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From the field

Testimony: Settlers assault pregnant woman with sticks and stones, April '09

Roqaya al-Hazalin, 23

Roqaya al-Hazalin

I am eight months' pregnant. On Friday, 10 April, I took my sheep to graze in an area southwest of our village, not far from the cattle farm of the Ma'on settlement. I was with other women from the village, among them Amneh Sallem ‘Eid  al-Hazalin and Khadrah Suliman al-Hazalin, and a group of children under the age of 15, among them Tareq Sallem ‘Eid al-Hazalin, 13, Musa Suliman al-Hazalin, 12, and ‘Omar Suliman al-Hazalin, 10. 

Around 8:00 A.M., we arrived to land owned by farmers from Yatta. We grazed the sheep and gathered plants we use for food. We were more than five hundred meters from the Ma'on settlement. We didn't go close to the settlement. Around 9:00 A.M., we saw four settlers coming toward us from the settlement. Two of them went down into the wadi [valley] and headed to another group of shepherds, and two of them, who were masked, approached us.

The two who came toward us appeared to be young. They were holding sticks and had pistols on their hips. Amneh was standing close to me, and Khadrah was relatively far from us. When the settlers got to about thirty meters from us, they shouted at us in Hebrew. Their appearance frightened us, and we began to run away. The settlers chased us, and continued to shout at us as we ran.

Being pregnant, I couldn't run fast. After about one hundred meters, the settlers caught me. One of them hit me in my right arm and left leg with his stick. The other settler threw a stone at me, which hit me in the left leg. Then one of them pushed me, and I fell onto some thorns. My arm and leg hurt a lot. When I fell, the two settlers left me and ran toward the farmers and other shepherds. I remained there, crying. I was in terrible pain.

After a few minutes, Amneh and Khadrah ran over to me and helped me get up. They lifted me up with the help of the children and laid me on the donkey that we had brought with us, and  returned me to the village. I was in such great pain that I thought my arm has been broken. I was still crying when we reached the village. An Israeli ambulance came and the medical team gave me first-aid. Then the Israeli police and two army jeeps of the Civil Administration arrived. I told them what happened. Around 11:00 A.M., a Palestinian Red Crescent ambulance came and took me to ‘Aliyah Government Hospital, in Hebron.

At the hospital, they examined me and X-rayed me. They found that my arm was not broken. I was very lucky, and the fetus was not harmed. I remained in the hospital for two or three hours, and then went home. My arm swelled up and I am still in pain, a week after the incident.

A Palestinian policeman at the hospital took my complaint. I did not go to the Israeli police because I don't feel well enough, and because I need somebody to accompany me to Kiryat Arba to do that./>

Roqaya 'Ali Hamdan al-Hazalin, 22, married with one child, is a homemaker and a resident of Umm al-Kheir in Hebron District. Her testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash at the witness's house on 18 April 2009.