Tel Rumeidah, central Hebron: Settler minors attack 12-year-old Palestinian walking with father on street
The Abu ‘Eishah family, which consists of ten people, lives in the Tel Rumeidah neighborhood of Hebron. Their home is known by the unfortunate nickname “the cage house”, as they had to install bars and screens on the doors and windows to protect themselves from settlers. The house is located far away from the other Palestinian homes in the neighborhood. In 1984, the urban settlement of Admot Yishai was established right next to it.
Since the settlement was established, the family has suffered incessant harassment by settlers and the military.
On Monday, 18 May 2020, Taysir Abu ‘Eishah (58) and his son Haitham (12) were making their way home from the family’s clothing store. After they crossed the Tel Rumeidah (Gilbert) checkpoint, they passed by about ten children and youths from the settlement. One of them pushed Haitham to the ground. The father alerted a soldier who was standing a few meters away, but the soldier refused to intervene and ordered Abu ’Eishah and his son to go home.
The two continued on their way and the children chased after them, shoving, swearing and spitting at them. When Abu ‘Eishah tried to protect his son from a youth who pushed him, an adult settler emerged from an adjacent house and pushed Abu ‘Eishah in the chest. At that point, one of the soldiers there tried to keep the settlers at bay and radioed for backup. Meanwhile, Abu ‘Eishah took off his belt and started waving it to fend off the settlers. Then, about six more soldiers arrived. They dispersed the settlers and ordered Abu ‘Eishah and his son to go into their house.
After the father and son went inside and closed the door, the youths started pounding on the doors and windows. They spat at the windows, swore at the family and insulted the Prophet Muhammad. Abu ‘Eishah called out yet again to one of the soldiers and demanded that they remove the youths. Eventually, adults from the settlement arrived and took them away.
About half an hour later, an Israel Police patrol car arrived. Abu ‘Eishah told the officers what had happened. The officers promised to come back and collect footage from the family’s security cameras – yet never did so. That night, an Israeli DCO officer called Abu ‘Eishah’s brother and asked that they send him the footage by mobile phone. After Abu ‘Eishah’s son sent the footage, the family never heard back from the DCO or from the Israel Police.
Since they have given up hope of the police helping against settler violence, the family chose not to file a complaint at the station.
In a testimony he gave to B’Tselem field researcher Manal al-Ja’bari on 19 May 2020, Taysir Abu ‘Eishah described the terrifying reality his family has to endure:
We’re the only Palestinian family living here, right in the middle of the Admot Yishai settlement. The settlers often attack us. On 28 March 2020, a settler stole the security camera that B’Tselem installed at our house to document these attacks. On 24 April, a settler threw a stone at my brother Walid and injured his hand.
I didn’t go to the police station to file a complaint about our attack because when they injured Walid, he went to the station and the officers told him he couldn’t make a complaint due to the coronavirus.