This time no one was murdered, the wounds will heal, childhood
is not yet entirely crushed, and the houses are still standing. Only two
children were wounded. And they are young, they will probably recover. And those
broken window panes will be repaired, and the gate, too.
Nothing special happened on that day. Just the usual everyday events. No
different, nothing extraordinary. The only difference is that we heard about it
- we, daughters of the occupying nation, the privileged, possessing the freedom
of speech, with faces, and names. That is all.
Had we spoken more, had we heard more, or had we spoken with someone else.
At one specific moment we spoke with one specific person who told us the
Such stories – or different ones – can be heard by the thousands. They are all
The testimony of Abed and Naim from Urif. Brothers. They were
both there when it all happened.
It was about midday, around 2:30 or 3 p.m. Fourteen-fifteen colonists (Jewish
settlers) with guns, adults and children who seemed about 14 years-old, perhaps
their sons, descended upon the village of Urif from the colony of Yitzhar.
First came the adults, the children several dozen meters behind.
They passed by the school house at the edge of the village, about half an hour
after school was out and the children no longer around. The adults began to
throw stones at the windows of the houses closest to the school, and broke the
glass panes of two houses while cursing, and yelling threats. Disgusting words,
says Abed. Such that he cannot repeat aloud, his face singed at their memory.
The colonists' sons saw the adults throwing stones, approached them and joined
the action, throwing stones in all directions. Then they all tried to stone the
school house, but it was too far and the stones did not break anything. So they
actually went there.
First they broke the gate. We were far so I'm not sure how they managed. It
seemed like a large hammer or iron rod, Abed says. They broke the lock and
entered. We heard them banging the doors and stuff, we didn't know what they
were doing. Then they came down to the yard where the children spend their
recess. There's a metal fence surrounding the yard, and they began cutting it
with a metal cutter they had, and broke the iron rods that hold it, took pieces
of the fence down, don't exactly know where. They're planning to do something to
the school, perhaps burn it, he said.
Then we went up to the school house, all the men. There were just a few children
with us, most were at home. For school was out and they were eating, resting. So
there were just us, the men.
We yelled at the colonists not to do any harm to the school, not to throw
stones, not to break windows. And they shot at us. They missed.
All this time since the colonists showed up, soldiers were up the hill watching.
About seven or eight of them, those who are always at Yitzhar. They saw the
stones being thrown, the fence being cut, windows broken. They don't care.
After the colonists opened fire, they came down and told us they'd fix things.
Everything is fine. And the colonists went with them. So we thought.
We went towards the houses whose windows had been broken, next to the school,
and to the school house itself to see what damage had been done. Again the
colonists opened fire at us. They were perhaps fifteen meters away, I think. The
soldiers who came down earlier and said they'd watch over things, saw it all and
were just laughing. They saw the colonists shooting again, they just didn't
care. Maybe they're together, I think. Working together.
There's one colonist with a black beard and vicious face. He's their leader, I
He was just talking with the soldiers.
Then I saw him, the guy with the black beard, loading and aiming his gun at a
boy near me, really close. A little boy, just eight years old. I jumped at him
to lay low.
The bullet passed us really close. I yelled at the man that he was out of his
mind but he didn't hear me.
We have an important man in our village, the head of the village, and he has
contacts with the DCO (District Coordinating Office, the Civil Administration
that is supposed to look after the need of civilians under occupation) so he
called them and told them what was going on, and they sent two jeeps and a
hummer and lots of soldiers.
When the village children saw them, they threw stones at them. The soldiers did
nothing, didn't open fire, just kept on driving uphill to where the colonists
I heard their officer telling the colonists, you have five minutes. If you don’t
get away I'll have you taken away. But they went.
The soldiers moved them further up, away from the school house.
We spoke with the children and told them to get down. And they did.
When the soldiers came down, after removing the colonists, the soldiers that
came after the DCO was contacted, they said they were sorry, it's the colonists
who make all the trouble in the village. They say it so we'll relax, they don't
really mean it.
Then we walked downhill, and some of the soldiers walked with us. Others rode in
the jeeps and the hummer some twenty meters behind us, until we got close to our
cemetery about 150-200 meters from the school house. In each jeep there were
three soldiers and a driver, and on foot they were some four or five soldiers
and an officer. Something like that.
The officer was further down with the head of the village, and there were
several soldiers with him, and some more people from the village came out, and
children, looking at the jeeps, it was already 6 p.m. And Fadi and Osama came
too, they live higher up beyond the cemetery, they're about fifteen and fourteen
years old. They came to watch, and the soldiers in the jeeps caught them. We
heard the soldiers tell them, you made all that trouble with the colonists, you
walked near their houses, it's because of you that they came down. Exactly the
same soldiers who had said they were sorry earlier.
But we kept on walking down to the officer who was talking with the head of the
village. We wanted to tell him what happened, we speak Hebrew, me and Naim. We
didn't think about Fadi and Osama, it all seemed just talk.
After about five minutes, while we were standing next to the officer, we heard a
child shouting from inside the jeep. We went there right away, and the children
said the soldiers had taken Osama. We didn't know that they put Fadi in the
other jeep. Because we didn't see them getting inside the jeeps. We were already
further down talking with the officer, and they were further back.
We heard screams inside the jeep, strong ones. So we shouted to the soldiers, we
told the officer to listen to what they were doing, that he should come. I think
he heard it all, sure he did, but didn't do a thing. He didn't care at all. So I
shouted that they were killing the boy. Me and Naim, we shouted together because
we speak Hebrew: Listen what's going on in the jeep, they're killing him. So the
officer went over to take a look. And brought Osama.
His clothes were all bloodied. His mouth was bleeding, his head, they had hit
him with a metal rod, and a soldier wanted to hit him over the head with it and
he covered his head with his hand and so his hand was broken.
We looked at Osama, what happened to him, all the blood, and he said: look at
Fadi. we didn't know about Fadi, only about Osama. So we shouted to the officer
to bring Fadi, and he brought Fadi from the second jeep. Full of blood. They
broke the edge of his skull, and his face was full of blood. It was terrible,
Aya. They beat his head and back with their M-16 rifle, even they had blood all
over their clothes and faces.
The officer asked us if we wanted him to call for ambulances? We said no.
I took Fadi to Rafidiya Hospital (Nablus), the boy who got beaten on the head,
and Osama who had a fractured hand was taken by one of the parents who arrived
at the scene.
Aya Kaniuk and Tamar Goldschmidt, Wednesday, 4.4.2007