Amira, the 17-year-old daughter of Hussam Khader, said she had been studying for her final exams until midnight, then went to sleep, and was in a deep stage of sleep when she was awakened just two hours later to find a man in her bedroom, next to her bed, with a black mask over his face. He told her, in Arabic, to be quiet and not make any noise — he held his finger up to his mouth in a sign to hush. She realized it was an Israeli soldier in an olive green uniform and a big black weapon.
Then, she realized there were many men in her bedroom… She said she could not get up out of bed, at first, as she felt such fright her legs would not move, and she could not stand up.
She was brought downstairs, where her grandmother and her younger brother were sitting where they were told to stay, in the salon. Her father was being questioned by soldiers in the kitchen. She begged the soldiers not to take her father away again — his most recent imprisonment was from 2003 until 2008. For her, it was terrible to see her father being taken away,again…
She remembered all the jails she had visited him in, during his last imprisonment, and the humiliating and brutal treatment even the visitors received.
It was her laptop which was taken away — along with two desktop computers, and a number of flash drives.
She had her economics exam a few hours later. She said she did not think she did very well.
Ma’an News Agency reported Thursday morning that “Fatah lawmaker Hussam Khader, a long-time proponent of reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, was taken from his home at 2am, officials said. Witnesses said 50 Israeli military jeeps had arrived in the Balata refugee camp, surrounded the home and searched its contents before taking Khader to an unknown location. [UPDATE: Hussam Khader was still in detention in the Huwwara holding center on Thursday evening] An Israeli military spokesman said he could confirm three detentions in Nablus overnight, but said he was not aware that any were PLC members. All three were taken for security questioning, he said. Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that An-Najah University professor Ghassan Thoqan was taken from his house in Nablus, as was Yasser Badersawi, the director of the Right of Return and Refugee Affairs Center. The spokesman confirmed, however, that Hamas lawmaker Abdul Rahmad Zeidan, also elected to the legislature in 2006, was detained from his home in Tulkarem. The spokesman said he could not yet comment on why the man was taken. Tayseer Nasrallah, member of the Palestinian National Council, said the detentions were an attempt by Israel to disrupt the Palestinian reconciliation process, pointing in particular at Khader’s detention and his historic support for unity”. This Maan News Agency report was published here.
Hussam Khader has been jailed 25 times since he was 16.
Once, he was deported to Lebanon. Of all the bad things that happened to him, that was the worst, he once said.
When Hussam was taken away before dawn on Thursday morning, he was concerned about his family. He told them they had been through it before, and they must now be strong again. In September 2008, when he was released a year early from his last imprisonment, he promised his family that he would make up for the time he had lost with them by being in jail
Hussam’s mother was forced to open the door for the soldiers at 2 a.m., which left her traumatized. At 2am, she heard a noise, thought it might be a thief, asked who it was, then heard a reply in a low voice. They said they were soldiers, and she was ordered to open the door. She now feels guilty that she was the one to let them in. She ran into a back bedroom to tell Hussam — and the soldiers followed her. She now feels guilty for being the one to lead the solders to Hussam…
She had not slept since, and she could not stand up, she said, because her knees were weak from the shock.
The family members reported a strange and terrible smell that they noticed right away – maybe it was the dogs, they said. The dogs! They said they saw at least two, who were led through the house, unmuzzled, to sniff everything. They used a lot of perfum and spray and aired the house, but they said the smell still lingered in some areas.
Hussam’s brother, Ghassan, said that he later found the dog excrement on the floor in several places…
AFTERTHOUGHT: I said to a colleague, who also has a dog, that trained dogs wouldn’t do this. His reply: Not unless they’re trained to…
The searching, and interrogation of Hussam, lasted about one and a half hours.
His clothes were found strewn all over the floor. Two doors were broken on the top level of the home. The keys were in the door, but the soldiers broke them anyway. The doors were being repaired the next afternoon.
No one in the family could understand why Hussam had been the target of such a raid, and rearrested. Everything he did was public, they said.
Hussam, who is a member of Fatah, was the only one of the four detained overnight in the northern West Bank who is not a member of Hamas. The one point these four men had in common, say knowledgeble Palestinians, is that they were all activists — very active activists.
They had apparently all been involved in the May 15 Nakba protests in the northern West Bank.
And, the IDF is apparently now trying to work to derail the large protests planned for the coming weekend — particularly on Sunday 5 June, the annivesary of the outbreak of the 1967 Middle East war…