A Palestinian family besieged in an Israeli settlement

Palestinian Saadat Sabri Gharib is pictured with family members amid Israeli army barricades, leading to her home in the Gion Hadasha ghetto adjacent to the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Eiza, north of Jerusalem. is an enclave located in the center of July 2022. AFP
  • An eight-meter-high fence surrounds the poor family’s home in the occupied West Bank.
  • The settlements are considered illegal by most of the international community.
  • Gharib hangs a blue tarpaulin to form a screen between his house and the settlement.

Beit Ijaza: An eight-meter high metal fence surrounds the house of a poor family in the occupied West Bank. To reach it, they have to pass through a gate controlled by Israeli security forces.

Since Israel captured the area in the 1967 Six-Day War, a Jewish settlement has sprung up on the land surrounding what the family claims is their single-story home on the edge of the Palestinian village of Beit Izza. They are isolated in the house.

“I don’t know when it will end,” Saadat Gharib sighed. “Nobody knows what my children are going through.”

For years the family home stood in the middle of fields, but now it lies behind a yellow gate, controlled by Israeli soldiers, who also patrol a narrow bridge overlooking an eight-meter (26-foot) fence. do

“During these years we have had a difficult life,” said Gharib, 40, who works for the Palestinian Authority in a neighborhood near Ramallah.

When he was a child, Gavin Hadasha’s ghetto was built in part on land he says belonged to his family.

Decades later, a high fence separates the poor house from the red-roofed homes and gardens of the Israelis. A communal area for settlers, with a children’s slide, is placed a few meters (yards) away.

The settlements are considered illegal by most of the international community, a decision Israel rejects.

The poor family has fought numerous legal battles in Israeli courts, winning in 2012 the right to a small strip of land they claim.

“The settlers built a parking lot and a park, and we need security forces to enforce (the decision) and reclaim it for 10 years,” Gharib said.

The yellow gate leading to the house was reinstalled in 2008, and at one point the family had to put their ID cards in front of security cameras to cross the threshold, Gharib said.

“(We) appealed to the High Court… and the court allowed us to keep the gate open all the time,” Gharib said.

‘Unpleasant’ fence

“There have been clashes between us and the settlers,” said Gharib, who lives with his wife and four children as well as his mother.

A resident of the settlement, Avi Zipuri, said he would prefer it if the house was not surrounded by an “unsightly” fence.

“The two courts unanimously decided that this area and his house are in Jewish land,” the 70-year-old said.

“We didn’t want to destroy his house… (he) wasn’t ready to accept any alternative plan, (even) another land and a lot of money, that’s why we had to continue with this separation fence. ,” They said.

Gharib has hung blue tarpaulins to form a screen between his house and Givon Hahadasha’s settlement. “So that children can play without worrying about the settlers and without being afraid of them,” he explained.

Gharib said the situation has affected her children, especially when there are clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces nearby.

“My daughter could not sleep for the whole night, for five hours, and she was afraid of the security forces stationed at the door of the house,” Gharib recalled one incident.

Despite the odds, he still tries to harvest the family’s olive trees.

To do so, he said, he would have to link up with Israeli security forces and pass through the neighboring Palestinian village of Beit Daqo. Once there, Gharib said he had to wait “an hour or two” for soldiers to open another gate.

Gharib is determined to hold on to his land: “This is our land, inherited from my father by my grandfather. We will not sell it to anyone for all the money in the world.”