Jamila Ash Shaladeh
Jamila’s home is sandwiched between two checkpoints, Bab Az Zawiya and “55”, in close vicinity to Israeli settlements.
Its once open-aired and naturally-lit patio is covered with a metal safety net ceiling, installed to protect the family from settlers throwing stones and rubbish at them.
The patio borders a kindergarten that is a site of regular settler harassment.
Before the kindergarten was opened, Jamila said settlers used to come and sit on the wall to harass her and her family, forcing them to extend the wall vertically to stop this activity.
Aged 55, she has been living in Ash Shuhada Street for thirty years and has been detained in Israeli jails 25 times for confronting settlers and soldiers.
She spoke of her experience of settler harassment and violence, and military closures.
❝I have not left the house for over a month now. I am a sick woman with asthma and can no longer take the humiliation of soldiers or checkpoints: the scanning, the searches and the delays. I’ve even stopped going to see the doctor. I’ve stopped taking medication and only use the inhaler which my son bought for me.
❝Since October 2015, none of my family members, who all live outside the old city, can visit me. During the Eid Muslim holiday, we made cookies and prepared ourselves, but no one was allowed in. I only get to see my neighbour and recently some internationals came to show their solidarity.
❝I often stay at home for days without seeing anyone but walls. I cannot even look upwards to see the sky without being reminded of settler harassment…
❝Life in Al Shuhada Street is a nightmare. There is no humanity. There is no accountability. We’re at the whim of the settlers and soldiers.❞
Salah is a 45-year-old farmer, father of six. Recently, he has been affected by the construction of a road that would bypass a section of the existing Road 55 running through An Nabi Elyas village.
Road 55 connects the cities of Nablus and Qaliqiliya, and also connects several settlements with Israel.
According to the Israeli authorities, the large volume of traffic on Road 55 generated a range of safety concerns.
An Israeli media report indicated that although the original plan for this road was approved over 20 years ago, the decision to implement it came in a 2015 agreement between the Israeli Prime Minister and an Israeli settler body (the Yesha Council).
❝The four and half dunums of land I own, where I stand now, has been confiscated for the construction of the bypass road,❞ Salah told us.
❝The plot of land was my sole source of income. It had about one hundred olive trees, a few almond and fig trees, and vines.
❝The type of olive trees I had was not large and this allowed us to make use of the land between the trees to grow other fodder crops for animals and chickens. We even grew lentils and chickpeas sometimes.
❝My wife and I used to go to the land and tend it almost every day. The money we made from our produce was just about enough for the whole year.❞
Siham at Tatari
❝The repeated closure of Erez and Rafah [crossings] sentences cancer patients to death. It’s a slow death…❞
Siham, a 53-year-old refugee from Gaza, mother of ten, has cancer, and is being treated in an East Jerusalem hospital.
❝In 2013 I was diagnosed with chronic lymphocytic leukemia. This was the beginning of a long, painful and expensive journey…
❝Last May (2016), I was put on chemotherapy as new cancerous tumors were found in my stomach and hips. The course of treatment ran for seven sessions that had to be completed without interruption every 21 days. I only managed two because the drugs were not sent from Ramallah to Gaza.
❝I waited more than two months and then my doctor referred me to the Augusta Victoria hospital in East Jerusalem. Twice I missed my appointment because I lacked a permit. All I heard from the [Israeli] authorities was that the permit application was being processed.
❝About five months after I first applied, and only after referring my case to human rights organizations and protesting, did I finally get a permit to leave Gaza. A day before coming to Jerusalem, I learned that the cancer has spread to the thyroid.❞
❝My family owns 224 dunums of land close to the settlement [of Elon Moreh], which we can only access during the olive harvest for one or two days a year.
❝We cannot plough the land or pick the olives properly. The few days we’re allowed are also nerve-racking because of army and settler presence.
❝Sometimes, they [the settlers] pick the good olives before we are allowed to reach our land…
❝One of the settlers set up a sheep farm on part of my land and fenced it around. To get to it I need his permission and need him to open the gate. He controls the land, which he ruined with his sheep.
❝I’m not the only one who suffers. About 8,000 dunums that belong to Deir al Hatab are inaccessible to their owners because of the settlement, the closed military zone, the bypass road, etc.
❝I was born in this land and spent my childhood on it. The land is our life and we’ve been deprived of it.❞
In December 2016, the Israeli authorities seized a donated caravan, serving as a primary health centre, in the Al Mirkez community in the Masafer Yatta (Hebron), on the grounds of lack of a building permit.
The designation of this area as a firing zone for Israeli military training makes it very difficult for the residents of the 12 herding communities (1,300 people) located within it to access basic services, including healthcare.
When OCHA visited the al Mirkez community on 11 January 2017, the day the medical team provides its weekly visit, the room serving as a substitute clinic was packed with about 15 women and children seeking treatment.
Two women who were waiting in the room with four children, including a 7-month-old baby, were from the neighbouring community of Halaweh.
The women and their children, accompanied by their father-in-law, had had to walk for more than one hour to reach the clinic.
Amal, a mother of two, was diagnosed two years ago with systemic lupus erythematosus, a chronic auto-immune disease with symptoms that include swelling and damage to the joints, blood, kidneys, heart and lungs.
❝The journey was tiring for me and the children. We had to stop and rest on the way. Getting here is not easy for us,❞ said Amal.
❝I wish we could have access to healthcare more than once a week and have it available also in Halaweh.❞
❝On rainy days the road takes more than two hours; sometimes we simply don’t come,❞ said Jameel, Amal’s father-in-law.
❝We don’t have a car and the clinic is far away. Amal has multiple illnesses: kidney problems and low platelet count, and needs her medication regularly.❞
There is much more information about each of these stories on OCHA’s website here.