'Give us an ID or I'll take her'

Blog by The Villages Group
Rakeez, Photo: The Villages Group

On 5 April 2024 Erella, on behalf of The Villages Group writes:

To our friends wherever they be,

Incidents with settlers in the South Hebron Hills villages take place all the time, night and day. We, visiting our friends there most days of the week, reach them either before such an attack, after it or during the attack itself.

We reached the village of Rakeez on Wednesday, at noon. We already knew what had happened there on Sunday, March 31st (when we are not there, we're still there by phone). Still, it's important for us to meet face to face - listen, hug, be there... Tell the world in detail about such injustice...

Wednesday, April 3, 2024. We entered the cave familiar to us as our own home, since we used to visit the late Harun. Noontime. Ramadan month of fasting. They are fasting. We are treated with tasty tea (one can learn a thing or two from non-Jews).

F. tells us that on Sunday, back from a condolence visit in the district town of Yatta, father R. and H., his 17-years-old daughter, went out to graze their livestock in their own field, about 100-200 meters away from their house.  From 2 to 4 p.m. the animals nibbled unhampered.

At 4 p.m. they were on their way home. The flock with R. and H. and two American volunteers who accompanied them as protective presence. Exactly at this time, the wife and the 19-year-old son of a notorious settler disembarked from the green bus that used to stop near Avigail settlement, but had now been moved to the center of a newly erected outpost several hundred meters away. 

As they arrived, they activated three drones - one small, two larger ones - and photographed R. and H. and the volunteers. The drones came to the house entrance. At the same time, about 20 settlers dressed in army clothes and bearing army-issued guns arrived, weapons pointed.  They too came to the house entrance.

"Who's the owner?" one of them asked, his rifle pointed. R. said he was. They demanded to see his ID. He gave it to them. "Why are the volunteers with you?" asked the settler.

"They are our friends", R. answered.

"Why were they taking photos?" the settler continued. R. didn't answer. "They are prevented from entering your home. And you are not allowed to come with your flock to where you were", the settler said.

"It's ours" says R.

The settler: "This area is not yours, you son of a bitch [in Arabic it's much more vulgar], all Arabs are liars."

R. said he would summon the police.

The settler: "The police will do nothing here. Only we are in charge of the region." As he was saying this, other settlers ordered H. to approach. H. is afraid. She holds on to her mother F.'s shirt.

"You stay where you are", the settler orders F. "Only she." He demanded to see her ID. H. said she has none. "Give us an ID or I'll take her" the settler continued to yell. "She is little, written in mine" says F. and shows her own ID, where her daughter H. is registered. "Where is your son, he is Hamas, and causes trouble like Hamas". Another soldier said he knew F.'s son and that he had made trouble and the army shot him.

F. knew that soldier. He was one of the soldiers who back then, on that awful Friday, fired the death bullet that wounded Haroun on the first day of 2021. For two years Harun fought for his life. A month and a half ago they marked a year since he died.

"Leave us alone and let us live our lives and graze our flock", F. said in her quiet, brave determination.

"You may not graze there and if you come there again, we shall send father and daughter to prison", the settler answered, while he ordered them into the cave.

"Why?" F. asked. "Come on, get in!" the settler continues to hurry them in and takes the volunteers with him. The neighboring village had already summoned police that freed the volunteers and forbade them to come to Rakeez for another two weeks.

This is what we were told by F.. The whole time, H. sat next to me and her teeth were apparently still chattering from the fear that entered her body and soul three days earlier.

This family has already paid for your blindness. What more are you demanding, you Lords of Hatred?