Sunday, November 30, 2008

Different faces of reality. Settler attack on 29 Nov

On November 29 there was a big incident in Wadi al-Hussein area of Hebron and we happened to be eye witnesses, as we had planned to visit families in the area around the time the settlers’ attack started. More than 150 settlers from the Occupied House and Kiryat Arba attacked the Abu Seifen’s house, as well as a few other houses on their way to that house. About 30 Palestinian cars were damaged. Until we saw stones being thrown at us from the Occupied House we did not realize we could be targeted as well. We heard a lot of shooting that, as we discovered later (and we could even prove that on the footage of the attack), was mostly coming from the soldiers and aimed into the air, trying to make the settlers move away from the house after the attack. According to one eye-witness of the family, there were also a few armed settlers.

The settlers usually “get active” on Shabbat, since it is their day off, however, this time it was different, as Palestinians living in the area say. The whole event seems to have been planned, as the night before, the fence dividing the Kiryat Arba settlement and the valley was cut in preparation. Also, according the those Palestinians, the amount of police and army people was more than usual, and so was the number of settlers taking part in the attack.

One of the international observers, trying to understand the motives of the settler invasion asked Issa - a B'Tselem activist who got injured trying to get footage of the incident- for the reason of settlers’ behavior.

"You want to know why they do it? First of all we are Palestinians, and secondly, God gave them this land”, was the reply.

"Were the Palestinians throwing stones?”

"Of course they were.”

"So settlers and Palestinians were hurling stones at each other!”

"Oh no. Not at each other. If someone throws stones at you and your house, you have a right to defend yourself. That makes a big difference.”

In the evening, one of us called a TV station trying to convince them that what has happened on that day was an “interesting” piece of news, worthwhile to be covered. “Were there people killed?” was the question of the person from the TV station. “No”, was the reply. “Hmm, ok, than we will see….”

So this is what happens. Palestinian houses are attacked by a mass of settlers and nobody does anything. None of the settlers were arrested. Already by tomorrow, most people who heard about the incident will forget it and the story will repeat itself as it has been repeating itself for several years now. Families from Wadi Al-Hussein will continue to live in fear, asking the Palestinian Authority for the last three years in vain to at least get a kind of roof protection above their house, and Palestinian kids will be afraid to walk on the streets while coming back from school.- “We don’t need any money from the Palestinian Authority, all we need is for them to feel with us”, one of the affected persons said.

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