the southern West Bank city of Hebron lies a home that seems absent of any kind
of life. Located in the Old City, it is composed of four small rooms: nine siblings
live together in one, their parents sleep in another, there's a miniscule
kitchen and another uninhabited room scorched black by a barrage of Molotov cocktails.
An Israeli military watchpoint is installed on the roof next door and similar
watchpoints can be seen within approximately one hundred metres in every direction.
This is home Suhail's family. They are Palestinians who suffer daily attacks from
Israeli settlers living next door and in the surrounding area.
to leave home
Suhail's family lives near "Abraham Avenu", Hebrew
for "Father Abraham" and a neighborhood where families of Israeli settlers
have lived for more than three decades. Despite offers from these neighbors, the
family has refused to relinquish their home. Suhail and Sali are two of the siblings
in the family of eleven.
Suhail, the 13-year-old daughter, who had recently
entered eighth grade, seems sad and hopeless as she speaks agitatedly about her
"I cannot leave the house even to visit my relatives
because my father prevents me. He's afraid that I will be attacked by settlers
either leaving or returning," she says.
"Life is boring for
me. I stay at home all day and I cannot even play on the roof of the house."
"Last Saturday, the settlers attacked my youngest brother with stones
and injured him," interjected her youngest sister, Sali, pointing to the
wound on the young boy's head.
'Nowhere else to go'
mother has lost two children, both of whom died at a very young age. "I
was about to give birth to my son, but the army would not allow the ambulance
access to my home," she says.
"My son died just a couple of
minutes after birth. When my husband told the Israeli Army that the child had
died, the Army let the ambulance through." Another son was killed by a Molotov
cocktail thrown by an Israeli settler.
When asked why she does not
give up her home despite all the difficult circumstances, she replies, "Where
can we go? This is my house and I will not leave. We are too poor to afford anywhere
else to go."
She also complains that despite their pleas, the
Committee for the Rebuilding of Hebron has not made any move to help them.
have been talking to the Committee for the Rebuilding Hebron for a long time about
helping us rebuild our home, and despite daily promises, to this very moment,
we've seen nothing." the mom added.
The Committee for the Rebuilding of Hebron, which was established
in 1996 by the late Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, is devoted to rebuilding
the old city of Hebron and to helping the people who live in their constituency.
The agency also provides residents with services free of charge such as water
"We need the cooperation of citizens in order
to continue our work in the restoration of buildings," said Imad Hamdan,
Director General of the Committee.
"As part of the committee, we
have a legal office where Palestinian citizens who live in the old city of Hebron
can complain about the attacks by settlers. Lodging a complaint facilitates the
While the Arab League, including the
Palestinian National Authority, attempts to reach a peace agreement, Suhail's
family doubts that they will ever be free of the violent attacks of the settlers.
Saeed, 18 years-old and the eldest, slowly and clearly explains, "I
do not feel safe. Honestly, especially for me as a young man, I always imagine
that I will be shot or stabbed to death by settlers who attempt to attack us everyday."