Witnesses: Car Crash That Left Palestinian Man Seriously Injured Caused by Settlers

Palestinian witnesses who spoke with Haaretz bolster police investigators’ suspicions that a car accident in which a Nablus resident was badly injured was caused by stone throwing

הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf
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Raed Haraz and his wife Manal, yesterday at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.
Raed Haraz and his wife Manal, yesterday at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem.Credit: Emil Salman
הגר שיזף
Hagar Shezaf

A source familiar with the investigation behind Nablus resident Raed Harez's car crash revealed that a settler was detained last week on suspicion of his involvement in stone throwing that led to the accident. 

So far, no suspects have been arrested. The unidentified settler was released after being questioned, according to the source. The source added that the vehicle from which the stones that hit Harez were thrown had not been located.

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Harez’s wife, Manal, said that her husband regained consciousness on Saturday but that he can’t walk or talk. She was told that he would need physical and psychological rehabilitation.

She added that he had lost one eye in the accident and that doctors at Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem were trying to save his other eye. Raed has undergone surgery on his jaw and skull and will likely need further facial surgery after his rehabilitation.

Manal added that their 10-year-old son Mohammed, who was in the car at the time of the accident, sustained light injuries. He’s been suffering from anxiety and bursts of rage.

“He has nightmares and every loud noise makes him anxious. The object the settlers threw hit the car, making a loud noise. Every night, before going to sleep, he remembers what happened and starts crying. He saw his father lying in a pool of blood with his face twitching.”

She said the commercial vehicle her husband was traveling in, destroyed in the accident, was the family’s only source of income. The police have not notified her of any developments in the investigation.

Bassem Salouda, from the village of Duma, reported that just before the incident, while traveling on the Alon Road close to where the incident took place, he noticed a gray car with Israeli license plates coming from the opposite direction. A man sitting behind the driver tried to throw a stone at him, but he managed to get away.

Behind it was another car, from which someone threw a stone at point-blank range. “My front and rear windshields were shattered,” said Salouda. “I was covered in glass, but luckily nothing happened to me.”

Salouda continued driving, but then turned around and drove back, stopping near the site of the accident. He told policemen who were already on the scene of the Harez accident what had happened, and they told him to file a complaint. “I noticed a lot of stones on the road,” said Salouda.

Later that day he filed a complaint at the Binyamin police station, giving the police a stone that had landed in his car.

A young man from al-Mughayyir, who asked to remain anonymous, revealed that he witnessed the car accident from the roof of his house, located about 300 meters from the Alon Road

He recalled hearing a loud noise coming from the road. “I saw a white car with Israeli plates going back and forth along the road,” he said. “I saw a man emerge from the car and throw a stone at the car driven by Raed.” After seeing Harez’s car overturn, he ran downstairs. He saw the assailants’ car, but didn’t identify the make or license number. “Within minutes the army arrived, and the car escaped,” he said.

The witness said he saw four men in the car and many stones on the highway. He added that he often witnessed stone throwing by Israelis and Palestinians, and that it was not the first time that had resulted in an accident. “The settlers’ car continued towards the settlement of Shvut Rachel,” he added.

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