Jaber neighborhood, central Hebron: Soldiers fire live ammunition to protect settlers vandalizing nine cars in Hebron
On 29 August 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., about 15 settlers smashed the windows and damaged nine cars belonging to residents of the Jaber neighborhood in central Hebron. The residents are forced to park away from their homes, on the street behind the Jaber Checkpoint, as the military had closed off the street and barred them from driving on it.
The settlers also threw stones at the homes of Palestinians living in the neighborhood. M.J. (18) was wounded in the head by a stone and taken to Muhammad ‘Ali al-Muhtaseb Hospital in Hebron.
Throughout the incident, soldiers were present at the scene and witnessed the attack. When Palestinian residents arrived to protect their property, also by throwing stones, the soldiers chased them. Among other things, the soldiers opened live fire and protected the settlers who were heading towards the settlement of Kiryat Arba.
An Israeli police vehicle arrived at the scene only after the settlers left the area. The police officers demanded proof from the car owners that the settlers had damaged them, even though military security cameras are installed at the site, and presumably captured the acts of violence.
This incident, like many others documented by B’Tselem in Hebron and elsewhere, reflects Israeli policy in the West Bank, which utilizes settler violence as a tool for expelling Palestinians from their homes, in addition to the methods used by Israeli authorities.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari on the day of the incident, M.J. (18), a neighborhood resident, recounted the settler attack on his home and his injury by a stone that hit his head:
I live in an old house in the Jaber neighborhood with my parents and siblings. Our house is on the main street connecting the settlement of Kiryat Arba to Checkpoint 160, about 50 meters from the Jaber Checkpoint and 300 meters from Checkpoint 160. Settlers often throw stones at our home, especially on Saturdays and Jewish holidays.
On 29 August 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., I was helping my brother fill up the water tanks on the roof. Suddenly, I heard screams and voices on the street near the Jaber Checkpoint. I thought it was a family argument. I went with another brother of mine to figure out what was going on. As soon as I reached the checkpoint, I saw about 15 settlers smashing the windows of Palestinian cars parked on the blocked road behind the checkpoint.
Two soldiers watched what happened without stopping the settlers. As soon as we saw the settlers, they ran towards us to attack us. We ran towards the house, but they chased after us. We went inside, closed the door, and went upstairs to warn our brother, who stayed on the roof. Meanwhile, my parents woke up, and my little brothers started screaming and crying.
The settlers attacked our house with stones. My mother tried to film the attack on her cell phone. Meanwhile, some young guys from the neighborhood came and started throwing stones back at the settlers.
As my brothers and I went down from the roof into the house, a stone hit me in the head from behind. My head started bleeding. Neighbors took me in their car to Muhammad ‘Ali al-Muhtaseb Hospital, where my head wound was treated. Because it was late at night, I went to sleep with relatives who live closer to the hospital. I called my parents to reassure them that I was O.K., and they told me that the settlers were still in the neighborhood and continuing to attack homes in the presence of soldiers.
Today, I couldn’t go to work because of my injury. I’m still in pain.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari on 29 August 2021, Muhammad Jaber (60), a neighborhood resident, spoke about the settlers’ attack and the damage they caused to his car:
I live in the Jaber neighborhood with my wife and our three children. Our house is about 10 meters away from the Jaber Checkpoint.
On 29 August 2021, at around 3:00 A.M., we all woke up to noise and gunfire in the neighborhood. I stood near the window to see what was happening. I saw about 15 settlers who looked about 16 to 18 years old, escorted by several soldiers. The settlers threw stones at the cars parked behind the checkpoint. We’ve been parking there since the military closed off the street, because we can’t bring our cars inside.
The settlers shouted and threw large stones at the cars. They smashed their windows from point-blank range, my car among them. Meanwhile, several young Palestinians arrived, and some threw stones to keep the settlers away from the cars. The soldiers fired at the young Palestinians without driving the settlers away or preventing them from attacking Palestinian cars and homes.
Meanwhile, three Israeli police cars drove up. The settlers drew back towards the settlement of Kiryat Arba, with some soldiers guarding them.
I went out with other neighborhood residents to check on our cars. The settlers destroyed nine cars and completely smashed their windows. The police officers photographed the cars and asked if we had any proof that the settlers were the ones who destroyed them, even though there were three Israeli military security cameras on the street. The officers then suggested we file a complaint at the police station near Givat Ha’avot, and then they left.
Today, around 10:00 A.M., I went with my neighbor to the police station. We waited there for two hours until we were allowed to file a complaint.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari on 29 August 2021, ‘Aref Jaber (46), a neighborhood resident, described the attack:
On 29 August 2021, at around 2:30 A.M., I woke up to gunfire, screams and noise on the street. I put my shoes on and ran out into the street. When I reached the Jaber Checkpoint, there were four military jeeps, three Israel Police cruisers, a Civil Administration vehicle, and neighborhood residents who had gathered there. I saw about 15 settlers, aged 16 to 18, walking towards the settlement of Kiryat Arba, with several soldiers accompanying him.
I discovered that the settlers had smashed all the windows of my car and caused heavy damage to the chassis. I work as a taxi driver, and this car is my and my family’s main source of income.
The officers photographed the car and asked me for proof that the settlers had caused the damage. I told them to check the military’s cameras and ask the soldiers. The officers asked us to file a complaint at the station near Givat Ha’avot and then left.
The following day, I went with my neighbor to the police station. We waited there for over two hours until they let us in to file a complaint. An interrogator took my statement and asked if I had any evidence that the settlers were the ones who destroyed the car. I only had photos of my wrecked car, so I gave them to him, and we left the police station.