Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Human Rights Defender: Badia Dwaik

Image: Badia Dwaik
Badia Dwaik is an activist crusading for the Palestinian cause. He is a Human Rights Defender in the Israel-Palestine context.

It was the second day after my cousin passed away – in the same month and as my father had passed on, while we were marking his first anniversary of death. It was going to be a long day. I was in charge of doing the rituals towards paying our respects to her body.

I had just arrived and had set my computer to follow the Palestine news and especially Hebron, which was besieged. People there were suffering collective punishment since three Israeli teenagers - one of whom was a soldier - were allegedly kidnapped.

The news reported that the IOF was raiding Palestinian homes and beating and arresting some of the families. Not owning a camera myself, I visited my friend Imad who has a camera loaned by the Israeli Human Rights Organisation called B'Tselem.

I collected the camera and asked a Basque friend called Ator to accompany me. When we arrived we saw many people gathering. There were two members of the Christian Peace Makers teams(CPT) present and I asked them about the situation.

They told me a little and I asked them to join me to determine what had occurred. They informed me that the IOF were barring people from approaching the Rajbi occupied building and Kriat Arba settlement area. I tried to find out by myself.

When I came within 200 meters, I heard soldiers in the dark. They asked me to stop but I continued walking. I tried to explain to him that I am a Human Rights Defender. He shot a sound bomb at me. I then I tried again, so he shot another at me. I was alone except for my Basque friend a little distance away when four masked soldiers came.

One of them pointed a gun in my face after which they all started to beat me. They hit my camera and threw it in the street. I stepped back to call families I knew. I called Jamal who lives there first and has camera too and he told me about Nasser and Bassam Jabrri that soldiers raiding their homes.

Having learned some of them had gone to hospital, I went direct to the hospital. I witnessed people with beatings to various parts of their bodies. Bassam told me five sons of his brother Nasser were arrested and one of his own sons. Soldiers had stamped on his daughter’s hand. Two more people from the Al-jabri family had been arrested. One mother whose home had been raided reported that soldiers had pushed her when she was on the stairs. Badia is very proud of his job. “I am ready to do everything for my people, everything to have this illegal behavior of Israeli army against Palestinian stopped, it’s my land and being an activist for this is the only way I can see myself” he said. And added “Vittorio Arrigoni (an Italian activist of ISM kidnapped and then killed in Gaza in 2011) used to say to Stay Human. I think that stay human it’s not enough in this land, we also have to try to be positive and don’t lose hope”