The following are just random entries from the diary of Kawthra Salam, a Palestinian photo journalist who lives in the town of Hebron on the West Bank. This is her life. This is what life under Israeli Occupation is like. These are the soldiers as the media does not present them, and incidents that are daily occurrences for her and all other Palestinians. Her blog is called THE DAILY LIFE OF KAWTHER SALAM I have taken incidents from this diary and roughly pulled some out and posted them with the accompanying photos so that one can see how daily life is, in Occupied Palestine.Update 21.05.2004
The Israeli soldiers stationed on the roof of the Palestinian woman Naziha Abu Dahood broke into her bedroom early in the morning. She was alone with a sick child when she saw the Israeli soldier exposing his penis and telling her that he "had a big one for her which is better than the small one she had".
I documented the sick behaviour of the Israeli soldiers in 1999-2000 in the film “Hebron: City Without Mercy”. The film shows the the IDF soldiers urinating in bottles and offering this to Palestinians to drink as "Coke".
The Israeli soldiers were calling each other on the roofs of Palestinians houses in the middle of night, one of them said that he want to do something great and urged his colleagues to pay attention. Then he proceeded to urinate into the water tank of the family who owned the house.
It was a winter day in 1999. The earth was dressed in white;snow covered everything. I had my best friend and constant companion, my camera. It was a beautiful day but no one could because IDF abuses kept them indoors. The street was empty, nobody was allowed to walk on Al-shuhada street during the normal weather and day.
Loud voices came to my ears: "Kawther, Kawther, let us take some pictures". I turned to see a big snow sculpture made by two IDF soldiers at the entrance of the street. The nice civilized soldiers started playing and licking their snow sculpture. I took some pictures and left; the soldiers were masturbating on it and licking, shouting me to stop and help them treach orgasm.
One of the Israeli soldiers stationed on my roof, near where Rabbi Moshe Leviger squats in his outpost, asked me for help. It was at midday in summer, the foul smell of their shit and urine contaminated the fresh air.
The soldier said that he did not understand English well, and he wanted me to explain him an English message he had received on his cellphone. The distance between each other was less than 1.5 meters. I took his request seriously and I read the message. It said, “I want to fuck you in bed, I want to fuck you in the street, I want to fuck your mother, sister...”
I had to put a jerry can on my balcony, in front of my bedroom, to collect the Israeli soldiers' urine which dripped from the military post on my roof every day. The IDF soldiers urinated at night and during the day I was forced to collect it. Often the soldiers would collect their urine in vessels for a couple of days and wait until I hung my washed clothes. Then they would spread their urine on my clothes.
During the nights, the Jewish squatters used to bring drugs for the soldiers on my roof. The soldiers were giving each other drug injections. After that they would sit on the floor breathing heavily for hours, later often having sex with each other.
Sometimes they would make sex with soldier women, but it was more common to to see the men have anal sex with each other. Most nights when they had no sex, they would resort to shouting abuse at me and "asking" me to have sex with them. They would continue making noise in this way until the morning.
One day a soldier fell from the roof. He was breathing with difficulty and raving on the floor as if he was dying. I called the IDF headquarter and asked for a military ambulance to take this soldier. When the unit officer came to check the story, the soldier claimed that he was having an ”epilepsy attack”.
In another event I saw a soldier beating his colleague seriously and trying to take away his weapon after he took drugs. The soldiers claimed that their colleague was ready to shoot at the Arab houses in the area.
Dr. Tayseer Zahdeh from Hebron has further information about the drug dealer of the IDF soldiers who were stationed on his roof. He saw them taking heroin injections in front of his private room, were he and his family hid themselves from the soldiers. Dr. Zahdeh also saw them fucking each other.
He took the used syringes and used them to back the story, but the military commander said that these syringes were used by Dr. Tayseer. The commander forgot that the IDF syringes have a special colour which is not allowed to be used by Palestinians.
I promised the man that I would not mention to his name if he let me film the drugs which he brought to the IDF soldiers. The man told me that there are an increasing number of IDF soldiers who are themselves drug dealers. He allowed me to film some of the drugs which he hid in his shoe.
He showed me the settlers who provide the IDF soldiers with drugs and asked me to fellow his steps near the area of the Abraham Cave and the Abraham Avino settlement. I informed the Israeli Police about that, and once I succeeded in taking a picture of this squatter in the hands of the police.
The roof of my house was a real theatre for the illegal practices of the IDF. I have filed hundreds of official complaints with the Israeli Police station about their continued sexual harassment. I was giving them full information, the time of the events, the day, the name of the group involved, the name of military post, pictures and even tape recordings.
Not once did the Israeli Defence Ministry take any action against their soldiers. The IDF soldiers were having sex with each other in front of me; sometimes they were fucking other women working with them or girls from the settlements. Most of time they were making noise to disturb me and shouting abuse at me.
On November 27, 2002, I wasn't surprised to hear Ronit Lev-Ari, head of the Occupational Prime Minister's Office for the Status of Women declare that one in every six women in Israel has been sexually harassed on the streets. She said, 30% of the victims were aged between 18-24. The harassment includes attempts to touch the women, obscene verbal proposal, prolonged staring, and efforts by men to press their bodies against them.
In Hebron I constantly hear obscene verbal proposals, such like, "whore, bitch, nice fucker, sharmutah."
On July 5, 2001, Sawsan Abu Turky, a nine year old girl from Hebron was attacked by the IDF soldiers on her way back home. At a checkpoint, one soldier allowed Sawsan to pass, but the other one said no, you should return. When Sawsan tried to pass anyway, the soldier pushed her on the ground and kicked her head with the butt of his rifle. Sawsan was hospitalized for five days, but when she released she was still having pain.
On September 6, 2001, Sawsan was arrested because she had tried to kill an Israeli soldier. Sawsan was raped twice at Israeli jail on the first day of her incarceration.
In July 2002, an Israeli sergeant who had been stationed on my roof as a soldier wrote me a couple of times. The last time he wrote me in Hebrew about his so-called love, he compared his love with the “Mosquito”, how he fell in love with her, and how he was dreaming at nights to be with her, and how she occupied his mind and thoughts all the time but he killed her later because he was scared to share his secret with others.
I considered this IDF letter to be a thinly veiled death threat against me. At that time I was living with a friend in Tel Aviv and was not allowed to return home in Hebron, or to live in my house which was now occupied by the squatters of the American Jewish terror organization Kach. The letter from "Moskito" (in Hebrew) can be read here: Page1 Page2 Page3 Page4 Page5 Page6
Following is how Israeli "Justice" under the military Law, or how the Israeli Government responds to sexual harassment perpetrated by the occupation troops. Between 1997 and 2001, I filed over 300 complaints against the constant and continued abuses and sexual harassment by the IDF and the American Jewish squatters against me at the police station. The office of the Attorney General sent a letter to my lawyer Lea Tsemel, it was a copy of a letter which she had sent to the military Attorney General notifying him of Lea Tsemel's reminder, and asking them to "take care of the matter". The matter was the IDF sexual harassment. Here is the Letter No. 1 (in Hebrew).
The second letter was send by the Military Attorney General to my lawyer Mr. Habib who works in the office of Lea Tsemel in Jerusalem. The Military AG condescended to let us know that “regarding a pre-high court appeal served by Mr. Habib. The military attorney expressed his anger because Mr. Habib has sent this appeal, while the army had clearly explained that the issue is not in the hands of Attorney General of Judea Samaria, but in the hands of the Attorney General of the Central Command". Here is the Letter No. 2 (in Hebrew) The third letter was sent by the Attorney General of the Central Command to Mr. Habib. It says that they have received an appeal from Lea Tsemel regarding my complaint, and that a military police investigation has started. The letter states that on March 03 the AG has decided to close the case because they have "found no evidence of the events" I had complained about in the operation log. In addition, they say that my complaint is contradicted by the evidence of some soldiers who were involved, and that other soldiers could not be found. Here is the Letter No. 3 (in Hebrew) In yet another lengthy letter from the Attorney General to Judea and Samaria to my lawyer, he wrote that he was “sorry for using the name of the occupation in your complaints letter against the IDF soldiers. Again the matter is not in the hands of AG of J and S, and that the case has been transferred to the AG of the Central Command, and a military Police investigation has started". Here is the Letter No. 4 (in Hebrew)
He held him for over one hour in his office, after which they called me. By now there was no time left for investigation; the investigator was talking with his girlfriend while I was carrying my video tapes recording the IDF abuses. The investigator said that he had to leave and he would meet me in Tel Aviv next week.
Since then nobody called me for investigation, or to look at my video. Look at my diary posted on Gush Shalom on Thursday 6th, June 2002. Who is responsible about all what the IDF did to me and to my people? Probably I should ask President Bush to send Israel a shipment of urine and shit to play with during occupying the West Bank.
I wasn't the only case who was abused by the IDF soldiers. One night, the IDF soldiers were in a search mission of a Palestinian house where they have a military post on the roof. They took the house owner out and left the woman and her children in a room under the IDF control. The soldiers grabbed the woman, tore off her underwear and started licking between her legs by force.
On June 12, 2002, Ashwaq Yosef Al-Atrash ,14, and her sister Wal'a, 15 , were arrested by the Israeli Border Police in Hebron for refusing to strip naked on the public Street of Al-Sahleh near the vegetable market in the old city. The sisters refused so the soldiers used force. They beat up the girls with the butt of their guns while other soldiers started removing their clothes!!
Ashwaq collapsed and felt on the floor with serious bleeding on her back and Wal'a continued to fight the soldiers to keep on her clothes. The soldiers called the police to arrest both after Ashwaq collapsed. The police kept the girls for 24 hours and charged them of attacking soldiers and disobeying military orders. They were fined 600 000 sheckels and 500 000 sheckels in court. THIS is occupation.
This episode was documented in the Israeli-Palestinian joint office DCO in Hebron. Other documented abuses: There is story of the sisters Ashwaq and Wallah Al-Atrash, who were molested sexually by Israeli soldiers on Al-Shuhada street near Gross square.
There is the story of Assad Said Al-Himouni, who was raped in the Israeli jail by an MP officer.
There is the story of Sawsan Abu-Turki and two other cases of sexual harassment by the IDF
Here is yet another story, which I posted last year.
And here is another one, "Boys with Toys" (scan of original article is here). It cost me my job with the Al-Quds newspaper.
Who is this Israeli soldier? Why did the Israeli commander arrest this soldier for 21 days after the Palestinian Newspaper 'AL-Hayat' showed this coloured picture of him playing with a Palestinian child?? I was astonished when a PA employee from Bethlehem asked me about him.
I had filmed him in Hebron playing with the child, taking off his gun and holding it on the boy's shoulder!! When I was taking the pictures he had said to me that he loved the child and then played with him while I filmed them. He asked me for copies of the photos. But the next day the Intifada began and I was not able to find him again.
June 10, 2002.
Today I cry for the children of my country. When I stopped to give the kids in the old market some sweets, I asked them what they are going to do during the summer holiday.
Enthusiastically, the kids said, "We have already started our course in the mosque. We receive money, food and study in the mosque!" Then they told me about the Grave Torture after death. How the angels 'Naker and Niker' interrogate people in the grave about what they did in their life and how they tortured their bodies.
They told me how the angels took the bodies five times daily and forced the people who didn't pray during their life to pray in the middle of the fire in the hell!!
They told me that suicide bombers are martyrs and receive a good place in Paradise married to 70 charming women, the nail of each one more valuable more than the hole world!! They also told me how Al-Shaheed was forgiving 70 person of the Martyr's family to enter Paradise and live with him!! They told me how Al-Shaheed's blood had a nice smell and his body survived to a live in the garden of Paradise with God from the moment he died!!
They told me how women were hung by their hair if they had not covered up. They told me how women with nails covered in polish are burned, and the musician's ears will be closed with lightening flame stick. Such deplorable stories for children barely the age of the flowers studied in the mosque. I do not recognize this new Islam from the one I have lived with all my life!!
Nobody teaches these children that God is peace, love forgiveness and mercy; no body tells them that life is very short and they should enjoy it. No one has told them that God is not a list of threats, warnings and cruel messages. My Islam is of love, not hatred.
These children shouldn't go to the mosque to hear just false rumors and lies. I'm crying for the future of this new generation, I'm crying at the terrible situation that has made Extremists powerful and use the needs of the victims to call them to serve this vicious god they describe.