2 Arrested in Beit Ommar as Part of West Bank-Wide Sweep

12 June 2008

In the pre-dawn hours of Wednesday, June 11, 2 young men, Omar Abu Maria, brother of PSP committee member Iman Abu Maria, and Kamal Mahmoud Alhamid Al Za-aaqiq, were taken from their homes in Beit Ommar by Israeli soldiers and are currently being held in an unknown location. In the first incident, at approximately 2:30 am, 5 soldiers entered the home of Omar, age 17, demanded to see his ID, and arrested him without explanation. Omar is in his final year of school and his family is worried that he will miss his end-of-year exams, held next week, which would mean his having to wait another year before moving on to university.

Later, at 3 am, 4 soldiers entered the family home of Kamal Mahmoud Alhamid Al Za’aaqiq, a 23-year-old university student. The soldiers first woke the man’s mother and grandchildren. They then ransacked the house, pulling out all of the drawers and opening the cabinets in the bedroom and kitchen and waking up 3 young children.

The children, ages 3, 4, and 5, were forced into a room by themselves by the soldiers, who blocked the doorway and kept their guns trained on the small, terrified children. The soldiers then asked for the mother’s ID, in which her son, Kamal’s name was written. Only then did the soldiers say they were looking for Kamal. The soldiers then moved on to where Kamal was sleeping, in another house completely, where they opened his computer and removed the hard drive. They dragged Kamal out of his bed and said he was under arrest. He was not allowed to change out of his pajamas or put on shoes. The soldiers then turned to his elderly mother and said to her, “say goodbye to your son.” Using a phrase that implied she would never see him again. She asked where he was being taken and they repeated, “say goodbye to your son.”

Kamal’s brother asked the soldiers why they had invaded his family’s house
at 3 am, and why they were taking his brother. The soldiers replied that
they were ‘just visiting’, and that the Arabs were known for their hospitality.

Kamal’s mother told PSP, “The [Israelis] say they want peace, they talk about peace, and then they come in and destroy homes and frighten small children. Where is the peace?”