Saturday, April 19, 2008

Thieves in uniform

By Gideon Levy

".....When Mohammed thought the soldiers had left, he opened the door and went outside. Together with his wife they rushed to their house, which is right next to Rami's, where they had been held. The household items were scattered on the floor. The television and the computer were shattered, as were several kitchen items and vases. Lubna hurried to the box with her gold jewelry, where she keeps the gifts she received from Mohammed for their marriage, four years ago. There is such a box in every Palestinian home. The box was thrown on the floor. Lubna's cheap jewelry was scattered, but the gold jewelry had disappeared. Necklaces and bracelets that had been saved from the wedding - their most important assets - were not found. The family searched and searched and didn't find them.....

The barber from Wadi al-Shajneh is not alone. In the offices of B'Tselem, about a dozen different accounts have accumulated in recent months, by Palestinians who complained about the theft of gold or cash from their homes in the course of searches conducted by IDF soldiers and in one case, a Shin Bet security service investigator. Ronen Shimoni, data coordination director of B'Tselem, sent several of the accounts to Haaretz: Members of the Zarkat family from Kafr Tapuah; members of the Rehal family from Silat al-Dahr; members of the Antar family from Barqin; Dendis from Halhoul; Demieri from Hawara; Adaili from Beita; Asus from Jenin; and members of the Ziadat family from Bene Naim. They and others complained about the disappearance of jewelry and cash. In some cases a Military Police or police investigation was begun.

Here, for example, is the testimony of Sayel Ziadat, a resident of Bene Naim, which is also in the South Hebron Hills, about what happened in his home on March 5, two weeks before the search in the Abu Arkub home, and the description is strikingly similar......"

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