Jaber neighborhood, Hebron: Settlers harass residents for two days and attack them with stones and pepper spray in front of soldiers
On 9 July 2021, at around 8:30 P.M., about five teens from a settlement in Hebron entered the Jaber neighborhood in the city center. They began throwing stones at homes and pounding on doors. The teens shouted and swore at the residents in full view of soldiers, claiming stones had been thrown at them. Within minutes, they were joined by about 15 other settlers, many of them adults and at least two of them armed. The teens continued to throw stones at homes. The two armed settlers threatened resident Suzan Jaber, a volunteer with B'Tselem's camera project, who was filming the incident from her window. A police cruiser and two military jeeps arrived at the scene, but the officers and soldiers did not remove the settlers from the neighborhood or detain any of them.
At one point, five soldiers went up to the roof of Suzan Jaber's house and demanded that four members of her family, including two minors, go down to the street with them. The soldiers questioned the young Palestinians about stone-throwing and let them go after about 10 minutes. They then left the neighborhood along with the settlers.
In this incident, as in many other incidents B'Tselem has documented in Hebron and elsewhere in the West Bank, soldiers escorted violent settlers, allowed them to do as they pleased and threatened and harassed Palestinians.
In a testimony she gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari on 9 July 2021, Suzan Jaber, a mother of seven, recounted what happened that night:
On Friday, 9 July 2021, at around 8:30 P.M., I was sitting with my family on our balcony, which overlooks the street. We were eating and talking when suddenly, we heard noise and shouting outside. I quickly climbed the stairs to the roof and asked my daughter Hanin to get me my camera. When I got to the roof, I saw about five young settlers throwing stones at the neighbors' houses and pounding on the doors aggressively, including on the door of our neighbor, Wajih Jaber. There were about five soldiers on the street and they were trying to prevent the settlers from pounding on the doors, but not seriously. Instead, the soldiers prevented Wajih Jaber from reaching his house.
Meanwhile, about four young Palestinians started to verbally confront the settlers. More settlers arrived, two of them in their thirties and armed. The settlers started throwing stones in every direction, including at my house. I tried to film what was happening. The two armed settlers aimed their weapons at me. My son Ahmad pulled me inside the house, because he was afraid they'd shoot me.
A few minutes later, five soldiers came up to the roof and started accusing us of throwing stones at the settlers. I pointed to the table and told them we’d been sitting eating ice cream and hadn’t attacked anyone, and that the settlers were the ones who attacked us. One of the soldiers insisted on taking all the young guys who had been on the roof at that time down to the street. I refused at first, but my husband's cousin talked me into it. I kept on filming the soldiers while they led my sons, Muhammad (20) and Ahmad (13), and our relatives Mu'tasem (28) and Safwan (16) out to the street. The soldiers detained them there for about 10 minutes and let them go. Then the soldiers and settlers left the neighborhood.
Wajih Jaber (42), a father of seven, was out on the street when the settlers and soldiers entered the neighborhood. The soldiers prevented him from reaching his house, and a dog the settlers had with them tried to attack his wife, Ramyeh Jaber (37). In a testimony she gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, Ramyeh Jaber related:
The settlers always attack us, especially on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The last time was on the evening of 9 July 2021. My husband Wajih was on the street with his friends and I was sitting in the yard with our three little girls, who are three, five and nine. I heard shouting and noise outside, and stones started landing in our yard. I opened the front gate, which leads to the street, to see what was going on. I saw a lot of young settlers. Some of them were attacking a young guy from the neighborhood in front of about five soldiers. One of the soldiers started yelling at me to go into the house and close the door. I saw my husband about 50 meters away, trying to get to the young guy and help him, but the soldiers were holding him back. I stayed standing in the doorway and asked the soldiers to allow my husband to get home.
Suddenly, a giant dog attacked me. It belonged to the settlers and had no leash or muzzle. I was terrified and tried to go back, but I fell down and was badly hit in the back of my head and in my right shoulder. My girls were screaming and crying in fear. Meanwhile, my husband arrived, picked the dog up and threw him aside. Then he helped me up. My right elbow hurt a lot. The next day, the settlers attacked neighborhood homes again.
My shoulder and wrist still hurt, and my girls are anxious and stressed. They're afraid to sleep without me and wet the bed at night.
The following evening, 10 July 2021, at around 6:00 P.M., more than 10 teens from the settlement came to the neighborhood, escorted by about 10 soldiers. They threw stones at homes and provoked residents. Young men and teens from the neighborhood who were sitting on the street swore back at them and confronted the soldiers who were protecting the settlers.
That evening, at around 8:30 P.M., about five settlers entered the neighborhood, escorted by a soldier, and verbally confronted young residents. One of the settlers pepper-sprayed Muhammad al-Ja'bari (13) in the face. Some of the spray reached the face of his grandfather, Nasser al-Ja'bari (62), who was standing next to him. A military ambulance and a police cruiser arrived at the scene, and the two were given first aid. One of the officers suggested Nasser al-Ja'bari file a complaint with the police against the settler who had attacked him and his grandson, but he refused.
In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, Nasser al-Ja'bari recounted the settlers’ attack on 10 July 2021:
On Saturday, 10 July 2021, at around 8:00 P.M., I was on my way home when I saw five settlers between the ages of about 17 to 25, escorted by a soldier, harassing four or five young Palestinians from my extended family who were standing across from a barbershop opposite my house. The settlers were spitting at them. Meanwhile, more settlers arrived and a verbal argument developed. The settlers swore at the Palestinians and shouted that the houses belong to Jews, in the presence of the soldier who was with them and of several other soldiers who were on the street. When the young guys tried to respond, the soldier who was escorting the settlers cocked his weapon in their faces.
I tried to calm the guys down, because I was afraid the soldiers would shoot them. I also tried to persuade the settlers to move away. Meanwhile, my grandson Muhammad (13) arrived. Just then, one of the settlers turned around and pepper-sprayed him right in the face. I tried to protect Muhammad and some of the gas reached my face. I felt my eyes and face burning. Then a fight broke out between the young Palestinians and the settlers. The soldiers drove the Palestinians away and aimed their rifles at them. Many more settlers showed up and attacked the young guys, too. The soldiers tried to separate the guys from the settlers and moved the settlers away.
I went into a grocery store run by my brother, Bassem al-Ja'bari. My grandson Muhammad was already there. Some young guys were trying to help him and were washing his face with yogurt. A military ambulance arrived and the paramedics helped Muhammad. They put ointment on his face to ease the burning. A Red Crescent ambulance also arrived and the crew joined in the first aid. I was affected less badly than Muhammad. Meanwhile, an Israeli police car arrived and one of the officers suggested I file a complaint at an Israeli police station, but I saw no point. Settlers have attacked us dozens of times and I’ve filed complaints, all of which led to nothing. I thanked God it ended as it did. I was very scared when the soldiers, who were very agitated, pointed their weapons at the young guys. I was afraid they'd shoot them. There was no justification for the settlers' attack on the young guys. The night before, settlers had also attacked homes and passers-by in the neighborhood.
In a testimony he gave B'Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja'bari, neighborhood resident Muhammad al-Ja'bari (13) described the settlers’ attack on 10 July 2021:
I was sitting in my uncle's clothing store on the ground floor of our building. It’s on the main street of the neighborhood, which leads to the settlement of Kiryat Arba. I heard noises outside and went out to the street to see what was going on. I saw about six of my relatives confronting about five settlers, who had a soldier with them. I crossed the road towards them. When I got close, one of the settlers pepper-sprayed me right in the face. My face and eyes immediately started to burn. Two young Palestinians picked me up and carried me to the grocery store of another one of my uncles. My face was burning and I was crying from the pain the whole time. They put yogurt on my face. Meanwhile, my grandfather Nasser (62), who was also hit by the pepper spray, came in. The young guys in the grocery store treated him. He got less of the spray than I did. A military ambulance arrived and the paramedics sprayed something on my face that helped me. Then a Red Crescent ambulance came, too. After about two hours, I went home and changed clothes. My face and eyes are still stinging.