Rania Wasfi, program coordinator at The Freedom Theatre, had her home searched by Israeli occupation forces in the early hours of today, March 27. Along with her husband and two small children, Rania witnessed a group of soldiers going through the house and its belongings, as well as those of her neighbours. Here is her statement:
“The army came to our yard at about 1:30am. I heard them banging on the doors of our neighbours. At 3am they entered our house. We had opened the door to avoid them breaking it down, and told our children, who had woken up by all the commotion outside, not to worry but soldiers would soon come to talk to us.
When we heard them coming, my eldest son Waseem hid under the blankets, he was shaking and very afraid. They gathered us in the living room and asked to see our IDs. The children were very cold and my husband asked if we could go to the bedroom to wait, which they allowed us to do. My youngest son Hamoudi was in my lap and behind him I used my phone to make a post on Facebook that the army was in our house. The soldiers saw the phone and took it from me.
They stayed for about 45 minutes, turning the house upside down: mattresses, sheets, clothes, even the saucepans in the kitchen were torn down from the shelves, the fridge was searched, everything.
When they left, they apologised for disturbing us. I asked: “What about the mess you made?” They answered that an apology was all I would get.
They left the door open and two soldiers were posted outside the door. They came back once to ask for my husband’s ID one more time. I was so afraid they would take my husband with them. There was a lot of noise outside, until about four in the morning when they finally left the yard.
I couldn’t sleep afterwards. I organised the house, washing the carpets, cleaning the sheets and putting everything back in its place. My kids slept maybe an hour. They were very afraid to leave me this morning. My oldest didn’t want to step outside the house, he said maybe there were soldiers waiting.”
Rania Wasfi’s experience is unfortunately a common feature of life in occupied Palestine. Only last week, Israeli occupation forces conducted at least 70 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 58 civilians, including 8 children, were arrested, according to the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights.