In an act of nonviolent resistance, a Palestinian man refused to stop reading prayers from the Qur’an, despite beatings and racial slurs from Israeli soldiers, eyewitnesses reported.  Israeli soldiers at a checkpoint in the Israeli-occupied West Bank attacked a Palestinian because he read from the Qur’an, as reported by eyewitnesses. At the time, Israeli forces were blocking passage for Palestinians both on foot and in cars near Nablus, an occurrence which is common in the West Bank.

During such waits at checkpoints, which are unpredictable, and can last hours or even days, depending on the mood of the Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint, Palestinians do many things to pass the time, including reading newspapers, talking on the phone, listening to the radio, and reading the Qur’an. Thirty year old Mahmoud Ali Ahmed Sa’adeh was one such person. As he was praying on Tuesday evening, reading from the Muslim holy book while stuck at the checkpoint, Israeli soldiers brutally beat him, saying that he provoked them by reading the Qur’an.

Al Hiyat Newspaper correspondent Romel Al Soaiti and Director of the Akhbaryat site spoke about the incident he witnessed.

“Occupation soldiers detained many Palestinians at a checkpoint in Yitzhar for more than an hour under the hot sun without any justification. Sa’adeh was in his car, waiting to pass in order to attend his cousin’s wedding. He attempted to reason with the soldiers, which is a lost cause, saying he had done nothing to warrant such a prolonged detention. However, the Israelis responded with verbal abuse.”
What Sa’adeh did next was to begin reading aloud from the Qur’an. According to Al Soaiti’s account of the incident, “The occupation soldiers tried to prevent him from continuing to read the Qu’ran. They also verbally abused and insulted the Holy Qur’an and the Prophet Mohammad, prayer and peace. After refusing to comply with such an outrageous request as to not read the Qur’an, Israeli soldiers attacked and brutally beat him.”

Al Soaiti said that in the course of their attack, Sa’adeh was able to hit one of the soldiers on the one hand. “That soldier hit the poor man in the head with the butt of his machine gun. The wound was deep and blood gushed from Sa’adeh’s head and ear. Then he fainted.”

According to other eyewitnesses who were near the checkpoint, a number of citizens from the Israeli group, “Checkpoint Watch,” were able to save the young man from further beating and allow for his transport via Palestinian ambulance to Nablus’ Rafidiya Hospital.”

The Israeli soldiers stationed at the checkpoint also brutally assaulted a senior citizen over the age of 70, beating and insulting the elderly man.  When young Maher Mahmoud Al Rayyan tried to intervene, the soldiers beat the 24 year old from Ainabus Village severely, breaking his arm before arresting him for his act of nonviolent resistance by trying to assist a 70 year old victim of Israeli abuse.