The Palestine Monitor
A PNGO Information Clearinghouse

Palestinians forced to choose method of their "punishment" in bizarre "lottery" game

15 January 2003

On the 12th of January, Firas al-Sarfandi, 23, was stopped by Israeli soldiers on his way home to the Jalazone refugee camp. Witnesses reported that soldiers stopped Firas at around 5:00 pm, presented him with some papers, forced him to choose one and then proceeded to beat him for approximately half an hour. The soldiers then left him lying on the ground, unconscious and covered in blood.

Medical sources in the Sheikh Zayed hospital in Ramallah, say Firas suffered from a fractured femur as well as bruises and wounds all over his body.

This is not the first time such "lottery" acts have been carried out. A few weeks ago reports came out of Hebron concerning the then new and bizarre form of cruelty inflicted upon Palestinians detained by Israeli soldiers. A number of Palestinian youths reported on the Voice of Palestine Radio station, and other media, that Israeli soldiers stopped them, and then forced them to choose from various pieces of paper. Written on the paper were body parts; the soldiers would then break whichever body part the youth had chosen.

Apparently the soldiers then changed their mind, and offered the youths choices between nose, leg or arm. They chose their noses, and so they were broken

One youth said, "I was taken from inside my shop in Bab al-Zawiya to a settlement, then they forced me to choose a paper, and then they broke my shoulder and beat me with their machine guns."

Palestinian newspapers reported that Hussein Shyoukhi, a lawyer investigating Israeli soldiers participation in the "lottery," said the choices "vary from a spit in the face and eating soap, to pulling out teeth and breaking bones."

Victims of earlier incidents include Said Baker Al-Zary, 22, from Hebron, who ended up with a broken arm as well as sixth grader Waseem Al Sha'rawi, also from Hebron, who was stopped by soldiers when he left his home to buy a few things at the local shop. The soldiers stopped him, forced him to choose a piece of paper and his finger was broken.

In another incident in Hebron, Israeli soldiers stopped Wael Suleiman, 22, in the industrial area, and beat him until he agreed to choose a piece of paper. "Hitting and burning the car" was written - so two of the soldiers hit him, while the two others set fire to the car.

Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi, the president of UPMRC, said "Israeli soldiers have always acted with a great deal of impunity in the occupied towns and cities, and now we see them sinking to new depths. This torturous form of a lottery reflects that the soldiers know no one will investigate their behaviour, nor will they be punished for it. Basically they have been given a licence to act however they want, and to terrorize further a captive civilian population."