HOSPITAL VISIT TO SHEPHERD SHOT BY SETTLERS

by Dianne Roe

April 26, 1998

Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) member Dianne Roe went with Land Defence Committee member Abdul Hadi Hantash and American journalist Maureen Meehan to Alia Hospital Saturday to visit Moussa Khalil Dabadseh, still recovering from the gunshot wounds he received when a settler fired on him as he struggled with Ma'on settler Dov Dribin. Dribin suffered gunshot wounds and died during the attack. None of the Palestinian shepherds were armed.

Dabadseh was very tired but he repeated what happened to him the week before. He took his goats to his grazing land when he was stopped by the settler Dov. They struggled; he heard Dov shout to the other two settlers nearby, "Shoot him! Shoot him!" One of the settlers fired, accidently shooting Driben. He fired some more and shot Dabadseh. The shepherd boys with Debadseh threw stones at the attacking settler. Dabadseh fell unconscious from the gunshot wounds so he does not know what happened next. He remembers waking up in the hospital.

Another visitor in the hospital room was able to supply some of the missing details. Ahmed, a Palestinian from Yatta was travelling near the area last Sunday. He left the car and walked along the rocky goat paths of the grazing land. Dov and the other injured settler had already been lifted by helicopter and taken to a hospital in Beersheba. Dabadseh was lying on the ground, unmoving and bleeding from bullet wounds to his chest, below his right shoulder, and in his right arm. Soldiers, police and settler security paid no attention to Dabadseh; they were trying to round up the shepherd boys from the area who had been involved in the confrontation.

Ahmed picked up the injured Dabadseh and put him on one of the many donkeys that were nearby. As he put it, "I stole him from the soldiers so I could take him to the hospital." The donkey ride was two kilometers before they reached Ahmed's car and the forty-five minute ride to the hospital. It was acknowledged by those present that Ahmed probably had saved Moussa Dabadseh's life.

A neighboring shepherd noted the irony in the situation. "Dov and Moussa were both shot by the same gun at the same time. Dov was taken away by helicopter and he died. Moussa was carried away on a donkey and he lived."