Tortured in an Israeli prison

Source: Christian Peacemaker Teams

By Mary Yoder
29 May 2007

Two weeks ago, Paul Rehm and I escorted ten young boys to a soccer field in another part of the city, away from Israeli soldiers, settlers, and guns.

We sat in the shade of a cypress tree. A college student sat next to us and asked, “Who are you, what do you do here?”

After explaining the work of CPT, he said, “Your government is bad! What are you doing about it?”

I explained the process we take to petition our government officials.

But he had an “edge” to him; a passionate “edge”, that I have seen many times.

After some time he drew several straight lines on a piece of paper. He asked for the English word.

“Prison?” I said. “Have you been to prison?”

“Yes,” he said, “for two years. First, I go for six month; no reason, I don’t know why. Then Shabak (roughly analogous to the FBI in the U.S.) come, I said to them, ‘why am I here?'”

“They say it is secret and they give no answer.”

I noticed a nervous look in his eyes and a slight tremor in his hands.

He made a clenched fist and aimed it toward his head. “The word?” He said.

“Beat? So they beat you in the head?” I asked

“Yes,” he replied. “And they put electricity on my hands, my feet, and my back.”

My new friend told me how the Shabak, asked him to go to Gaza for a secret mission. When he refused, his interrogators again beat him. He received a six-month extension on his sentence and still did not know his charges.

After one year, Shabak told him that he would have a court hearing. They said he needed to confess to prior bombing attack. Again, he refused and this time, the Shabak said they would kill him. He served one more year and his interrogators told him he could never return to the city of his family when he was released. But he returned to his family anyway.

I saw his college textbook and told him that I hope he has a good future. I told him that we are Christians, that we care about everyone. “Everyone is equal; we believe in peace. We respect your beliefs and your people.”

His eyes turned red, but he did not cry. He said nothing. Slowly a smile returned to his face and his hands stopped trembling.

The questions he then asked me were typical questions I get from most Hebronites. “Are you married? Why not? You don’t have children?”

Finally, the soccer team finished their game; Paul and I left this man in the shade of a beautiful cypress tree. The sunny weather and spring breeze made it one of those “perfect” days.

I prayed in my heart for healing of this person’s spirit and mind. I prayed for healing of this land and a return to springtime.