Bristol man lined up for ‘mock execution’ by Israeli soldiers

Tom-WoodheadBy Christopher Brown

A Bristol campaigner has spoken of how he was the victim of a “mock execution” at the hands of the Israeli military after a demonstration in the Palestinian territories.

Tom Woodhead is still being held in a deportation prison in Israel following his arrest more than a week ago. He described how he and two other Palestinians were lined up against a wall while Israeli soldiers cocked their rifles for a “mock execution”.

“I felt my legs start to shake” said Mr Woodhead. “I thought I was about to die.”

He is currently facing deportation by Israeli authorities after being arrested last Friday by border police at a demonstration in Kafr Qaddum, a village in the occupied Palestinian territories.

The regular demonstrations, which began in July 2011, are part of a local strategy to regain access to a road which leads to Nablus, the nearest city, which has been obstructed by a roadblock since 2003.

Mr Woodhead says he is cheerful, but suffering bruises and a black-eye from a beating by Israeli soldiers.

Speaking about his arrest, he said: “Three of us were arrested at the same time, me and two Palestinians. The soldiers hit one of the Palestinians over the head with a rock and I was punched in the face and blood started to pour from my eye. Then I was then beaten about the back of my head.

“All three of us were handcuffed with cable ties and then blindfolded. We were pushed against a wall with our heads down. Then I heard the soldiers cocking their rifles like a mock execution. I felt my legs start to shake, I thought I was about to die.

“Then I was punched again and they shouted at me – was I Palestinian? Then they hit me again and shouted again – was I half Palestinian, or even a bit Palestinian? This seemed absurd. When they discovered I was British they stopped.

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