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‘When they took us… they did not even look at our IDs.’

my day in Huwwara by J.

On Wednesday I was in an Israeli prison for one day. As you know, Nablus, and the old city mainly, is now undergoing the Israeli operation of ‘The Hot Winter’. The operation started on Sunday, continued on Monday, stopped just for Tuesday and was resumed yesterday. Yesterday was the turn of our area (Al-qariown area) in the old city. They started at 3:00 at night, told all the families to leave their houses, including women, babies and old people.

After standing for more than 6 hours without being allowed to get any food or even chairs they told all the women, children and those over 30 to go back home, and kept just us, the youth They put some blindfolds on our eyes, and tied our hands behind our backs with some very painful plastic cuffs.

After that, we were moved to some stores in the street, which were opened, destroyed and converted to prisons. We were there for half an hour, after that we had to go up a lot of stairs and through passages to a very dirty unused room, full of dirt that is not suitable even for animals to sit inside. When we were moving, I was the last one of the prisoners, I was grabbed by one soldier who led me as I could not see anything, then another two soldiers came and started to beat me using thier weapons on my back! note that we still had our hands cuffed and the masks on our eyes. We were kept there for 7 hours (untill 10:00 am), not allowed to go to WC , and when we requested some food, they brought some bread, threw it to the ground, and said that this is food, eat it as you want, they demanded that we eat like animals, but we refused that, and continued without food.

We were there until 4:00pm, then we were taken to an Israeli military vehicle, big enough just for 4 people (inside it one of the prisoners who could remove the mask was able to read in Hebrew, that the maximum number of people is 6) but we were 22!!!!!! we sat one on top of the other, which was the worst period of the day, we were taken through different streets until they decided to take us to Huwwara military base. We arrived there at 5:30 pm and after a while they decided to keep us inside a room. The room had 6 beds, but we were 28. When we really were hungry, we told the army that we were really hungry, and after 3 hours they brought us some meals that are suitable for 3 prisoners. Every 4 people shared a small piece of bread, and for the rice-meal, every one had a little – we had to eat rice with our hands, not spoons)

At 9:00pm we decided to sleep, because we did not expect to be released that night. Three people slept in every bed, two top to toe and the third in the rest of the bed, and the other three had to sleep on the ground – there was no proper floor. Every one had a blanket but there were no pillows so we used our shoes.

It is not possible for 28 people to be silent immediately, and we continued chatting. I was the last to get to sleep at 10:00pm. At 10:30pm a soldier knocked on the door loudly and told us we were going to the “intelligence” (I am not sure of the word but it’s some military intelligence like CIA) They again blindfolded and handcuffed us, put us in a military vehicle and drove us for a short distance, then let us out.

Here we met some very bad soldiers who asked us to sit down on the rough,very cold ground for about 30 minutes before one of the human rights workers asked the soldiers to remove the masks and untie our hands, when we discovered that we were in a large area of ground, surrounded by razor wire. At 12:30am they started taking us one by one to the intelligence colonel, during the waiting period we asked for some blankets or anything to cover ourselves but they refused.

When it was my turn to meet the colonel, I was searched, even my shoes and socks were searched with high-tech machines!

When I entered the office, it was just ordinary questions and they tried to persuade everyone to spy for them. But the thing that made me most angry was that while we were suffering with temperature less than 8 degrees, the colonel’s room was supplied with an LG air conditioner.

After that and as expected as I had done nothing against them, they sent me back to the same vehicle to send us to some place, don’t know where (again masked and handcuffed), the vehicle moved for 3 minutes and they ordered us to get out, removed the masks, cut the ties and said, this is Huwwara check point (I think you know it well) it was about 1:30am. We passed the checkpoint , some of my friends said – this is the only time you come to Huwwara and pass it quickly.

We knocked on the door of the first house after the checkpoint to call the Palestinian emergency services who came with two buses and took us home. I arrived home at 2:00am to find my parents waiting and my little brothers Ahmad(12 years) and Abdulqader(5 years) still crying, and my sister was staying with our neighbours.

I just want to tell you, that when they took us from the street, they did not even look at our ID cards to check if we were wanted or not.

I just Pray to God to take us away from this situation.