“The most beautiful of all mothers is she, who waited for her son, and he returned a martyr… she cried two tears and flower and did not sit alone in a corner in the mourning clothes.”
Mariam, Aisha, Dam Il-Izz, Fatma, Sabha, Ahlam, Taghreed, Nawal, Dalal, Leila, Asma’, and thousands others… These are the sacred names that embody the land, the resistance and the promise of return. They are as scared as the olive tree that stands tall in the face of occupiers, faces them all and survives while they decay, steadfast and ancient, deeply rooted in the land. They are as sacred as the freedom fighter’s gun that is directed towards the occupying colonizer, teaching us that rights are not given but are taken, that justice will prevail. They are as sacred as the poppy that flourishes every spring, watered by the blood of the martyrs, reminding us that a promise is a promise, that the path of the martyrs is the path of us all towards liberation and return. They are as sacred as the land herself, as sacred as the mother of us all; as sacred as Palestine; holding us to her, giving us life, and telling us not to surrender, not to waiver, not to relinquish what is ours! These sacred names connect us to Jrash, Bisan, Haifa, Naqab, Deir Aban, Safad and all the villages and towns that were Palestinian and will rise up again Palestinian from under the rubble, from under the fake parks and from under the cancerous colonies. These sacred names preserve our heritage, our history and our culture; they sing to ‘Ataba and dance to dal’ona… they create the Milis, the Malaka, the Majdalawi, the Ikhdari… they draw paintings of the spring in Al-Jaleel, the plains of Marj Ibin Amer, the sunrise over the hills of Jerusalem, the sunset over the waves of Haifa and Gaza. These sacred names plant in us the spirit of resistance, keep it burning, shining in our hearts, leading our way, telling us that only through resistance will we be liberated, only through our sacrifice will Palestine be free and future generations will enjoy justice and true peace. These sacred names connect Jrash with Dheisheh, connect Haifa with Al-Yarmouk, connect Bisan with Ein Il-Hilweh, connect Al-Quds with Gaza, connect Palestine with Palestine.
These sacred names refute the Zionists myths and demolish and invalidate them one by one through their mere existence. These sacred names raise one generation after another; generations stretching from the dawn of history to eternity, generations planted in this land like the olive trees, generations of Palestinians born here and here to stay. These sacred names cared for the land, loved her, cherished her, kept her safe for future generations, defended her from the Zionist fire that kills everything that is green and destroys everything that is living, remained steadfast in the face of those of have come to turn our paradise into a desert. These sacred names tell us through the memories they hold in our hearts of the times when they took in the Jews of Europe, took in those prosecuted and seeking refuge from the horrors and destruction, shared their water and bread with them, shared their homes with them, kept them safe and trusted them, to be later betrayed by them and sold by them for the sake of a supremacist entity. These sacred names tell the story of terror gangs that bombed kindergartens, cafes’ and hotels, massacred women and children and elderly, ripped babies out of their mother’s wombs, slaughtered young men, bombed villages and towns, looted houses and shops and gardens, and threw the Palestinian people into the sea, threw them into exile. These sacred names bind us forever to our mother Palestine; telling us that we have no mother but she, no home but hers’, no existence without her.
Palestinian mothers are the fighters, the martyrs, the steadfast, the land… they are the daughters of Palestine, worthy of her name, for they carry Palestine in their blood, in their hearts, in their souls:
Suha Abu Khdeir: mother of martyr Mohammad Abu Khdeir, 16 year old from Shufat, occupied Jerusalem, who was kidnapped, tortured, forced to drink petrol before being burned alive by Zionists on 02.07.2014.
“I am like other Palestinian women … not the first one to lose her son or her brother… this is the suffering of Palestinian women, but I never expected my son to be martyred in this way… in this savage way. I am proud my son is a martyr, but not this way…. In Jerusalem, my son is not the first martyr and will not be the last martyr… because the Israeli entity will continue like this and will continue treating us like this, especially in Jerusalem until they expel us…. They try to expel the Palestinian people from Jerusalem… but we are steadfast. Even if not only one martyr… but ten, twenty martyrs, every day, we will remain in Jerusalem against the will of the Zionist entity. We will continue God willing. But as a Palestinian woman, I don’t know… my son… in no religion did it happen to burn a child alive… they burned my son alive… I asked the Jews: “does your religion allow burning someone alive? They said never… so how do they accept to burn a child alive? I only ask God to give me patience… Hasbiya Allah w ni’ma Alwakeel 3alehum… I will continue to pursue them in court… I have a court case against them and I will sue them, even if they don’t give me justice for my son… I know the Israeli justice system will not give me justice for my son, but I will sue them, and I will continue suing them even if they don’t give me justice, I will sue them in international courts… because if I am silent, and others are silent, not only my son, but other children and other women will suffer and taste the same suffering I tasted, I don’t want this to happen… so I am suing them… not because they will give me my right, but because even if we can achieve a small thing, stop them, take our right from them, Insha’ Allah… I pray for God to grant me patience and that no Palestinian mother should suffer what I am suffering.”
Im Abdallah Al-Juju: Palestinian mother of 6 children from Tal Al-Hawa in Gaza. She was alone with her children in her home when Israeli occupation forces launched an attack on Tal Al-Hawa in 2010.
“I raised my son Abdallah 16 years, and held him on my lap 16 days while he was dead…. One of the neighbours called for Abdallah to check on us and that we were still alive (following Israeli shelling of neighbourhood). Abdalleh came out of our hiding place, reassured the neighbour and came back to the hiding place until noon. The neighbour called out again and asked Abdallah to place a ladder on the roof so they can escape their house and come into ours, and then leave to another place… when Abdallah went out to do so, a sniper’s bullet hit him in the back, he fell and started screaming… I ran to him and pulled him inside the house… he died in my arms… I did not panic, and pretended that he was in a coma so his siblings would not cry and get scared… and whenever one of my children asked me about him, I replied that he was still asleep…. I started to move my Abdallah and children from one room to another to protect them from shelling and the bullets…. When I turned him on his back, he was bleeding intensively from the impact of the bullet, I placed this piece of cloth (hold a piece of cloth with dried blood) to stop the bleeding… I did my best not cry, but my heart was breaking, and I felt terrible unbearable sadness, but I needed to be patient until the rest of the children are safe…. 16 hours he spent in my lap, and I was carrying him from one place to another inside the house, until my husband was able to reach the house along with the ambulance (When Abdallah was shot, neighbours called his father and told him his son was injured), and he believed that he will find Abdullah injured, but he found him a martyr, lying on one of the beds… I rushed to my husband and cried…. When I saw my husband, I broke down. When I visit Abdallah (his grave), I cry and read from the Qur’an for him… I ask him to visit me in my sleep and he does visit me … whenever I miss him, I sleep on his bed and hug his clothes.”
Manal Ghanem: 40 years old from, Tulkarim refugee camp, kidnapped on 17.04.2003 by Israeli occupation forces and sentenced to 50 months in jail. On 10.10.2003, she gave birth to twins under tight security, and while hand and leg cuffed to the hospital bed. One baby died, while the other survived and was called “Nour”, and was detained with her until he was 2 years old. Manal was freed on 08.04.2007.
“Ya Allah how beautiful freedom is, God curse prison and jailors….. I was taken to Kufr Saba hospital hand and leg cuffed. Despite my pain and pleads, the jailors refused to untie me and treated me cruelly. When I reached the hospital, I was asked to sign a paper written in Hebrew, I language I don’t know, saying that I am to take a sleeping pill during childbirth. I refused and insisted on a natural birth. One baby died immediately after birth, and the other was taken away from me. I was told to leave hospital on same day back to jail without my son, but I refused and insisted on taking him with me in order to be able to feed him and care for him. When I reached my jail cell, Palestinian female political prisoners all came rushing to me, they started ululating and saying Allah Akbar, and were arguing about who will carry him, who will wash him, feed him, especially the mothers who were denied from their seeing children… it was a sad painful sight, unbearable. The Palestinian female prisoners called him Nour (light in Arabic), hoping to see the light of freedom soon…. Growing up in jail, Nour loved all the prisoners. He would wander from one to the other, once eat with me, another time with another prisoner… he also started waking up in the morning and saying “suradeim”, imitating the jailors when they want to do the prisoner count. The decision of the Israeli Prison Authority to separate me from Nour came unexpectedly and without warning. I asked for an extension of 6 months, which was approved, to be surprised after 2 months when they came to take him away from me. The next day, my husband and children came, and they allowed us a special visit so Nour can get to know his father and siblings, and they took him with them. I returned back to the cell alone, it was very painful and tense moments, I was crying and wailing, and when I reached my cell, I could hear the other Palestinian prisoners crying.”
Fatmeh Al-Ziq: 47 year old Palestinian mother of 8 children from Gaza. She detained by Israeli occupation forces on 20.05.2007 and freed in the prisoner exchange deal on 02.10.2009.
“I discovered I was pregnant after medical tests I was subjected to when I was taken to Asqalan prison. At the beginning I was in pain because I wanted my child to be born amongst my family, and then rejoiced because God honoured me with the greatest gift in my loneliness which my little boy “Yousef”… I faced the agony and the deprivation of physical and psychological pressures in prison cells, where I was held in an underground cell that was infested with insects, sewage filled the place, the lighting was very severe and the air conditioner set to the highest degrees. I was shivering from the extreme cold, had severe allergy because of the dirt inside the cell and blisters in the head along with being made to sit long hours on a metal chair in the interrogation cell, hand and leg cuffed, and being made to bend my back while sitting for long hours. They tortured me psychologically and physically, using a lie detector device and connecting electrical wires to my body for long hours over three days, I was tied during this time, and they tied more than once to make me miscarry by giving me unknown pills. I was beaten by the Israeli interrogator, and transferred from one cell to another, and again to a third filled with “traitors” in order to extract information from me, but I was strong and even managed to warn two young boys imprisoned in a cell near mine that there were eavesdropping devices in their cell. But the interrogation officer heard me, and a group of soldiers took me from my cell. When I asked them where they were taking me, they answered: “you are going to die in a kennel”, I replied quickly: “Death to you, God willing.” The occupation officers and soldiers started cursing me, spit on me, and isolated me in a cell like a grave… after 21 days I was taken to Hasharon… there, they tried several times to cause me to miscarry by giving me unknown pills and medications, which I refused to take. During childbirth, they refused to let my family to be by my side, and I suffered greatly because of the racist doctor. They tied my arms and legs to the bed for 3 days, and only after much suffering they untied me. I felt I was in a war zone, and the racist female doctor used to shout at me that I am “a terrorist and will give birth to a terrorist”… Yousif came to life to give me new hope…. He was deprived of his most basic rights as a child, and suffered from medical negligence where one time when he was 40 days old, he became very ill and had a fever of 39 degrees and a half. The Israeli doctor came to treat Yousef after two weeks of his illness, and deprived Yousif proper treatment and food. He was also deprived of Milk…. so we were forced to buy milk for him from the prison canteen for very high prices.”
Subhiya Younis: 78 years old, from ‘Ara/’Ar’ara. Mother of Palestinian political prisoner Karim Younis, who is currently longest serving Palestinian prisoner, and held captive in Zionist dungeons since 06.01.1983.
“…A relationship of never ending longing and nostalgia for a meeting I hope will happen soon…. On the night of 05.01.1983, after 2 am, we heard violent knocking on the door. My husband opened the door and I was standing behind it; soldiers pushed me inside and asked for Karim. We said he is at the university in Bir As-Sabi’. After searching the house, they didn’t find him and left. That very same night they kidnapped Sami, and the next day they kidnapped Karim from the university, and kidnapped Maher and accused the three of killing an Israeli soldier …. We found a lawyer who asked for very high expenses, and after 27 court sessions over a year, Karim and Maher were sentenced to be hanged. This verdict was meant to destroy us emotionally and psychologically, and when they brought them for us to see them, they were dressed in red clothes and their hands and legs cuffed. We hired another layer and the ruling was changed to life sentence….. I am imprisoned like her son…. the worst thing for parents is seeing their children behind glass and not being able to touch them…. During visits, when my eyes would tear, he would get annoyed and threaten to cut the visit, and would ask: “Did I annoy you? Don’t you consider me a hero? Aren’t you supposed to be proud of me instead of crying for me? Aren’t you the one who believes that prison is for men, did you change your mind now?”… I miss my son in a way I cannot describe, I long to hold him and hug him, and I fear most to collapse the minute I meet him, and that my legs will not hold me and I lose my balance and faint. I imagine that he will be released, and I am sitting in this very chair, and the door opens without anyone knocking, Karim enters opening the door widely to hurry and hug me, I scream out of happiness until I almost faint…. Often I asked him: do you remember the way to our house? He would laugh and say: how could I miss the house, and it is very easy? It’s on the main road, opposite the bus station.”
Nadia Abu Aisha: mother of martyrs Amer and Zeid Abu Aisha, from Hebron. During the funeral of her son martyr Amer Abu Aisha, she carried his body from her house to the grave, a distance of 4000 meters.
“They denied his imprisoned father and brothers the chance to participate in his funeral…but I will carry him and celebrate him… Amer deserves a wedding on the day of his martyrdom… I will celebrate his martyrdom like I celebrated the martyrdom of his brother two decades ago… every free Palestinian should take revenge of the traitors and collaborators who directed the occupation army to my son….. I participated in the funeral because his father is held captive, his brother is held captive, and I didn’t want Amer to feel he is alone.”…. “Amer and Marwan sacrificed their lives for the prisoners, Insha’ Allah Palestine… god … every mother or women who raises children…. When the (Palestinian political) prisoners were on hunger strike, Amer was in pain for them; how he was going to carry them as martyrs. He used to tell me: “Is it not enough that their families suffer? Is it not enough that their children suffer? Is it not enough that their wives suffer? And in addition to that we have to carry them martyrs? Is the suffering in prison not enough, they have also to be carried as martyrs”… God knows how much he was in pain for the prisoners… No matter how much we do for the prisoners, there suffering is great… for whom are they suffering? For us, for Palestine, for the land, for this holy land, for the Aqsa, for so much…..”
Hala Abu Rmele: 32 mother from Jenin refugee camp. Her husband Atiya (44 years old) was killed by an Israeli occupation sniper on 05.04.2002.
“My husband Atiya and our three children: 7 year old Mohammad, 6 year old Hazar and 4 year old Rami, were in our house in Khillet Souma to the east south of Jenin refugee camp, when the Israeli occupation forces started shelling the refugee camp with rockets and shooting bullets. At 5’oclock in the evening, we took refuge in the kitchen, believing it’s the safest place in the house from the heavy shelling. When the shelling stopped, Atiya (the husband) decided to inspect the damage to the house, but I had seen some soldiers standing in front of the neighbouring Dusuqi house, so I warned my husband not to leave the kitchen. He answered: “don’t worry Hala, I am careful, and if I am to die, I will die”. The minute he entered the living room, I heard a single gun shot, followed by the voice of my husband calling for me. When I heard him, my heart told me that he was fatally injured, and when I reached him with my children, he was pointing with his hand, as if saying: “for what crime was I killed?” he was bleeding heavily from the neck, and when I got close to him and held his hand, he looked at the children one after the other, as if saying goodbye to us. Then he starred at me for a few seconds, said the Shahadaten before he died. We were crying and screaming, but I had to be strong for my children. I closed his eyes, and dragged him to the kitchen where the family was sleeping, and put him on the mattress in the same place where he slept during the shelling. I told my children that their father did not die, but was very tired and sleeping, and told them to be quiet and not to disturb him or wake him up, in an effort to calm them and convince them he was asleep. I called the Red Crescent Society that my husband was martyred, but the ambulance was not able to reach us. For 7 days, we stayed in the kitchen, with my husband lying dead on the mattress, and I was telling the children he was too tired and sleeping. In these seven days, I wished so often that I follow my husband than to go through that difficult time, but I had to be strong and steadfast for my children. The children were always asking why their father was always asleep. I will never forget how when they were playing and fighting, they would tell each other how they will tell their father when he wakes up. The youngest, Rami, would shake his father several times to wake him up so he can go and buy him milk. After 7 days, on 12.04.2002, the Red Crescent ambulance reached us and took him to Jenin hospital.”
Aminah Ali: 83 years old, mother of martyr Mashhour ‘Arouri, killed by Israeli occupation forces on 18.05.1976 and since then his body has been kept captive by the Zionist entity, until its release after 34 years on 18.10.2010.
“Thank God for your safety, Mashhour. I waited so long for you, but I was sure you will come back to your father, mother and your village. My heart was with you, and I had promised you a great wedding… this is your Palestinian wedding, it has started, you are the most handsome bridegroom… After this long time, I only want to kiss the body of my son Mashhour and to tell him that I am very happy to bury him close to us, that we can visit him whenever we miss him….. I am very happy today because my son is free from captivity and is back to enter his family home and be buried according to Islamic rituals in the village cemetery….. I still keep his clothes and the newspaper that published the news of his martyrdom… and today my happiness is great because he comes back to me again….. 34 years I awaited his return, and the return of his body means he came back to us alive … whenever I miss him I go to the wardrobe and smell his clothes which he wore before travelling abroad to study… when I heard that his body will be released, it brought back the pain of the days when I got the news of his martyrdom. But his freedom means an end of the suffering of waiting. Whatever the pain we feel, and however deep and difficult the wound is, we awaited his freedom…. What he did make us raise our head high in pride, because he gave up his life for his country.”
Adla Abu Rouk: mother of 4 children from Khuza’a, survived the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
“I was living in my house with my four daughters, my son and my husband. We live on the “border”, directly on the “border”. When the war started, the Israeli occupation army started throwing pamphlets saying that we should evacuate Khuza’a. We thought that whatever happens we will not have to leave our houses. We thought that our house was in a relatively safe area in Khuza’a. We spent like this around 10 days, it was Ramadan. One day, after Iftar, I would take my daughters and walk in the dark, thinking that every day in the morning we will go back to our home. While walking in the street, the Israeli rockets fell and separated Khuza’a from ‘Abasan and caused a huge hole, so we all remained in our houses that night. The situation was unnatural; Israeli military planes, rockets, bullets, special forces, tanks, from all directions. The girls were crying and screaming, and I tried to calm them despite the fact that I was more scared than them, but I tried to calm them… My mother called from Amman and said: “Yamma, put your daughters beneath you and sleep covering them (to protect them), put your son beneath you and sleep covering him. At the time, I was three and a half months pregnant, and my wish was to have a boy, another brother to my only son. That night, at 2 am I had severe stomach ache, and I knew I will lose the baby from the stress and fear I was in. At 2 am that night I lost my baby. At 6 am the next morning, we woke up hearing the Israeli occupation army loudspeakers saying that residents of Khuza’a should go to al-Hawouz area. So everyone went and started gathering at al-Hawouz. The Israelis made leave to al-Hawouz and when we reached there…. they saw us walking the street to al-Hawouz… when we all gathered there, they started shooting at us. There was heavy shooting at us. Many people were injured, children were lying on the street, some had their intestines out of their bodies, I was separated from my children; my daughters were in one side, my son in another, so I started screaming for my children. People were running away from the directions where the Israelis were shooting from at us, and I was running in their direction looking for my daughters. I have no one but my children. I started screaming and calling their names, until I found them one after the other. I told them to hold on to me and whatever happens never to leave me, to keep holding on to me. We returned back to where we were originally, and spent the night there. This night was worse than the one before. While sitting at night in the house, there was shelling around us, and glass broke, the doors fell, the walls cracked from the intensity of the shelling and the rockets that were falling on us. At 8 am they started saying again that we should leave. We were afraid that the same will happen again like the day before; that they would gather us and then shoot us. But because of fear we left, we took a risk, and I took my children and walked with the people who were walking. We walked in an area that had lots of thorns, and people were walking gathered together in a line, and the sounds of the rockets and bullets surrounding us. They were scaring us. We were walking on thorns, the thorns would enter my feet but I would not remove them. I would press on my feet and continue walking. We walked until we reached ‘Abasan. I was bleeding, and when we reached ‘Abasan, local residents told us anyone injured should go in the ambulance but I didn’t want to leave my children, because if I wanted to leave with the ambulance where was I to leave my children? I continued walking with my children until we reached Bani Suhela, and afterwards I couldn’t walk anymore. I couldn’t anymore… everyone was fasting and we had to break our fast, 3 days we had to break our fast… then local residents brought cars and they took us to a house, and the kind people brought clothes and other stuff for us. Then I went to the hospital to remove the child I lost. There, the doctor told me the blood has hardened and solidified, and that it was difficult to get the baby out. He gave me some medication and told me to come back in 2 days. During these 2 days, my son and daughter got sick and I had to sleep with them in hospital for 5 days, I thought my son and daughter were going to die… it was all out of fear, they were frightened. Then we went to the shelter at the schools, but it was terrible there. It’s true it was an emergency shelter, but it didn’t fulfil our urgent basic needs, at least water, we would search for water and wouldn’t find any. In the same room we were staying in, there were 6-7 families, even 10 families. It was too much and we started moving from one house to another…. Whether during the war or not, I am always living in fear… our house is near the “border’. From my window I can see the tanks, I see them all the time, they are there all the time. My daughters are living in continuous fear and stress… one of them bit her nails and started biting the flesh beneath it. Whatever I say, this is only a fraction of what I suffered and what I suffer daily from these Israelis.”
Fatmeh Mabrouk: mother from al-Maghazi, survived the latest Israeli aggression on the Gaza Strip in the summer of 2014.
“This was collect war against the entire Palestinian people. A genocide against Palestinian women and children, against everyone in Gaza. I live north of al-Maghazi since 20 years. My house was shelled the first time, so I moved to the centre of al-Maghazai. It was shelled again in 2014, we were always targeted because we are “border” area, as the Israelis say. We lived in our houses, safe with our children; our children went to school, went out to play, living a normal life. When the war started, we heard only: “get out of your houses, get out of your houses”. At first we didn’t want to leave our houses, but from the intensity of the shelling and the suffering and the fear for our children, we were forced to leave… we were forced to leave our houses, also because of what happened in Shujaiya… Shujaiya was the biggest example, if you don’t listen to what they (the Israeli occupation army) say, you will die. In Shujaiya, people were walking in the streets and they were shelled and were falling in parts on the streets. So we ran with our children. They told us to go to Salah Iddin and beyond Salah Iddin. We had to walk on foot a distance of 1 km or 2 km. My family of 10 members and other families, all of us in thousands came out of our houses out of fear for our children, and not fear of death, but we were afraid for our children. And while walking, the shelling around us, some fell martyrs, other fell in parts, others lost their children…. We were saying farewell to each other; I would hold my children and hug them, because I was sure I will never see them again. We reached Deir al-Balah as they told us, but above us there were Israeli military planes and around us the shelling, the tanks, everywhere around us, wherever you go. When we reached Deir al-Balah, we went to the UNRWA school shelters. We suffered there, but they were shelters, nothing more, help was simple, basics only available. People used to come and provide us with support. In other countries they care for animals, but the world ignores the Palestinians, there are no rights for the Palestinians.”
Ghada Kastero: mother from Beit Hanina, occupied Jerusalem. She and her family were made homeless after Israel demolished their home.
“My house was demolished several times. On 05.02.2013 the first house was demolished and in November 2013 a second house was demolished. Without prior warning they came and demolished the house which consisted of 4 apartments. 25 people lived in this house; my family and I. After demolishing the house we became homeless, the first and second day we lived in a horse stable. Afterwards, the Red Cross came and gave us tents to live in. We stayed in them 3 months. This was in February; it was cold, raining and water was beneath us and insects were crawling around us. Afterwards, we decided to build small housing structures in order to remain steadfast here. My sister-in-law and I built two caravans and we stayed in them only 2 months, when the Israelis came and demolished them. We were left with no other choice but to rent a house. We lived in the first house 9 months, but because we couldn’t pay the rent, we were told to leave. We rented another house, and have been living there since 3 months. The Israelis demolished the house under the pretext that it was not licensed. This is our land and we want to build on it. Also, the demolition happened without any warning. They came and surprised the children; the children came back home from school and were shocked. My son…. I am sure you saw the video and the pictures, that is my son who was shouting and screaming when he found the house demolished. They were screaming…. the books, the clothes, the mattresses, everything we had. No one cared for us, the (Palestinian) officials would come on the day of the demolition to take pictures and then leave. Till now we suffer. Every day we lament how we were and what has become of us, how much we suffer, everything we had is under the rubble; the clothes, the mattresses, belongings…. Other than that, we have to pay a fine of 200,000 NIS, and if we don’t pay, my husband has to be imprisoned for 1 year and 2 months. Also, we have to pay a fine of 60,000 NIS to remove the rubble, and if we don’t remove the rubble they will imprison us. We still suffer, the children still suffer. Where are the (Palestinian) officials, we suffer… where are the human rights? Where are the women rights? Not one (Palestinian) official came and asked us “what are you doing or where are you staying?” They only want fame, they want to be on TV, to be famous. They come to take pictures and they tell us “God will compensate you”, that’s all. Anyone who wants to live in Jerusalem and stay steadfast has to pay this price… has to sacrifice. They (Palestinian officials) told us that they provided temporary stay for us in a hotel for 3 months … my sister-in-law went there with her 8 year-old son and was told the reservation is only for 3 people. She spent the night with her son on the staircase of the hotel. We are steadfast and will remain steadfast and challenge them…. When they (Israelis) demolished the house, it was 8 am, they knocked on the door and told me to only to take a bag with me. My son was sick in bed, I told them my son is sick, they didn’t understand, I told them no one enters the house while my son sleeps…. can you imagine the child waking up to armed soldiers surrounded him and over his head? I told them that I will go and wake him up, but the female occupation soldiers held me by the arms and dragged me down the stairs, we were in the second floor, and they dragged me all the way down and out of the building…. I had bought new furniture three months before, all is under the rubble… They allowed me to take nothing but one bag, nothing, nothing at all….”
Aziza Jaber: Aziza was deprived from visiting her youngest son Mohammad Abdo, who was held captive in Israeli jails, mostly in isolation. 10 years she wasn’t allowed to see her youngest son, touch him, hug him. As she grew older and weaker, her only wish was to see him one last time before she dies, if only she could take a picture with her son, one picture she would cherish, keep under her pillow, talk to, kiss, pass her fingers over the handsome face, one photo of her beloved son. Appeals were presented to the Israeli prison authority through the family, lawyers, human rights organizations, until finally a visit was granted. After 10 years, a single visit was granted. The minute Aziza entered the visiting cell, her son rushed to her, hugging her, kissing her, kissing her forehead, her hands, and bowed down to kiss her feet, but she would not allow him. Few seconds that were eternity. A photo was taken and Aziza was rushed out of the cell. The special visit was over. Aziza was happy, she would receive the photo in a few days, maybe a couple of weeks, she would keep her son with her until she sees him free and in flesh in front of her. It was a beautiful picture, beautiful Aziza, the years and the suffering not hiding her beauty. Her eyes tired, but proud with her son Mohammad standing by her side. Handsome Mohammad was happy that his mother finally has a picture to look at until he is free. Aziza was happy that finally she hugged her son, now she will have a photo to hold to her heart until Mohammad was free. A beautiful picture…. But Aziza, the steadfast, patient, kind Palestinian mother did not see the picture, she will never see it… Aziza, the Palestinian mother of a hero, died of a heart attack while waiting for inspection at Qalandya military checkpoint on the way back from visiting Mohammad. Aziza took her photo with her in her eyes, in her heart. She took the photo with her to heaven.
Salute to Palestinian mothers wherever they are… Freedom is Ours…. Justice is Ours… Palestine from the River to the Sea is Ours!
PS: Above quotations either taken from personal encounter or collected from various sites