Location: Qiryat Arba
Members of household: 19
Abdul Kareem is formerly an iron monger. He and his wife live with their three daughters and seven sons, two of whom are married and live in the family home with their wives and children. The eldest son and his wife have two boys, one girl, and are expecting twins. The second son and his wife have two daughters. (Three daughters are married and live elsewhere with their families.)
The land on which they live has been in the family for generations. Abdul Kareem built the house in 1998 when settlers began to take the land. Before this they lived in the Jabari area, close to Abdul Kareem’s father. He has been offered a blank cheque for his property but he refused. It was at this point that the problems and violence really began. Abdul Kareem now rarely leaves the house because he is too scared for the safety of his family. As a result he can no longer work as an ironmonger.
Since its construction, the family home has constantly been under attacks from settlers. The family had to build a wall around the house in 2005/6 to stop the settlers from coming in to open or break the door and windows. Everyone was terrified and used to hide under the beds. While they were building, soldiers and settler came and tried to stop them. When Abdul Kareem built a new building next to the house all the settlers came here to pray. They want this house.
The land outside the walls of their house belongs to the family as well. The land on which the Javara or Givat Ha’avot settlement is built is the family’s land, and so is the currently open field that lies directly between the two settlements. There is now an outpost settlement tent on this land where the settlers pray and throw parties. The Jabari family grows food for their sheep on this land, but sometimes the settlers set it on fire, usually just when it is ready to harvest. Twice the settlers have stolen their sheep and also their ducks. When Abdul Kareem tried to stop them from taking his sheep, soldiers held him back.
In 2000 the main street Wadi al-Hussein was closed to both Palestinian pedestrians and traffic by military order. In 2002 it was reopened for pedestrians only, and settlers would still attack them with stones. There are now four checkpoints that surround the home, enclosing approximately 200 Palestinian families in between the two settlements Qiryat Arba and Givat Ha’avot. A week before this interview was conducted, this area was totally closed off to traffic by putting up concrete blocks. There is now only one road leading in and out of the area – this is Wadi al-Hussein, which Palestinian vehicles cannot use.
All members of the family have been to the hospital at some point because of settler violence. At one point settlers threw tear gas into the house, and as a result a pregnant woman inside required medical care. In 1998/9 a settler stabbed one of Abdul Kareem’s sons in the stomach. The settlers throw stones if the soldiers leave. Before the intifada, settlers punched one of the brothers in the eye, and on a separate occasion in 2001/2 they threw Abdul Kareem off a hill, breaking his arm.
In 2008 settlers threw stones at the house during the wedding party of one of Abdul Kareem’s sons. Soldiers came into the house and one soldier held another one of the sons (the one who was stabbed in 1999). He held the son’s arms behind his back and ordered the settlers to throw stones at him. Settler women came and attacked his sister who was filming the incident. They both had to be taken to hospital and a number of the guests were arrested.
In 2009, Abdel Kareem’s daughter Ayat was walking up to the house when settlers threw a stone at her head, concussing her. An ambulance was called but it took 2 and a half hours to arrive. The ambulance driver said that he had arrived at the checkpoint 4 minutes after the call but had been detained there for the remaining amount of time. Because she missed a meeting whilst in hospital, Ayat lost her job as a science teacher. She has mostly been out of work since then.
The children have a lot of difficulties going to school to the extent that only one daughter currently goes to school. The sons do not go to school. Three of the sons, aged 28, 25 and 14, have physical disabilities affecting their legs and chest, and another son has one leg which is shorter than the other. They do not receive specialist medical care, since there are none in the West Bank.
Outside of the family, but living next to the Jabari family, some neighbours wear the full veil and are particularly in danger to settlers attacking them, ripping their veils off and even trying to run them over. The girls wearing the hijab are however also at risk of having it pulling off them. Three of the daughters stopped going to school because it became too difficult to get there.