Community Voices

When we met Ibrahim Rabaya, 45, from Irtas, he insisted that first of all we had to mention in his testimony that he would never give up his land, which has been stolen by the Occupation`s confiscation policies. “They have seized my land by force!" – he repeated throughout the entire meeting to assure us that he and his family never gave up the land despite all the temptations and threats they received from the Occupation.




My name is Muhamed Khaled Abdallah Tari Qandeel from Beit Surik. I’m 42 years old and my family comprises 14 people, the eldest of my children being 22 years old and the youngest 5 years.




The vast and imposing terminal built by Occupation Forces at Qalandiya serves as one of the key checkpoints in the control of Palestinian movement. It opened in December 2005 causing misery, frustration, and most of all humiliation, for the thousands of Palestinians who pass it every day for work, education, basic services and visiting family. A cross section of Palestinians forced to use the terminal, recounted their experiences and explained how the intensifying Occupation is making life unbearable.




***image2***I am Amar al Wahsh, from Jeeb el Theeb. My wife and I have three children. I was living in Jordan until 1996, when I returned back to my family village, to be with my relatives, my brothers. The situation was very difficult and complicated for me when I came back. I was working as a laborer but this was interrupted. In 1999, I married and lived in a room at my brother’s house until I built a house and moved. This took me five years; only 4 months ago I finished the house and moved with my wife and children. All the money I have made in the past five years I put in the house.

***image2***Karmen Salim Khalil Nassar is 60 years old and from Bethlehem. Standing outside her restaurant, in the shadows of the Apartheid Wall, Karmen reveals the suffocation of Palestinian life in the city.



“We constructed this building back in 1984. It was in a good area of the city. We opened a restaurant on the ground floor and it was always full. People had to make reservation to find a place to sit.”






Sheikh Nawaf Sarhan, school director in Arab Ramadin village, speaks candidly about the impact of the Apartheid Wall project in his village. Arab Ramadin, in South Hebron is the home of 3200 people who know that the Occupation is planning to destroy their lives and future. The full devastation will become unraveled as the Occupation’s final path of the Wall becomes apparent.




The Apartheid Wall is threatening to make Hussein Diab a refugee for the second time in his life. In 1948 his family was forced to flee their home and become refugees, ending up in the village of Al Burj in the southwestern tip of the Hebron district. Today, this village of 2,500 Palestinians is being devastated by the Wall as the Occupation enforces its overall project of expulsion of the Palestinian people. Hussein speaks openly about how the Wall has stolen his land and seeks to turn his village into a prison.




"My name is Mohammed Abed El- Hafeth Samarra. I am 27 years old and live in Brukim, a small village to the west of Salfit district. I have two children; Abed El-Hafeth and Salma. I left school when I was 13 because of the bad situation that my family faced. I became an apprentice in construction with a professional builder in the village. I worked from the morning in to the evening for 20 Shekels a day. I persevered with the work wishing that my children would not have to work under such condition. After 6 months I was able to work alone and I worked in the 1948 areas.

Fakhri abid al-aziz Kadeeh: “The Wall has destroyed my life”



Fakhri, from Shuqba, is a Palestinian Farmer. As every farmer following years of tradition in this region, he depends on two seasons of production. Planting and harvesting during the winter and summer ensures enough produce and income to live. In winter, Fakhri depends largely on figs, and in the summer olives. The Apartheid Wall has devastated this cycle and jeopardized Fakhri’s - as well as his community’s - very existence on their own land. Here he tells his story …






***image2***Aisha is an old woman in her 70’s. Her sharp face bears out the history of Palestine and Palestinians, from disaster to resistance. When you see her you are reminded of a Roman olive tree tied to the land with its roots deep into the soil. She talks with determination and conviction, recounting her community’s struggle against the Apartheid Wall and Occupation.




***image2***My name is Rasmi Sweity from the village of Beit Awa, the wage earner for a family of 10 with 8 children, as well as for my mother and father.



This Apartheid Wall which is being built by the Occupation steels land and property, and has taken all of my lands and leaves me nothing, not for my brothers nor for my family.



This is the land that we live off of, our main source of income and we do not have another source. Where do we go? They expelled us one time (1948), and a second time (1967), and this is the third, and where do we go..








***image2***Mohamed Lahrub, 70 years of age, from the village of Deir Samit, works in agricultural and farming, and says:




***image2***Last Friday I went to visit my family land behind the Wall, and to pick some olives for eating. During the way I had to wait for the gate to open, then wait to be checked and to go ahead. Everything after one year of building the Wall becomes a routine, but nothing is normal. More than 15,000 trees died behind the Wall in this area. More than 200 farmers lost their land and work. The amount of production reduced to the half in the past year. The time to reach land increased at least three times, and similarly for the distances. Which of these results looks normal?

***image2***In September 2002, when the farmers in Jayyus found some hand written papers affixed onto their trees, they thought that these must be something that belongs somewhere else. Then, a few weeks later, they started to see bulldozers come to cut down their olive trees and destroy the land. A few months after that, the Wall started to be erected. One year later, they found that they could only get access to their land through a military gate, and only with conditional permits.

***image2***At the height of the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa in the 1980s the call of the song “Senzeni Na – What Have We Done” was a common expression of exasperation at the cruelty and brutality of the apartheid regime. Across Palestine, the same words are uttered once again as the Occupation seeks to impose a final solution of apartheid, ghettoization and imprisonment upon the Palestinian people.




Mahmoud Hamamreh is from Husan village located in Bethlehem District. If the Wall is completed in this area, Husan will be completely encircled in a ghetto with Nahhalin and Battir villages. The Apartheid Wall runs directly into Mahmoud's house and continues on the other side, in a way, making his house a part of the Wall.



Mahmoud says:



***image2***My name is Mahmoud Ahmad Mohammed Hamamreh, I am from Husan village, my home is located in the south part of the village opposite Nahhalin village.








One of the families to be isolated by the Wall from the city of Bethlehem has been living in their old house for more than 40 years, renting it and its surrounding lands; the family has been working in agriculture and animal husbandry for their entire time. According to Ottoman lands law, which are still used by Occupation Forces, after a person works in a land for a certain period of time, that person becomes its owner. This means that the Jado family is now legally entitled to the land since they have been working on it for over 40 years.



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Beit Hanina is located to the north of Jerusalem City. The original lands of the village are located to the northwest of Jerusalem, with lands extending to Qalandiya in the north, Hizma and Ram to the east, Shufat to the south, and Lifta and Nabi Semuel to the west. In 1980, Occupation Forces annexed Jerusalem and drew the Occupation's municipal borders for the city; Beit Hanina, as well many other cities in and around Jerusalem, was divided into two parts where one is considered to be in the West bank and the other within the municipal borders of Occupied Jerusalem.


***image2***I worked as a nurse for some time in Jerusalem City. My work was good, but the road was too difficult, in many times the Occupation Forces would force me to go back and would not let me pass to my work. Most of the time I would arrive late to my work, and I had to walk back home because the Occupation Forces prohibit taxi drivers with Jerusalem plates to transport people from the West Bank. My boss at work tried to help me obtain a permit to enter Jerusalem, but the Occupation Administration claimed that I must be twenty-four to have a permit.

The Following is the Community Voice of Abu Shaher, the owner of a furniture store on the Ramallah-Jerusalem road in Ar Ram.



***image1***If they build the Wall, then they are destroying 90% of the street (the commercial life on the side of the street). As a furniture store owner, I will loose my clients who won’t be able to reach me, except by making huge efforts; the client will have to pass from the Qalandiya checkpoint and then go around to enter Ar Ram - this is of course if they allow Palestinians from Jerusalem to enter this area at all.






***image1***We came to our lands on Sunday and Monday (March 7/8), and then I could not come again for two days as I was sick. We were a group of old women, but the minute we arrived to the lands and the soldiers saw us they stood in one line and they would not let us pass.

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