Testimony of Fadi Rajeb Hanani from the village of Beit Furik
about the Israeli army's attack on his home, on Friday 20.4.07
The large family house contains a greengrocers shop open to the road, and two
residential floors – Fadi, his wife an 5 children live on the top floor, his
brother and family on the bottom floor.
Here is what we heard from Fadi, his brothers and children:
On Friday, 20.4.07, around 4 p.m., 3 jeeps (army and border patrol) entered the
village. As usual, children threw stones. Fadi immediately closed shop and got
indoor with all his children and his wife. With them were also his sister-in-law
and her baby.
The jeeps drove in back of the house and there, from amongst the olive trees,
opened fire on the house, hitting the solar plate on the roof. Then the jeeps
came back and parked opposite the house, as the soldiers fired for about 20
minutes on the entrance to the house, the balconies and windows. (We saw and
photographed the numerous bullet hits around the entrance door handle, various
parts of the external walls, balconies as well as shattered window panes. T.H.)
All the while, the families were still indoors, and were not told a thing. After
about 20 minutes, a soldier called out in Arabic, through a megaphone, for the
"armed man to come downstairs and out of the house!" The family was finally
informed that the army was convinced that an armed fighter was hiding in their
home. But there was no such man. Another 20 minutes went by with continued
warnings and shooting. About 40 minutes into this, Fadi – clutching the smallest
baby in his arms – stood behind the stairwell door upsetairs and tried to shout
as loud as he could, again and again – "There is no one armed here! These are
all small children!" No one seemed to hear him. The shooting continued.
Finally the soldiers called out to Fadi to come outside with the children. He
was already dazed and exhausted. In a horrendous moment by the main entry to the
house, he wanted to exit with the baby and his wife tried to keep him back in
order to go out first so that she would be the first killed, and not he. It took
a while for him to persuade his 6-year old twins to come out as well.
The soldiers continued to question him: "Where's the insurgent?" Fadi: "What
insurgent?" Soldiers: "The one who shot at us from your second story window."
Fadi: "There is no insurgent in our home." Soldiers: "Yes there is. And he shot
two bullets at the army, from your kitchen.."
The officer present took Fadi's ID number and name and instructed him to talk
with the GSS on a mobile phone.
GSS: "You are now standing on the east side of your house. Inside, upstairs,
there is an armed insurgent. Turn him in or we demolish your house." 2 minutes
later, the GSS – on the officer's phone – asks Fadi: "Who lives next door to
you?" Fadi: My brothers." GSS: "So maybe one of them is the insurgent upstairs.
Tell him to come downstairs immediately and turn himself in. This way he'll save
your house. Otherwise, in one hour from now it will lie in ruins."
All the while the soldiers kept calling through the megaphone and shooting at
the house. Ambulances had arrived to take about 5 people earlier hurt by rubber
bullets. At this point there were already 7 jeeps in front of the house. It was
close to 8 p.m.
A fourth phone conversation with the GSS who are still trying to convince Fadi
of the presence of an armed insurgent upstairs who must be turned in, or else
the house will be demolished. The GSS then instructed the officer to separate
Fadi from his 12-year old eldest son, Osama. "Who was in your home?" Osama: "Me,
my mother, brothers and sisters and father, and my aunt and baby cousin." GSS:
"Is one of your uncles upstairs?" Osama: "No." GSS: "Then who shot at the army
from upstairs?" 'Osama: "No one."
The family offered to serve as human shields to the soldiers who would enter and
search the house. The soldiers refused. A bulldozer arrived, moved around the
neighborhood, did nothing. It was already 9 p.m.
The women and children were taken to the neighbors. 2 more jeeps arrived, more
troops, while the GSS called for the fifth and last time and spoke with Fadi.
"The weapons upstairs – we're going in to take them. Is there a secret exit from
Fadi: "No, just the main front door." GSS: "For the last time, turn in the
insurgent and we won't demolish your house." During this exchange, soldiers shot
at the house from neighboring houses. Fadi: "If you find any weapons, take me."
GSS: "If we find nothing, we'll know it was you who fired." Soldiers moved Fadi
about 100 meters away from the house, entered it, searched, made a mess, tore
mattresses, and threw concussion grenades that charred blankets and mats and
made an even filthier mess. They found nothing.
Close to 10 p.m. the officer handed Fadi back his ID.
Fadi asked him, "Where are the weapons you found?" The officer snickered
viciously and took off, not a word of explanation or apology.
Tal Haran and Noa Perelson, Help in translating
from Arabic: N.
Our visit in Beit Furik: Sunday, 22.4.07, PM