Beitin, Ramallah District: Settlers stone two Palestinian cars, shattering windows
On 12 May 2021, at around 9:30 P.M., Hani Abu ‘Awad (50), his wife Diaa’ (40) and their son Muhammad (17) drove from their home in the village of Beitin to Ramallah, to buy groceries for the holiday of ‘Eid al-Fitr (marking the end of Ramadan). When they reached the junction between the village and the road that leads to the settlement of Beit El, which lies about 200 meters from the DCO Checkpoint, about 10 settlers began throwing stones at their vehicle, hitting the chassis and shattering the sunroof. Another car driving behind them was also attacked by stones, which shattered its windshield.
Abu ‘Awad was afraid to turn the car around and asked his son to take the wheel to do it. Meanwhile, he got out and started throwing stones at the settlers in order to make drive them away. Passengers of other cars joined him and threw stones at the settlers, who fled the scene.
Minutes later, a military jeep arrived and the soldiers called the Israel Police. The police officers collected statements from the owners of the two damaged vehicles, detained two settlers on suspicion of involvement in the attack and asked Abu ‘Awad to identify them. They suggested he and the other car owner file a complaint at the Binyamin police station, as Abu ‘Awad did the following day.
In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Iyad Hadad, Abu ‘Awad described the attack:
About 10 young settlers with kippahs (yarmulkes), long side curls and tzitzits (knotted shirt fringes) started throwing stones at us from far away and ran towards us. We were terrified and my wife started screaming. One stone fell on the car’s glass sunroof and smashed it. Luckily it was closed, otherwise the stone would have fallen into the car.
I tried to make a U-turn, but another villager’s car was right behind me and I was afraid I’d hit it if I turned around. So I got out of the car, asked my son Muhammad to turn it around and started throwing stones at the settlers to make them leave. My wife shouted at me not to do it, because she knew they might be armed and was afraid they’d hurt me.
Muhammad turned our car around and the car behind us also started turning around. Several villagers arrived and also started throwing stones, and then the settlers ran away. It lasted between a few seconds to a minute. After the settlers ran off, I went back to my car and discovered that in addition to the smashing the sunroof, some stones had also damaged the chassis. The windshield of the car behind me was smashed. Thank God we weren’t hit by the stones. They could’ve killed us.
About five minutes later, a military jeep arrived. We complained to the soldiers and they led us to the lot near the DCO Checkpoint and called the police, who arrived 15 minutes later. The officers collected statements from me and from the owner of the car that was behind us.
Meanwhile, the officers brought in two settlers suspected of involvement in the attack. The officers asked me to identify them and I did, because they’d been very close to me during the incident. At 10:30 P.M., when they finished the investigation, the officers suggested we file a complaint at the police station. The next morning, I went there and filed a complaint. Instead of preparing for the holiday, I had to deal with the settlers’ violent attack. The damage they caused us will amount to several thousand shekels.