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From the field

Testimony: Settlers assault Thawabteh family out picking olives on their land by the Elon Moreh settlement, October 2008

Mustafa Thawabteh, farmer

Mustafa Thawabteh

I have a plot of land in an area called Aum a-Toyur. The plot lies two kilometers east of our village's houses and three kilometers from the Elon Moreh settlement, which was built on lands belonging to our village, to Salem, and to Deir al-Hatab.

Two days ago [Saturday, 18 October], I was on my plot picking olives with my wife, my daughter-in-law, and my daughters. Around 1:30 P.M., I saw about ten settlers running towards us from about 500 meters away. They were dressed in white. I told the others to take the olives we had picked and leave before the settlers reached us. We grabbed four sacks of olives and left.

When we were 30-40 meters from the plot, the settlers began throwing stones at us and shouting, “Get out of here.” Two settlers came over to me and pushed me a few meters. Then I fell down and the settlers beat and kicked me and kept on throwing stones at me. My wife, daughter-in-law, and daughters were shouting.

The settlers took our sacks, but after walking a few meters with them they stopped, cut the sacks with knives, and poured the olives onto the ground. I think the sacks were too heavy for them - each one weighed about 30 kilograms.

On the way to the village, my wife and daughter told me that they had been hit by the stones too, my wife in the back, and my daughter in the hand. I went to Rafidya Hospital, in Nablus, where they X-rayed me. Apparently my arm was injured when the two settlers knocked me down. It hurt a lot. They bandaged my arm and gave me a prescription.

Because of the pain in my back, shoulder, right leg, and arms, I couldn't sleep at night and had to take a tranquilizer.

Mustafa Mahmud 'Abd al-Khaleq Thawabteh, 63, married with nine children, is a farmer and a resident of 'Azmut in Nablus District. His testimony was given to Salma a-Deba'i on 20 October 2008 at the witness's home.