On the morning of 12 January 2004, IDF soldiers entered the Tulkarm refugee camp and arrested Fatah member Haytham Luwaisi. According to the IDF Spokesperson’s Office, Luwaisi had attempted to commit attacks in Israel. Three days later, the IDF demolished the home in which Luwaisi’s family lived. In the course of arresting Luwaisi, the soldiers used Ahmad ‘Asaf, age 33, a resident of the refugee camp, as a human shield. The use of human shields is forbidden by international law and by a High Court of Justice order. IDF operating procedures also prohibit the practice.

      ‘Asaf told B’Tselem: “He [a soldier] told me that I had to go inside houses that he would identify and open the door and windows and turn on the lights. He told me to tell anyone who was in the houses to go outside with their hands raised over their heads. He told me that if someone refused, I had to come outside and tell him and that if I didn’t tell him the truth, he would kill me or put me in jail."

      ’Asaf went into one of the houses, and when he came out he told the soldiers that nobody was inside. After soldiers opened fire at the house and hurled a stun grenade inside, the soldiers entered the house. They forced ‘Asaf to accompany them as they searched the rooms in the house. The soldiers used the same procedure with other houses: opening fire, hurling stun grenades inside, and forcing ‘Asaf to accompany them during the search.

      At the end of the operation, which lasted about twenty-four hours, the soldiers released ‘Asaf, but not before a GSS agent questioned him. ‘Asaf told B’Tselem that the agent tried to force him to collaborate by threatening his life.

      B’Tselem called on the Judge Advocate General’s office to open an investigation into the incident.