Abu Haikal family

Location: Tel Romeida
Members of household: Three brothers and their families live in two houses on the land. Two parents and their five children live in the first house, the other two brothers and their respective families in the other, nine in each.

The family have lived on this land for generations. In 1985 the first wave of settlers came to the area, living in caravans, and the trouble began for the family. In 1994 a military base was built next to the house, and in 2003 a new house was built for the new settlers in Tel Romeida. The Abu Haikal family’s land is right next to this settlement and their home is surrounded by Israeli cameras. There is a small military monitoring post in the corner of their land. They have problems accessing their olive trees on the land. The soldiers often prevent them from walking to the trees, especially during the olive-picking season in November. During the 2nd Intifada in 2000, IOF soldiers used this post on the family’s land to shoot down into the Qub al Jameb neighbourhood, and they blew up two homes from this point. They cut off the tops of the family’s olive trees to have a clearer view, and the soldiers fired machine guns all through the night and prevented the family from sleeping. This meant that the family members were constantly keeping low to protect themselves from any gunfire.

Israeli settlers attacked the home before and during the Intifada. Now they are attacked less frequently, but there are still attacks. They have had put up fences in front of the windows because of how often the settlers throw stones. In May 2000, a group of approximately 50 settlers tried to enter the house. One settler sent two gunshots into the air. The group was comprised of settlers living in Hebron and settlers from a tour group from outside Hebron. Settlers come to Hebron from all over the West Bank during festivals and holidays to show support for and solidarity with the Hebron settlement project.

In 2000, the IOF arrested four family members from the home. They were in jail for three or four days each, and they had to pay a lot of money for their release.

Every time there is a new patrol in the area (every three to four months), the home is raided by IOF soldiers. They usually come after midnight, force everyone outside (even in the middle of winter), check everyone’s IDs, and then search through everything in the house without saying what they are looking for. This happened even more frequently during the 2nd intifada — in 2006 the soldiers would pay a visit three or four times a week.

The year 2000 held the most trouble for the family. Most of the family members were refused permission to travel to Jerusalem and to leave the West Bank. They felt that Israel was trying to subject them to the worst circumstances to pressure them into leaving their home. Although they are still denied permission to go to Jerusalem, they feel they are under less pressure now than before.

Living in H2 has many implications for their daily lives. At the beginning of each day, when they are on their way to work or school, soldiers stop them to check their IDs, sometimes stopping them for an hour for no reason. They face the same thing at the end of the working day. Blocks of concrete 200m away from their house mean that they have not been permitted to bring their own cars onto their land since the beginning of the intifada in 2000. They have to use a trolly to bring heavy loads into their house. The closure to traffic of Tel Rumeida Street down to Bab a-Zawiya, and a-Shuhada street through to Wadi al-Hussein, is a great obstacle for travelling anywhere.

Despite the difficulties they face, the family have never considered moving.

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