In the latest attack by an extremist Israeli settler on Palestinians, four unarmed Palestinian workers were killed when an Israeli extremist opened fire in Shilo settlement on August 18, 2005. But for the families of the four murdered workers, the grieving process and pain has only just begun.

Mohammad Ali Mansour, 52, was one of the murdered workers. Mansour was the only source of financial support for his family, a family which includes his five kids: Moayyad, 17, Haya, 15, Dyal, 14, Amani, 13, Hiba, 5, and Abdullah, 10, as well as his mother and brother. 

Mansour’s mother said, “My son had diabetes, yet he had to work in order to provide his family with their daily needs. Sharon should be held responsible for this crime”.

“He was trying to get enough money for school clothes for his children”, the mother added, “every Thursday he used to come back home, but today he will come back dead.” 

One of Mansour’s daughters, Dyal, 14, said that she and her sister and brothers were awaiting the return of their father, who intended to buy clothes and stationary for school. “He returned to us, dead and carried on the shoulders of his fellow workers,” Dyal said. “They killed him, the Israeli settlers killed my father.” The oldest son of Mansour, Moayyad, 17 years old, said that he and his sisters and brothers had last seen their father one week before he was killed, since he would normally remain at work throughout the week and return home on weekends. 

“He was supposed to come back to us today,” Moayyad said.  “He returned, but he returned dead, and now I have to take care of my sisters and brothers…they killed him in a cold blooded murder, while the whole world watched.”

Ghazi Mansour, 61, Mansour’s brother, said that his brother had worked for the last ten years at an aluminum factory in Shilo settlement, located between Ramallah and Nablus. “An Israeli officer apologized to me, but what’s the difference?!” Ghazi said “Mohammad will not come back to his kids; the Israeli government is to be held responsible for the attacks carried out by the settlers.”

Azim Yacoub, 53, a cousin of Mohammad, said that this is a terrorist attack, which was carried out against workers trying to get food for their families. 

“Only several hours before the settlers killed them, he ate with them, he shared their food, sat with them…” Yacoub said. “Yet the settlers killed without any mercy, regret or sorrow, while Israel accuses us of terrorism.” 

The Tawafsha family of Sinjil village lost two brothers: Osama, 31, and Bassam, who had worked together for the last eight years at the aluminum plant. Osama Tawafsha’s nine year old daughter, Lam’a, has been devastated by the death of her father, as have her five siblings. 

Lam’a always stood by the door when her father was coming home from work, to hug him, to laugh and play together, but the terrorist attacker who killed her father and her uncle also killed Lam’a’s joy. No longer will this child grow up nurtured by the father who loved her and worked hard in order to provide her and her five brothers and sister with all of their needs. 

The wife of Bassam, the younger of the two brothers, will now never know the feeling of raising a family with her beloved, as he was killed by this terrorist attack before the couple had any children.

Nearly all the residents of the village came to the funeral of the two brothers at the village cemetery. The villagers chanted slogans against the settlers, the settlements, the occupation and the Israeli murderer who killed the very workers he had known for years – a man who had eaten with the workers, laughed with them, joked with them – but who turned and gunned them down on this fateful day.

Palestinian Legislator Qaddoura Fares addressed the throng of thousands who crowded into the cemetery for the funeral, saying this new crime had come as a result of the ongoing official and unofficial incitement against the Palestinian people. Fares called on the Palestinian negotiators to reject any attempt to disarm the resistance. Qaddoura said that as long as the settlers are present in the Palestinian territories and as long there is occupation, the resistance should not be disarmed.

Sheikh Hasan Yousef, a senior Hamas political leader, said during the funeral that the Palestinians should be united in order to counter the attacks carried out by both settlers and Israeli soldiers. “We saw how the settlers have killed unarmed innocent workers,” Yousef said, referring to the August 18 attack and another massacre of civilians just two weeks earlier. “This murderer killed workers who had to work in the settlement in order to provide their families with their daily livelihood.”

There are 6000 residents living in Sinjil, a village which has suffered numerous attacks by the Israeli colonists living illegally in nearby Shilo settlement. A number of residents of the village have been killed over the last five years by both Israeli settlers and Israeli soldiers, and the village has lost a lot of its land to theft by settlers. Settlers have stolen this land, with the help of Israeli soldiers, for the expansion of the settlement. And no ‘disengagement’ has been offered by Sharon to these or the hundreds of thousands of other Palestinians who are suffering from ongoing settlement expansion in the Palestinian West Bank. No ‘peace plan’ will bring back Lam’a’s dad, or Ghazi’s brother, or any of the thousands killed by the daily violence of occupation, the massacres of civilians, the ongoing terrorism that accompanies the continued expansion of the Israeli state.

Compiled from reports by Montaser Hamdan and Mohammad Hussein – Arabs48