At around 10am, 29th November, Palestinians living between the occupied Rajabi house and the settlement Kiryat Arba in Hebron were attacked by a group of up to 300 settlers and were again attacked at 2:30 pm. The settlers were throwing stones at Palestinians and their houses.
The settler rampage continued for two hours. According to some eyewitnesses, settlers were also shooting handguns into the air to intimidate people living in the area.
The Rajabi house (which the settlers call “The Peace House”) is over-looking other Palestinian houses that neighbour the Kiryat Arba settlement. Since the occupation of the house in March 2007, settler attacks against Palestinian residents have greatly increased.
According to eyewitnesses 10 Palestinian men and women, between the ages of 10 and 70 were injured, five of whom were taken to the hospital to be treated for their injuries. The attack, as well as the army’s response, have been caught on cameras distributed by B’tselem to the residents in the area. One clearly shows the settlers gathering to throw stones from the Rajabi house down on the neighbouring Palestinian houses.
According to a resident from the area, the Israeli Army and police forces were present during the whole time of the settler attack. One of the army’s first responses was to tell the Palestinians residents to go into their houses, rather than put an end to the settlers’ attacks. When some Palestinians did not obey this order the soldiers attacked the residents and detained two young men from the Ziade family, inflicting wounds on their wrists and arms.
One of the residents in the area states that even though he was hit in the head with a stone from the settlers, the police and army made him stay in his house for 40 minutes before allowing him to go to the hospital. Another resident, Soad Abu-Sayfan, a 24 year-old woman, was grabbed by an Israeli border police agent by the hair and violently thrown to the ground when she left her home after locking her small children inside for fear of their safety.
Though the attacks on Saturday can be seen as an escalation of settler attacks surrounding the pending evacuation of the occupied Rajibi house, the residents of the area assured solidarity activists that the attacks have become a way of life, even before the occupation two years ago.
The Abu-Sayfan family, who live directly below the fence of the Kiryat Arba settlement have settlers trespassing through their land on a daily basis, intimidating their children and throwing stones at their home. 40 year-old Hisham Abu-Sayfan, who was injured with a rock to his hand today, has said; “in my entire life in this home I have never known a comfortable life”. He constantly worries about the safety of his five small children and the children of his brothers and sisters. The residents of the neighbourhood have extremely limited movement, a shortage of water due to the fact that their tank is shared with nearby settlers and they have little to no protection from local Israeli police.
The Palestinians injured during the attacks today were told that they can file their claims tomorrow at the nearby police station, though several expressed doubt that their complaints would bring any action from the authorities. Hisham Abu-Sayfan has filed five reports in the past and has yet to receive any response.