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From the field

Hebron: Settlers enter Palestinian house, stab and beat two children, July 2002

Maryam a-Natsheh, mother of victims, resident of Hebron

Muhammad Nasser

On Sunday, July 28, 02 at about 2:00 P.M., I was at home, cooking, when I heard a noise and the sound of the door pushed open. I went out of the room to see who pushed the door open. My sons, nine-year-old Falah and eight-year-old Ahmad, went ahead of me. As soon as I was out of the room, I saw an old settler with a gray beard. He was tall and fat. He had a gun and knife in one hand and a large stone in the other. He was holding some more, smaller stones between his arm and his chest. The settler ran up the stairs, and more than ten others, also older, ran after him.

When the first settler saw me, he threw the stone he'd been holding in his hand at me. The distance between us was about one meter. I ran back into the room, shouting "Settlers! Settlers!", hoping that the neighbors would hear me and come to help. I thought that all my children were inside the room. When I discovered that my sons Ahmad and Falah were not there, I thought that they might have been with my sister in the kitchen. I opened the door ajar, looked, and saw two settlers beating my son Falah. One was lifting him by the ears and the other was punching him. I couldn't take it. I thought that the settlers would kill my son. I decided to defend him myself and pushed my four younger children to the back of the room. I then took a pair of scissors and decided to go out and attack the settlers who had already walked down the stairs toward the door. It seemed that the last settler saw me come out of the room and fired a bullet from his gun. I later found the shell near the door.

My husband, who had been sleeping in a room on a higher floor, woke up and saw the settlers beating his son Falah. He retreated, went to the roof and began shouting, "Allahu Akbar! Allahu Akbar, the settlers are attacking us!"

When I went back to the room, Falah was still lying on the ground unconscious. I looked for my other son, Ahmad, and found him standing inside the room, bleeding from the back. I thought he must have been shot by the settlers, but as I held him, looked and cleaned the blood from his shirt, I realized that he wasn't shot, but stabbed. His wound was still bleeding and I brought his father's clothing and wrapped him with it. The clothing was covered in blood. I felt that my son was about to die, and cried. I couldn't move.

A few minutes later, some soldiers came into the house. I can't say how many. One of them was an army doctor who tried to give my son first aid inside the house. My husband, his brother Hassan, my sister, and my husband's sister who carried the boy in her arms, followed the soldiers towards the vegetable market.

My son stayed in hospital for three nights and was released today. He is now cross eyed, which he wasn't before.

Maryam Muhammad 'Abd al-Hafez a-Natsheh is 39 years-old and married with six children. She is a housewife and lives in area H2, Hebron, The West Bank. The testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness' home on 31 July , 2002.