On Sunday afternoon, during the Jewish holiday of Purim, 28 February 2021, about 10 settlers, including men, women, and children, stood on the balcony of the settlement of Beit Hadassah in central Hebron. Some of them began throwing stones and bottles at the nearby Abu Haya family home and swore at its residents. Routine.
About an hour later, about 10 settlers, some holding liquor bottles, tried to enter the Palestinian neighborhood of Wadi a-Nasarah, which lies several dozen meters away from the settlement of Kiryat Arba. Dozens of soldiers came to the scene and tried to block the settlers’ way without using any force. The settlers rioted and clashed with neighborhood residents who had come out of their homes and threw stones at the settlers to fend them off.
The settlers smashed the windshield of Thaer Da’na’s (21) car, and climbed over the gate of his family’s home in an attempt to break in. Immediately after, some 10 settlers entered the house next door and went up to its second floor. Wafa Da’na (44) and her nine young children were there at the time. The settles smashed a glass window in the front door with an iron bar, while other settlers standing on the street hurled stones at the house, smashing two of its windows and the glass door of the balcony. The settlers’ attempt to break into the apartment was ultimately unsuccessful and they were removed from the building by several soldiers about 10 minutes later.
The settlers remained in the neighborhood, rioting until around 6:30 P.M., and only then were they cleared out by the police.
That night, at around 3:00 A.M., several soldiers came to the neighborhood, entered homes, and arrested three residents, claiming settlers had filed complaints against them: Thaer Da’na, whose car was vandalized, Adham Da’na (33), a father of three, who was away from the neighborhood at the time of the incident, and Mustafa Da’na (20). The following day, at around noon, the three were taken for interrogation at the Kiryat Arba police station and released a few hours later. Thaer Da’na was released on bail and a court hearing in his case was scheduled for about a year from now. The other two were released without charge.
The following testimonies were collected by B’Tselem field researchers Manal al-Ja’bari and Musa Abu Hashhsash regarding the severe incidents on Purim:
In her testimony, Narmin Abu Haya (39), a mother of five from central Hebron, spoke about how the harassment of her family by Beit Hadassah settlers, the hurling of objects, and the swearing:
On 28 February 2021, at around 3:00 P.M., we were sitting with my family at home, when we heard loud music and voices in Hebrew coming from the settlement of Beit Hadassah. I looked out the window and saw several settlers: men, women, and children of all ages, who were on the balcony of the settlement. When the settlers saw me, they started swearing at me, and Arabs in general, and throwing empty bottles at our house. All of this happened in front of the soldiers that were at the guard post near the settlement.
For about four hours, the settlers threw stones, bottles and trash at our home. In the end, more soldiers came and approached the area, and then the settlers stopped throwing objects at us. But still, they continued dancing, screaming, and playing loud music into the night. It terrified my young children and bothered us all. We couldn’t sleep until late at night.
In her testimony, Wafa Da’na (41), a mother of nine and resident of Wadi a-Nasarah in Hebron, recalled the settlers’ violent attempted invasion of her home:
We constantly suffer from attacks by settlers from Kiryat Arba, who throw stones at our house and at the children on the street, especially on Fridays, Saturdays and Jewish holidays. The last incident happened on 28 February 2021, at around 5:30 P.M. I was at home and heard shouting. My children, Diaa (12) and Hamid (7) were outside, so I went out quickly and saw about 10 settlers in their twenties who were attacking homes on the street and damaging our neighbor’s car. I saw that the settlers were holding bottles, some empty and some full, and a few young guys from the neighborhood who were trying to drive them away.
I gathered my children, we went inside, went up to the second floor, and closed the door. I was so scared that I pushed one of the sofas and blocked the door with it. I saw through the door’s glass window about 10 settlers who had come up the stairs and started hitting the door with an iron bar. They broke the door’s window. At the same time, stones hit the window facing the street, shattering the glass and the glass door of the balcony. The children started crying and screaming and trembling with fear. I tried to calm them down and took them to their room. I also started screaming from inside the door and calling for help. The settlers tried to open our front door for a few minutes until some soldiers went up and took them down to the street. They stayed in the street until the evening and then the soldiers and the police officers drove them away.
In her testimony, Thaer’s mother, S. (46), a mother of six from the Wadi a-Nasarah neighborhood of Hebron, recounted the moments of horror she experienced after the settlers’ attack:
I went out of the house with the children when I heard shouting in Hebrew. Neighborhood residents and about eight settlers in their twenties were out in the street. I think they were drunk because some of them were holding empty liquor bottles. I saw them breaking some masonry and throwing stones at the windshield of my son’s car, which was parked in front of our home. I saw several settlers fighting with my son Thaer, while others tried to attack my son Bilal (18), but I managed to get him away from them. Four soldiers tried to arrest Bilal and tore his shirt, but I wrestled him away from them, too. I took him inside the house and closed the door.
At around 3:00 A.M., I woke up to loud knocking on the door. I woke up my three sons and told them to get dressed because I assumed these were soldiers raiding our home. I opened the door and about 10 soldiers went in and spread out in the house. They didn’t find the boys because they ran out the back door after I woke them. A few minutes later, three soldiers came, holding my three sons, and then they led Thaer out of the house. My sister-in-law and I tried to wrestle Thaer away from them and followed them out into the street, but we were unsuccessful. I saw that the soldiers had arrested more young men. I was worried about Thaer. He’s nearly blind in one eye and about a week ago, he fell and broke his hand.
The soldiers took him and the other young men to the police station in Kiryat Arba, even though the police officers saw Thaer’s car that the settlers had vandalized.
In his testimony, Adham Da’na (33), a father of four from the Wadi a-Nasarah neighborhood of Hebron, described his false arrest following a complaint by settlers who raided his neighborhood:
On 28 February 2021, at around 6:30 P.M., I came back from work. The neighbors told me that settlers had attacked homes and cars. I went home and went to sleep early. At around 3:00 A.M., I heard knocking on the door and soldiers shouting, “Open up!”. The soldiers asked if I was Adham and told me to bring my ID card, and then a soldier told me that they were going to arrest me. They led me outside and put me in a jeep with two people in it – at first, I didn’t recognize them because of the blindfolds they put on them, but later I realized it was Thaer and Mustafa Da’na. The jeep drove us to the police station in Kiryat Arba.
They kept us at the station until the next day, and only started interrogating us at around noon. I was interrogated first – they accused me of attacking the settlers that came into the neighborhood. I denied it, of course, and told them that I didn’t get home from work until 6:30 P.M., and when I arrived, everything was calm and there were no settlers. The interrogator didn’t believe me and said that settlers had filed a complaint against me. I again explained to them that I wasn’t there during the incident and that they can look at the photos and videos that the residents had filmed. After more than an hour, I was released without charge. I waited until 5:00 P.M., and then they released the other two. I understood from Thaer that he was released on bail, without depositing money, and that they’d scheduled a trial for him in a year.