Sick Occupation Army Humour, Pillage, and Kidnapping of a Groom-to-be

Sick Occupation Army Humour, Pillage, and Kidnapping of a Groom-to-be

When 34-year-old Waleed Hamdan got engaged and started planning his wedding, which was due to take place after the the Ramadan (the Muslim Holy month), he couldn’t have known that less than two weeks before his marriage the Israeli occupation army would kidnap him from his family home in the village of Asira al-Qibliya (south of Nablus).

Nor could he have known how long they would illegally keep him imprisoned – without charges, without trial, without having committed a crime.

They came at 3.20am on Wednesday 9 July and surrounded the house; eight heavily armed Israeli occupation soldiers entered the Hamdan home, gathered all the family in one room, blindfolded Waleed, and kidnapped him. To his mother’s cries “Why are you taking him?!” they replied, grinning: “We’ve organized a party and we’re inviting your son to it.”

The ‘party’ is in Petach-Tikva, a notorious interrogation center where torture of Palestinians is systematic. Waleed has remained there – as far as his family are aware – ever since.

That same night, the Israeli occupation army drowned the village of Asira in tear gas; they also shot steel rubber-coated bullets and sound grenades at unarmed civilians. On their way out, the attackers tried to insult local youth who had gathered to defend their village: “Go to sleep, you have to start fasting soon!”

Waleed is the 11th person from Asira the occupation has kidnapped since 12 June, when three illegal Israeli settlers were reported missing and the Israeli Apartheid regime unleashed a terror campaign against the Palestinian population. The eleven are being illegally kept under administrative detention in Megiddo, an Israeli prison in 1948 territory of Palestine, in violation of international law.

First they came for Waleed, then they came for his car.

In the early hours of Wednesday 16 July, Israeli occupation army arrived – again uninvited – to the Hamdan house. After ordering the whole family to go downstairs, they conducted a ‘search’ inside; according to Waleed’s mother, the conversation that followed went on like this:

Occupation soldiers: “We need the key for Waleed’s car.”
Family: “Why?”
Occupation soldiers: “For Waleed.”
[At gunpoint, the family bring the car key; the soldiers search the vehicle and find nothing]
Occupation army captain: “We are taking the car with us.”
Family: “Why??”
Occupation army captain: “Because Waleed wants to start a taxi business in prison. Haha.”

That’s how the Israeli army stole Waleed’s white Skoda after imprisoning its owner. Two occupation soldiers drove it away to a military base nearby.

Waleed’s car is now statistics: a report by Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights estimates that the occupation army stole around US $3 million worth of cash and private property since the Apartheid regime started its most recent terror attack on Palestine in mid-June. During violent raids and between ransacking homes and kidnapping people, the soldiers helped themselves to whatever of material value they could find: jewelry, cars, mobile phones, computers.

Pillage and reprisal against civilians and their belongings – part of collective punishment – is absolutely prohibited by international law.

Meanwhile Waleed’s family and his future wife have no way of knowing when their loved one will be returned to them. And they are not laughing at the sick jokes of the zionist army.

This is not a joke. These are people’s lives.

Image credit: Poster by Euro-Mid Observer; tear gas canisters used by the occupation army on 9th July in Asira by Asira al-Qibliya facebook page.