I live in Khirbet Lasefar, a farm in the southern Hebron hills. The farm is located on the road from Route 60 to Arad, after the “Metzudat Yehuda” checkpoint, bordering the settlement Beit Yatir to the east. The farm is on private land owned by the family since Turkish rule. The Israeli court recognized our ownership of the farm.
My family makes its living from farming and grazing our herd. I herd the flock until 2 pm, and then my sons take my place. The pastures are on state land northeast of my residence, and my relatives, my neighbors and I have herded our flocks on this land for generations. We have to pass through the “Metzudat Yehuda” checkpoint in order to reach our farm, which makes life difficult for our family and it’s difficult to supply food regularly for the animals.
Havat Talia is 500 meters northeast of the farm, it was built in the early 2000s by a South African settler named Y, who was killed in an accident and now his sons and daughters live there. My family and I suffer from repeated bullying by the settlers from Havat Talia, including damage to our sheep and pasture. Our relationship with the Israeli army and police is better today than in the past, and they protect us.
On February 19, 2017 I was in the pasture with the sheep and goats. At 2 pm, my children and their cousins took over herding. My son called me 30 minutes later and said that five settlers from Havat Talia, all over the age of 20 including the three sons of Y, the father of the family, attacked them and beat the flock.
AA can identify them, except for one who had a motorcycle helmet on. I reached them at about 3:30 pm. The settlers from Havat Talia began shouting and swearing. I didn’t react because I didn’t want to confront them, I took the children and the flock and went home. I called Yesh Din and asked for their help. I didn’t call the police because in previous incidents of settler harassment, the boys and I were arrested, and when I went to complain at the Hebron police, they didn’t let me go inside.
[When Mahmoud came to file a complaint at the police station accompanied by Yesh Din, he was investigated as a suspect because the settler had filed a complaint against him.]
I live with my family in Khirbet Lasefar. I have seven brothers and four sisters. I’m in eighth grade.
On Sunday, February 19, 2017 at around 2-2:30 pm, my cousins and I were herding the flock, there were about 150 sheep, in an area called A’rkoub, about 500 meters north-east of my family’s home. Suddenly five settlers arrived: one drove up in a metallic blue Toyota, license plate number XXX, about 20 years old, another on a dirt bike motorcycle and three, who got there first in an ATV.
The settlers came from the outpost Havat Talia, one kilometer from the site of the incident. These are Y’s sons – they live on Havat Talia, I recognize them and I can identify them. I didn’t see any weapons, no kippahs, no sidelocks. They came into the pasture on their ATV. They attacked the flock and beat the animals with sticks in order to kill them and drive the people away. The first one to beat the flock was the guy who came on the ATV. He also beat up my cousin AA. They pushed us and beat the flock for 30-60 minutes. They told us not to go there anymore because it’s their land.
My father came and it ended. My father took the flock and we went home. This is not the first time we’ve had problems with the settlers who live in the outpost. Two months ago, I had trouble with the children from Havat Talia in the same spot.
On Sunday at about 3:30 in the afternoon, AA, AQ and I were together. I had left the flock with the children and gone to pray. When I returned, I saw about six people, a Toyota, an ATV and a motorcycle that belong to the settlers. The motorcycle ran over two pregnant ewes and the lambs were killed. The beat us and the sheep using the helmet for about 30 minutes. They cursed us, saying “You Arab shit” and other things. They also said, “Go to the police and the army for help.” We took the sheep and went home. On the way, we saw a police jeep heading toward Havat Talia. We didn’t file a complaint because we have bad experience with the army and the police. When we file a complaint, we’re the ones who get arrested and the settlers get released.