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Women's Voices: Najwa A. - Settler violence

Name Najwa A.
Age 52
Location Silwan, East Jerusalem
Nature of Incident Settler violence
Date of Incident 12 July 2017

On 12 July 2017, Najwa and her two grandsons (5 and 17) got violently attacked by two settlement guards and a settler. The incident led to the older grandson needing stitches to his head and the younger, only 2 years old, still suffering from trauma

“My name is Najwa and I am 52 years old. I am married to Maher (55). We have seven children, the oldest is Manar (33) and the youngest is Baraa (22). I have 19 grandchildren; aged between 17 (Anas), and 2 (Maher). I own a small grocery store and it is the only source of income; it’s located only few meters away from my house.”

“There are settlements in the area that are constantly expanding.”

“On 12 July 2017, I was alone in the grocery store with my grandson Maher (2) who was playing with a toy car at the front door of the shop. I checked the time and it was exactly 8:50 p.m.”

“A security guard for the settlement passed by the shop, his name is Eli, he is always armed and about 40 years old. He is well known in our neighborhood for his racism and brutality. When I saw him push my grandson, I ran over and picked up Maher from the ground; he was crying as he had landed on his hand and injured it.”

“I shouted at the guard asking why he did it. My grandson is a child and didn’t do anything; I was tearful as I cursed him. The guard pushed me to the door of the shop while I was still holding Maher. In the distance I saw my other grandson Anas (17) coming quickly towards us. He pushed the guard to the wall and asked if I was ok. I felt extremely frightened for my grandchildren, I looked over to see another settlement guard come over; he sprayed my grandson and I with pepper spray.”

“I grabbed Maher as Anas and I tried to escape. Maher was choking and I was unable to open my eyes or breathe. I was screaming for the neighbors to help us, I was in such pain I could not run. My husband heard all the noise and came to take Maher from me and ran to the house to treat him. Anas was clinging to me from fear and I noticed how red and tearful his eyes were: he was struggling to breathe.”

“Anas and I tried to get to the house. I was thinking of Maher. Seconds later a settler came over and hit Anas on the back of the head with his gun. Anas fell to the ground, holding his bleeding head. I began to scream and cry, my hands were trembling from fear. People from the neighborhood started to gather and one called an ambulance. “

“The settler and guards left the area. Afterwards, 15 police and Special Forces turned up; they spread in-between houses and were yelling at the neighbors to leave the place while pointing their guns towards them. I took my grandson and some of the neighbors to my house as the soldiers did not allow the ambulance to enter.”

“After about 20 minutes, about 9:55 p.m. Anas’ parents came and took him to the Maqased hospital in Jerusalem, once the police and soldiers had left. Anas needed eight stitches in his head. Maher was treated with oxygen. He was traumatized from what happened. For days afterwards he would wake up crying in the night after wetting himself.”

“The next day, 12 July 2017, I saw Eli walking the street without fear or care; he swore at me but I didn’t react, I want to avoid any problems. I am certain that the Israeli police would not do anything to protect me. This adds to the feeling of misery and exhaustion that we all feel in the neighborhood. The guards even shout at kids.”

“It was a difficult and tiring experience, the amount of fear, helplessness and insecurity is indescribable. At the shop we get daily harassment and physical and verbal attacks from the settlers, guards, and Israeli forces. They try to force us out of our homes under a taxation pretext. The situation is becoming impossible.”

keyword: Settler Violence