Translated by, Saed Bannoura

Mansour Ahmad is a 54 years old man from Hebron, south of the West Bank, tells a story which started in 1967, and never ended…

“As you all know, we fled to Jordan in 1967 because of the occupation, shortly after the war and occupying the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, my brothers, Abdel-Nabi Ahmad Al-Jo’ba, who was 22, and Mohammad, who was 13, and known as “Ribhi”, in addition to the four brothers of my mother, my uncles, Farhat Al-Sha’rawi, 23, Mohammad, 12 Ratib, 7 and Saadi, 21 years old.

The story started when all the above mentioned tried to come back home…they were all arrested by the borders guards, shortly afterwards, we knew that they were held in a Hotel, near the Dead Sea, which was transferred to a prison.

We received a telegram from the head of the police department in Hebron, that they were in Jericho…we went there, but they we couldn’t find them, we contacted several organization, and the Red Cross which confirmed that they are in an Israeli detention camp, we felt like we are circling around without any aim…or direction.

“It’s like chasing a phantom or a mirage”, he added.

“We went to the head of prisons”, he added, in Jaffa street, in Jerusalem, he denied that he had ever heard of them, or where they are, after a long discussion he hinted that they are at Al-Ramla detention camp.

“Like a man in the midst of the sea, we, yet once again, found a hay which, we felt that it might save us”, he added.

We went to Al-Ramla, arriving their, we were told that we need a permission from the Military Governor in Hebron, his name was Ofer Ben David, we head back to Hebron again, and asked for the permission,

“We received a closed envelope, and were asked not to open it and to hand it to the prison administration in Al-Ramla, and when we arrived to Al-Ramla detention, we were ordered to leave! Or else…they will shoot us!”

“All the doors were closed, we did not know what to do…one day we managed to meet Moshe Dayan, who was a Minister of defense, at that time, and he ordered the military governor to grant us the needed permission…”

At that time roomers and news were in hundreds…mostly conflicting with each other, sometimes we received information that my two sisters and four brothers are in this detention…or that…until we knew that a detainee, who was imprisoned at Al-Ramla detention, is in Ramallah, so we went there, and met him.

“He confirmed that they were alive, we in a good health in Al-Ramla detention”

“On 1-11-1969, two years after we lost contact with other relatives, my father Ahmad Al-Jo’ba died; he could not fulfill his dream to see his sons.. and hold them again”

Mansour, filled with sadness, continued, “we continued our searches, once in Bir Al-Sabe’ detention, once in Nahfa, Atleet…our only aim and target was to locate them, we used to imagine them in every room, everywhere, and time passed, every day that passes without locating them made us feel older…”

“In 1975, Khalil Sha’rawi, the father of Saadi died, every time a father of one of the lost men died, we felt more sad and filled with agony…How much we wanted to meet them…before we meet God”, he added.

Mansour, who told the story, said, “I swear, I even remember what they were wearing when they were arrested, every one who known what humanity is, knows very well, how precious a brother is, what destiny is this…what fate, which deprived us from seeing them, and holding them, who is responsible of their disappearance…millions of questions, yet to be answered…”

‘In 1980, Mohammad Khalil Sha’rawi, the father of Farhat, died,’ he added.

After a silence of relief… and a sigh mixed with bitterness, longing and yearning…his tear sneaked down exhausted from a journey of 37 years…he became alone, his father, who used to carry the burden and grief with him, died…Today his duty is harder, and more complicated, since “You can’t clap with one hand”…

Mansour, believes that his brothers, as well as his four missing relatives, are still alive, at the end we could not find a word to conclude this story of misery and bitterness, one thing is for sure though…Mansour will not be tried or bored, he will continue his search as long as he is alive, as long as he is on this land, which gave birth to him and his brothers who were lost in it,

“One day, we will meet again, God willing… we will meet, but the question is, when… and where??!!