Affidavit No. 4527/2008

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, Husni ‘Abd-al-Hayy Suleiman Matariyya, of Palestinian nationality, holder of ID No. 996886032, born on 24 July 1964, a worker in a stone quarry and a resident of Wadi al-Husein area, Hebron city, Hebron governorate, would like to declare the following:

I live in the area of Wadi al-Hussein, east of the city of Hebron. There are two blocks of very small, adjacent houses located to the west of the settlement Kiryat Arba’ that belong to my family, which is also known by the family name of "Matariyya." The closest house is only about eight metres away from the settlement fence. My father and my uncle Jamil, bought the land on which our houses are built. Though very close to them, the land was outside the borders of the Hebron Municipality. In 1963, they built two houses on this land. Later, other small houses were annexed to these two houses, one of them north of the other, with my father’s house the southern one and my uncle’s house the northern one. My father's nuclear family and the families of my married brothers live in the southern houses, though my father died about two and a half years ago. All together we are 19 family members, including nine children under the age of 13 years old. My uncle Abd al-Hayy’s nuclear family as well as the families of his married sons live in the northern houses, which are only about five metres from the southern houses. They number 49 family members, of whom 30 are children under the age of 18 years old.

In 1972, the settlement of Kiryat Arba' was expanded and reached the boundaries of our land and houses. Since then, we have been suffering from frequent settlers' attacks. We have filed hundreds of complaints against the settlers with the Israeli Police, despite this however, the assaults have not stopped.

On 19 March 2007, settlers occupied a house belonging to the family of al-Rajabi, which is approximately 400 metres west of our house blocks. The settlers gave it the name of "House of Peace". A small valley, in which some houses are located, separates us from this particular house. At about 2:30 pm on Thursday, 4 December 2008, the Israeli occupying forces evacuated settlers from the house. During the evacuation, settlers gathered near the settlement's border behind our houses, and cut open the fence, which separates our land from the settlement. A large number of my family members and myself stood on our house balcony overlooking al-Rajabi house to watch the evacuation.

About five minutes after the evacuation started, approximately 50 settlers gathered along the settlement's border, behind our house near the recently cut fence. Two of these settlers entered our land, one was about 20 years of age and the other about 45 years old, and carried a pistol in his hand. From a distance of about ten metres, the younger settler threw stones at the balcony where my relatives and I were standing. The other settler was approximately three metres from the balcony and tried to climb the staircase leading to the balcony, at which point I demanded that he step back and waved my arms so as to threaten him.

My father, about 67 years old and my nephews Rashid Muhammad Yousef Ziyada, about 19 years old, and his brother Radwan, about 16 years old, who were visiting us, as well as my son Baha', about 12 years old , also tried to drive the settlers away.

At a distance of about ten metres from the balcony staircase, the settler was one and a half metres away from me, my nephew Radwan was about half a metre to my left and Rashid about two and a half metres to my right. Suddenly, the settler fired a bullet towards Radwan that just missed him but passed near his face.

Immediately afterwards, he fired another bullet towards me that hit me in the left side of the chest and knocked me to the ground. The settler then fired a third bullet towards Rashid, but it did not hit him. In spite of my injury, I got up and threw a stone at the younger settler, who continued to stone us. Within a few moments, I fell back to the ground. While on the ground, I saw my father walk towards the settler who had opened fire on me. My father pushed him to the ground and then fell over him. At that time, I fainted for several minutes. Later, I learned that my cousin Jamal filmed the incident on a video camera and that the tape was later broadcast on television and satellite stations.

The film reveals that while my father was on the ground beside the settlers, other settlers, including a security guard of the settlement, arrived and held my father beside the settler. My cousin Hisham, who is about 39 years old, as well as the women in the family, including my sister Fida', who is about 22 years old, and Hisham's wife, tried to rescue my father from the settlers. Later, I learned that the settler had opened fire towards my father and shot him in the right arm. Five minutes after I was injured, I came about in our neighbour Ghaleb al-Ja'bari's house, which is about 300 metres west of our house, where an Israeli military medic offered me first aid medical treatment. About 15 minutes later, a neighbour brought my father to the house, where I was and bandaged his arm with a kuffiyya. Due to the intensive settler attacks, we could not leave the house and head to the hospital. Therefore, my relatives and neighbours called the International Committee of the Red Cross, Palestinian Red Crescent Society, Hebron Municipality, and other parties for help, requesting that an ambulance evacuate my father and myself from the area. Their calls however, were fruitless.

At about 4:15 pm, my father and I were taken onto the street, approximately 100 metres west of the house we were in at the time, where a white armoured jeep, belonging to the so-called Israeli Civil Administration, picked us up and began to drive north. On the way however, settlers obstructed the vehicle; they stopped in front of it, jumped on it, and sat on the hood. As a result, the jeep travelled for a distance of only one kilometre within 15 minutes. The jeep finally took us to the military checkpoint near the area of al-Muhawwel, where a Palestinian ambulance transported me and my family to 'Alia Hospital – the  public hospital of Hebron. There, medical xaminations and x-rays revealed that my father had a bone fracture in his right arm, through which the bullet fired by the settler had penetrated. I sustained a bullet wound about two centimetres away from the heart. Upon entry, the bullet had exploded into shrapnel. On the same day, my father and I were transported to al-Ahli Hospital in the city of Hebron. The following day, my father had a surgical operation in his right arm, where an external fixture was installed on his arm. As for me, I received various medical treatments.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 4527/2008
  • Field researcher: Hisham Sharabati
  • Affidavit Date: 13 December 2008
  • Name: Husni ‘Abd-al-Hayy Suleiman Matariyya
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