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Resident of Ni’lin tells of his experiences after being arrested by Israeli forces

On Saturday August 31 2008 Ibrahim from Ni’lin was stopped in an Israeli checkpoint on his way to work and was prevented from going since his working permission, which makes it possible for him to enter Israel, had been taken away from him. It was his first day at work after 15 days in Israeli prison were he had experienced isolation and daily interrogation. He was accused of leading the boys in their resistance against the building of the apartheid wall in Ni’lin, he could not answer the questions he was asked, hence his working permission was taken away due to lack of co-operation with the Shabaq.

After 15 days in a dark cell with interrogations of up to 4 times a day, the only break from the darkness came as Ibrahim was relieved from Maskubia prison to go to court.

Only the last 5 minutes of the court case was reserved for him to defend himself. He spoke to the judge in Hebrew, said how important the land the apartheid wall steals away from him is to him and his family. He told of how his two little twins ask him why they all of a sudden they cannot go to have picnic in the family’s olive groves and asked the judge what he should reply the next time his children brought up this topic. He told about the importance for his children having this free space, to spend time outside without fear. His family still have the key for their home in Jaffa and he used to bring his children to the sea 10 years ago before Israel took away their freedom of movement and prevented them from going. He told them that the only nature he could offer his children now is the olive groves that are now taken away from them.

The accusations against him was that he was the leader of the young boys who remove barbed-wire from their families’ land and fight against the heavily armed Israeli army by throwing stones at their jeeps when they come into arrest innocent villagers at night.

He had told them already under the first interrogation that he was not a part of the groups of boys and that being 42 and as a member of the Popular Committee in Ni’lin he had no knowledge about the names of these boys.

Ibrahim was arrested in his home at 2am on the 14th of August. The border police took him to the police station in the nearby settlement where they left him outside, handcuffed and blindfolded until 10 a clock next morning. In the 8 hours he was sitting outside the police station the border police ordered him to sit in a stress position with his back bent over. They told him that they would hit him if he stretched his back.

After the 8 hours first in the cool night and the following hot sunny day Ibrahim was taken into a jeep still ordered to sit in the stress position for two hours on bumpy roads to Maskubia prison.

The cell Ibrahim was held in was small and no light ever reached him. He did not know whether it was day or night and when he asked the guards they refused to talk to him or made fun of him. He lost track of time, the interrogation being as monotone as the dark cell, with the same questions asked over and over again. ‘What are the names of the boys? How do you plan with them?’

At one interrogation, 3 interrogators sat on chairs all the way around Ibrahim with two pressing their boots into his head from each side and one pressing his boots into Ibrahim’s face. Under other interrogations the soldiers pinched him under his arms and accused him of buying the influence with the boys with ice cream and water.

Ibrahim did not give any information to the Shabaq, hence they took away his permission to go and work inside Israel. He has subsequently lost his job, the only income of the family of 10, due to false accusations. Accusations based on no evidence, made up to punish and scare a caring father and his entire family.

Ibrahim’s oldest son just started studying engineering at university, while his other children are supposed to start university in the following two years; bright children whose future are put on risk by the occupation that takes away their freedom and even their chances of building up a society based on knowledge. Ibrahim has to borrow money from friends and family to put food on his family’s table, but he is proud of his decision not just to give a random name to escape the hard conditions he knew would follow the arrest.

He will try to borrow money for the rest of his children’s education if he can not find a new job.

He is known as a man with a lot of friends and he does not believe in or accept political party conflicts. Ibrahim believes one of the strongest ways of resisting the occupation is to stand united no matter what political or religious stands the Palestinian people have.