Gaza – Although he escaped arrest through a checkpoint set up by Israeli occupation forces west of the city of Khan Younis in the south of the Gaza Strip, Hussein Shaheen remained near that location for 5 days, and spent the night in the open in extreme cold in hopes of . That the soldiers would release his brother, who was detained, through the gate through which all displaced persons are forced to pass.
After learning that the detainees would be released through the Kerem Shalom crossing, they lost hope and decided to walk towards the city of Rafah, the only remaining refuge for displaced people fleeing the crimes of the Israeli occupation.
Taking pity on a family consisting of a father and his three young daughters who had been spending the night outside for two days, Shaheen invited the father to move in with him as there was no point in staying.
But the father, who was waiting for his son's release, told Shaheen that he knew it was useless to stay, but he needed someone to convince his three daughters to do so. “He is their only brother,” he said pointing towards him.
According to Shaheen, who spoke to Al Jazeera Net, the traumatic scenes he witnessed while living near the checkpoint were too difficult to count, as the occupation forces separated families by arresting some of their members, causing them to ” Left in a state of uncertainty. About their fate.
At the end of last month, occupation forces forced residents of the western Khan Yunis Governorate to flee to the city of Rafah and pass through the gates they had installed, during which their identities were checked and many of them were arrested .
Eyewitnesses passing through the checkpoint told Al Jazeera Net that army soldiers ordered youths to walk in lines of 5 people with their ID cards, and some of them called through a loudspeaker to prepare for interrogation or arrest. Forced to step aside. Whereas women and children were ordered to walk in separate lines without checking.
The army forces the man who decides to arrest him to take off all his clothes including his underwear, handcuffs him, blindfolds him and beats him brutally.
Reflecting on his experience of crossing the checkpoint, Shaheen says he was displaced late last month when occupation forces threatened residents in the western city of Khan Yunis.
He said, “The situation is very difficult and miserable. We stood for 4 hours between the tanks and the rain falling on us and the people were in a miserable condition.” He described the joy of crossing the checkpoint without being arrested, saying, “My feeling was like seeing light after complete darkness.”
Shaheen explains that arrests are made arbitrarily and without justification, as shown by his brother's release after nearly a week of detention and severe torture. He said, “If he had anything to do with the resistance, they would not have released him. So why was he arrested in the first place? There is no reason for that.”
The young man, Bassam Falouna, revealed that the occupation forces were filming fabricated scenes showing him distributing water or food to create the illusion that he was being nice to those passing through the checkpoint. “After the filming ended, they abused people,” says Falouna, who was displaced through a checkpoint last week.
Regarding her testimony about what she saw through the checkpoint, Falyouna told Al Jazeera Net that the soldiers forced her to walk for 3 hours between tanks, and that they deliberately humiliated her by insulting and abusing her. Did.
He further added, “It was harsh scenes, especially when they arrested a young man in front of his mother and she started screaming… They arrested many young men and even children were arrested for those reasons. Did things that we don't know about.” He adds, “You can't imagine the fear in the eyes of the children.”
He explains that many people were throwing away their bags filled with food and important items, as they were unable to carry them during the long road.
The scenes Bassam Fliyouna saw after passing through the checkpoint were no less bad than those he saw during that time. After crossing the checkpoint, he was surprised to see women and children crying and passers-by asking about their detained relatives.
The same witness continued, “A woman asked me if I had seen her husband who was wearing such and such clothes, and I told her that he had been arrested. The woman burst into tears and cried on the street. “Stayed and waited, hoping they would allow him to cross.”
Majid Kudaih told Al Jazeera Net about the experience of crossing the barrier, “It was a terrible day. We were children, women, young people and elderly. The rain was very heavy and the conditions were very difficult.”
He reported that the occupation forces forced some displaced people to throw away their belongings and mattresses and enter the gate “with nothing”.
Abdul Karim Fayyad's experience appears to be different from that of his predecessors, as he was detained at the checkpoint for several hours before being released. While he was at the checkpoint, Fayyad witnessed how the occupation soldiers treated the arrested youths.
Referring to the arrest of a young man on Al Jazeera Net, he said, “Soldiers called a young man, forced him to take off all his clothes, even underwear, then tied him up and blinded him. Shut it down.” He added, “That's when one of the officers attacked him and beat him violently, especially on his arms and genital area.”
He said that during the short time he spent at the post he saw about 25 youths being arrested by the army. Regarding how he was detained, Fayyad said that he was passing through the checkpoint after waiting for about 4 hours when a soldier called for him to go towards him, while he took his wife and children without stopping. Ordered to continue on his way.
After waiting for some time and checking his identity, the soldiers decided to release him. After his release, he joined his family, who were waiting for him near the checkpoint in a state of great anxiety.
Rami Abdo, head of the Euro-Mediterranean Observatory for Human Rights, estimates the number of people arrested by occupation forces through the west gate of Khan Yunis at around 400.
Abdo told Al Jazeera Net that his observatory had documented the severe suffering of thousands of residents during the forced displacement from Khan Yunis in rainy and cold weather, torture measures, and without the availability of any safe shelter that meets minimum humanitarian needs. Did.