Bristol man speaks of “mock execution”!

Friends have spoken to Tom Woodhead this weekend who is still being held in a deportation prison in Israel following his arrest in Palestine 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”.

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“I felt my legs start to shake” says Tom, “I thought I was about to die”

 Tom has described the events of his arrest in more detail to friends as follows:-

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

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

Then I was struck with a hard object, I think it was a rifle butt. 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. All three of us were loaded into a vehicle, there was a cage with only space for two people but all three of us were crushed into the cage.

We were taken to the Israeli Police station and held in solitary confinement, and some time later taken to a court. They accused me of throwing stones but they had no evidence

I heard the Palestinians were sentenced to nine months even though I didn’t see either of them throwing stones

Then I was taken to this deportation prison. I am in a cage-type cell the size of a normal room but with bunk beds for sixteen people. Everyone else in this caged cell are deemed to be illegal immigrants and awaiting deportation. I have been visited by people from ISM (International Solidarity Movement) who are doing a great job.

I have been visited by the British Consul who was shocked to hear about the mock execution but hasn’t been able to do anything else for me. I will be flown back to the UK from Tel Aviv airport but haven’t been told when, someone else in my cell was given 24 hour notice of departure, but not me, so it will be at least Tuesday now. I will text my supporters in the UK when I have more information

My next fear is I will be badly treated by the British authorities, other ISMers returning to the UK under similar circumstances have been arrested under the Terrorism Act 2000 which gives them the power to hold us for up to 28 days even though we’re obviously not Terrorists.

 Tom, who still has a black eye and bruises from his ordeal, says he’s looking forward to getting back to his friends in Bristol .

But says he is concerned for the Palestinian friends he leaves behind as they face much worse treatment.

He says he is angry that he was arrested for no reason.

He and the Palestinian were on a peaceful demonstration against the illegal Israeli Settlements Tom says “Under International Law the Palestinians have the right to oppose the occupation. It is the occupation that is illegal, not the Palestinians. The Israelis have no right whatsoever to be there. They are the ones who are illegal.”

 Tom can be phoned or txted on 00972-54-711-3896.

The phone doesn’t always answer the first time but keep trying. Israel time is GMT + 2 hours

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