Stones, tear gas and “rubber” bullets: Settlers raid Madama with full support of army
On Friday, 31 Jan. 2020, at around 1:00 P.M., some 20 settlers, escorted by about 10 soldiers, attacked the home of Zahiyah (36) and Khalil (46) Qut. The incident occurred while the couple and their eight children, between the ages of three to sixteen, were at home in the southern part of the village of Madama.
The settlers, some of whom were masked and carried slingshots, came from the direction of the settlement of Yitzhar and started throwing stones at the house. Two windows in the children’s room shattered. Zahiyah’s eldest son, Naser a-Din, 16, went outside to see what was going on. Meanwhile, Zahiyah and Khalil quickly closed all the windows and locked the door. The soldiers, who arrived together with the settlers, stood around the house and did nothing to stop the settlers attacking it. Instead, they started shooting tear gas canisters and rubber-coated metal bullets at village residents who came to help the family, and kept them from coming near the house.
In a testimony she gave B’Tselem field researcher Salma a-Deb’i, Zahiyah Qut described what she and her children went through:
I went into the children’s room, which faces south, and saw more than twenty settlers. Some of them were masked and some were holding slingshots. They were about twenty or thirty meters away from our house and were throwing stones at it. I also saw two army jeeps parked by the house.
My four little ones were crying. I didn’t know what to do, it was all so sudden and scary. The settlers continued throwing stones. I felt I was about to collapse. I opened the door and saw four soldiers standing right at the entrance. One of them shouted at me to close the door. I said to him: “For God’s sake, there are little children here and the settlers broke the windows.” My kids were standing behind me, crying. The soldier pushed me into the house and closed the door. The house was full of the smell of tear gas and my daughter Nur, 12, was nauseous and pale.
When more and more village residents began to gather, the settlers and soldiers moved away from the house and started withdrawing towards the settlement of Yitzhar. An ambulance team arrived and treated Naser, who had gone outside when the assault began and blacked out after inhaling a large quantity of tear gas, and one of the children, who was lightly injured by a broken window. The settlers also broke a lamp at the entrance to the house and damaged three trees in the garden and five of the neighbors’ trees. One of the residents who came to help the family was hit in the leg by a “rubber” bullet a soldier fired at him.
This is the second attack by settlers on the homes of Madama residents in January 2020.
Zahiyah further related:
"We couldn’t sleep all night. We were afraid we’d be attacked again, especially because the windows were broken. We felt we were in danger. We thought the iron grating we installed on the windows would protect us from the settlers’ stones, but it turned out that it doesn’t really protect us and we’re afraid they’ll throw something flammable in and kill us all. The children don’t want to leave the house. My son Zein, 5, told me he doesn’t want to stay in this house and wants to move to another house in the village. Everyone sleeps in our room and I can’t sleep any more. There’s no wall around the house, so it’s easy for them to get to us. We’re in real trouble. About ten days ago, the settlers attacked Amneh and Yihya Qut’s house and tried to enter it. That used to be our house. Things have become really tough and we’re in real danger.
Madama, 31 January 2020: Settlers attack home with stones while soldiers shoot tear gas and “rubber” bullets at village residents.