Jama'in, Kifl Harith, Qira, 'Urif, Zeta

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Natalie Cohen, Naomi Bentzur, Hagar Zemer (reporting, photographing). Nadim (driving). Translator: Charles K.

09:00  We leave from the Rosh Ha’ayin train station.  We go through the Shomron crossing where a group of soldiers stood beside a Border Police jeep.  We stopped for a while at Ariel because of a traffic jam.  We saw two ambulances as we drove by, a police car and a motorcycle lying on the road.


09:30  Kifl Harith.  A military vehicle at the entrance, soldiers alongside.  A few more soldiers came down from the pillbox.  The entire village is silent and deserted – stores are closed and few people in the streets. The same in Qira.  A few laborers in Zeta were digging and working in construction.


09:45  Jama’in.  The village is surrounded by quarries.  Many trucks on the road, most stores are open.  We drive through ‘Einabus.  A few garages filled with cars to be fixed and for sale.


10:00  ‘Urif.  Yesterday the radio reported that settlers from Yitzhar invaded the boys’ school in ‘Urif and injured some pupils.  We decided to drive to the school to find out what happened.  We parked in the school’s courtyard and met a teaching staff which was very upset!  They were excited to see us and happy we’d come to find out what had occurred yesterday.


They invited us to the principal’s office and offered us coffee.  The teachers who’d gathered there referred approvingly to the work of the “Machsom women” and said that without them “the occupation would be worse,” and that they know there are also Israelis who think and behave differently from the Yitzhar settlers who’d taken their lands.  They added that this county is small and both peoples must learn to live in it peacefully – otherwise there will always be a “balagan.”


The teachers said that yesterday, around ten o’clock, when the pupils were in class, about 20 masked settlers from Yitzhar entered the school.  They carried stones, sticks and pistols.  They threw stones at the teachers and pupils who ran in panic from the classrooms.  We saw a 16-17 year old youth who’d been hit in the nose by a rock – he appeared very sad and frightened.  Soldiers arrived shortly afterward.  According to the teachers the soldiers used smoke grenades and fired rubber bullets.  Twelve pupils were injured and were taken to hospital in Nablus.  Four are still hospitalized.  The pupils were sent home.


It’s important to note that the school itself appears clean and organized.  The doors are made of heavy metal and all the windows protected by thick bars and metal screens.  There’s also a wall around a portion of the school.


We saw many rocks on the sidewalk at the entrance to the school as we left, along with grenade canisters, bullet casings and shells from rubber bullets.  (cf. examples in the attached photos)