I am using the message written by Amos, who regularly delivers his “Don’t Say We Didn’t Know” reports, to give you a brief rendition of this event – words and descriptions cannot even begin to convey what Uri and I saw less than 24 hours after it took place. Perhaps merely the addition that Amos quoted at the end of his depiction can give you an idea:
“On Monday, April 7th, 2008, a youth named Sharif Bajes Farid Shatiya, crossed Road 557 with his family’s flock of sheep, on his way back to the village Salem near Nablus. Road 557 leads to the settlement Elon Moreh, and only Jews are allowed to use it. Sharif was 15 years old, and was the fourth shepherd to cross the road with his flock. A bus driver from the Dan Co-operative, called Arnon Shay, who was driving his bus there, hit Sharif and killed him. The impact of the hit was so strong that Sharif was flung a distance of 70 metres. Sharif’s donkey and five sheep died in the accident as well. Many more sheep were injured. The driver sped off and escaped to the settlement Elon Moreh. The Ariel settlement police arrested him and released him on bail.
The next day, Tuesday April 8th, 2008, a Machsom Watch activist at Taysir checkpoint heard a soldier serving in the Nahal (religious) unit, who was also a settler from Elon Moreh, describing the accident to a friend, shouting as he described how the day before a bus had killed “some little Arabush, what a laugh it was, what a show, with the boy smeared all over the road…”
I visited the family twice: first with Uri less than 24 hours after the event and again with Dani and Ehud a week later. In my first visit I was embraced by dozens of mourning women who sat and supported Sharif’s mother who was beside herself with grief. Although we have been visiting this village for five years now and much mutual trust has been built, still I thanked the family for receiving me so naturally, to take part in their mourning.
In our second visit, after the traditional days of mourning (three days by Moslem tradition), we sat with the mother, the elder brother and Abu Zaki, the cousin, and heard about the family’s economic condition, which even before the tragedy had been one of the poorest in the village.
At the same time we have also initiated the legal process. We have learned that the family will probably receive considerable reparations at the end of a civil suit, but this procedure takes years. In the meantime the family is assessing damages: twenty sheep (out of sixty) are dead. Some were killed in the accident; others hopelessly wounded and had to be slaughtered. Others disappeared, and not seen again. Two rams were wounded and died as well, and the donkey which Sharif had been riding before he was hit and killed.
The economic plight resulting from the greatly reduced herd is especially hard now in the height of the milking season and preparation of cheeses for market. In additional, the father is still incapable of taking the herd out to graze and seeing in his mind’s eye the horrific death of his son which he witnessed on his way to meet him on that fateful day. The father has now been feeding the sheep at home, and the price of concentrated feed is higher than ever.
Alongside with Uri’s and Buma’s attempts to obtain more concentrated feed for the flock, for the time being, we also thought of sounding the call for personal donations, in order to try and bring the herd back to its original size and enable this family’s livelihood.
Just to have a general idea: the price of a milking sheep is 1,200 NIS. The price of a ram is 2,400 NIS. The price of a donkey is 300 NIS. The total value of the lost livestock is 29,000 NIS. Every shekel in private donations helps.
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