As Shakir Da’ana 14, took his school bag and joined a group of students to go to their school, which is close to Kiriat Arba’ Jewish settlement, an army Jeep started to chase them through the narrow streets of Jaber Neighborhood.
After a short chase, soldiers managed to catch Da’ana. One soldier asked him were he was going to, Da’ana answered ‘to school’. The soldier hit him in the face with his gun, saying ‘to school! You sun of the bitch’
Da’ana bleeding wound in the face did not prevent soldiers from physically beating him until he was rescued by his neighbor, Mahir Ajloni, who took him to the hospital for medical treatment.
This is only one story of dozens that Da’ana family told us as we visited their home in the old city of Hebron.
‘This is what they did to my son, the same ones who claim to be here for security and protection attacked him for no reason’ said Shaker’s mother pointing to the 11 cm long wound in his face.
‘Look for your Neighbor before choosing your home’ is a famous Arabic say. Yet, residents of the old city of Hebron had no say in who their neighbor would be.
Shaker’s father said that he moved into his home in the year 1973. In 1975, and to his surprise, soldiers established a military post in the area, then moved few caravans into the site, finally in 1982 the little military post developed into the settlement of Kiryat Arba’a.
Kiryat Arba’a was the first settlement to be established in Hebron area, the 4000 settlers living there were from the beginning very aggressive and full of hatred against ‘Arabs’
Huge funds collected by the extreme right wing groups, turned the settlement into a huge one with ever expanding borders on the expense of land owned by local Palestinian families.
In few years time, Kiryat Arba’a took over most of the land in the area and it’s settlers established another settlement, one Kilometer away, named as Kharsina.
Residents living in homes close to Kiryat Arba’a suffered the most.
Abu-Karim 53 lives in a home that is only one meter away from the settlement border. Most of his land was expropriated to the benefit of settlers, yet he said that every day he, his family members, and his land are subject to settlers’ attacks and harassment.
‘I can not count how many attacks and how many complains I filled with the so called civil administration’ he said.
Abu-Karim said that provocations against his family started as early as 1978, ‘at the beginning, it was settlers’ kids only, with time, adult settlers and soldiers joined’ he added.
Assaults started with creating loud sounds at nights, curses especially against our religion and our Prophet, hurling stones and empty bottles at us and at our home, and finally random shootings at our home.
‘Bullets were whistling over our heads at nights, many crushed our windows and hit the walls, we were terrified to death, especially our kids’ Abu-Karim said.
‘All of our water tanks, sun boilers were destroyed, their aim was to force us to leave our home’ he added.
‘My family will never forget one attack in which they [settlers] threw a Molotov cocktail bottle setting fire in our home, all of our belongings were turned into ashes, we were only saved by our neighbors who rushed to help us’ he added
To protect his children, Abu-Karim moved to a different home. Would he be able to go back to his home? Is Kiryat Arba’a going to swallow his home and the little left of the land he inherited from his grandfathers?