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From the field

Dozens of settlers attack the home of Jamila a-Shalalda on a-Shuhada Street

Jamila a-Shalalda, mother of three

Jamila a-Shalalda

I've been living on a-Shuhada Street since 1988. Our house is ten meters from the Beit Hadassah settlement. We live on assistance provided by the Red Cross.

On Saturday [2 February 2007], at about noon, I left my house to go to the dentist in Bab a-Zawiyya. I was walking down a-Shuhada and saw a female settler about fifteen years old. She was wearing a jeans-skirt and white top, and she wore glasses. She stood directly across from me and wouldn't let me pass. The settler swore at me in Hebrew - I understood the words "slut" and "bitch." She said a lot of other things in Hebrew that I didn't understand. She spat in my face and raised her hand to hit me. I grabbed her hand to stop her and pushed her backward. While we fought, her eyeglasses fell off. The soldiers were far away and didn't see what was happening. A few minutes afterwards, I ran away from her and continued on my way to the dentist.

When I got home about an hour later, I saw the settler about twenty meters from my house. After I went in, the settler stood near the house, cursing and yelling. Then she went away and came back about an hour later with another twenty settlers. There were adults and children, and they threw stones at my house from the street.

When the police arrived two hours later, the settlers were still next to the house. One of the policemen, who didn't speak Arabic, spoke with my brother, who knows Hebrew. My brother told him what had happened with the settlers. A policeman took my ID card, wrote down my name, ID number and phone number, and went outside. The settlers were still there. The police didn't tell them to leave. After the police left, the settlers shouted, "We want to slay Jamila," in Arabic. I realized that the policeman who spoke with us had told them my name. A little while later, the settlers left.

That evening, at about 8:00 P.M., several dozen settlers arrived - men, women, teenagers, and children. Next to my front door, there's an opening from which you can see the front yard and the street. I looked through the opening, and among the settlers I saw three guys who were holding iron bars. They were about twenty-five years old. They used the rods to pry off the iron door at the entrance to the yard, and they came in. The settlers cut electrical wires, broke a water pipe, ruined the bell, and broke a cupboard belonging to our neighbors, the a-Sharabati family. They tried to get into the house, but I locked the door. I saw soldiers outside, but they didn't intervene.

While the attack was going on, I called the Palestinian Police, the staffs of the international organizations, and the local radio station for help. A half an hour later, six police cars arrived. The policemen ordered the settlers to leave the yard. I don't understand why the army didn't intervene during the attack.

After the settlers left, I noticed that they'd taken the door. The police asked that I come with them to file a complaint, but I refused because I was afraid to leave my children at home alone. They promised to watch my children, and I went with them to the Kiryat Arba police station. I waited about half an hour, and then they brought me into a room with an investigator. He said that I had attacked the female settler. I said that was wrong, that she was the one who attacked me, and I only defended myself. I filed a complaint against her. They said she'd submitted a complaint against me. The police told me not to be on a-Shuhada Street on Fridays and Saturdays. I signed a bond form at the station. At the end of the investigation, the police told me to go home by way of H-1. It was already midnight. I refused and insisted that they take me home. In the end, they brought me home in a police car.

On Sunday [25 February 2007], at about 7:00 A. M., the father of the female settler came to my door. He said he was gong to kill me. There was a police car on the street, and the policemen came into our yard right after him and drove him away.

That same day, at about noon, a police officer arrived and asked us what the settlers had done with our door. We told him that they took the door to the Beit Hadassah settlement. He went there and brought back the door. He asked us to photograph everything that happens with the settlers.

Jamila Hassan al-Fatah a-Shalalda, 45, divorced with three children, is a homemaker and a resident of Hebron. Her testimony was given to '‘Issa '‘Amru at the witness's home on 25 February 2007.