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‘They tried to kill me’: Nonviolent activist recounts brutal encounter with Israeli military

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They tried to kill me

They tried to kill me

Friday 28th August afternoon we went to our weekly demonstration, against the theft of our land and apartheid wall, in Bil’in. We have been doing this non-violent demonstration for 10 years. As usual the soldiers were waiting for us in front of our village but this time from the start of the demonstration we could feel that there was something different from the usual initial bombardment of tear gas from the soldiers jeeps. To begin they fired a smaller amount of gas towards the peaceful demonstration, but as the march continued towards site of the old segregation wall the soldiers ambushed us and held me at gunpoint, threatening to shoot. The soldiers tied my hands far too tight behind my back, the plastic ties cutting into my skin. Still with their guns aimed at me, I was brutally beaten by five or six soldiers with sticks and they bound my eyes with blindfold material soaked with pepper spray. I did not resist, any resistance against these type of soldiers would just lead to more of a beating or worse.

(Photo: Rami Burnat)

(Photo: Rami Burnat)

After the beating, in agony, the soldiers walked me to their jeep on the other side of the separation wall surrounding the illegal settlement close to our village. I was in great pain and could feel that the soldiers had done to me some real damage. I pleaded with the soldiers to speak with their commander as I could feel a lot of pain in my chest and needed to visit the hospital. The soldiers then just laughed and mocked me saying that there is no hospital for “terrorists”. They lied to me that they would take me to the hospital after they had taken me to the police station. On arrival at the police station, still cuffed and blindfolded, I again told people there that I needed to see a doctor but no one would listen.

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahma)

(Photo: Hamde Abu Rahma)

I was held from 2.p.m until midnight without charge and still with no access to medical care, all the while with pepper spray burning my eyes and the ties slicing my wrists. When they finally released me and my cousin Hamza, who was arrested for photo documenting the days events,  they threw me out on to the street and told me that I had to call for an ambulance myself. Hamza called the ambulance as I was exhausted and unable to move with the pain. The ambulance arrived in around 20 minutes and took me to Ramallah hospital where they treated me and told me that I have two broken ribs broken in my chest, along with heavy bruising all over my body. They gave me medicine and I was told that they cannot do anything to treat the broken ribs.

I have been arrested and injured many times during our struggle against the illegal settlements and theft of our families land, but this time I felt that the Israeli soldiers wanted to kill me. They have done a lot of things over the years to try and break us and the spirit of the village, especially targeting me and my family. When I was in the hospital on the 28th August, the date of my son Majd’s birthday, I recall that exactly a year earlier, he himself was in the hospital awaiting treatment after being shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers during protest. This is how the Israelis use violence to threaten and scare my family, hoping that we will break and give up resisting the occupation and give up on the land we depend on.

The oppressor must understand that every bullet and beating towards us does not make us weak, but strengthens our resolve and brings us closer together. We will not give up, we will resist until they tire of using violence against us. I will continue to fight for our freedom, for a better future for my children and for all children. As soon as I am fit and able to attend,  I will return to our weekly protest and continue to demonstrate against the aggression we face in our every day lives.

Iyad Burnat

Iyad Burnat is a leader of Bil'in's non-violent struggle in the occupied West Bank. He is the head of the Bil'in Popular Committee against the Wall, which has led weekly demonstrations since 2005 against the Israeli West Bank barrier.

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18 Responses

  1. Xpat on September 1, 2015, 1:14 pm

    Shame, shame on Israel. I am an Israeli. These thugs and their masters should be exposed to the whole world.
    What determination and dignity on the part of Iyad Burnat. I pray neither he nor his family suffer irreparable harm in the hands of these tyrants.
    It’s reports like these that make me want to tear up my Israeli passport.

    • Froggy on September 1, 2015, 8:27 pm

      Stay strong, friend. You bring honour to your people by your example, encouraging other Israelis and diaspora Jews to stand up for what is right and just.

    • a blah chick on September 1, 2015, 9:18 pm

      May I second Froggy’s statement. I truly appreciate people like you who comment here and remind us that not everyone in that crazy realm is a bigot. Keep the waters troubled.

      • eljay on September 2, 2015, 7:12 am

        I offer my respect as well.

    • ziusudra on September 2, 2015, 5:57 am

      Greetings MW,
      Thank you for bringing the life of a Palestinian struggling so many years actively.
      Bravo for Iyad Burnat.
      ….I will resist until they tire……
      Unfortunately conquest doesn’t allow fatigue & these soldiers rotate every few years bringing in fresh ones to continue.
      As all aggressors, their fall will come out of a maze of destructive Serendipity, it will come.
      ziusudra

  2. annie on September 1, 2015, 1:15 pm

    and the hasbara protectors of the israeli military will no doubt call it pallywood.

    • JLewisDickerson on September 1, 2015, 1:53 pm

      THIS IS FAR WORSE THAN THE “PALLYWOOD” DEFENSE:
      John Hagee 2015, ‘The White Horse’ – Aug 16, 2015
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xMQNjAfvBtk
      FROM WIKIPEDIA: John Hagee was born in Goose Creek, Texas, now part of Baytown, to the former Vada Mildred Swick and the Reverend William Bythel Hagee.[7] He graduated from Trinity University in San Antonio, with a Bachelor of Science in History and Education in 1964.[8] He was on a football scholarship and appeared on the Academic Dean’s List.[9] Hagee received a Master’s degree in Educational Administration from the University of North Texas in Denton in 1966 and completed his theological training at Southwestern Assemblies of God University with a Diploma in Theology in Waxahachie, south of Dallas. In 1989, he received an Honorary Doctorate from Oral Roberts University in Tulsa, Oklahoma.[10] In 2005, he received another Honorary Doctorate from Netanya Academic College in Israel.[11] Hagee served on the Oral Roberts University Board of Regents from 1989 to January 2008.[8]
      John Hagee was the leader of the San Antonio mega-church Trinity Church in the 1970s and is the father of two children with his first wife, Martha Downing. In 1975, Hagee was involved in a personal scandal in which he admitted in a letter to his congregation that he had been guilty of “immorality.”[12] He subsequently divorced his wife of 15 years and, one year later on April 12, 1976, married 24-year-old Diana Castro, his current wife.[13] Castro was a member of the Trinity Church congregation at the time of Hagee’s confession. As a result of the fallout from his divorce, Hagee resigned from his pastoral position at Trinity. Hagee and Castro have three children together.
      Hagee founded The Church at Castle Hills, on Mother’s Day, May 11, 1975. The church started with 25 members, but within two years, had to build a new sanctuary seating 1,600 people. The church continued to grow. On October 4, 1987, Hagee dedicated a 5,000+-seat sanctuary and named it Cornerstone Church. Dr. W. A. Criswell, pastor of the First Baptist Church of Dallas, anointed Hagee and Diana before the congregation.[14]

      • JLewisDickerson on September 1, 2015, 5:52 pm

        P.S. ANOTHER EXCERPT FROM WIKIPEDIA (John Hagee):

        [EXCERPTS] . . . The San Antonio B’nai B’rith Council awarded Hagee with its “Humanitarian of the Year” award. It was the first time this award was given to a non-Jew.[24] Hagee was presented the Zionist Organization of America’s Israel Award by U.N. Ambassador Jeane Kirkpatrick. This award was given by the Jewish Community of Dallas, Texas.[25] He was presented the ZOA Service Award by Texas Governor Mark White.
        Hagee has been to Israel more than two dozen times and has met with every Prime Minister of Israel since Menachem Begin. John Hagee Ministries has given several million dollars to bring Soviet Jews from the former Soviet Union to Israel, as well as millions to support Jewish orphanages and other worthy causes for the Jewish people in Israel and around the globe. Hagee is the Founder and Executive Director of “A Night to Honor Israel”, an event that expresses solidarity between Christians and Jews on behalf of Jerusalem, the State of Israel, and the United States.[26]
        On February 7, 2006, Hagee and 400 leaders from the Christian and Jewish communities formed a new national organization called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).[27] This organization addresses members of the United States Congress, professing a Biblical justification for the defense of Israel. Around this time he received death threats for supporting Israel, and has since had bodyguards standing by while preaching at his church or at speaking engagements.[28]
        Hagee was the primary early funding source for the Israeli Zionist group Im Tirtzu,[29] which has pressured Israeli academics it accuses of being anti-Zionist and lobbied to have their funding cut for their political views.[30] . . .

        SOURCE – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hagee

        P.P.S. ■ IS OBAMA THE ANTI-CHRIST? | Biblical Analysis by John Hagee
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?t=1720&v=OjVpB6kC2nY

      • JLewisDickerson on September 1, 2015, 6:48 pm

        P.P.S.THE BOOK OF JOHN:

        • 1940: John Hagee is born in Goose Creek, Texas, to pastor parents.
        • 1958: Hagee preaches for the first time, at his father’s Houston church.
        • 1960: Hagee marries his first wife, Martha.
        • 1975: Hagee divorces Martha and leaves his ministry, amid hints of infidelity.* He quickly begins a new ministry at Trinity Church.
        • 1976: Hagee marries Diana Castro.
        • 1978: Hagee and Diana make their first trip to Israel. He also launches Global Evangelism Television.
        • 1981: Hagee hosts the first “Night to Honor Israel”
        • 1987: Hagee dedicates new Cornerstone Church.
        • 1996: He draws fire from African Americans for his “go home with a slave” promotion to raise money for high-school students.
        • 2005: Hagee blames the sinfulness of New Orleans for Hurricane Katrina.
        • 2006: Hagee helps to create Christians United for Israel.
        • 2008: He endorses John McCain for president. McCain later rejects the endorsement.

        SOURCE – http://www.sacurrent.com/sanantonio/the-zionist-in-winter/Content?oid=2284801

        * P.P.P.S. Some “pastors” like to dip their “pens” in the congregational “ink”! ! !

        P.P.P.P.S. – H. L. MENCKEN’S ODE TO JOHN HAGEE:
        “Deep within the heart of every evangelist lies the wreck of a car salesman.”
        SOURCE – http://atheistnexus.org/forum/topics/deep-within-the-heart-of-every-evangelist-lies-the-wreck-of-a-car

      • JLewisDickerson on September 1, 2015, 7:35 pm

        P.P.P.P.P.P.S. ALSO SEE: “John Hagee’s Controversial Gospel”, by Sarah Posner, Prospect.org, 12 March 2008
        An excerpt from Sarah Posner’s new book, God’s Profits: Faith, Fraud, and the Republican Crusade for Values Voters.
        LINK – http://prospect.org/article/john-hagees-controversial-gospel

      • echinococcus on September 2, 2015, 1:38 am

        Nah. With a name like Hagee he can only be an Ay-rab.

  3. amigo on September 1, 2015, 1:20 pm

    Those who died in the Holocaust must be turning in their graves if they can see what so many Jews have become.Are they asking themselves if their suffering has no meaning for these thugs in olive green who besmirch their memory

    Shooting and beating people because they oppose theft of “Their ” land and demolition of their homes.

    Israel,s brave heroes are fast on the road to being full blown fascist killers .Will they go all the way and mirror the actions, (albeit on a lesser scale ), of the Holocaust perpetrators.Will they shame completely Judaism, as they have surely ditched it for something totally opposite .

  4. eljay on September 1, 2015, 1:27 pm

    Zio-supremacists – whether they are engaging in acts of injustice and immorality against others or “merely” advocating, defending, supporting and/or justifying those acts – are truly hateful and immoral people.

  5. RobertB on September 1, 2015, 1:39 pm

    These Israeli IDF killers….murderers….NEVER go to prison….NOT even for one hour….NEVER…for murdering a Palestinian/Arab boy, a Palestinian/Arab girl, a Palestinian/Arab man….woman….!!!

    What a Nazi mentality…sickness….Apartheid zionist arrogance!!!

  6. Walker on September 1, 2015, 3:21 pm

    MondoWeiss, thanks for making this a headline entry. It’s warranted.

  7. RobertHenryEller on September 2, 2015, 9:35 am

    So much for Israeli democracy.

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