40-year-old Sameera Surour was sitting on a wooden chair across from the intensive care unit on the first floor of the Ramallah Public Hospital, waiting in silence for word on her husband’s condition. I had not previously met Sameera, but I distinguished her from the other women sitting on those wooden chairs.

I approached her and asked if she was the wife of Awwad Surour. She bowed her head, trying hard to keep herself from crying, although the tears were about to pour from her eyes. After an introduction, Sameera told me what happened to her husband, the family breadwinner, during a raid on their home during the dark night of September 1st, 2008.

At about 3:00 am, the residents of the Surour house woke to a continuous banging and pounding on the door of their residence. Awwad sped to answer the door and to stop the pounding which scared the children as well as his elderly mother, who is ill and lives alone on the ground floor of the building.

***image1***Occupation soldiers, numbering around forty and in full combat gear with loaded guns stormed the building where Awad, his brother Aqel and their mother live. They raced to the third floor of the building where Aqel resides. While this was going on, Sameera headed down to the ground floor looking for her husband, only to find him flat on the floor, unconscious. Her main priority was to wake him up, and as she was doing so she heard sound bombs go off and screaming coming from the upper floor, where her husbands’ brother lives.

Sameera splashed water on her husband’s face and he regained consciousness. He then raced up the stairs, followed by his wife, to see what was going on in the building. They found that the house was turned upside down by the Occupation forces and that the children were being held in one of the rooms. Awwad headed up to his brother’s flat, and when he entered he found soldiers punching, kicking, and beating his bound and blindfolded brother with their M-16s.

Awwad lost his mind when he saw Aqel ruthlessly beaten. But he could not help his trampled brother and Aqel was dragged outside of the building. When Awwad went to the roof to see what had happened to his arrested brother, an Occupation sniper stationed near the building shot him twice in the head. One bullet hit Awwad in the eye, while the other penetrated his skull.

Awwad was rushed to the Ramallah Public Hospital, and according to his doctors’ report, he is in critical condition. The doctors were able to pull out the bullet from Awwad’s left eye, leaving him partially blinded, but were not able to extract the bullet that penetrated his skull due to the sensitivity of the area. The round had partially entered his brain. Doctors feared that removal could cause damage and a permanent disability.

A distraught Sameera looked up and said, “this is not what we need.” Awwad is a simple man in his forties with a speech impediment who worked as a porter in a local Ni’lin construction site. He was paid a low wage, barely enough to support his 4 member family and his ill mother. What fate awaits this family after what has happened to Awwad?

Moreover, what fate awaits the people of Ni’lin after the Occupation has adopted policies of killings and causing permanent injuries? These actions are done to terrify the people into ceasing their actions and demonstrations against the Apartheid Wall, which is swallowing their lands. Since the villagers initiated their activities against the Wall last August, two children from Nil’lin have been killed and 30 people between 18-35 have been seriously injured. Like Awwad Surour, most of these men supported their families, whose future is now more desperate than ever.



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