Translated by: George Rishmawi-IMEMC
After signing the Oslo accords with the Israelis on 1993, thousands of Palestinian families who live in the West Bank and Gaza Strip without Israel permit were relieved.
The Israeli forces were not allowed into the Palestinian Controlled areas, defined as zone ‘A’, so troops can not chase them and deport them out of Palestine, yet they have to stay only in zone ‘A’ all the time.
This situation changed after the second Intifada started especially after March 2002 when the Israeli army decided to invade all the Palestinian areas in what they called the ‘Operation Defensive Shield’.
These families became subject to searches, raids, and arrest then forceful deportation.
Khaled, from Qalqilia describes the psychological conditions his family went through during the invasion of the city in March 2002. Khaled is not allowed by Israel to live in Qalqilia. Therefore, he had to roam the area running away from the army who could deport him if caught him.
‘I was about to go to bed, when I heard the sound of a Helicopter hovering close to my residency, this sound was followed by the roar of tanks as if they were at my door. I jumped out of my bed and ran out of the house, with my bare feet in an indescribable state of fear,’ said Khaled. ‘I did not know my destination, I just moved from one house to the other for four full days’ he added.
Khaled explained how he managed through the four days of invasion. ‘I could not sleep at all, I felt the fear inside me like my blood in my veins, everywhere in my body. I felt like my heart is exhausted and might stop at any time’ Khaled explained.
When asked why all this fear, he smiled and said, ‘Whose hand in the water is not like that whose hand is in fire’ he added, ‘If I get caught, I will not go to prison for some time and then get released, yet, I will be deported and will never be able to come back. This is like executing me, my wife and kids have no job, I am the only source of living for them, how would they live then?’
Khaled also describes the crisis he goes through every time he hears the sound of the military jeeps, which is a daily thing, as a real nightmare.
Salem, another Palestinian from Qalqilia, said, we are like the Mr. ‘X’ we have no address we are unstable on our land, because we are exposed to being deported at anytime we are captured by the army.
I would rather be in jail for some years than to be deported. At least, when I am in jail, I know that I am in my homeland. Being deported means losing everything.
Salem said, ‘Aside from fear and instability, we are deprived of many rights, I mean here, the right to residency and Identity. I and many others like me are unable to obtain driving license because we do not have an Identity Card, besides, I can not register my kids in the official population registration because Israel did not accept to give us family reunification.
The Israeli army deported many Palestinian families during the invasion of the Palestinian areas to the borders with Jordan.
According to a report published in the Israeli news paper ‘Ma’ariv’ there is 57 thousand Palestinians with Jordanian passport live in the West Bank. All are threatened to be deported to the Israeli-Jordanian borders if one soldier asks any of them to see their ID.
The Palestinian authority is not allowed to give anyone family reunification or citizenship in Palestine without the Israeli authorities permitting that first.
Therefore, Israel is the one who decides who is ‘legally’ or ‘illegally’ staying in the Palestinian controlled areas.