Affidavit No. 5275/2010

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I, the undersigned, Yousef Muhammad Yousef Zayatna, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 963305735, born on 17 May 1952, unemployed, and a resident of the Silat al-Thaher town, Jenin governorate, would like to declare the following:

On Wednesday, 27 January 2010, I left my house in the town of Silat al-Thaher, south of the city of Jenin and walked until I reached an asphalt street, which branches off the Jenin-Nablus Main Street. The branch street leads to what was formerly called the Israeli settlement of Homesh. Having been evacuated by the Israeli occupying authorities, the settlement now does not contain any residential houses and its residents have been evicted. The land on which the settlement was constructed is not vacant. However, a group of extremist Israeli settlers often return to the debris of the settlement and stay in the surrounding area at least once a week. Comprising 15 to 20 settlers, the group had been residents of the settlement and refused to evacuate it. They often attack residents of the town of Silat al-Thaher who come near the evacuated settlement. Unnoticed, they come to the settlement unaccompanied by any Israeli military forces. Their presence poses a danger to residents’ lives because there is no military presence to deter them and stop their attacks on citizens.

At around 10:00 am on the said day, I walked along the branch road, which leads to the debris of the settlement. My house is located only 100 metres from that road. I was standing in the centre of a piece of land next to the street and was collecting some kinds of useful herbs, which were scattered on that land. I was surprised by two settlers who approached me. I could recognise them by their peculiar clothes, their long hair that hangs near their ears, and settlers’ caps which are called “yarmulkes”. As you see, I am overweight and suffer from a pain in my feet, which prevents me from running and escaping. The two settlers started to beat me and shouted in Hebrew. They beat me with their fists on my stomach, back and face until I fell on the ground.

Then, I was shocked to see approximately 13 more settlers arrive, making a total of 15 settlers. All the settlers were in civilian clothes and were of the aforesaid descriptions. I did not see whether they carried weapons or sticks. They formed a circle with me in the middle and started to turn around and beat me. All settlers took part in beating me with their hands and feet. They were between 30 and 50 years of age and I noticed that one of them was a child no more than 15 years old.

“Homesh. Homesh.” They shouted in Hebrew, which I did not understand.
I was beaten for half an hour. I shouted but they did not show any mercy nor did they stop at all. No one else was present in the area, apart from them and I. When they talked to me in Hebrew or English, I said I did not understand what they said. They beat me even more forcefully.

“I am on my land.” I shouted.
“Homesh. Homesh.” They replied.
I begged them to leave me alone and to stop hitting me. However they continued to beat me, especially on my stomach, back and feet. Later, a settler demanded that I present my ID card, but I said I did not have it., The settlers fixed me to the ground, searched my clothes, and found my ID card as well as a number of papers and money in my possession. I had a sum of at least NIS 200, an electricity prepaid meter recharge card, two cigarette packets and some papers containing phone numbers. They tore apart the papers, damaged the electricity recharge card, and took the money and cigarettes. Meanwhile, they laughed and mocked me. At this point, a settler, who was around 50 years of age, approached me after he had taken my ID card from another settler. His features indicated that he was religious because he wore a yarmulke on his head and his hair hung down near his ears in the form of braids. “This is the ID card. Take it, go and don’t come back here.” He addressed me in broken Arabic. “This land belongs to Homesh and no one is allowed to come here.” He went on.
I did not argue with him. I took my ID card and started to walk away towards the Jenin-Nablus Main Street so that I could return to Silat al-Thaher. As I walked, I looked back and saw that the settlers had disappeared and returned to the debris of the settlement of Homesh. I could hardly walk because I had been beaten on my back and feet. Fortunately, I was not beaten on my face, so I was not bleeding. I returned to my house, but did not report to any doctor. Fortunately, I did not sustain major injuries, nor was I shot or beaten with sticks by the settlers.

We consistently suffer from settler attacks. They often assault any civilian who comes close to the land on which the settlement was constructed. Today, I learned that settlers have gathered once again in the said area. Many residents in the town have seen them spread in the area without the presence of any Israeli military force to deter them. This means that the Israeli army consents to the settlers’ behaviour. Finally, I should say that I feared for my life when the settlers were attacking me. I thank God they did not drag me towards the evacuated settlement of Homesh and kill me there.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 5275/2010
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 8 February 2010
  • Name: Yousef Muhammad Yousef Zayatna