26 December 2009
”The settlers yelled: Come out, this is our house”
Nadine Sabbagh 15-years-old, attacked in her home by settlers.
Just before midnight, on Christmas Day, 25 December 2009, the Sabbagh family was attacked by around 30 settlers. The settlers knocked at their door and told the family that they should come out of the house because it belongs to the settlers. They then broke in and injured 7 family members. Two were cut with a knife, two had their arm stretched and a pregnant woman was kicked in her stomach. She was taken to hospital where she remained at the time of writing this report. Another family member was hit in the face and had a gun pointed at her. She was threatened with being killed by the attackers.
The settlers continued their campaign of violence and intimidation on 26 December, when they attacked Palestinians from the neighbourhood with stones. Three children and one adult Palestinian were injured as result, and a French man who took pictures of the episode was attacked by a settler.
Both attacks happened only days after settlers sprayed a car belonging to a Palestinian family from the neighbourhood with a slogan associated with the ‘Price Tag’ campaign.
Nadine Sabbagh told us the day after her and her family’s home got attacked by settlers that the attack started at around midnight and continued for around three hours. After the settlers broke into her house they kicked her pregnant aunt in her stomach and cut her brother in the neck with a knife. The attack continued as the settlers cut Nadine’s cousin in his arm with a knife while they were violently pushing her mother and another aunt. Her aunt told us that she stretched her shoulder in the attack and it will take at least two weeks for it to fully recover.
One settler brought a gun and used it to threaten Nadine: “He told me; if you will not stop talking I will kill you.” At that point Nadine attempted to push the gun out of the settlers hand, but he avoided her and hit her in the face.
This is the first time the Sabbagh family home has been directly attacked by settlers.
The wave of settler violence continued throughout the day, when a group of 20 young settlers attacked a group of Palestinians in front of the occupied Gawi family home with stones. At first, the Palestinians managed to push the attackers out of the neighbourhood, only for them to return shortly after, in even bigger numbers, attacking again, this time more intensively. Four Palestinians, three of them children, were hit by stones thrown by settlers and a French man was attacked by a settler beating him in the head. When an Israeli ambulance arrived to the neighbourhood, the medics refused to treat the injured children and transport them to the hospital. An ambulance from the Red Crescent had to be called in order for the injured to receive necessary treatment.
Four settlers were taken by the police for questioning in connection with the two attacks.
According to the UN, settlers use the ‘Price Tag’ campaign to exercise systematic violence against Palestinian civilians where there have been attempts to evacuate settlement outposts. However, it seems that recently it is also being used as intimidation strategy in response to the Israeli government’s announcement of a partial freeze of settlement construction.
The strategy emerged due to the decreasing support of unauthorized outposts and is launched by radical settler groups in order for the Palestinians all over the Occupied Territories to pay the price in form of attacks every time the settlers feel they are being mistreated by the Israeli authorities. The strategic attacks have contributed to the displacement of entire Palestinian neighbourhoods, both temporary and permanent.