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Settlers assault Nizam al-'Azazmeh while on his way home, Hebron, August '09

Nizam al-'Azazmeh, construction worker

Nizam al-'Azazmeh

Yesterday [1 August 2009], I went shopping. On the way home, in the Abu Sneineh neighborhood, I crossed the army checkpoint at Bab a-Zawiya and entered Area 2 [which is under Israeli control]. This is the way Iusually go home. Around 5:00 P.M., I got to the steps that lead to the Cortuba School, opposite the Beit Hadassah settlement.

Next to the steps there is usually a policeman and opposite him a soldier, but yesterday, before I went up the steps, I noticed that there was no policeman there. I started walking up the steps and suddenly I saw a settler there, blocking my way. He looked twenty-something years old. He was tall, thin, had brownish skin, long hair with a braid, and an earring. He punched me hard in the face. I turned and called to a soldier who was standing next to us, and he ran over to move the settler away. Then about ten settlers, who had been standing next to the steps, surrounded me and beat and kicked me. Some of them had small pieces of iron and stones in their hands. They beat me from all directions, on various parts of my body. I tried to get away, and the soldier tried to separate us and force them away. He failed and called other soldiers. The settler who attacked me at the start took the chair the soldier had been sitting on and hit me with it in the left hand. One of the legs of the chair broke and hit me in the face, wounding me in the area above my nose. Then one of the settlers hit me, with a 20-30 centimeter long flat piece of iron, above my left hip.

The attack lasted about ten minutes. All the time, I tried to fend off the blows and defend myself, using an iron fence that was there. Then four or five soldiers whom the first soldier had called arrived, as did a police car. The settlers stopped beating me and ran toward the southern part of Shuhada Street.

The two policemen in the car spoke with the soldier who had seen the incident from the start. Then they spoke with me and asked me to go to the hospital, get a medical report, and go the next day to the police station in Kiryat Arba to file a complaint. My face and left hand were bleeding, but the soldiers and the policemen didn't give me first-aid. The policemen also didn't chase the settlers who had assaulted me, who were still in sight.

I called my friends Muhammad Abu Sneineh and Hani Abu Sneineh. They came and helped me walk, because I was dizzy. They took me to 'Aliyah Hospital via the Bab a-Zawiya checkpoint. I didn't take the things I had bought, except for the bag with my clothes. At the hospital, I was examined and they found I had wounds and scratches on my left arm, scratches on the upper part of my nose, and above my left hip. I was at the hospital for about an hour. Then I went home. This time, I went via the old market in the Old City, where I saw a small, smashed vehicle near the Beit Romano checkpoint.

Last night, I went to the police station. Police officers took a brief testimony. This morning, I went back and filed a formal complaint. The policemen showed me pictures and I managed to identify some of the persons who had assaulted me. The investigator told me that the settlers claimed I had hit nine of them while I was defending myself. At the police station today, I met the owner of the smashed vehicle, Abu Wahid a- Natshe, who told me that a group of settlers had smashed his car.

When I went home after being at the hospital, the pain got worse, and I couldn't go to work today. I have to take two or three days off until I get better.

Nizam Khalil Salem al-'Azazmeh, 33, married with three children, is a construction worker and a resident of Hebron. His testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash in Hebron on 2 August 2009.
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