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Physical assault

Even on a high holiday: Settlers attack Abu Shamsiyeh family in Tel-Rumeidah, central Hebron


On Saturday, 1 August 2020, 'Imad (50) and Fayzeh (46) Abu Shamsiyeh’s married children, ‘Awni (21) and Madlyn (22), paid a festive visit to their parents to mark the second day of ‘Eid al-Fitr. They came with their spouses and children to the family home, which lies in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeidah in central Hebron.  

At around midday, Marwa Abu Shamsiyeh (16) took her niece Rital (1.5) to the grocery store to buy sweets for all the children. On their way back, a group of about 10 young settlers between the ages of 10 and 15 began harassing the two girls. Marwa picked Rital up and kept walking home, at which point one of the teens grabbed her hair. The others then gathered around, kicking her, hitting her and spitting at her – and one even tried to snatch the toddler from her arms.

‘Awni, who was sitting by his parent’s house with a friend, heard his sister and niece screaming and rushed to their aid. He pushed the settler children to get them off the two girls. Only at that late stage did a soldier from the nearby Gilbert Checkpoint intervene: he ordered ‘Awni and his relatives to go home.

The family heard the commotion and Fayzeh, Salah (14) and Madlyn went outside. The same children started throwing stones and glass bottles at them, wounding Madlyn in the leg and Salah in the hand. Meanwhile, dozens of settlers gathered near the family home. Four soldiers arrived and tried to keep them at bay.

The family fled indoors, as several settlers climbed onto the roof of their home and others surrounded it. Given the rising tension, some 30 soldiers and Civil Administration officials arrived, as well as police officers in five vehicles. The security forces sent the settlers away but they remained nearby. About 15 minutes later, soldiers entered the family home and arrested ‘Awni. The settlers cheered as they drove him away to the police station in Kiryat Arba. Soldiers and settlers continued to linger around the house for about three hours.

One of the soldiers questioned Marwa, inside the house, about the incident. He then drove her, along with her mother, to the police station to file a complaint against the settlers. The police accused ‘Awni of assaulting the settlers and ordered him to pay 500 NIS (~148 USD). He refused and after the officers watched footage of the incident, they waived the payment. The three family members were released about three hours later.

In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari, Marwa Abu Shamsiyeh related what she underwent during the holiday:

At around 2:30 P.M., I took Rital to the grocery store to buy things for the kids. The store is at the top of the hill in our neighborhood opposite the settlement of Ramat Yishai. On our way home, I saw 15 or so settlers, about 10 to 15 years old, near the Gilbert checkpoint. A soldier was standing at the checkpoint. I got nervous, so I picked Rital up and kept walking home.

The settlers started doing impressions of my father, who has a limp. I ignored them and kept walking because I was afraid for Rital. Then one of them pulled my hair from behind. They surrounded me and started kicking me and hitting me. One of them tried to snatch Rital from my arms.

Rital started screaming and crying. I screamed, too, until my brother ‘Awni showed up. He started pushing the settlers to get them off me. The soldier by the checkpoint did nothing when the settlers attacked me, but when ‘Awni arrived he suddenly tried to get him away from the settlers and ordered us to leave.

 We tried to leave, but the settlers attacked us again. I ran home with Rital and told my mother what was going on. I asked her to go and help ‘Awni. My mother, Madlyn and Salah went outside and started yelling at the settlers. In the end, everyone came back inside.

Then, soldiers suddenly came into our house and arrested ‘Awni. After that, another soldier came and questioned me about what had happened. I told him the settlers had attacked me and tried to snatch Rital. Then a police officer came and said he’d take me to the police station in Kiryat Arba. My mother demanded to come along and he agreed.

They took us by jeep to the station and kept us waiting in the yard for about 15 minutes. A police officer led me into a room where they were holding ‘Awni in handcuffs, and then he took me to another room. He interrogated me for about half an hour while my mother waited outside.

‘Awni's interrogator told us we had to pay 500 shekels. My mother got angry and told the officers that the settlers were the ones who attacked us, and that we wanted to file a complaint against them. After we filed the complaint, the interrogator watched surveillance footage and saw that the settlers had attacked us. He agreed to release ‘Awni without a fine.

About three hours later, a jeep drove us back to a-Shuhada Street. We got home tired and upset because they ruined our holiday.

‘Awni Abu Shamsiyeh gave his account of the incident to field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari:

I was sitting with a friend on the street in front of our house. Suddenly, I heard my sister Marwa screaming. I ran over to her and saw about 15 settlers between the ages of 10 and 15 gathered around her. She was holding Rital and one of them was pulling at her hair. Another kid was trying to snatch Rital. The girls were screaming and crying, and Marwa was trying to hold onto Rital while they kicked her and spat at her.

I tried to get them off Marwa and Rital. Then a soldier who was sitting at the Gilbert checkpoint, who hadn't intervened when they attacked Marwa, ordered me to take the girls and get out of there.

We started walking home but the settlers attacked us again. Marwa ran home with Rital. A few minutes later, my mother came out of the house with Madlyn and Salah, and they started yelling at the settlers to make them leave. The settlers started throwing stones and glass bottles at us. They injured Madlyn in the leg and Salah in the hand. At that point, four soldiers showed up and tried to make the settlers leave.

In the end, my family and I managed to get inside and close the front door, but some settlers climbed up to our roof. About 50 others surrounded the house, shouting and trying to break in.

Then a lot of soldiers and police officers showed up and managed to remove the settlers. About 15 minutes later, soldiers came to the house and asked about me. They said they were going to arrest me. My mother tried to stop them, but they pushed her and took me outside. My mother, Marwa, Madlyn and Salah ran after me. The soldiers led me to the entrance to the nearby settlement of Ramat Yishai. There, they handcuffed me while the settlers tried to attack me again.

They drove me to the police station in Kiryat Arba, where I was interrogated and accused of hitting the settlers. I told them it wasn’t true and asked them to get the footage from the soldiers’ cameras to see what really happened. I said the settlers had attacked us.

The interrogator said he’d release me after I paid 500 shekels. But my mother, who had come to the station, refused and told the officers that the settlers were the ones who attacked us and that we wouldn't leave until we filed a complaint against them.

After they brought the camera footage, the interrogator watched it and decided to release me without a fine. After about three hours of interrogation and waiting in the heat in the station yard, a police jeep dropped us off at a-Shuhada Street. From there, we went home. I had bruises and wounds on my hand. We were tired and upset because the settlers ruined our holiday gathering.

Filmed by: تجمع المدافعين عن حقوق الانسان - Human Rights Defenders.

Samer Kurdi, cyclist attacked by settlers near Turmusaya, 18 July 2020. Photo: courtesy of the witnesses
Samer Kurdi, cyclist attacked by settlers near Turmusaya, 18 July 2020. Photo: courtesy of the witnesses

Turmusaya, Ramallah District: Settlers ambush and stone cyclists, beat two of them, steal three bikes and vandalize them

The settlers have ruined our quiet routine and deprived us of our basic right to spend time in nature. Because of them, we're anxious and too afraid to go biking again.

From the testimony of ‘Amer Kurdi (30), a cyclist

Five friends from Beir Zeit, a village in Ramallah District, go bike riding every weekend. On Saturday morning, 18 July 2020, they set out from Beir Zeit, cycled along Route 60 and turned off by Turmusaya. They rode for about three kilometers along a dirt road that leads to the hills northeast of the village, about a kilometer from the settlement outpost of Adei Ad.

‘Amer Kurdi (30) and Dennis Subuh (30) were about 100 meters ahead of their friends when they noticed several tents on a hilltop. The tents were put up by settlers from Adei Ad, but the cyclists initially thought they belonged to Bedouins. As they passed the hill, however, they came across a white pickup truck. A man got out of it and asked them, in Hebrew, where they were coming from. After they replied that they had come from Ramallah, he got into the truck and drove off, and the pair continued riding.

When the rest of the group reached the same spot, about seven masked settlers, armed with clubs and sticks, appeared on the hilltop. With them was the settlement guard, also armed. They started throwing stones and tumbling boulders at the cyclists from about 40 meters away. After Kurdi And Subuh stopped to check on their friends, two settlers came down the hill and started throwing stones at them. They managed to escape, but the others had to abandon their bikes and run to nearby fields under a hail of stones. Two settlers and the settlement guard managed to catch Samer Kurdi (28), ‘Amer’s brother, and one of the settlers started beating him with a club while the guard threatened him at gunpoint.  

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Samer Kurdi described the ambush and the assault:

Suddenly, about 7 to 10 settlers appeared on the hilltop while we were in the valley below, about 40 meters away. Their faces were covered with shirts, and they started throwing large stones and pushing boulders down at us. They were holding screwdrivers, sticks, clubs and stones. One of them, who had a rifle, stood watch over them. We felt in real danger and were scared.

We left our bikes and ran away on foot. A stone hit me in my left thigh, but I kept running because I was afraid to stop. As I was running, I tripped, and then two settlers who were chasing us reached me and blocked my path. One of them was the armed settler. He pointed his gun at me while the other, who was holding a black club, started hitting me in the legs. He tried to beat me in the ribs and upper body, and I shielded myself with my arms. When the beating intensified, I tried grab the club and snatch it from him, but the armed settler threatened me, so I stopped.  Then the other settler stopped beating me.

Kurdi and Subuh noticed the settlement guard they had met before the incident standing on the hilltop next to his white pickup truck. They went up to ask for help, but he refused and signaled them to step back. They stayed put and watched what was happening from above.

Meanwhile, the settlers stole three of the bikes that had been left by the road and a cell phone attached to one of them, and then headed to Adei Ad. Subuh and Kurdi came down the hill with the security guard and joined their three friends, who were standing next to the other guard. They discovered that two of the cyclists had been injured: Samer had bruises and scratches all over his body, and Luai Mesleh (28) was injured in his right leg and in other body parts from the stone-throwing.  

The settlement guards ordered the cyclists to leave, but they refused to go without their bikes. One of the guards returned to Adei Ad and came back after an hour with the three bikes, which settlers had vandalized meanwhile. At that point, a military patrol passed by. The soldiers asked the guards what had happened without addressing the victims. They photographed the bikes and Samer and Luai's injuries, and then ordered the Palestinians to leave. When they answered that they couldn't get home because their bikes had been damaged, the soldiers asked the settlement guard to give them a ride in his pickup truck. He drove the three cyclists while Kurdi and Subuh rode on their bikes behind him.

When the group finally reached Turmusaya, at around midday, they were greeted by the head of the village council and other residents. The injured men were given first aid and driven back to Beir Zeit by taxi. After the Israel Police contacted Samer, the cyclists went to the Binyamin police station and filed a complaint against their assailants.

Majdi 'Issa at the scene of his attack by settlers, Bidya, 30 June 2020. Photo: courtesy of the witness
Majdi 'Issa at the scene of his attack by settlers, Bidya, 30 June 2020. Photo: courtesy of the witness

Bidyah, Salfit District: Settlers stone Palestinians out strolling, fire shots nearby and threaten to kill villagers who dare return

Majdi ‘Issa and I.A. from Bidyah wanted to go for a stroll in an open area that locals use for leisure and picnics. The area, known as Khallet Hassan and Khalayel Bidyah, lies about a kilometer and a half north of the village.

On the evening of 30 June 2020, at around 8:00 P.M., the two men, who are in their fifties, drove into the area. About seven armed settlers who were there started approaching the car from some 70 meters away. When they were about 50 meters away, the settlers started firing shots in the air. As the car is not equipped for off-road driving, the two men left it and tried to escape on foot.  
The settlers chased 'Issa and I.A., firing shots in the air and at the ground by their feet. They caught up with their victims after about 100 meters and started beating them. When one of the settlers put a gun to ‘Issa’s head and the latter tried to push it away, he fired a shot near his ear. The settlers asked the two men what they were doing there and what they do for a living, and then grabbed them by the shirts and led them forcefully back to the car. On the way, one of the settlers fired several shots close to the two men. Before the settlers left, they warned the two to never come back and ordered them to spread the word in the village: settlers will shoot any Palestinian who dares visit Khallet Hassan and Khalayel Bidyah.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi, I.A. described the incident:

My friend, Dr. Majdi ‘Issa, and I went for a walk in the area of Khallet Hassan and Khalayel Bidyah, which is about five minutes from our village. There’s a beautiful view there and it's relaxing. We always go for strolls there to get away from our daily worries and enjoy nature. Suddenly, we came across about seven settlers. Some of them were carrying automatic rifles or handguns.

The settlers headed towards us and started shooting in the air. We were petrified. Majdi tried reversing the car to get out of there but he couldn’t, because of the rough terrain. We had no choice but get out and run for it. I was wearing slippers and they fell off, so I had to run barefoot. The settlers chased us, firing in the air and at the ground near us, until they managed to grab us. I was sure I was going to die.
Three settlers grabbed me and started beating and kicking me. Then they dragged me back to our car, which was about 100 meters away, hitting me all over my body as they went. Another settler grabbed Majdi and fired a shot near his head, as well as shots that passed close to my head and body.

Majdi ‘Issa gave his account of the incident to B’Tselem field researcher Abdulkarim Sadi:

The settlers attacked us and punched us all over our bodies, especially my friend I.A.. One of them held a gun to my head. I pushed his hand away and he fired a shot right next to my ear, to scare me.

I tried talking to them, but they ignored me. One of them asked what we were doing there. I said we'd come for a walk to enjoy nature. He asked me if I worked with the Palestinian police, and I replied that I was a university lecturer and my friend a businessman. He told us we were lying and ordered us to raise our shirts to check if we had any weapons. The settler with the gun said that the land wasn’t ours and belonged to the Jews.

Before they let us go, they threatened to kill us if we ever came back. The settler ordered me to tell the residents of Bidyah not to visit the land because he’d kill anyone who went there, since it's Jewish land. Then they let us get into our car and drive back to the village.

‘Issa and I.A. drove to the village clinic. I.A. was then taken by ambulance to the Arab Hospital in Nablus, where he was examined and discharged after several hours.

Settlers assault Ibrahim Bader on his way home. Hebron, 12 June 2020. Photo: Zidan a-Sharabati
Settlers assault Ibrahim Bader on his way home. Hebron, 12 June 2020. Photo: Zidan a-Sharabati

Central Hebron: One had his nose broken, the other was beaten and had to wait in the street until the attacked ended. Two brothers were assaulted the same day by different groups of settlers.

On Friday, 12 June 2020, Muhammad Bader was sitting at his doorstep in the neighborhood of Tel Rumeidah. Bader (26), a married father of two toddlers, lives in central Hebron, where settlers’ provocations have become a daily routine. It was around 4:00 P.M. when he noticed four settlers trying to grab a cart that one of his neighbors uses for work. He asked them to leave it alone. Three of the settlers left the cart and began to beat Bader. Then, one of them pulled a heavy object from his pocket and punched Bader in the nose with it. The settlers then fled towards a-Shuhada Street. When Bader and his father tried to chase their attackers, a soldier cut them off by the military base nearby.

A few minutes later, Bader passed out. Soldiers from the base gave him first aid and called for an ambulance, which took him to ‘Aliyah Hospital in Hebron. There, he was examined and X-rayed, and diagnosed with a broken nose.

Bader was discharged at around 10:00 P.M that night.

Muhammad’s brother, Ibrahim Bader (31), was also attacked by settlers that day. At around 11:00 P.M., Ibrahim crossed the Bab a-Zawiya checkpoint (known as “Checkpoint 56”) on his way home. Suddenly, about eight settlers pounced on him and started beating him. Ibrahim tried to run back to the checkpoint, but the settlers chased him and continued to beat him there. A soldier who was at the checkpoint tried to help him get away from the settlers, but found it hard to do so. He advised Bader to wait on the other side of the checkpoint until the settlers left. Ibrahim complied and waited there for about a half an hour.

A resident of Hebron who had captured the incident on camera called Ibrahim to tell him the police had arrived. Ibrahim went back to the spot where he had been attacked and gave his testimony to the officers. They offered to pick him up from home the following day and take him to the station to file a complaint – which they did.

Nassim Haja after settler attack. Burqah, 11 June 2020. Photo: Salma a-Deb'i
Nassim Haja after settler attack. Burqah, 11 June 2020. Photo: Salma a-Deb'i

Burqah, Nablus District: “They took us by complete surprise. They were holding sticks and the tip of one had nails in it. ” Settlers attack farmers with sticks and stones.

About 15 settlers viciously assaulted farmers working their land. The incident occurred on Thursday, 11 June 2020, when three residents of Burqah were out picking hyssop (za’atar) and sage and tending to olive trees on Nasim Haja’s (42) farmland.

At around midday, the three residents – Haja, Nasrallah Salah (16) and his father Fatin Salah (49) – saw about 15 settlers who seemed to appear out of nowhere. Some of them were masked and carrying firearms and sticks. The settlers stopped several meters away and started throwing stones at Haja and Salah, who were working side by side. Three of the stones hit Haja – two in the back and one in the leg – and Fatin and Salah helped him get away. The settlers left, too.

Fatin alerted village residents, who came and took Haja home. An ambulance then took him to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus, where he was diagnosed with torn tendons in his leg and lesions on his liver. Haja was later discharged with orders to rest for 25 days under medical supervision.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Nasim Haja described the attack:

I heard Fatin yelling: “Settler! Settlers!”. Salah jumped up and started running towards the village. I looked back and saw four settlers really close to me, so I had no choice but to run. They took us by complete surprise. They were holding sticks and the tip of one had nails in it.

I fled. They ran around throwing stones at us and shouting at the top of their lungs. Most of them were masked and some were carrying weapons.

One of the stones hit my back and another hit my leg. I fell down. My leg hurt so much that I thought it was broken. The settlers kept throwing stones at me, and a third one hit me in the back. I just managed to drag myself away, because of my injured leg. I called Fatin and he came to help me.

The plot in which the attack took place lies a kilometer northwest of Burqah. The settlement of Homesh (evacuated in 2005) was established a kilometer from the plot. About a week earlier, on 6 May 2020, settlers attacked two shepherds near Burqah, injuring one of them in the leg.

Smashed windshield in Muhammad Rubo'a's car after settlers stoned it. Duma, 25 June 2020. Photo: Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem
Smashed windshield in Muhammad Rubo'a's car after settlers stoned it. Duma, 25 June 2020. Photo: Abdulkarim Sadi, B’Tselem

Duma, Nablus District: Settlers attack Palestinian vehicle with stones

Muhammad Rubo’a (27) is an accountant who lives in the village of Sir, east of Qalqiliyah, and works in Jericho. On Thursday evening, 25 June 2020, he was driving home via Route 458 when he reached the Duma junction. He noticed a car stopped on the other side of the road and  three people standing behind it. When Rubo’a continued driving, two of them ran towards him and the third threw a large stone at his car, hitting the left rear windshield.

Rubo’a braked hard in fright and hit his head against the steering wheel. He then drove on about eight kilometers until he got to the ‘Aqraba junction, where he stopped.

Palestinians passing by noticed the bleeding man and called for an ambulance, which took him to Rafidia hospital in Nablus. Rubo'a was examined and discharged, and members of his family went to the junction to pick up his car.

Muhammad Ka'abneh after settler assault. Wadi al-Qalt, 21 June 2020. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B’Tselem
Muhammad Ka'abneh after settler assault. Wadi al-Qalt, 21 June 2020. Photo: 'Amer 'Aruri, B’Tselem

Wadi al-Qalt, east of Jerusalem: Settlers invade 'Arab al-Ka’abneh community, one beats resident with metal rod

On 21 June 2020, towards evening, about five settlers arrived at the community of 'Arab al-Ka’abneh in Wadi al-Qalt. They came from the direction of a settlement outpost they established two years ago about 500 meters from the community. The settlers began wandering among the tents on the pretext they were looking for a shepherd who had attacked one of them.

While an argument ensued with the residents, another settler arrived on foot from the main road nearby. The settler began hitting the residents' sheep with a metal rod he was holding. When Muhammad Ka’abneh (48) approached him, the settler hit him on the head and fled with the rest of the group.

Residents took Ka’abneh to the main road and signaled a military jeep that was passing by. The soldiers called the Israel Police and ordered an Israeli ambulance. After Ka’abneh refused to get in to it, they called for a Red Crescent ambulance. Ka’abneh was taken to the governmental hospital in Jericho.

Hasan al-Mashni after settler attack in the family's grove, 3 June, 2020. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, B’Tselem
Hasan al-Mashni after settler attack in the family's grove, 3 June, 2020. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, B’Tselem

A-Shuyukh, Hebron District: Three family members require medical treatment after settlers attack them with dogs

Taleb al-Mashni (73), his wife Khadrah Hlaiqah (59) and their son Hasan (36) were in their olive grove when six settlers suddenly pounced on them. The settlers broke Hasan’s finger, beat all three family members and threatened them at gunpoint. The grave incident occurred on Wednesday afternoon, 3 June 2020, when the family arrived at the plot they have been working for the last five years. The plot lies about four kilometers from a-Shuyukh and about two kilometers from the settlement of Asfar (known as Metzad), which was established in 1984.

At around 12:00 P.M., the family noticed about six settlers approaching them, four on ATV’s and two on foot with two dogs. On their way, the settlers drove out a shepherd whose flock had just invaded the al-Mashni’s land, while the family tried to shoo the sheep away to protect their young olive trees.

The settlers began shouting in Hebrew that it was their land and ordered the owners to leave. In the ensuing argument, one of the settlers gripped Hasan’s left hand and broke his finger. Two others started kicking and pushing him while the dogs bit his legs. Khadrah and Taleb tried to get the settlers off their son, but one of them snatched a stick Taleb was holding, kicked him in the stomach and hit Hasan on the head with the stick. When Khadrah tried to help her son, the settler beat her, as well.

Relatives who were in the area tried to separate the family from settlers, along with a shepherd who happened by the scene.  At that point, one of the settlers drew a gun and threated to shoot if his victims didn't leave. Taleb’s cousin, who arrived towards the end of the assault, tried to calm the threatening settler and the family moved away.

A short while later, the settlers withdrew towards the settlement of Metzad (Asfar).

Taleb al-Mashni spoke with B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash and described the attack on his family on their own land:

The settlers yelled at us to leave and claimed that we were on their land. Hasan and I replied that it was our land and they were the ones who should leave. They got very angry. One heavyset settler went over to Hasan and attacked him. He grabbed his left hand and twisted his middle finger. Two other settlers started to push Hasan and kick him, and the two dogs attacked him from behind.

I tried to threaten the settlers with my stick, but one of them snatched it from my hand and hit Hasan on the head with it.

Khadrah Hlaiqah also gave her testimony to B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhash:

I heard Hasan screaming in pain. Two other settlers started pushing and kicking him. I saw two dogs attack Hasan from behind.
I saw Hasan lying on the ground, suffering the beating. It was horrible. My husband had his hands on stomach and it was obvious he was in pain, too. Suddenly, one of the settlers pulled a gun and started waving it around. He threatened to shoot if we didn’t leave.

After the assault, the family required medical treatment. The parents received first aid at a medical clinic in the town of a-Shuyukh. Hasan al-Mashni was taken to ‘Aliyah Hospital in Hebron, where he was examined and X-rayed. The broken middle finger in his left hand was put in a cast and he was referred for a rabies shot.

The next day, Hasan and his cousin ‘Ayed al-Mashni went to the police station in the settlement of Kiryat Arba and filed a complaint against the settlers who had attacked the family. They gave the officers video footage in which the attackers could be identified.

Harbi ‘Abdu after settler attack, 6 May 2020. Photo: Sadam Salah
Harbi ‘Abdu after settler attack, 6 May 2020. Photo: Sadam Salah

Burqah, Nablus District: Settlers hurl stones at shepherds, break one’s leg and scatter herd

While leading a flock of 120 sheep to pasture, a pair of shepherds were suddenly attacked with stones by about ten settlers. During the violent encounter, the older man broke his leg as a result of the stone-throwing. His nephew managed to help him escape before they were injured even further.

On Wednesday afternoon, 6 May 2020, Harbi ‘Abdu (51) and his nephew Hamuda (26), residents of Beit Imrin, were out grazing their flock in a field situated between the northern part the village of Burqah and the former settlement of Homesh (evacuated in 2005). Suddenly, a group of settlers appeared before them. Some were armed with wooden clubs and stones, some were masked and one was carrying a gun. Though the two were about 200 meters away from the settlers when they caught sight of them, they had no chance of escaping with their flock.

As they tried to gather their flock, the settlers approached and began throwing stones at them, one of which hit Harbi’s left leg and broke it. He fell to the ground. As he tried to crawl away, the settlers struck him with more stones.  

Hamuda rushed to the nearby village of Burqah to call for help, but when he heard his uncle yelling for help, he returned. He noticed the assailants leading the flock away towards Homesh. When the settlers saw he had returned, they began throwing stones at him as well. The two barely managed to escape, while Hamza supported Harbi’s injured leg.

They cried out for help.  

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i on 6 May 2020, Harbi described the attack:

They came from different directions so that we wouldn’t notice them. Within seconds, they started throwing stones at me. When the first stone hit my left leg, I writhed in pain, fell, and tried to crawl away from them. But they kept throwing stones that hit my back and shoulders.

The settlers were yelling in Hebrew, and I didn’t understand what they were saying. I tried calling people from Burqah for help, because I was scared that they would finish me off and kill me, but no one heard me. When they saw I couldn’t get up, they started gathering the sheep and leading them away.

When my nephew saw the state I was in, he tried to help, but he couldn’t carry me. He supported my leg, and I moved away from there, crawling. Thorns ripped my pants, and I felt dizzy and nauseous.

I graze my herd in this area often, and since people from Burqah were attacked there a few times in the past, I’m very careful, and if I see any settlers, I immediately move away. This time, they snuck up on us, and we didn’t see them coming.

After moving about 50 meters away from the scene of the attack, Harbi and Hamuda came across residents of Burqah, who helped carry Harbi to an ambulance they had called. He was taken to Rafidia Hospital in Nablus. Harbi was diagnosed with a fracture in his left leg and told he would need surgery to set the bones in his leg.

One of the residents reported the incident to the Palestinian DCO.

Hamuda, who stayed behind, managed to locate 15 of the sheep, which had scattered in the area, and led them back to the village. He then drove in the direction of Homesh, escorted by 40 cars of relatives and residents of Burqah, and located the rest of the flock near the vacated settlement. After a long, rough day, Hamuda and the flock returned to the village.

A shattered window in ‘Einabus, 7 June 2020. Photo courtesy of the family
A shattered window in ‘Einabus, 7 June 2020. Photo courtesy of the family

‘Einabus, Nablus District: Settlers stone homes with military escort

On Sunday afternoon, 7 June 2020, at around 3:30 P.M., the Rashdan family were sitting in their courtyard, in the northern part of ‘Einabus, when they heard shouting. The father, Jad al-Karim (59), went up to the roof and saw ten masked settlers hurling stones at village homes from a hilltop about 200 meters away. With the settlers were two soldiers.

Rashdan shouted at the settlers and demanded they leave. Instead, they came closer and started throwing stones at his house and at a neighbor’s house that is under construction. Meanwhile, the rest of the family had gone up to the roof. When the settlers drew near, Rashdan asked them to go back inside and stay away from the windows.

In a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Rashdan related:

My son Muhammad was visiting us with his wife and baby daughter. I asked him to find a safe spot inside the house, away from the windows, because I was worried about my granddaughter. The settlers threw stones at us and the two soldiers just stood there with their arms crossed and calmly looked on. I got so mad! I swore at the soldiers in Arabic and in Hebrew. One of them mocked me, but motioned to the settlers to move away. They headed in the direction of Yitzhar, a settlement about a kilometer and a half or two kilometers away.

After the settlers left, my son Ahmad told me he had called the village council to report what happened. They said they can't do anything now that security coordination has stopped. But even if there still was coordination, what good does it do when the soldiers themselves come with the attacking settlers and stand there doing nothing? We can only trust in God. No one else will help us.

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