Palestinian family encircled by illegal settlement

6. Palestinian Family 1
Palestinian Saadat Sabri Gharib is pictured with family members between Israeli-built barriers that lead to his house on July 19, 2022. (Photos: AFP)

BEIT IJZA, Palestinian Territories — An 8m high metal fence surrounds the Gharib family home in the occupied West Bank. To reach it they must pass through a gate remotely controlled by Israeli occupation forces.اضافة اعلان

Since Israel seized the territory in the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, an illegal Jewish settlement has sprung up on surrounding land claimed by the family leaving them isolated in their single-story house on the edge of the Palestinian village of Beit Ijza.

“I don’t know when this will end,” sighed Sa’adat Gharib. “No one knows the pain my children are suffering.”

For years the family home stood amid swathes of farmland, but now it lies behind a yellow gate, controlled by Israeli forces, who also patrol a narrow bridge overlooking the 8m fence.

“During these years we’ve had a tough life,” said Gharib, 40, who works for the Palestinian Authority in nearby Ramallah.

When he was a child, the illegal Jewish settlement of Givon Hahadasha was built partially on land he says belonged to his family.

Decades on, the high fence separates the Gharib house from the Israelis’ red-roofed homes and gardens. A communal space for the settlers, with a children’s slide, has been placed a few meters away.

Settlements are deemed illegal by most of the international community.

This aerial view shows the house of the Gharib family (center) surrounded by barriers erected by the Israeli occupation forces in the illegal Jewish settlement of Givon Hahadasha north of Jerusalem, bordering the West Bank Palestinian village of Beit Ijza, on July 19 2022.

The Gharib family has fought numerous legal battles in Israeli courts, in 2012 winning the right to a small strip of the land they claim.

“The settlers built a parking lot and a park, and we’ve needed the security forces to implement (the decision) and retrieve it for 10 years,” said Gharib.

The yellow gate leading to the house was installed back in 2008, Gharib said, and at one point the family had to hold up their IDs to security cameras to cross the threshold.

“(We) appealed to the high court ... and the court permitted us to have the gate open all the time,” Gharib said.

“Disputes have broken out between us and the settlers,” said Gharib, who lives with his wife and four children, as well as his mother.

Gharib has hung blue tarpaulins to create a screen between his home and the Givon Hahadasha settlement. “So that the kids can play without being bothered by the settlers and fearing them,” he explained.

Gharib said the situation has affected his children, particularly when there are clashes between Palestinians and Israeli occupation forces nearby.

“My daughter couldn’t sleep all night, for five hours, and she was afraid of the security forces that were stationed at the door of the house,” said Gharib, recalling one incident.

Despite the difficulties, he still strives to harvest the family’s olive trees.

To do so, he said he has to coordinate with the Israeli forces and take a circuitous route through the neighboring Palestinian village of Bayt Duqu. Once there, Gharib said he must wait “an hour or two” for soldiers to open another gate.

Gharib remains determined to stay on his land: “This is our land which my father inherited from my grandfather. We will not sell it to anyone for all the money in the world.”

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