Sunday, December 10, 2000

Boy shot by settlers near Hebron

By Amira Hass
Ha'aretz Palestinian Affairs Correspondent

Dozens of settlers from Kiryat Arba and Givat Haharsina, near Hebron, shot and seriously injured 13-year-old Mantsur Jaber when they attacked and occupied a house belonging to the family of Ata Jaber on Friday.

Only after the shooting did the High Court of Justice on duty accept the petition of attorney Leah Tsemel against Defense Minister Ehud Barak and Minister for Public Security Shlomo Ben Ami, demanding that Israeli security forces be ordered to defend the lives and property of the Jaber family.

The incident began on Friday when dozens of armed settlers took over the Jaber home in Baqa' (Givat Haharsina) a Palestinian neighborhood, currently in the final stages of construction.

In recent weeks, the homes and residents of the neighborhood have been under attack by the settlers in the area who have sabotaged their property and agricultural plots.

Following the invasion of the home, the settlers began bringing in various articles of furniture.

Yesterday morning attorney Tsemel petitioned the High Court of Justice to order the state to defend the Palestinian family against the unlawful entry into their property. The request was initially rejected by the Justice on Shabbat duty on the grounds there was no threat to life.

However, toward mid-day the settlers roamed the neighborhood and attacked other Palestinian homes.

A number of them went to the home of Naji Jaber. Thirteen year old Mantsur Jaber answered the knocking on the door, and according to the members of the family, one of the settlers shot and injured the boy when he answered the door, hitting him in the abdomen.

According to the family, settlers and IDF soldiers prevented the Palestinian ambulance from transfering the wounded boy to the hospital. While the ambulance was trying to find another route an IDF helicopter arrived and flew the boy to Hadassah-Ein Kerem hospital in Jerusalem.

Following the shooting, Tsemel returned to court and the Justice agreed to accept her petition, ordering the Defense and Public Security Ministers to evict the settlers. Many policemen were involved with ejecting the settlers until late into the night.

Police said the operation was handled slowly and with patience. The Jaber family said the settlers caused significant damage to the house.


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