On a day when the Jayada family planned to be at home celebrating the end of
Ramadan, they instead paced the hallways of Hadassah University Medical Center
in Ein Kerem on Sunday, as their loved ones’ lives hung by a thread.
Thursday at about 5:30 p.m., six members of the family were seriously wounded
when their taxi, driven by a family member near the settlement of Bat Ayin south
of Jerusalem, was hit by a Molotov cocktail in an attack that police suspect was
perpetrated by Jewish extremists.
The car went up in flames and then
flipped over. Two of the victims remain in intensive care, including Ayman
Jayada, who is in a coma, Jamila, who is in serious condition, and Hassan, who
is communicative but drowsy from the drugs used to ease the pain of the burns
over most of his body.
Another brother, Haitham, shuttling between his
family members in different wards trailed by two dozen worried relatives,
described the shock when they received the phone call. The brothers, from a
family of 10 children in Nahalin, speak Hebrew well and have never been jailed
or had run-ins with Israeli authorities, according to Haitham Jayada,
“It was the most shocking thing I’ve ever seen. I walked into Ayman’s
room and walked out again because I didn’t realize it was him. You can’t
recognize him because his face is burned away. We haven’t even let his four kids
in to see him, because no child should see his father like that,” he
Half of the village of Nahalin is here atthe hospital, he said. There is no Id al-Fitr in Nahalin this year because they
are all here, keeping a vigil by their family members’ sides. According to
Haitham, previous attacks have targeted cars from the village.
village and the roads leading from it are in Area C – meaning they have remained
under full Israeli control.
“We hold the Israeli security forces
responsible for this attack, because we have no one else to turn to. We are
totally under Israeli military control, so it is their job to protect us, and we
blame them for not doing so,” he said.
He explained that only two roads
can be used to leave the village and the frequent attacks on them are usually
ignored by both the army and the media. A third roadway, previously in use, has
been shut down by the IDF, apparently, to protect the settlement of Neveh
“This isn’t the first time – the settlers nearby have thrown
Molotov cocktails at us before, and rocks as well,” he said.
generally a quiet area of the West Bank. Many Palestinians from the area have
permits to work in construction in Israel, and others work in nearby
settlements. Palestinians in the local villages often go shopping at the large
Rami Levy supermarket in the nearby Kfar Etzion settlement.
was on its way there late Thursday afternoon when the attack
“We decided to go shopping to buy things before the Id, and we
had about two hours until the end of the fast so it was a good time to go,”
explained Hassan in a whisper from his bed, where his two arms hung in the air
wrapped from shoulder to finger in bandages. What seemed like a once-handsome,
tanned face was burned pink and white, and had the wet, shiny look typical of
The children were brought along so they could help their
parents pick out gifts for them.
“The kids were so happy and we were
talking about what we would buy. Ayman kissed his son Muhammad on the head,”
“The taxi moved right, then left, and then all of sudden
the whole car was full of fire.
All I could see was fire, everywhere,” he
said, before a doctor, trying to get him to open and close his fingers and make
sure he maintains feeling in them, chased away his visitors.
Muhammad, five, is still in the hospital in serious but stable condition. His younger sister, Iman, 4, has been released from the hospital.
The mood in the extended family has soured as many
have forgone celebrating the three-day Id al-Fitr holiday.
said that Israel’s positive gesture of allowing tens of thousands of
Palestinians to come to Jerusalem to pray at al-Aksa Mosque during Ramadan was
all but erased by the attack. Others offered praise that several Israeli
officials had condemned the attack and the US, for the first time, had called
settler violence “terror.”
But words, they added, were not enough, and
they were disappointed that the perpetrators had not been found.
it that a government that could safely pull its troops out of Gaza can’t secure
basic roads for people, for the good of everyone?” asked Moussa Shakarna, a
relative who works as a contractor in Israel.
“In these areas where we
live, there’s no security for us whatsoever,” he said, pointing to attacks on
people coming or leaving other nearby villages, which include Battir, Wadi
Fukin, Hussan and al- Jab’a. “This is at least the third time this happened, but
only this time the results were so shocking. I don’t know how people can allow
themselves to do a thing like this.”