Bethlehem, Sat 25.10.08, Afternoon
Grass widow procedure at Husan: Basem called me this morning at 10:51 saying that the army entered his home at 3:00 AM without a warrant. I immediately called the humanitarian line and the brigade's spokeswoman to find out what the circumstances were. The spokeswoman affirmed that the warrant had been forgotten at the brigade's offices and that the DCL representative would bring it over to Husan that afternoon.
I looked for some one to come to the village with me, Michaela volunteered.
13:00 PM, Husan: We arrived at Husan at about 13:00. The warrant had been handed to the head of the family. The deputy commander of the brigade let me into the house. There were about 15 soldiers in it; some were tired, they were lying in the living room on mattresses they brought with them, one of them had his legs on an arm chair. They told him to take them off. In the small bedroom was a camouflage, we were told that this was the room that they left for the family.
Soldiers were in the nursery. The deputy commander of the brigade said that there must be a soldier in the room for observations.
How can you get 8 family members in to one bedroom?
There were also two soldiers in the kitchen.
They gave me a quick tour to show me that no damage was done to the house.
As far as I could tell, apart for the soldiers' presence no damage was done.
The pretext: There have been some incidents in which incendiary bombs and stones were thrown from the village, and apparently some settlers were injured.
The choosing of the house: The house is place right in front of the mosque near some stores. Two buildings away from that house is a new building that is still under construction, I asked why the army would prefer a private house in which such a large family lives rather then one that is under construction? Does that have to add some means of protection? Because the house where the family lives has a kitchen and toilets?
The residents: eight people, the father with his wife, her mother, 5 children, two sons and three daughters, one of which is married and has a baby of a few months.
Events: We had the feeling that the Israeli presence at the village caused the soldiers to be less brutal. The villagers came out of their houses and greeted us in the street. They said that up until we came the army wouldn't allow them to go outside. Apart for the Basem asked that we come.
The children came out and told us what had happened, we later went to see the neighbors who looked as though they were mourning. The women were there together with two Mukhtars. I tried talking to them and getting them to calm down. The evading of a house is a horrible thing that mustn't be done unless there is no other option.
The international law states that such an action is only legal when there is a clear military need for it.
Since so many villagers got out of their homes the army decided that for the sake of the soldier, the main road must be blocked from the mosque and up until the evaded home, so that no one will be able to pass- a sterile zone.
The commander talked very aggressively towards me and was brutal towards the residents. The residents said that the soldiers were trying to do everything they can to get the situation stirred up. The commander wouldn't let me and Michaela pass the sterile zone, when we wanted to get back to the car. When we asked him if he thought it would be safer for us to walk around in a village we don't know, he firmly answer that he wasn't worried.
We got the impression that some of the soldiers were very violent, we even got the chance to see four soldier jumping on a Palestinian that didn't obey the orders and wanted to go down the street to reach his home. Michalea came immediately and so did the commander and I, the incident ended when I tried getting the people who had crowded there to calm down.
The atmosphere is very explosive- taking over a house in which 8 people live, isn't just another event.