Visit to the Villages, November 9, by Edna M.

Participants: Erella, Uri, Edna, Buma, Amnon and Naftali (Erella’s cousin from the US).

As usual we met on a fallafel in Kafr Kassem, and from therein two cars to the villages. We stopped at the Hawwara DCO, where we submitted the form on which we signed a waiver for the IDF from responsibility to us while we are there – this is the condition for them allowing us to go in.

Deir El Hattab

M. arrived with his car and we squeezed into it. In the villages we split. Uri, Buma and Amnon were driven straight to H., the land owner to whose lands – including the spring – the Elon More settlers have invaded. The owner signed power of attorney papers, to enable us submit a complaint, both to the Civil Administration (a government body supposed to protect Palestinians under its own Occupation – what a joke), and to the Yesh Din NGO, that works precisely on cases like this to try and enforce accountability in the Occupied Territories.

Erella, Naftali and myself first went to see M.’s family. Two weeks earlier, they had a baby girl born in C-Section. We were moved to meet the baby, the still-weak mother N., the grandmother, an Occupation-battered woman (one son killed during the Intifada, M. who was injured returning from work in Israel, and recently her husband who was beaten in an internal strife) – and all the rest of M. and N’s Kids, whom we know well and who were happy to see us. We brought presents to the baby (whose name has yet to be agreed upon), and sat with them for about an hour. I was glad to hear that M.’s parents received the bed sent to them with the truck, and saw that M. has the stereo and a small TV at home. He added that the cupboards have not been assembled yet, and that the clothes we sent were distributed among many.

M. spoke about his son, who suffers from delayed growth. They are on queue to receive a diagnosis in Israel. We also discussed M.’s personal health problem, and we advised him to try and continue follow-up in a Jerusalem hospital specializing in orthopedic problems.

Then M. took us to A.’s family. The wife, R. and the kids were delighted to see us. Erella brought a donation from Phil, to help the older kids finish their college studies. The meeting was heart-warming. R. is an amazing woman. The love and warmth radiating from her have touched our hearts. The children are all beautiful and well taken care of. And this, in a bare-walled hovel from which the man has been absent for nearly five years (he is imprisoned in Israel). You will hear no bitterness from R., no complaint or plea. Only joy and thanks for what she has been blessed with (her children, us…) We stayed for a while, then continued in the taxi which the older son proudly drove (he just got a driver’s license) – on to Salem.

Salem

We first visited J.’s family. Missing were H. who stayed that weekend in Betlehem, and D. the older sister, who is graduating from computer science in college this year. S., the other daughter, was very excited to see us and was in an especially cheerful mood. We talked about personal matters. She has a year and a half left to graduate college, and two boys interested in her – and she has to choose🙂 We also discussed helping her complete her studies.

Her mom’s sister, whom we met for the first time, asked us to try and help her obtain a permit to visit her husband, who is jailed in Israel for 4 years already. She hasn’t seen him for 8 months, and does not know where he is jailed. She has no contact with him and doesn’t understand why her visit requests have been refused. Her brother is also jailed, in Ze’elim prison near Beersheba. We undertook to deal with this urgently (via the DCO and the Hotline NGO ).

H. had just undergone an appendecitis operation. He lied on the bed in the living room, surrounded by friends and notables who came to visit. Everybody smoked as usual, and were quite cheerful. Erella enjoyed her improving ability to converse in Arabic (she is taking twice-weekly lessons, I am so jealous!). Some visitors were Jama’iyye (the local cultural organization) members well known to us. Our dear friend B. also came.

After about an hour, we split again. Naftali and I took a taxi to the checkpoint and from there, drove home (we had a Shabbat eve with the kids and grandkids waiting for us at our home). The rest were invited to lunch with K. I am sure they had a good and tasty time. K. is a very generous host…

written by Edna

(translated by Assaf)

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