Last update - 19:09 31/07/2008
By Gideon Levy
His whole body is covered with scabs, bleeding and festering, with flies hovering around them. His face, his legs, his hands - all are covered with sores and cuts, but one is especially large. Two weeks ago 10-year-old Musa, who suffers along with his siblings from the same hereditary skin disease, was injured while fleeing for his life. On that Saturday, stick-wielding settlers raided his family's encampment, and Musa had trouble escaping because of the sores that consume his body. He tripped and suffered a large wound in his thigh, which he shows us. Fair-haired, dressed in faded rags, including a threadbare shirt bearing the words "Don't worry," Musa was already living in misery, ostracized at school like a leper. Now he's also scared to death, afraid that the settler-attackers will return.
Did the perpetrators of this attack from Asael - an illegal outpost of violent religious penitents - even take a look at their victims? Did they dare glance at Musa's sore-covered body before they brandished their clubs? Or at Bilal? Or at Hani? Or at least at little Majdi, just two years old and already covered with scabs? All these siblings have the same illness; all had difficulty trying to escape the hooligans, who ransacked their meager home and ruined their few possessions.
No doctor has diagnosed the mysterious skin disease that has attacked the children of the Abu Awad family; the family has no money for a doctor. The four sick children lie on the burning-hot ground in the southern Mount Hebron area, without a diagnosis, without treatment. The entire extended family of 19 is currently crowding into a single cramped tent. There are just three mattresses for all of them inside. The family has nothing else left. And when we say nothing, we mean just that: not a thing. Just an empty white tent with a few rotting figs scattered on the floor. The settlers either destroyed or took away everything else, from the old tent down to the last dishes, from their flock's feeding and water troughs to the bedding, to the radio, which they shattered. Everything was lost in the attack.