At around 1.20pm on Thursday the 27th of October I received a phone call from one of the three internationals who had come to the aid of a Palestinian schoolgirl near Qurtuba School, and who were now under attack from a mob of settlers.
I made my way quickly to the end of Shuhada Street, stopping at the soldiers’ post there. All the buildings immediately beyond this post on the left are the Beit Hadassah settlement buildings. On the right, a narrow stone staircase leads up to a hillside path which leads to Qurtuba School. By this time the three internationals and the Palestinian child had been removed from the area by the police and army.
I stayed on Shuhada Street and began walking with the Palestinians to the end of the street, waiting at the bottom of the stone staircase until they had reached the apparent safety of the hillside path. On one occasion during the next hour four settler children followed me back along Shuhada Street, throwing stones at me. I was also spat at and shoved in the chest by two 18 year old settler males. I was told by the soldiers who were standing on the street that the Israeli Army were unable to ensure my safety.
At 2.30pm I walked with three Palestinian women to the bottom of the staircase, waiting until they had reached the top before I left. Seconds after I turned to leave, I heard several loud crashes and screams from the top of the staircase. I turned to see at least two teenage settler girls who had jumped up from behind a wall next to the path the Palestinian women were now on, throwing bottles and stones at them. The women retreated several metres to the top of the staircase, but were now effectively stranded there as four or five settler men (one of whom was brandishing a power drill) had now approached the bottom of the staircase.
I shouted to the soldiers to do something and went to join the women who were still trapped at the top of the stairs, but out of range of the missiles which continued to fly in their direction. The soldiers remained standing on the street with the settler men.
Five Palestinian kids had now arrived at the bottom of the stairs, and were being prevented from passing by the soldiers and settlers there. As I made my way back down the stairs to join the kids, the settler with the power drill began waving it in the air, shouting. He then charged at the kids, chasing them away. The soldiers continued to stand on the street.
Two police officers then arrived who despite requests to assist the stranded women continued to do nothing for 10 minutes until the settler girls who were throwing the rocks and bottles had left. They then went up to the women to escort them along the path. The soldiers continued to stand on the street.