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From the field

Settlers attack child and injure person who tries to help him during disturbances following the terror attack at Beit Hagai Junction, Hebron District , 26 June 2005

Malaka Qafisha, mother of three

I live with my husband 'Abd al-Ghani 'Abd al-Mahdi Qafisha, who is thirty-five years old, and three of our daughters. Our home is on a-Sahala Street, about thirty meters north of Abed Checkpoint [a checkpoint located west of the Tomb of the Patriarchs] and about ten meters from my husband's parents' house. We visit them a lot and spend time at their home.

This morning at about 8:30 A.M., I went to my husband's parents' house. As I started to climb the stairs leading to their house, I saw a boy walking in the street, at the bottom of the stairs, carrying a tray of sweets. At the same time, I saw six settlers - four boys and two men. One of the men was wearing a beige shirt and seemed to be about eighteen years old; the other was wearing an orange shirt and appeared to be about thirty. The boys were under fifteen years old. The settlers moved towards the boy with the sweets, intending to attack him. But then a man about thirty years old came onto the street. I could see from his clothes that he was on his way from work. The man went over to the boy, grabbed his hand, and took him away from the settlers to protect him.

The man took the boy towards the Abed checkpoint, not more than fifteen meters from the place the boy had been. They walked a few meters. It looked as if the settlers were going to attack the man. I shouted to him to get his attention. Before I could finish the sentence, the settlers had already reached him and violently attacked him. The settler in the orange shirt hit him hard on the chest. The man fell on his back, started to shake, and then became motionless. I screamed and said that he was dead. My mother-in-law ran over to me and saw the man lying on the ground. At the same time, another man, in his fifties I think, told me to bring water quickly. I went into the house, filled a bottle with water and brought it to the man. He splashed the water on the man lying on the ground.

Two Border Police officers at the checkpoint shouted at my mother-in-law and me to get into the house. I saw the settlers leaving, heading north in the direction of the Avraham Avinu settlement and the al-Awqaf checkpoint. My mother-in-law and I moved back a bit, but we remained in the street to see what was happening. Some soldiers, some policemen, and a Border Police captain arrived at the scene a few minutes later. One of the soldiers ran, carrying a bag, to the man who was on the ground. He started to give him first-aid and tried to resuscitate him. A few seconds later, the man on the ground started to shake. The soldier held the back of his head, on the right. I watched the soldier tend to the man and swab his head with cotton.

At the same time, a settler holding a black camera with a long lens came and took pictures of the man on the ground. Ten or fifteen minutes later, an army ambulance came and evacuated the man. I stayed and saw settlers arrive at the scene, but the settler with the orange shirt wasn't among them.

Later on, I learned that the injured man was Fares al-Batesh, who lives in the Old City . He is a tractor driver and works at the Hebron Rehabilitation Committee.

Malaka Muhammad Jamil Qafisha, 25, is a mother of three and a resident of a-Sahala Street, Hebron. Her testimony was taken by Musa Abu Hashhash, at her parents' home, on 26 June 2005