I am 23 years old, I’m a student at Hebron University, I am studying to be an English teacher and I’m fluent in English, as well as a bit in Hebrew. Sheikh Sliman Hadalin is my uncle.
Um al-Kheir was built in the 1960s, prior to the Israeli occupation of the West Bank, by Bedouin people who were expelled in 1948 by Israel from the Tel Arad area. Since the 1967 occupation, the Israeli authorities have neglected Um al-Kheir, which is in Area C.
We are about 160 people from the Hadalin clan living here, herding our flocks and cultivating the land.
In 1980, the construction of the settlement Carmel settlement began right next to Um al-Kheir on my family’s land, and since then the settlement has been expanding on our land and the settlers harass us and are incessantly violent towards the family.
On Saturday July 29, 2017 we were praying our evening prayers here when we heard stones being thrown at us. My cousin managed to see a settler from Carmel running away. I called the Palestinian DCO, the Israeli DCO and the police, as well as the Italian volunteer group who live near, in the village a-Tuwani.
A police officer came with another officer and a soldier. After their inquiry they promised to patrol the settlement and recommended that we file a complaint. Then five volunteers from a-Tuwani came and we talked with them, and then we heard stones again and I saw a settler throwing them from the settlement Carmel – a tall, big guy wearing a white shirt and dark pants.
I called the DCOs and the police again. After about ten minutes, two cars arrived with soldiers. Some of them went into the settlement and some of them came over to us. The soldiers questioned me and walked around our encampment and then went back to their vehicles and drove off. The volunteers from a-Tuwani left at midnight and we sat outside, and then I saw a settler throwing stones at us again, so we walked towards him and shouted, and then he disappeared. The rest of the night was quiet. I would like to file a police complaint about this incident.
(Testimony continued one month later)
What I described in the first testimony continued incessantly almost every night from 10:30 pm to 4 am. I don’t know how many people were involved in the stone throwing because you can’t see in the dark, it takes place just behind our council pavilion by the settlement fence, where there are two settlement houses. Between five and ten stones are thrown at the pavilion and the buildings by it. While the stone throwing goes on, no security patrol comes, nor the settlement civilian security coordinator, and the lights in the houses are off.
Every time they throw stones, we call the police and they tell us that we have to file a complaint, we say, we’ve already complained. Then they say they’re sending someone, but nothing happens. We also spoke with the Palestinian DCO and asked them to send army forces and the army didn’t come either. Two nights ago, we called the police and they hung up on us.
The recent incidents of stones thrown at us from the settlement began on July 1, 2017 and have continued for different periods of time, sometimes for three consecutive nights. Since the end of August, it’s been happening every night. We can’t sleep. It starts at about 10:30 pm and continues until just before dawn. We call the police and when they come, they threaten us: shut up and don’t talk; if you talk, we’ll hit you. They don’t do anything, they don’t want to hear us, they threaten to arrest us, they pushed me.
During the past two months since the incidents started, the police have come here three times, I don’t remember exactly when. When the police come, the settlers stop throwing stones and once the police leave, they start up again. When we call the police again, they don’t answer.
I feel that there is an “agreement” between the police, the Council of the Har Hebron settlements and the settlers to disturb us, to make our lives intolerable.
I didn’t see the stone throwers, they hit the village council’s pavilion, the huts and shacks, and this makes a lot of noise and we stay awake. It’s become really difficult during the past few nights. People are scared, it’s hell for the women and the children. We’re not looking for trouble. They are pushing us and want us to respond so that we will take the blame. We try to get a look at them and use a flashlight and a camera.
The stones are several centimeters in diameter, and weigh about half a kilo each.
On August 31, I went to file a complaint at the Hebron police station at 8 am. When I pressed the intercom button and said I wanted to complain about the incidents in Um al-Kheir, I was told: Go away you dog. Then they said, sit where everyone waits. I only got to enter at 1:30 pm. The entire time I waited I didn’t go to the bathroom; I didn’t eat and I didn’t pray. The interrogator questioned me for two hours. But instead of taking my complaint, he questioned me, where I live, what I do, whether I throw stones.
All the investigators know me, they don’t want to let me complain. When we call the police and when they hear my name or Um al-Kheir, they slam down the phone. It doesn’t happen with just one person. It’s a system.
(Testimony continued two weeks later)
Every night they throw stones at the village’s roofs from the direction of the settlement Carmel. Things have gotten worse over the last two weeks. Last night, the night of September 20, 2017 There was stone throwing too. At 11 pm, midnight, 2 am. The stones hit my sister’s roof, she’s an old woman.
Every time they throw stones, we call the police. If they come, they don’t do anything. Yesterday they said they would come, but they didn’t.
The stone throwing is planned and organized. It’s not one kid, they throw stones from all sorts of places, at different hours. And with breaks between one stone and another. They hide in the settlement houses so that we won’t be able to see them. They wait for us to respond, and then we’ll be busted.
When I go to the police in Kiryat Arba, they leave me to wait outside in the sun for five hours. They know me, and yet for an hour they ask menial questions. I got tired of going to the police. It isn’t helping and it costs a lot of money. The Carmel settlement civilian security coordinator knows who is throwing the stones, if they wanted to, they would have caught them.
Luckily, no one has been physically injured.