TESTIMONY FROM RANIA AL WASFI
HR, ADMIN & LOGISTICS AT THE FREEDOM THEATRE
I am Rania Al Wasfi from Jenin Refugee Camp. A mother of three children, living in the Jabriyat area overlooking Jenin camp.
Early Monday morning at one, large Israeli forces from the occupation army entered the outskirts of Jenin Camp.
Their largest concentration was next to my house. There was killing, shelling, demolition, burning of houses and cars, razing of roads, loss of friends, family and loved ones.
I called my mother crying and asking her to leave with my family from the camp because I am afraid that she will die. She refused, and my brothers refused to go out. They would prefer to die in their homes, than be displaced again, not to surrender.
I realized that I was losing them.
I cried so hard that the tears dried up.
My heart stopped in fear.
The shelling began, the clashes began, the invasion began, and I watched out the window, as the troops in armoured personnel carriers entered the camp.
Their number was innumerable.
If these forces and equipment, entered a country, I would expect they would occupy it.
Such very, very large forces - just to invade a camp a kilometre squared
I could’ve of died from fear for my family.
My camp, I adore my camp. I was born and lived my best days in this camp.
At 10 am, my family's house was bombed by the occupation planes. Pieces of the missile hit my brother and uncle, and they were taken to the hospital, but they were okay.
At 4 o'clock in the afternoon, soldiers entered my family's house, detained them in a room, confiscated their mobile phones, and cut off communication with them.
Since then, we did not hear any news about my sick mother, my sister, or my brother's wife and her young children. In the evening, the army asked the camp residents to leave the houses because they wanted to bomb the houses there. The planes left but all the people were not allowed.
The rest of the army has been in the house for two days, and they refuse to let my family out.
They investigated my mother about the camp, the resistance, the camp’s people, and the neighbours.
They had a large police dog with them, and they put him next to my brother’s children. They are now suffering from a nervous breakdown, - my little nephew is just 3 years old. For years he has been suffering from trauma. Now he is experiencing a severe nervous breakdown due to the bombing of the house and the army siege.
After the army withdrew from the house, the Palestinian Red Crescent came and brought my mother to the hospital with the family. She received some treatment and they are fine now, thank God.
If they demolished the house, bombed every neighbourhood, and burned everything in the camp, we will not leave the camp here.
We will remain like olive trees.
TESTIMONY FROM MUSTAFA SHETA
PRODUCER AT THE FREEDOM THEATRE
Today, Monday, July 3, 2023, I stand before you to share my personal account of the events that unfolded in Jenin refugee camp early this morning. The Israeli military operation commenced with an aggressive assault on sites believed to be affiliated with the Palestinian resistance. They claimed these locations as their targets, launching three missiles that resulted in the loss of innocent lives and left many wounded.
Soon after, a full-scale invasion ensued, with an overwhelming presence of military forces. Jeeps, armoured vehicles and military bulldozers stormed into Jenin, asserting their dominance over the ground. The skies above were not spared either, as a multitude of drones hovered ominously.
During this tumultuous time it was impossible for the inhabitants of Jenin to sleep, young and old alike. My daughter, Salma, was terrified by the blaring warning sirens that announced the army's incursion, her tears flowing uncontrollably. Meanwhile, my son, Adam, displayed a mix of fear and curiosity, trying to comprehend the gravity of the situation.
Isra Awartani, The Freedom Theatre’s accountant, hastily created a safe space within her home to shield her three daughters from harm. Ahmed Tobasi, artistic director of The Freedom Theatre, found himself face-to-face with an armoured vehicle stationed right outside his house, its barrel aimed at his window. Rania Wasfi, TFT former colleague, frantically tried to reach her mother and sister after news that their house was bombed.
The morning brought news of a devastating attack on The Freedom Theatre, where a group of families sought refuge amidst the turmoil. The occupying forces callously targeted them with missiles, shattering their hopes for safety. Adnan, who lives next door to The Freedom Theatre, huddled together with his family in one room, struggling to find comfort in the midst of chaos.Adnan’s niece Sadeel, 14 was murdered by an Israeli sniper less than two weeks ago. Her family lives in the same neighbourhood.
The gravity of the situation cannot be understated. The occupation relentlessly tightens its grip on the refugee camp, decimating its infrastructure and obliterating the main roads in the camp. The message is crystal clear – punish the stronghold of popular resistance in Jenin, and project an image of invincibility to Israeli society regarding their military prowess.
What lies ahead? For me, the answer is nothing. The occupation's attempts to eradicate the resistance in Jenin will not succeed, just as their predecessors failed in 2002. Buildings may crumble, cars may be reduced to wreckage, and countless individuals may be detained, wounded and even martyred. However, these actions will only serve to breed a new generation that will carry the torch of resistance passed down by those who came before them, as we do today, and as our children will do in the future. It is a relentless pursuit, driven by the aspiration to reclaim our land and restore the dignity of every human being.
TESTIMONY FROM RAWAND ARQAWI
ARTISTIC DIRECTOR AT FRAGMENTS THEATRE &
FORMER ACTING SCHOOL CO-ORDINATOR AT THE FREEDOM THEATRE
Jenin has been going through a difficult period for a long time, frequent invasions, massacres and indiscriminate shooting. Jenin has lost many young men and children, most of whom are civilians. We were hearing news that there was an invasion of Jenin and that they were going to enter Jenin, but we did not expect that it would be so powerful and that there would be warplanes.
My Lord, hundreds of bulldozers and soldiers, when the invasion began they invaded at 1:00 a.m. Most of the people were asleep, and people woke up to the sound of explosions and aviation, everything changed in a moment.
I live in a mountain and all the events are in front of my house, but it is somewhat far away, and at night the missiles echo as if they were close. The second day the invasion took place in all of the areas of Jenin, including the Al-Marah area where I live.
The army entered my uncle's house and arrested his son. When they entered the house, they beat him in front of his mother, and his mother could not bear to see her son, so she tried to defend and protect him. Al-Hindi clashed with her with fists.
He ordered the house to be destroyed.
In the last six hours, the whole country turned into a street war.
All areas of Jenin were shelled. Streets were being bombed. Houses, mosques, even the cemetery in the eastern neighbourhood were bombed. It was more than terrifying, and no one knew what happened to the people, who was killed, who was martyred, and who is still alive.
Currently, people are living in a post-traumatic state, and although they celebrated the departure of the Israeli forces, people are living in a state of great sadness and shock.