Mission & Name
US Foreign Policy (Dr. El-Najjar's Articles)
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following news reports are summaries from original sources. They may
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Israelis Force Palestinian Families to Split
in Different Cities:
The Story of Sanaa, her Husband, and their
The nightmare of love across Israel's wall
Ma'an, 26/07/2011 10:10
JERUSALEM (AFP) --
When Sana, who comes from the West Bank city of Hebron, married her
Jerusalem-born husband Mohammed 13 years ago, she never imagined their
union would lead to a life of fear and hiding.
At first, their
different residency permits -- hers for the West Bank, his for Jerusalem
-- weren't much of an issue. She could live with her husband in East
Jerusalem with a temporary permit, and movement between the city and the
West Bank was still fairly easy.
But, with the outbreak of the
second Palestinian uprising in 2000, travel restrictions gradually
tightened until in 2003, Israel effectively stopped issuing Jerusalem
residency permits to Palestinians in what caught Sana and Mohammed in an
Without an Israeli permit, Sana can't live in
Jerusalem with her husband and children. But if Mohammed moves to the
West Bank, he risks losing his Jerusalem residency and all access to the
city of his birth.
Palestinians say it has never been easy to get
a residency permit to move from the West Bank to East Jerusalem.
But in 2003, as the intifada raged on, Israel passed an emergency
measure which effectively ended the process of "family reunification",
citing security concerns.
Around the same time, Israel was also
building a vast barrier through the West Bank which has since cut off
most of East Jerusalem from the rest of the occupied territories, making
access to the Holy City without a permit even harder.
when Sana's permit ran out, she received an order expelling her from
"Since then, I've been living illegally with my
husband and children in Jerusalem," the 31-year-old told AFP.
left Jerusalem for a short period, but then I snuck back in and began
living in hiding with my husband and children, who have permits," she
Her life, she says, has become a nightmare of constant
fear. Turning the corner in a certain neighborhood could bring her
face-to-face with a security official who could send her back to Hebron,
separating her from her children.
"I barely leave the house," she
told AFP. "I only go out to go to the doctor or to meet my children's
teachers. When I'm near an area with police or soldiers, I feel
"I'm constantly worried -- afraid that the police will
raid our neighborhood and find me in the house and arrest me, expel me
and keep me from my children," she said.
Hassan Jabareen, the
founder of Arab-Israeli rights group Adalah, says the situation for
people in Sana's position has worsened dramatically since 2003.
"A law was passed that prevents Israeli citizens from living as a family
if they marry Palestinians from the occupied territories or citizens of
Iran, Iraq, Syria or Lebanon," he explained.
'We live isolated'
"The situation now is much worse than in the past. We petitioned the
Supreme Court years ago but have yet to receive a ruling."
emergency legislation has never been repealed and this past week,
Israel's cabinet extended it for a further six months at the request of
Interior Minister Eli Yishai.
The legislation affects two groups:
Arab-Israelis married to Palestinians from the West Bank or Gaza, and
Jerusalem residents who marry spouses without permission to live in the
In a 2006 report, Israeli rights group B'Tselem found that
Israel had refused to process more than 120,000 requests for family
reunification. The group accused Israel of using the policy "to prevent
the further increase of the Arab population in Israel in order to
preserve the Jewish character of the state."
For Sana, the policy
has meant missing both happy and sad family moments, including when her
mother became sick with the cancer that would eventually kill her.
"I didn't go to visit her when she was ill with liver cancer because
I feared losing my children if I couldn't come back from Hebron. I only
went when she died," she said.
"My brothers got married and I
couldn't go to their weddings. And when my father was admitted to
hospital a month ago, I also didn't go to visit. He died a week ago and
I only went on the day of his death. It was devastating."
snuck back into Jerusalem by taxi, using back roads that are regularly
patrolled by Israeli troops.
"On the way back I was feeling two
things -- sorrow over my father's death and fear at the thought the
soldiers might shoot at us," she admitted.
Huda, 33, the life described by Sana is a familiar one.
married her husband in Jerusalem 16 years ago, and was initially issued
a yearly residency permit that allowed her to stay in the city.
But 10 years later, her husband was convicted by an Israeli court for
his activities with Fatah, the party of President Mahmoud Abbas, and
sentenced to five years in jail prison.
"They stopped issuing my
permit and instead issued an order expelling me," she said.
then, Huda has been living illegally in Jerusalem, and speaks of having
to "smuggle" herself back home after rare trips to Bethlehem to see her
"One time I was with a group of women in the mountains
and we ran into an army patrol. They forced us to go back to
Bethlehem... and they mocked us as we walked back, making herding noises
like we were sheep."
Like Sana, she has been forced to keep her
distance from her West Bank hometown.
"I don't visit my family
except in cases of serious illness or a death because I know what I will
face on the road. It's tragic, my family lives 20 minutes away by car
and I can't visit them," she said.
"We live isolated. Neither my
brothers nor my sisters visit us, whether the occasion is happy or sad."
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