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From the field

Shooting, assaulting, throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at cars and homes, raiding villages, torching structures and fields, vandalizing property and crops: settlers exercise harsh daily violence against Palestinians, with state support, to drive them out of their land. Launched in early 2020, this blog gives voice to the people exposed to this violence. Background on the topic

July 2021

The stitches in Muslem Abu Hameid’s head. Photo courtesy of the witness.
The stitches in Muslem Abu Hameid’s head. Photo courtesy of the witness.

Maghayir al-‘Abid, Masafer Yatta: Settlers attack father and son laying a water line for the community, severely beating them with sticks and iron pipes

On 2 July 2021, at around 2:00 A.M., settlers attacked Muslem Abu Hameid (54) and his son Marwan (18), residents of the town of Yatta, with iron pipes and stones while the elder Abu Hameid was digging a trench for a water line several hundred meters south of the community of Maghayir al-‘Abid in Masafer Yatta, South Hebron Hills. After severely beating the two, injuring them, and smashing one of their car windows, the settlers fled the scene.

Another Palestinian working in the area drove the two in his car to a Red Crescent ambulance that took them to the ‘Alia Governmental Hospital in Hebron, where they were examined and X-rayed. The two suffered severe bruises to all parts of their body. Muslem was also wounded in the head and required stitches. At around 3:00 A.M., they were discharged, but Marwan had to return to the hospital after vomiting and suffering severe abdominal pain. He was hospitalized for observation until 8:00 P.M.

Israel denies residents of Masafer Yatta communities, who had lived in the area before the occupation began, access to running water and electricity. In recent years, B’Tselem has documented the repeated destruction of pipelines laid by the Palestinian Authority to supply water for residents of the communities in the area.

This is the third settler attack on the community of Maghayir al-‘Abid that B’Tselem has documented since early May 2021. The settlement of Ma’on and the outpost of Havat Ma’on were established about 2.5 kilometers northwest of the community. The residents of the Masafer Yatta area have been suffering repeated attacks by settlers and soldiers as part of Israel’s routine harassment of Palestinian communities in the South Hebron Hills, and in Masafer Yatta in particular, in the state’s bid to expel them from their homes and area of residence.

In a testimony he gave B’Tselem field researcher Musa Abu Hashhsash on 8 July 2021, Muslem Abu Hameid (54), a married father of 10 from the town of Yatta, described the attack on him and his son:

I live and Yatta and work at the Yatta Municipality as a bulldozer operator. In recent days, I’ve been working on a project carried out by the Masafer Yatta Council to lay a water line for the Maghayir al-‘Abid community, east of Yatta. We work at night so that the military and the settlers won’t notice us and stop the project.

On 2 July 2021, we went out to work at around 8:00 P.M. I was with my son Marwan, who came to drive me there and back, the project manager and three other workers. At 1:45 A.M., as I was digging with the bulldozer, I saw a fire on a hill near Maghayir al-‘Abid, not far from us. I aimed the tractor lights there, and at first, I didn’t see anyone. But then I suddenly saw seven or eight settlers coming down from the hill and advancing towards us.

They turned towards our car, where my son Marwan was sitting, about 100 meters away from me. He was waiting for me to finish working. I drove the tractor towards Marwan, but the settlers reached him before me, attacked him, and then fled. When I stopped the tractor to get off, another group of masked settlers suddenly appeared. There were eight of them. They started throwing stones at me while I was sitting on the bulldozer. I fell to the ground, and three of them attacked me with sticks. I got hit in the head and the right hand. Then a fourth settler attacked me from behind, put his stick on my neck and started pressing hard, but I managed to break free from him and escape. The settlers also ran off.  

When the settlers attacked me, the bulldozer’s engine was still running. Apparently, after I fell, they slid it into the valley. It all happened so quickly, within a minute or two, and none of the other workers managed to reach us and help us before the settlers fled. I went over to Marwan and saw that he was unconscious. He was injured in the legs, arms and head. Marwan later told me that the first settlers smashed a window in the car and then attacked him inside the car with pipes.

The project manager drove us in his car to a Bedouin village in the area, where we were met by Red Crescent ambulance that took us to the ‘Alia Governmental Hospital. We got to the hospital at around 3:00 A.M. Marwan and I were examined and X-rayed, and it turned out that I had a deep wound on the top of my head, which was stitched up. I also had bruises on both hands. Marwan had sharp pains in the head, leg, arm and chest. We were discharged in the morning, but when we got home, Marwan had to go back to the hospital because he vomited and had extreme stomach pains.

June 2021


Maghayir al-‘Abid, Masafer Yatta: Palestinian shepherd held for four days on false allegations after settlers, escorted by soldiers, try to drive him out of pastureland

On 9 June 2021, while Musleh Makhamreh (24) was out grazing his flock a few hundred meters west of the community, several settlers arrived with a military escort and ordered him to leave. Makhamreh refused and called the police, but the officers who came to the scene arrested him on the grounds that he had threatened to kill the settlers. He asked the officers to watch footage he had filmed on his phone during the incident. They refused to do so or to allow him to call his father so he could gather the flock, which was left alone in the field.  

Makhamreh was taken to the Kiryat Arba police station, interrogated, and then transferred to Ofer Prison. That evening, at around 7:00 P.M., his father arrived at the station to file a complaint against the settlers who had harassed his son, but the officers refused to register the complaint. After waiting until 10:00 P.M, he had no choice but to return home.   

In a court hearing the next day, the judge accepted the police’s claim that they were not done investigating Makhamreh and extended his detention, although the officers admitted they had not watched the footage filmed by Makhamreh, which proves his innocence. Makhamreh was released on 13 June 2021 after an Israeli activist signed his NIS 20,000 bail and after he undertook to appear for further proceedings if summoned.  

About two weeks earlier, settlers stoned another shepherd from the community. The settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on was established about 1.5 kilometers from the site of the attack. 

May 2021


Maghayir al-‘Abid, Masafer Yatta: Three settlers stone shepherd and his flock

On 25 May 2021, ‘Iz a-Din Makhamreh was out grazing his family’s flock west of the community when suddenly, three settlers appeared and began throwing stones at him and at the flock. Makhamreh was hit by several stones and led the flock back home. Later that day, community residents discovered that settlers had stolen a bucket of water from the cistern on the pastureland.

The settlement outpost of Havat Ma’on was established about two kilometers northwest of the community.


This publication was produced with the financial support of the European Union. Its contents are the sole responsibility of B'Tselem and do not necessarily reflect the views of the European Union.