***image1*** Abu Muhannad, a resident of Habla village, is a farmer who depends on his land and livestock to support his family of 11 individuals, most of who are children. The Wall around Habla isolates his home and land from the rest of the village, trapping his family in the area Israel looks to annex. Daily life for them is unbearably filled with military and armed patrols, bulldozers, and the uprooting of trees and razing of their lands. The family lives in constant fear for the fate of their land and their personal safety.



Abu Muhannad recounts, “I was living safely and in prosperity before the Wall was built because I used to work on my land which is my only source of income and symbolizes my identity in this life.”



Now he is loosing his only source of income to the Wall, which has destroyed 8 of his 11 dunums of cropland; the family bore witness to the uprooting of each and every tree from their yard and the window of their home. Abu Muhannad’s home, built by his now deceased father, is under threat of demolition. In homage to his father, Abu Muhannad painted a large picture of his father holding the old Palestinian plow in his hand at the entrance of his house, emphasizing the inherent connection between the people, traditions, and the land.



Abu Muhannad’s existence on his land is an obstacle for Israel to control all of Habla’s land isolated west of the Wall. Fearing what may be his family’s fate, he has tried to pursue legal actions within the Israeli/Occupation courts by filing a complaint, through the Apartheid Wall Campaign’s attorney Fathi Shbeitah, to cease work on the Wall near his house. The complaint was unequivocally rejected following seven negotiation sessions.



***image2***



A number of “offers” regarding the loss of his land have been presenting by an Israeli military officer, which included:

- Creating a gate through the Wall for passage which could not exceed four times daily and would require a renewable permit, or

- Evacuating the home and turning it into a warehouse for agricultural goods, limited to be open during the hours of 7:30 am till 4:30 in the afternoon, or

- Paying for Abu Muhannad’s family to rent a new house in the village.

- “Reimbursing” the family for their home and land at the extremely deflated price of 27,000USD, which was calculated by a military appraiser.



Abu Muhannad has stated clearly, “All measures and proposals that deprive me of my home, the home where I was brought up and lived in my entire life and where I have raised my children are definitely unacceptable. I love my land and my home and I cannot imagine living without them. I am the rightful owner of this house. This land knows me and loves me, which is something my father had taught me and which I am now teaching my children. I am not an aggressor nor am I guilty for the court to reject my plea. I am not a salesman and I do not bargain on my rights.”



When Abu Muhannad refused all the suggestions presented to him by the military, the officer asked him, "What are your demands? What more do you want? You don't know what is for your own good.” Abu Muhannad replied: "Leave my land and my house. Let me live my life the way I have always lived it.”





This personal story is taken from the PENGON publication The Wall in Palestine: Facts, Testimonies, Analysis and Call to Action written in June 2003.




















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