As war rages in Gaza, West Bank routine of violence and arrests unabated
Arrests, expulsions, home demolitions, land seizure and settlers harassing Palestinians continues: Since the beginning of the fighting in the south on July 8, soldiers and police have injured 2,139 Palestinians in the West Bank.
By Amira Hass
Last Wednesday, about an hour and a half after midnight, a group of armed men in uniforms burst into the home in the West Bank city of Ramallah of Khalida Jarrar, a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council representing the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. One of the group tried to hand her a document written in Hebrew. She refused to accept the piece of paper. A female soldier, she recounted, read her what was written on the paper. A policeman translated it into Arabic.
Jarrar didn’t pay attention to all the details, but rather to the basics: The Israel Defense Forces was expelling her to the West Bank city of Jericho, and she was to leave within 24 hours. She refused to sign the document. It’s still at her house.
Under the signature of the IDF commander in the West Bank, Maj. Gen. Nitzan Alon, the order is dated August 15 and entitled: “Order with Regard to Security Directives (Consolidated Version), Judea and Samaria (No. 1651) 5770 2009.” And below it there is another caption: “Special Supervisory Order.”
The text of the order read as follows: “Following the accumulation of high-quality and credible intelligence material with regard to Khalida Kana’an Muhammed Jarrar (hereinafter ‘the subject’), and after I have been convinced that serious security considerations required this and that the matter was necessary and required for decisive security reasons to maintain security in the region, I hereby order that the subject be placed under special supervision. As long as this order remains in effect, the subject shall not leave the Jericho district other than with a permit from me or someone authorized by me. This order will go into effect when signed and remain in effect until February 29, 2015 at 11:59 P.M.”
Jarrar stated that she would not obey the expulsion order.
Compared to the killing and destruction that this same army is carrying out in Gaza, the issuance of an expulsion order to a political activist is a trifling matter. The violence involved in Jarrar’s case is more bureaucratic, less physical (not counting the invasion of a private home). That’s also true when compared to the routine, day-to-day violence that the defense forces employ against Palestinian citizens of the West Bank. Since this violence is such a routine and daily occurrence, it is so taken for granted that even no German Chancellor Angela Merkel and no United States President Barack Obama bother to issue any kind of declaration that the Palestinian people have the right to self-defense.
This past Friday, as on every Friday, IDF soldiers attempted to suppress West Bank demonstrations against the theft of their lands and the mass killing in Gaza. One young man in Kafr Qaddum was injured when he was hit in the head by a gas canister. In the other villages – according to reports – demonstrators choked on teargas. Between August 12 and 18, IDF troops injured 139 Palestinians at demonstrations in the West Bank. According to the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, 37 of them, or 27 percent, were wounded by live fire. The others were injured by rubber-coated metal bullets or teargas.
Since the beginning of the fighting in the south on July 8, soldiers and police have injured 2,139 Palestinians in the West Bank. Since the beginning of this year, IDF troops have injured a total of 3,995 Palestinians in this part of the occupied territory. In all of last year, soldiers injured 3,736 Palestinians. Since July 8, IDF soldiers have killed two children in the West Bank and 15 adults, mostly at demonstrations in support of Gaza. A trifling matter.
The expulsion order may not be routine, but army raids into homes are. Boy are they. Children awake in panic in their homes from pounding on the door, rifles drawn and soldiers who are either masked or have black face paint. Between August 12 and 18, a total of 91 such raids were carried out in various villages and neighborhoods. That’s an average of 13 per night, and according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, last week IDF soldiers and police arrested 111 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, including 20 in Jerusalem. From the beginning of August, the IDF and police have arrested 477 Palestinians in the West Bank.
And that’s without even considering home demolitions, the seizure of land and harassment by Israeli settlers. OCHA is reporting six cases of harassment of Palestinians by settlers, including the use of live fire in a Palestinian village, vandalism, stone throwing and barring access to land. Israelis have also taken control of Palestinian land in two villages. Soon probably a boutique vineyard or dairy producing gourmet organic goats’ milk will be built there.
True, Palestinians throw stones and fire bombs at settlers’ cars. We’ve heard about searches and arrests at a village from which a fire bomb was thrown that injured a settler. We have not, however, heard about arrests of settlers who fired shots at the Palestinian village of Burin. We have heard about a curfew imposed on the village of Hawara over a Palestinian fire bomb thrown at a settler.
Last Tuesday, Abu Fakher, who is from the small ancient village of Khirbet A-Twayel southeast of Nablus, called and recounted how bulldozers from the IDF Civil Administration had demolished two ancient stone houses. It can be inferred that the authorities don’t really like the fact that the owners of the homes had renovated structures that testify to the deep roots of the Palestinian presence in the area. I apologized to Abu Fakher that events in Gaza prevented me from delving into the matter, and he understood.
There are a very large number of Israelis who carry out these trifling matters, including the visible ones (soldiers and police) and the invisible ones. Think of all of the unemployed people we would have if not for the occupation: the lawyers who provide legal cover, the drafters of documents and maps, the proofreaders and those who type the military orders, and the ones whose job it is to make sure there is enough ink and paper in the fax machines and printers. Then there are the commanders, bureau heads, Shin Bet security people, drivers, inspectors and Civil Administration committee members. And think about the fathers, and the wives and children who wait for these un-unemployed at home for Friday night dinner.
3 Haaretz Monday, August 25, 2014
The judges of national resilience are keeping Israeli Arabs in their place
The fascists beat people up, the police arrest them and the judges approve. We’re talking about protesters, not people digging a tunnel from an Arab neighborhood in Haifa.
By Oudeh Basharat | Aug. 25, 2014
If the fire of national resilience doesn’t burn too strongly in the bones of Nazareth Magistrate’s Court President Georges Azoulay and he doesn’t show up in court, then nine young men arrested at a protest more than a month ago will be released Monday.
Last Wednesday they weren’t so lucky. Their cases reportedly landed on the desk of Judge Nabeela Dally-Moussa, who recommended that the prosecution provide an alternative to detention. But then Azoulay, who was supposedly on vacation, appeared and took over the case, since national resilience trumps a vacation.
Thus, as a result of a blunder by a probation service that was supposed to submit its evaluation that day, the judge kept the suspects in custody for another two weeks until the probation workers get their act together.
But on the same day, after the families had appealed to the Nazareth District Court, Deputy District Court President Tawfic Kteily cut the extension of their detention to five days, after castigating both the prosecution and the probation service. Kteily went so far as to point out that if the young men, most of them students without criminal records, are punished, the punishment will almost surely be less than the time they’ve already spent behind bars.
Let me assure those who might be concerned that we’re not talking about rockets fired from Nazareth at the center of the country. And there’s no evidence of a tunnel leading from Haifa’s Wadi Nisnas neighborhood to the Defense Ministry headquarters in Tel Aviv. We’re talking about legal demonstrations.
Yaniv Kubovich and Nir Hasson have reported in Haaretz that in the space of a month, 1,471 people who demonstrated against the fighting in Gaza have been arrested, nearly all of them Arabs. Meanwhile, 650 criminal files have been opened and 350 indictments handed down – all of them against Arabs. Let’s remember that most of the people attacked during those demonstrations have also been Arabs.
And so it goes. The fascists beat people up, the police arrest them and the judges approve. If an article is ever written on how Israel’s law enforcement system works, the paper absorbing the ink will blush with shame.
In another case, Supreme Court Justice Isaac Amit, while ruling on the approval of a leftist demonstration, took pains to record that the decision had been delayed “by a few minutes due to a Color Red [rocket] alert.” Really, you leftists should be ashamed of yourselves. While the adults are busy making war, you’re fooling around. Still, it would be worth explaining to his honor that the left is demonstrating precisely so that rockets shouldn’t fall.
Here’s another gem. It turns out that what really disturbed Rehovot Magistrate’s Court Judge Iryah Heuman Mordechai, who approved the protest last week by the purity-of-the-Jewish-race preservers against the marriage of Morel Malka and Mahmoud Mansour, wasn’t the dark atmosphere of the 1930s that came to life in the courtrooms. It wasn’t even the undermining of a couple’s right to privacy. What bothered the judge was that money would be wasted on securing the Jewish-purity demonstration, money that could have been used to buy Iron Dome missiles.
Could a volunteer explain to her, in a whisper, of course, that the Americans are funding Iron Dome? And in an even lower whisper, could someone explain to her that as long as Israel follows the orders of tycoon Sheldon Adelson, the Americans will continue to fund it?
But compared to other issues, it looks as if the problems of the Arabs and the left are minor. The newspaper for the resilient people, Tishreen Ahronoth, published on the front page of its Friday magazine a photo that resembles the face of the devil. When you look carefully you see that it’s William Schabas, who heads the UN commission investigating whether war crimes have been committed in the Gaza fighting.
Let’s hope they’ll investigate everything thoroughly, including how, at a speed that would shame those guys in the Islamic State, some 2,100 Gazans have been sent to the other side of the universe.
When there are no judges in Jerusalem, there are judges in The Hague.
4 Haaretz Sunday, August 24, 2014
The difference between children
It is human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children.
By Gideon Levy
After the first child, nobody batted an eye; after the 50th not even a slight tremor was felt in a plane’s wing; after the 100th, they stopped counting; after the 200th, they blamed Hamas. After the 300th child they blamed the parents. After the 400th child, they invented excuses; after (the first) 478 children nobody cares.
Then came our first child and Israel went into shock. And indeed, the heart weeps at the picture of 4-year-old Daniel Tragerman, killed Friday evening in his home in Sha’ar Hanegev. A beautiful child, who once had his picture taken in an Argentinean soccer team shirt, blue and white, number 10. And whose heart would not be broken at the sight of this photo, and who would not weep at how he was criminally killed. “Hey Leo Messi, look at that boy,” a Facebook post read, “you were his hero.”
Suddenly death has a face and dreamy blue eyes and light hair. A tiny body that will never grow. Suddenly the death of a little boy has meaning, suddenly it is shocking. It is human, understandable and moving. It is also human that the killing of an Israeli boy, a child of ours, would arouse greater identification than the death of some other child. What is incomprehensible is the Israeli response to the killing of their children.
In a world where there is some good, children would be left out of the cruel game called war. In a world where there is some good, it would be impossible to understand the total, almost monstrous unfeelingness in the face of the killing of hundreds of children – not ours, but by us. Imagine them standing in a row: 478 children, in a graduating class of death. Imagine them wearing Messi shirts – some of those children wore them once too, before they died; they also admired him, just like our Daniel from a kibbutz. But nobody looks at them; their faces are not seen, no one is shocked at their deaths. No one writes about them: “Hey Messi, look at that boy.” Hey, Israel, look at their children.
An iron wall of denial and inhumanness protects the Israelis from the shameful work of their hands in Gaza. And indeed, these numbers are hard to digest. Of the hundreds of men killed one could say that they were “involved”; of the hundreds of women that they were “human shields.” As for a small number of children, one could claim that the most moral army in the world did not intend it. But what shall we say about almost 500 children killed? That the Israel Defense Forces did not intend it, 478 times? That Hamas hid behind all of them? That this legitimized killing them?
Hamas might have hidden behind some of those children but now Israel is hiding behind Daniel Tragerman. His fate is already being used to cover all of the sins of the IDF in Gaza.
The radio yesterday already talked about “murder.” The prime minister already called the killing “terror,” while hundreds of Gaza’s children in their new graves are not victims of murder or terror. Israel had to kill them. And after all, who are Fadi and Ali and Islaam and Razek, Mahmoud, Ahmed and Hamoudi – in the face of our one and only Daniel.
We must admit the truth: Palestinian children in Israel are considered like insects. This is a horrific statement, but there is no other way to describe the mood in Israel in the summer of 2014. When for six weeks hundreds of children are destroyed; their bodies buried in rubble, piling up on morgues, sometimes even in vegetable refrigeration rooms for lack of other space; when their horrified parents carry the bodies of their toddlers as a matter of course; their funerals coming and going, 478 times – even the most unfeeling of Israelis would not allow themselves to be so uncaring.
Something here has to rise up and scream: Enough. All the excuses and all the explanations will not help – there is no such thing as a child that is allowed to be killed and a child that is not. There are only children killed for nothing, hundreds of children whose fate touches no one in Israel, and one child, just one, around whose death the people unite in mourning.
STATISTICS for Sunday, August 24, 2014!
2122 Killed, 10,621 wounded
For additional updates on other aspects in Gaza click on http://www.pchrgaza.org/portal/en/
6 Chicago Tribune Sunday, August 24, 2014
Israel issues warning after leveling 13-floor apartment building
Gazans recover what they can from wrecked apartment block
Residents of 13-storey apartment tower destroyed by Israeli airstrike search for their belongings between the rubble.
By Nidal al-Mughrabi and Jeffrey Heller
Palestinian civilians are told to leave sites where Hamas militants are operating.
‘Every one of these places is a target for us,’ Benjamin Netanyahu on sites where Hamas operates.
2,108 Palestinians, mostly civilians, have been killed in the Gaza conflict, health officials say.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Palestinian civilians on Sunday to leave immediately any site where militants are operating, one day after Israel flattened a 13-story apartment block in Gaza..
Israeli aircraft fired a non-explosive rocket at the building as a signal to residents to get out before attacking it on Saturday. Seventeen people were wounded in the strike on the structure, which Israel said had housed a Hamas command center.
“I call on the inhabitants of Gaza to evacuate immediately from every site from which Hamas is carrying out terrorist activity. Every one of these places is a target for us,” Netanyahu said in public remarks at a cabinet meeting.
With no end in sight to fighting in its seventh week, Netanyahu’s tough talk seemed to indicate a move towards bolder strikes against Hamas targets in densely populated neighborhoods, even at the risk of raising more international alarm.
Hours after Netanyahu spoke, a cluster of 10 homes, one belonging to a Hamas member, was destroyed in an air strike in the southern Gaza town of Khan Younis, neighbors said.
Ten people were wounded by flying debris, but no fatalities were reported. Neighbors said about 10 minutes before the attack, a warning missile was fired and residents fled.
In Gaza City, an Israeli strike on a car killed Mohammed al-Ghoul, described by the Israeli military as a Hamas official responsible for “terror fund transactions”.
Ghoul was targeted three days after Israel assassinated three top Hamas commanders in the southern Gaza Strip.
In another attack on Sunday, a mother and her four children were killed when their home was bombed in Jabalya refugee camp, hospital officials said. It was not immediately clear why the dwelling was hit, and neighbors said no warning was given.
Militants kept up constant rocket and mortar strikes on southern Israel, wounding three Israelis at the Erez border crossing with the Gaza Strip.
The military said 117 rockets and mortars were launched on Sunday, nine of them intercepted by Israel’s Iron Dome system.
A mortar attack on the Erez crossing with Gaza wounded four Israelis, and Israel said it had shut the terminal in response for all but emergency cases.
Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri described Netanyahu’s warnings to Gazans to steer clear of potential targets “a clear example of war crimes” against Gaza’s civilian population.
Thousands of homes in the Gaza Strip have been destroyed or damaged in the conflict. Nearly 500,000 people have been displaced in the territory of 1.8 million where Palestinians, citing Israeli attacks that have hit schools and mosques, say no place is safe.
Israel has said Hamas bears responsibility for civilian casualties because it operates among non-combatants. The group, it said, uses schools and mosques to store weapons and as launching sites for cross-border rocket attacks.
Palestinian health officials say 2,115 people, most of them civilians and more than 400 of them children, have been killed in the Gaza Strip since July 8, when Israel launched an offensive with the declared aim of ending Palestinian rocket fire into its territory.
Sixty-four Israeli soldiers and four civilians in Israel have been killed. Israel’s president attended the funeral on Sunday of a four-year-old boy killed in a mortar bomb attack on Friday.
The bombing on Saturday of Al Zafer Tower in Gaza City marked the first time in the Gaza war that Israel had brought down such a tall structure. It had housed 44 families, some of whom returned to the rubble on Sunday to search for belongings.
Late on Saturday, an Israeli air strike destroyed a commercial center in the southern Gaza town of Rafah and three people were hurt, local medical staff said.
Egypt called on Israel and the Palestinians on Saturday to halt hostilities and return to talks. But there was no sign that negotiations, last held before a ceasefire collapsed on Tuesday, would resume soon.
Justice Minister Tzipi Livni told Israel’s Channel 2 television a ceasefire had to precede any renewed negotiations. “Israel is not ready to talk while under fire,” she said, reaffirming Netanyahu’s policy.
Livni added that any deal that emerged to halt the fighting also must ensure that “Hamas doesn’t reap any achievements,” and put the more moderate Palestinian Authority in control of Gaza.
The start of the school year has been delayed indefinitely by the Education Ministry in the Gaza Strip.
Netanyahu said on Sunday that Israelis should be prepared for the war to continue after classes begin on Sept. 1.
But Netanyahu made clear Israel would not open any schools lacking in protection against rocket fire by that date, an official speaking on condition of anonymity said.
With mortar shootings on the rise at Israeli communities near the Gaza border, some Israelis debated whether the area should be evacuated. Israeli media said about a third of border zone residents had sought shelter elsewhere in the country.
Netanyahu told ministers Israel would consider helping anyone leaving a rocket-hit area, but the cabinet avoided broaching any officially sanctioned evacuations fearing that could be seen as a morale booster for Hamas, the official said.
At one U.N.-run school in Gaza where Palestinian families have been sheltering, children chanting “glory and eternity to our martyrs” stood in line for the national anthem, but no classes were held.
Scott Anderson, Deputy Director of Gaza operations for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency, said although school had been canceled, some instruction could be provided via television or the Internet.
Hamas has said it would not stop fighting until the Israeli-Egyptian blockade on Gaza is lifted. Both Israel and Egypt view Hamas as a security threat and are demanding guarantees that weapons will not enter the economically-crippled enclave.
7 Israeli Made “Suicidal” Drone Doubles as Missile (Video)
[Thanks to Ruth for forwarding. D]
The Harop UAV immediately after launch. (Photo: Screenshot)
Israeli defense firm Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) unveiled a “suicidal” unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) named Harop, according to a report by Ynet.
Harop is now one of the world’s most sophisticated and accurate UAV’s. With an ability to remain airborne for hours, Harop has the capability of diving and crashing into a precise target, much like a conventional missile. The UAV can receive instructions from as far as 1,000 kilometers.
Contained within the nose of the Harop is 10 kilograms of explosives. The explosives can either be detonated at impact or can be launched from various platforms, such as a ship or vehicle, to enhance its range.
Immediately after launch, the Harop’s wings unfold. Once flight begins, it is impossible to cancel the Harop’s mission. Operators of the UAV have the ability to lock on to targets that are both mobile and static.
Officials at IAI claim that production to final delivery takes a mere two weeks. Already numerous foreign militaries have reported using Harop successfully in several operations.
According to IAI, hundreds of units have already been sold. Many Harop’s were specially outfitted with special cameras capable of seeing through severe weather and the dark.
The IAI factory, located in central Israel, recently began production on an even more advanced version of Harop. The next generation model will include a launch vehicle, thereby increasing operational flexibility and making it easier to mask the missile as an airplane.
In a demonstration, Harop’s flexibility was put to the test when it was able to carry out a precise strike on a building similar to those used by Hezbollah in southern Israel to hide its operational headquarters. In a second demonstration, the UAV also carried out a direct strike on a target on a boat out at sea.
8 NYTimes Sunday, August 24, 2014
Teenager Cites Ordeal as Captive of Israelis
By FARES AKRAM and JODI RUDORENAUG. 24, 2014
Ahmed Abu Raida, a Palestinian teenager who said Israeli soldiers detained him for five days. Credit Wissam Nassar for The New York Times
KHAN YOUNIS, Gaza Strip — A Palestinian teenager says that Israeli soldiers detained him for five days last month, forcing him to sleep blindfolded and handcuffed in his underwear and to search and dig for tunnels in Khuza’a, his village near Gaza’s eastern border, which was all but destroyed in the fighting.
The teenager, Ahmed Jamal Abu Raida, said the soldiers assumed he was connected to Hamas, the militant Islamist group that dominates Gaza, insulted him and Allah and threatened to sic a dog on him.
“My life was in danger,” Ahmed, 17, said in one of two lengthy interviews on Thursday and Friday. As soldiers made him walk in front of them through the neighborhood and check houses for tunnels, he added, “In every second, I was going to the unknown.”
His assertions, of actions that would violate both international law and a 2005 Israeli Supreme Court ruling, could not be independently corroborated; Ahmed’s father, Jamal Abu Raida, who held a senior position in Gaza’s Tourism Ministry under the Hamas-controlled government, said the family forgot to take photographs documenting any abuse in its happiness over the youth’s return, and disposed of the clothing he was given upon his release. The case was publicized Thursday by Defense for Children International-Palestine, an organization whose reports on abuses of Palestinian youths in West Bank military jails have been challenged by the Israeli authorities.
The Israeli military confirmed that troops had suspected Ahmed of being a militant and detained him during their ground operation in Gaza, noting his father’s affiliation with Hamas. A military spokesman promised several times to provide more details, but ultimately did not deal with the substance of the allegations, saying they had “been referred to the appropriate authorities for examination.”
A military statement also challenged the credibility of D.C.I.-Palestine, which accused the Israeli military of using Ahmed as a human shield by coercing him to engage in military actions. Throughout the current conflict, Israel has argued that Hamas uses Gaza residents as human shields by conducting militant activity in crowded public places.
“D.C.I.-Palestine’s report represents a perverse inversion of a truth in which Hamas persistently engages in the use of human shields, while the I.D.F.’s code of conduct rejects, in absolute terms, such behavior,” the military statement said, using the abbreviation for the Israel Defense Forces. It added, “D.C.I.-Palestine has exposed itself countless times as an agenda-driven and prejudiced organization with scant regard for truth and a marked disinterest in Palestinian perpetrators and Israeli victims.”
Separately, the military tried to bolster its human-shields argument against Hamas on Sunday by releasing what it said was a page from a Hamas training manual seized in battle. The page — which bore no Hamas logo and which a group spokesman called “fabricated” — says residents should hide weapons in buildings to move “the battle from open places to the closed, residential areas, which serves resistance and jihadi work,” saying, “It’s easy for fighters to work from inside buildings” and avoid “attack aircraft.”
On a battlefield surrounded by intense propaganda on both sides, Ahmed’s case highlights the difficulty of determining what actually happened. The Israeli military has been reluctant to reveal details of many individual situations, given the threat of war-crimes investigations. There are also repercussions for any Palestinians in contact with Israeli troops, as was on stark display in last week’s summary executions of suspected collaborators.
Several human rights groups in Gaza said they had heard about Ahmed’s case, which was reported on local news sites, but had not verified it. Raji Sourani, director of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights, described the case as “trivial” compared with the killings of about 500 children and destruction of more than 10,000 homes during the Israeli assault that began July 8.
After a 2002 petition by seven human rights groups, Israel’s Supreme Court banned the military’s so-called neighbor procedure — in which civilians were forced to enter a hostile’s home ahead of soldiers — and later the “prior warning procedure” that replaced it, saying they were “at odds with international law.”
D.C.I.-Palestine said it learned of Ahmed’s case from an Aug. 9 item on the website Palestine Today, which cited a report by a Geneva-based group, Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights. After that, a D.C.I. fieldworker in Gaza interviewed Ahmed at length, met with his father and obtained Ahmed’s signature on an affidavit.
The group’s report said Ahmed detailed “an almost constant stream of abuse,” including “kicks and punches, whips with a wire and threats of a sexual nature.” In his interviews with The New York Times, Ahmed did not mention sexual threats, and spoke of violence only a few times. He said a soldier “twisted my arm and was holding it firmly” at one point, “pushed me violently inside the tank and tightened my handcuffs” at another, “brought a cable and beat me with it,” and, finally, “grabbed me from the neck firmly for about 10 seconds.”
Ahmed, the oldest of five children, said in the interviews that his ordeal began July 23 after a night in which the family huddled under the stairway of its two-story villa, horrified by the incessant sound of warplanes and artillery shells. While evacuating the next afternoon, Ahmed said, he stopped to look at a tank, and a soldier ordered him away from the crowd of about 200, then took him to a nearby home.
“He was interrogating me about the tunnels,” Ahmed said, referring to the underground passages that became the focus of Israel’s ground invasion after Palestinian militants used them to penetrate its territory. “He asked about my name, age and tunnels. ‘Where are the tunnels? In which places were there tunnels?’ I told him I’m 17 years old, and if I knew about a tunnel in the area, I would not have stayed here until now because you won’t leave the area unharmed.”
Over the next several days, he was moved among homes and made to walk ahead of groups of soldiers looking for tunnels. Food was scant, and his bathroom breaks were limited and monitored, he said; at one point he wrote a note in Arabic, saying, “In case I die or get arrested, please send my greetings to my family,” according to D.C.I.-Palestine’s report.
He said he was interrogated up to three times a day by an Arabic-speaking soldier. “During the interrogation, he releases my hands and eyes and acts in a friendly manner,” Ahmed recalled. “When he finds nothing, he would be outraged and tie and handcuff me again.”
Eventually, Ahmed said, a soldier gave him a tool and told him to dig for tunnels at a school and two wells. “He said, ‘The dogs are hungry,’ and he will let them eat me if we did not find a tunnel,” Ahmed said. “I dug for about 15 minutes, but found nothing.”
After his release July 27, Ahmed said, he walked for about an hour before hitching a ride to an aunt’s home where the family had earlier agreed to gather.
His father said he spent five days praying, hardly eating or sleeping, thinking Ahmed had been killed.
“When I saw him, I hugged him for five minutes amid tears,” said Mr. Abu Raida, 50. “He was tired, too exhausted. He was not the energetic Ahmed that I know.”
Fares Akram reported from Khan Younis, and Jodi Rudoren from Jerusalem.
A version of this article appears in print on August 25, 2014, on page A4 of the New York edition with the headline: Teenager Cites Ordeal as Captive of Israelis.