Ellen Graubert reports in Counterfire:
On the morning of May 15th 2020, in the village of Y’abad, in the northern part of the West Bank, the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF) smashed down the doors of the home of Adnan Hamarsheh and his family, and brutally attacked him, his wife, his 72 year-old mother, his two sons and his brother. Adnan, in spite of being wheelchair-bound, tried to defend his mother. The soldiers beat him over the head with rifle butts at least 35 times, wounding him seriously.
Assuming he was dead, they left the house. Luckily, though he was bleeding profusely from his injuries, he was not dead; he and the other injured members of the family were eventually taken to hospital by ambulance – another bit of luck, as medical care is very stretched in the West Bank, especially now with the coronavirus pandemic.
Being woken up in the night by soldiers breaking into their homes and attacked is a fear that Palestinians have been forced to live with for decades, but Adnan and his family have had to endure this nightmare not once, but twice. After the first break-in and attack – some years ago – the whole family was arrested and detained in various Israeli jails for long periods of time.
I met Adnan while on a Counterfire trip to the West Bank last year organised through CADFA [Camden Abu Dis Friendship Association]. Adnan and his family were extremely hospitable to us and he recounted the treatment his family has had to endure at the hands of the IDF and Israeli security services simply because he had been a member of the Palestinian political party Hamas. Though neither he or his family have committed a crime, they have been under near-constant surveillance and harassment from Israeli soldiers – when they haven’t been languishing in prison.