HEBRON DISTRICT: Kim Lamberty's report on the September 29 settler attack

CPTnet
October 11, 2004

HEBRON DISTRICT: Kim Lamberty's report on the September 29 settler attack

[Note: The following was condensed from a 2000- word report Lamberty wrote
describing CPT's accompaniment project in the southern Hebron district, the
September 29 attack on her and Chris Brown and the team's response to the
attack. People wishing to see the full report may send their requests to
kkcpt@earthlink.net. Do NOT hit "reply" to this posting. The settlers
broke Lamberty's arm and knee and beat Chris Brown with bats and chains,
which resulted in a broken rib puncturing his lung. ]

. . . A few minutes after we entered into the settlement area, the girls
next to me started to scream. I looked up and saw a man dressed in black
swinging a chain coming out of the trees near Ma'on Ranch (an outpost of the
Ma'on settlement) about thirty feet ahead. He had on a black face mask that
looked like two scarves, one over the bottom half of his face and one over
his forehead, leaving a slit for his eyes. The girls immediately turned
around and started running back toward Tuba, and I followed them. Just as
we reached Chris and the boys, at least four other men emerged from the
trees similarly dressed. The children continued to run toward Tuba, and
Chris started yelling, "Don't hurt the children, don't hurt the children!"
They headed straight for us and let the children go. I learned later that
the men had thrown rocks at the children as they ran toward Tuba, but that
they did make it back safely.

    We tried to run off the path, but they were bigger, faster, and
stronger. I tried to pull out my cell phone to call for help, but they were
on top of me immediately, tripping me, throwing me to the ground and beating
me. I don't remember much of the actual beating, or feeling any pain while
it was happening. I remember thinking to myself that if I just lie very
still and pretend that I am unconscious or dead, maybe they will go away. I
also remember hearing Chris scream, realizing that he was taking a much
worse beating, and knowing that there was nothing that I could do for him.

When they finished beating Chris, they started to head back into the grove
of trees. One of them said in English, "Take her phone," and someone came
over and picked up my phone from where it had fallen. They also grabbed my
fanny pack from around my waist. When I heard them walking away, I ventured
a look up. I saw the group go back through the grove of trees and into
Ma'on Ranch.

    After a few minutes, I sat up and Chris walked over to me. I do not
remember exactly what we said to each other in that moment. Chris' face was
streaked with blood and I felt some dripping off of mine. I couldn't walk.
Chris pulled out the cell phone concealed in his pocket and called Diane
Janzen and Pier Giorgio [an Operation Dove member] who were back in Tuwani.
He told them that we had just been attacked "really bad" by settlers but the
kids were okay.

    I will never forget Pier Giorgio and Diane for risking their lives to
come to meet us that morning. A few minutes after they arrived, I finally
burst into tears. Pier Giorgio did exactly the right thing: he gave me a
big hug. I got tears and blood all over his shirt.

    Maybe ten minutes after Diane and Pier Giorgio got to us, settler
security drove up. We told him the man that people from his settlement
attacked us. He did not offer us any assistance or first-aid, even though
we were bleeding and obviously in pain. He said that they attacked us
because we had upset the balance of power between the settlement and
Palestinians. He understood immediately, as we did, that the perpetrators
were settlers attacking us because of our presence in the area.

    Five or ten minutes after settler security arrived, the police and army
came, and shortly behind them an Israeli ambulance. It took about thirty
minutes for help to arrive, even though the region is swarming with army and
police officers. The Israeli police or the army did not search the grove of
trees for our assailants.

    That same day, two more CPTers went to Tuwani to take our places.
Operation Dove sent down an additional person. We all agreed that if the
settlers were going to escalate the violence, then we would escalate the
nonviolence.

    The next morning the team reported that they did the school
accompaniment on schedule, and the police were present to provide security.
About one hour later, an Israeli army jeep drove through Tuwani and soldiers
told the villagers that CPT was endangering their children. They threatened
that if the children walked home from school through the settlement area,
then the violence would be even worse. They blamed CPT for the violence and
not the settlement attackers.

    We have a quality team here in Hebron. Everybody did what was needed:
being with us in the hospital, speaking to the press, phoning family and
friends, and bathing and cleaning the blood off of me when I couldn't do it
myself. I am grateful for their care. I am also grateful for my
extraordinary network of family and friends who have given me much love and
support. Without this support, the horror of it all would have been so
much harder to deal with.