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Women's Voices: I.M - Night raid in Jerusalem

Name: I.M.
Age: 50
Location: Shufat refugee camp, East Jerusalem
Nature of incident: Night raids
Date of incident: 16 December 2011

A 50-year-old mother from the Shufat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, describes repeated night raids by Israeli soldiers on her home.

“My house has repeatedly been raided by soldiers in the middle of the night, so many times that I don’t even remember the exact dates,” says I.M. “They mostly have come for my son M. who is now 14 years old. They have come for M. at least three times recently, each time in the middle of the night. The first two times he was not at home but on the last occasion they broke into the house by breaking down the front door. With a loud bang at the door one wakes up startled, but to wake up and find soldiers if your bedroom without knowing how they got in is absolutely terrifying.”
“There were maybe 20 soldiers, some with masks surrounding the house,” recalls I.M. “The soldiers who broke into the house asked us all to gather in the living room. My 19-year-old daughter was shivering from fear, she just could not control herself. I think it was about 2:00 am and we had to wake up my elderly parents in law who live in the adjacent house. They are old and sick but the soldiers forced us to drag them out of bed.”
"It soon became clear to us that they came for my son. When they identified him they tied his hands behind his back and later blindfolded him. They took him away without telling us why. They told us to come to the police station at 6:00 am but when we got there they had already interrogated him without any of us being present.”
“He is now under house arrest at his sister’s house in Beit Hanina. He was not allowed to be under house arrest here with me. I hardly see him these days, it is a long way to Beit Hanina from here especially with the new checkpoint. M. doesn’t want to go to school anymore, he actually dropped out of school, and has picked up smoking during the time he spent in jail. He easily gets irritated and blows up for no reason. He is terrified of soldiers and cannot bear to see them, even from a distance. He is a lost child, he is psychologically tired. To control his anger I find myself forced to give him whatever he asks for even when I know it is bad for him. I find myself giving him cigarettes. This boy has no future. I want him to finish school, to study and to have a good job in the future but I don’t think this will happen. He now spends a lot of time playing games on the computer at his sister’s house and that is not good for him. He was an innocent boy but not anymore,” says I.M.

keyword: Jerusalem Women | Night raids | Violence against women