Ni’meh Abu Zaharah, mother of eleven, has been prevented from visiting her daughter since 2005.  This testimony was documented by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.

Before the intifada, my husband and I worked in the Jordan Valley picking fruit. We were paid on a day-by-day basis. We had worked there for more than a decade. Many residents of our village worked for daily wages in the Jordan Valley because our village is small and jobs aren’t available. In addition to the wages, our employers also gave us some of the harvest, which meant that we saved on buying fruits and vegetables.

About three years ago, the Israeli army began to prohibit non-residents of the valley to cross the Hamra checkpoint. When they did that, we lost our source of livelihood. Our situation has deteriorated badly. My husband looked for work but couldn’t find any. He borrowed money to buy a car that he uses to transport goods to the grocery stores in the village, and to transport dairy products during the spring. But this work didn’t bring in enough money, and he has been unable to repay the loan.

I don’t know why the army refuses to let us go to the Jordan Valley . I think that they simply want to humiliate us. Maybe they want us to starve to death.

I have a daughter, Hiba, who is seventeen. In 2003, she married a man from Jiftlik. Since they got married, nobody in my family has been able to visit her, not even during the holidays, because the army doesn’t let us cross the Hamra checkpoint. Even when my daughter gave birth to her first child, I did not succeed in visiting her and my grandchild to see how they were. I didn’t get to see my daughter until two months after she gave birth, when she came to us.

About two weeks ago, she gave birth to her second child, by Caesarean section, but I can’t visit her. I went to the checkpoint and prayed to God that the soldiers would let me cross, but they didn’t. I told one of the soldiers at the checkpoint that my daughter lived in Jiftlik and that she had given birth by Caesarean section, and that the only thing I wanted was to see her. I begged him to let me cross, and promised to return within an hour, but he didn’t let me cross. I told him that I would leave my ID card with him as a guarantee that I would return when he told me. He refused this offer as well. I returned home crying, I was so distressed.

Ni’meh ‘Ali Abu Zahara, 45, is married, unemployed, and a resident of a-Nassariya, Nablus District. Her testimony was give to Salma Deba’i in a-Nassariya, on 22 January 2006.