Another posting from our archives. Since 1995, the struggles of the families living in Tel Rumeida have featured prominently in our releases. Accordingly, to show our readers what the new settlement expansion on Tel Rumeida means–what it means to have more Israeli settlers on Tel Rumeida with more Israeli soldiers to guard them–we will be running releases from our archives on Facebook and our blog in the coming weeks.
The team was focused on the slow police response to settler attacks at the time this piece was written, but eighteen years later, the more shocking aspect of the story, that a gang of settler children stoned a 5 year old girl and 4 year old boy while soldiers looked on and did nothing has been added to the title of this blog.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
11 October 1995
“Israeli police slow to respond to Palestinians’ complaint”
by Wendy Lehman
HEBRON, WEST BANK — Israeli settler youth from Tel Rumeida settlement attacked two Palestinian children today at 12 pm. At 3 pm, two Palestinian women were delayed by the IDF (Israel Defense Force) from returning to their home near the settlement; while they waited, settler youth stoned them.
Approximately seven or eight Israeli settler children, aged seven to 12, attacked Palestinians Wusam Abu Haikel (five years old) and Fadi Idajani (four years old) as they returned to their home near Tel Rumeida. One settler slapped Wusam on the face and several settler youth threw stones at both Palestinian children, hitting them. The assault occurred next to an Israeli military checkpoint, but the soldiers did nothing to stop the attack, said witnesses. The Abu Haikel family phoned the Israeli police, but there was no answer.
Three hours later, Wusam’s mother Hannah (37 years old) and aunt Lena (28 years old) attempted to return home but were prevented by the Israeli soldiers at the checkpoint. More than ten settler children threw stones at the women, they said, but the soldiers did not stop the assault. Hannah was hit in the right ankle by a stone.
When Christian Peacemaker Team members arrived at 4:25 pm, Hannah’s ankle was already swollen. CPTers phoned the Israeli police and reported the incident. An Israeli police officer told CPTer Wendy Lehman, “What do you want me to do about it?”
“You’re the police, aren’t you supposed to handle these problems?” Lehman asked.
The officer gave her another number to call, which was busy.
At about 4:30 pm, an Israeli border police jeep arrived. A police officer stepped out of the vehicle and asked the soldiers why the Palestinians were not allowed to pass. A soldier reported that these were their orders. The officer told the soldier to remove the barbed wire blocking the women and to let them return home. The soldier complied.
Two weeks earlier, CPTers issued an urgent action alert calling for an immediate response by the Israeli police to settler violence against the Palestinian residents of the Tel Rumeida area. The action alert came after the police failed to respond to a complaint, similar to today’s, made by the Abu Haikel family.