The stories of five Palestinians living under Israel’s military occupation are shared below. OCHA has compiled 50 stories here. I hope these stories reach the hearts of many Americans. Enough is enough. Fifty years of occupation is enough.
On 10 January 2013, armed settlers raided fields next to the village of Qusra, and clashed with local residents. Some settlers opened fire and Palestinians threw stones.
Israeli forces at the scene fired tear gas, rubber coated bullets and live ammunition towards Palestinians.
Some Palestinians were injured, and many trees were vandalized and damaged.
Ammar was 19 years old back then.
He was shot with live ammunition in his leg, and sustained three fractured bones.
❝I run a barber shop in Qusra and my father used to work in a settlement,❞ he told us shortly after the incident.
❝These were the only sources of income for my family, which includes eight people.
❝After the attack, my leg was operated on, and since then I can’t move. The doctors said that I need at least three months before I can start physiotherapy.
❝My father had to quit his job to keep the shop running. The incident directly worsened our economic situation.❞
About 35 per cent (8,000 dunums) of the agricultural land of Az Zawiya (population 5,768), all planted with olive trees, is located in the seam zone behind the Barrier and within Elkana settlement boundaries.
To access land in this area, Palestinian farmers must obtain a permit to cross the Barrier through the agricultural gate controlled by the Israeli army. They also need prior coordination to cross the fences surrounding the settlement.
Khader Raddad and his family own six dunums of land (20 olive trees) behind the Barrier, and 15 dunums (250 olive trees) on the Palestinian side of the Barrier. In September 2013, at least 320 olive trees belonging to Az Zawiya were completely burned in the seam zone.
❝The land is not ploughed and the grass is dry… throw a match and boom! All the trees are burnt,❞ said Khader.
OCHA has monitored the productivity of Khader’s olive trees since 2013 by testing 10 trees on each side of the Barrier.
In 2016, the 10 trees on the Palestinian side produced 150 kg of olives, while the ones on other side of the Barrier produced only 50 kg.
Prior to the completion of the Barrier in 2004, Khader’s family was self-sufficient, but they now have to buy olive oil from the market to meet their needs.
AMAL AS SAMOUNI
We met Amal in 2012, in Gaza, when she was 11-years-old.
Three years earlier, during Israel’s offensive in 2009, soldiers ordered over 100 members her extended family into one house. A day later, the residence was hit by Israeli artillery shells and live ammunition. Twenty-seven family members were killed, including 11 children and six women, and 35 others were injured.
Amal was left with permanent sharpnel injuries and trauma.
❝I remember my brother and father and how they were killed in every moment… we were a happy family. Now I don’t feel happy anymore,❞ she told us.
❝For one year we lived with the parents of my mother… Then we lived in a storage room for a year and a half. It didn’t have a floor. For the last six months, we have been living where our old house used to be…
❝I want to have another doctor look at my situation, and to try everything possible to end my pain. I wish to travel not for amusement, but for medical treatment.
❝When I have a lot of pain I become nervous and angry. When I am sad I go to my aunt’s house to see my cousins, or I prepare my books for school…
❝Before the war I excelled in school. Now my scores are not so good anymore.❞
We met Razan and her family in 2011 in their home, in a neighbourhood of Abu Dis which is separated from the rest of the community by the West Bank Barrier and can be freely accessed only through East Jerusalem.
❝In our neighbourhood,❞ her mother Salam told us, ❝there are four families of West Bank ID holders who, after the Wall was built, are stuck on the Jerusalem side without Jerusalem ID cards or permits to stay in Jerusalem.❞
Razan’s father is one of those ‘West-Bankers’ whom Israel does not recognize as Jerusalem residents and therefore need permits to stay in Jerusalem.
In the absence of such a permit, in 2010, he had to leave and reside on the other side of the Barrier.
Razan and her siblings lived without their father for more than six months.
❝The children have a hard time separated from their father. Every time they say a prayer, they ask God to give their father a permit to bring him back to them.
❝However, I can’t risk my or the children’s status [Jerusalem residents] by moving to the [other side] to live with him.❞