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From the field

Testimony: Settler assaults members of Shhadeh family while they are picking olives, Beit Furik, 27 September 2006

Kholud Shhadeh, 32

On Wednesday, 27 September 2008, I was picking olives in my family's grove along with my mother, who is 55 years old, my brother's wife Shirin,who is 22, and my brother's children, Khaled, Jamal, Mansur, and Samira. Our grove lies in the western part of Beit Furik, about one kilometer from the houses at the edge of the village.

Around 9:30 A.M., while I was up on one of the trees picking olives, I heard somebody shout in Arabic, “Stop! Stop!” I saw my mother and Shirin running and heard a shot. I couldn't tell which direction the sound came from. After the gunshot, I heard my mother and Shirin shouting. I quickly got off the tree and saw the two of them lying on the ground and a settler standing by them. I started shouting and ran to see what happened to them.

The settler was holding a gun. He aimed it at me and ordered me, in Arabic, to stop shouting. My mother's face was bleeding, and I thought she had been wounded by the gunshot. I cried and shouted for help. I hoped somebody would hear me. The settler continued shouting at me and told me to shut up. Whenever I tried to get close to my mother, he hit me in the head with a radio transmitter he was holding.

My mother cried out in pain. A few times, I asked the settler to let us go, but he shouted and ordered me to shut up. I told him my mother's hand hurt and that her face was still bleeding.  He saw she had been injured, but he didn't care. Shirin, who was eight months pregnant, cried out in pain and asked for help. Her back and stomach hurt, apparently from the fall. The children were afraid and crying.

Jamal told the settler that Shirin was pregnant and about to deliver any minute, and pointed to her stomach.  The settler answered, “You're lying! If she's pregnant, why did she come here?” Shirin swore that she was pregnant and that she felt labor pangs, but the settler ignored her. His Arabic was poor.

Shirin and my mother managed to sit up and sat next to each other on the ground. The settler stood next to them with his gun aimed at them. Jamal, Samira, and I stood about three or four meters from them.  Five times I tried to go over to my mother and wipe the blood from her face, but the settler shouted at me and aimed his gun at me. We stayed like that for two hours, with nothing happening, until three soldiers appeared on foot by chance. They spoke with the settler in Hebrew, and one of them gave my mother a bandage. He asked me to press the bandage to stop the bleeding. Then they let us go.

My brother Jamal drove us to the medical center in Nablus, where they treated my mother and stitched the wound to her forehead and above her lip. A gynecologist examined Shirin and told her to lie down and rest. My mother was given medicines and pain killers. Her arm still hurts.

Afterwards, my mother and Shirin told me that they had fallen when they ran in panic after seeing the settler approach them with a gun aimed at them. />

The settler was tall, heavyset, and dark-skinned. He was bald and had a beard. His gun was very big, like the kind that soldiers have at checkpoints, and he had a pistol on his hip. He scared me so much that I'll never forget him.

Kholud Jamal Shhadeh, 32, is a resident of Beit Furik in Nablus District. Her testimony was given to Salma a-Deba'i at the witness's home on 18 October 2006.