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This text reached me from Nablus on May 7, 2003:Muhammad Q. (I skip the name online, Anis)
Student at the College of Law, 19 years old.
Muhammad used to leave his village Qalqilia for Nablus city once every two weeks in order to attend his classes at An-Najah National University. On Wednesday 30th April 2003 he left Nablus to go and spend the weekend with his family in Qalqilia. At Surra checkpoint he was faced by two Israeli soldiers, one of them an officer. There were 6 male students and 20 female students, all going to Qalqilia.
Muhammad was asked by the soldiers if he speaks Hebrew. He answered that he does so he was asked to tell all the students to go back, they were not allowed to pass the checkpoint. Muhammad did as he was asked to do, male students obeyed the order, while female students did not move. The officer called Muhammad once again and asked him to move girls too while cursing at him.
The captain was mad at Muhammad, he was questioning him and checking his bags as well as his body. While he was checking his body he noticed that there was a spot on his arm. It looked like if a cigarette had been put out on his arm. It is the result of joking between me and my friend, said Muhammad.
The officer was laughing and said; “then you bear such sufferance”. He took a piece of glass and broke it, took Muhammad`s arm and started to cut in it. He was cutting the shape of the David’s Star.
Muhammad started to feel the pain and started to move. The officer beat him on his legs and pulled Muhammed’s arm to him to continue the cutting. Muhammad noticed that the captain cut the star perfectly.
When he finished cutting the star, Muhammad saw how much blood was getting out of his arm. He was not allowed to scream or even to complain. The captain said to Muhammad, this is enough, but you have to know that this star is more beautiful than the cigarette spot, okay? Now you can leave, but not through the checkpoint, go through the mountains. This humiliation took two hours of his time. This captain was angry because of the news of the bombing in Tel Aviv.
During all of this time, Muhammad was alone with the Israeli soldiers. He was scared, fearing for his life. If the soldiers decided to kill him nobody would have found out.
Muhammad had been looking forward to come home to his village Qalqilia, especially since it was one month since he saw his family. Eventually he got there after walking for four hours through the mountains, the weather being very hot. Under normal conditions the trip would have taken 30 minutes.
Now Muhammad is in Nablus, attending his classes, but he said he will not go back to see his family until he finishes the semester.