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From the field

Settlers attack home in Hebron and shoot Anwar Maswadeh, July 2002

Anwar Maswadeh, shot by settlers, is a resident of Area H2 in Hebron.

Anwar Maswadeh

I live with my divorced mother and three brothers in a big old house which is situated a few meters opposite the gate of al-Ibrihimi Mosque (The tomb of the Patriarchs) in Hebron. The house has three stories and fifteen rooms. I've lived there since I was born. Dozens of Border Police officers, Police officers and soldiers are present on the street at all times. They check almost anyone who enters the area. Settlers and Jewish people come to the area every day and on certain occasions they come in larger groups. I know many of the Police officers who serve in the area and have spoken to some of them several times. I also know the faces of the Hebron settlers. Sometimes, Police officers come to my home and have tea and coffee. On the roofs of the mosque there are several lookouts supplied with electronic cameras, through which soldiers watch everything down on the street.

My engagement party was supposed to take place in a hall in the Abu Sneineh quarter at around 3:00 P.M. on Sunday, July 28 2002. Women, children, and friends gathered at my home and we planned to go to the hall at around 3:00 P.M. There were 13 women and eight young men, as well as a number of children waiting at the house. At about 2:00 P.M., my 21-year-old brother Shawqi, woke me up and told me that the settlers were attacking our home. I looked through the window and was astonished to see thousands of Jewish people down in the street in front of the mosque. There was a loud noise. There were also hundreds of soldiers and Police officers. I continued to look and saw fights between the soldiers and the settlers. The settlers were attacking, beating and running after some soldiers and Police officers. There was also intense shooting. I saw a group of settlers trying to climb the walls of my house, and the neighbors' houses. Luckily, our door was locked. When I saw this, I went up to the roof and watched from there. The settlers appeared to have seen me started shooting at me. About ten of them were shooting at the same time. I hid behind the wall of the roof. Below me, on the lower roof, there were some women and children screaming and calling for help. A group of about forty settlers had managed to get to one of the lower roofs through a neighbor's door. The settlers couldn't reach me as there was a high wall separating between us and I was higher than they were. They tried to break open the metal door of our neighbor, Ishaq Qafeesheh's house.

Other groups of settlers were trying to get into our neighbors' houses. My neighbor, Mahran 'Abeidu, pushed one of the settlers down the stairs and ran upstairs, to the upper roof. When I saw the settler trying to open Qafeesheh's door, I took a metal wheelbarrow that was on the roof and dropped it on the settlers below. The barrow didn't hit the settlers but it made a loud bang. The settlers ran away downstairs to the street. Four or five soldiers came to the roof and arrested Mahran '‘Abeidu. They must have thought that he had thrown the wheelbarrow. They beat him, handcuffed him and took him downstairs. The settlers tried to attack him but the soldiers protected him.

The settlers were still trying hard to break into our house and the houses of our neighbors. They were still shooting. My brothers went up to the roof and began to throw stones. I was lying below a water tank. Suddenly, I heard the sound of a bullet and felt that something had hit my left arm. Blood was flowing and I realized that I was wounded. I think the bullet came from the direction of the mosque. The settlers on the street were shooting as well, but they couldn't have hit me because I was much higher than they were.

I crawled and jumped to the lower roof. I ran from roof to roof until I got to a neighbor, Abu Nijmeh's house, which is seventy meters away from mine. The house was empty. While I was running on the rooftops, bullets kept coming my way from the direction of the mosque but didn't hit me. I hid in the neighbor's house for half an hour, and then I went out and ran towards H1. I was trying to get out of the area and get to a car that would take me to a hospital. Two soldiers saw me running. One of them pointed his gun at me. I raised my left arm and he saw the blood. He told me to wait until the settlers who were attacking the houses in the street left. I waited for a while and when there seemed to be a lull, the soldiers advised me to take advantage of the opportunity and run quickly to the first house that came my way. I ran and went into the al-Muhtaseb home. Two women gave me first aid and after a short rest, I decided to walk to H1 to the hospital. My brothers and a friend who followed me to the al-Muhtaseb home accompanied me. We walked a few meters and came across a group of settlers. My two brothers and my friend ran away. The settlers caught me. One of them hit me with a stick on my left foot. I fell down, and another stabbed me in the same foot. When stones were thrown from the roofs of the neighborhood, the settlers got scared and ran away.

After the settlers left me, my two brothers and my friend Hisham al-Batsh showed up again and helped me get back home. We were afraid we would come across more settlers on the way. We managed to reach the gate of the mosque and the soldiers there told me to wait for an ambulance. I waited for about an hour. The ambulance came and picked me up. It then picked up a boy who had been stabbed by a settler and took us both near Kiryat Arba where a Palestinian ambulance met it and took us to Al-Ahli Hospital. At the hospital, my arm and foot were x-rayed and treated. My arm had been fractured and some nerves were cut. I can't move three of my fingers. I stayed at the hospital for two nights and was released.

On Tuesday, July 30 2002, four Police officers arrived at our street, accompanied by six settlers. The settlers identified my brother, Karam, as having thrown stones and the wheelbarrow at them. The Police arrested him. He is still in custody and we don't know where he is being held.

Note:In an additional conversation with the witness, he added that he saw settlers running after a Druz Border Police officer and beating him, while yelling: "Arabs!"

Anwar Fakhri Zin a-Din Maswadeh in 26 years-old and works as a laborer. He lives in Area H2 in Hebron. The testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness' home on August 1, 2002