child arrest

On 29 October 2022, Israeli soldiers entered a home in Azzun at 4:00 a.m. and arrested a 17-year-old minor. The soldiers remained in the house for 2 hours assaulting the family and damaging property.

I woke up at around 4:00 a.m. to the sound of a loud explosion. I jumped out of bed and found my younger children, aged 6, 11 and 12 years, already in my bedroom terrified and shouting “soldiers … soldiers”. Within a minute about 30 Israeli soldiers had spread out all over our home, including some female soldiers. 
My older children came out of their bedrooms one by one. I stood by my bedroom door and asked the soldiers what they were doing inside our house at 4:00 a.m. The soldiers were tense and immediately started to push us around aggressively.
One of the female soldiers grabbed my 22-year-old daughter by her arm and twisted one of her fingers out of its joint. It swelled up and caused her pain. Then the soldier pushed her down to the floor. We were all screaming in shock not believing what were seeing. 
At the same time other soldiers wanted to push me into one of the rooms and lock the door and separate me from my children. I resisted with all my might and strained my ankle. A female soldier then punched me in the chest and caused me a lot of pain. I was not able to take a deep breath for a whole week. 
Then a soldier asked me to collect all our mobile phones and identity cards but did not allow me to leave the room to get them. We were all stressed and in shock, so much so that we could not easily find our identity cards or remember where we had kept them. It was olive harvest season and we spent most of our days in the fields harvesting olives and we did not take our identity cards with us so they were not in their usual places. The raid couldn’t have come at a worse time. 
The soldiers then started to search our home, throwing everything on the floor and deliberately breaking shelves, turning chairs and couches upside down and throwing the contents of the cupboards and wardrobes on the floor. Within a few minutes the house was trashed. My kitchen pots were dented, my daughter’s bridal gifts were thrown off the top of the wardrobe and broken, all our clothes were on the floor. 
I was worried that they might spill our freshly pressed olive oil but thankfully the olive oil containers got covered under the blankets and duvets which the soldiers threw off our beds. 
Meanwhile the other soldiers continued to assault us. A female soldier hit my 14-year-old daughter and pushed her aggressively. When my 19-year-old son tried to intervene to protect his sister, another soldier pushed him to the floor and tied his hands behind his back. When my 12-year-old son tried to intervene, a soldier slapped him hard on the face causing his lip to bleed. 
The soldiers then pushed my 22-year-old son into the small area outside the bathroom, and pushed my 16-year old son into his bedroom and forced him to sit on his bed. We were all screaming and shouting, trying to defend ourselves. It was chaotic and tense, and we felt like we were in the middle of a battle field, not in our own home. 
The soldiers remained inside our house for about two hours. When my husband came back from dawn prayers at the mosque they would not let him enter his own home.
After about two hours one of the soldiers told us they wanted to arrest our 17-year-old son. They did not give us any documents and did not tell us where they were taking him or why. By the time they left we were all completely drained. I cried my eyes out as they took my son away on foot to the nearby settlement of Karni Shomron. 
I could not sleep or eat for three days. It took us a month to tidy up our house and restore some order. The lock on our front door was completely destroyed; the metal parts were turned into very small pieces of metal, the size of sand grains. We were without a lock for three months and we pushed a couch against the door each night. We had to replace the front door and some chairs and pots and pans which cost us a lot of money.
This was the most aggressive night raid I have experienced, but it was not the first time our house was raided by Israeli soldiers. Our house has been raided dozens of times over the last 10 years or so, on average the army comes twice a year. After each raid my younger children refuse to sleep in their own bedrooms for fear that the soldiers will come at night. When they finally calm down and go back to sleeping in their own beds, the soldiers come again and the cycle repeats.
I wake up multiple times each night, listening carefully to the sounds outside our house and inspecting my children’s’ bedrooms to make sure they are all safe. The sound of wind and rain wakes me up. My sleep is shallow and interrupted; I don't feel safe in my own home.