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Oral History

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Showing 1 - 20 from 33 entries

> Palestinian Women in Resistance
> Mary van Teeffelen-Morcos: Mary's anger
> Violette Lama, Rachel's Tomb area
> Talal Barham, Rachel's Tomb area
> Nicola, restaurant owner at Rachel's Tomb
> Michael and Linda Costa Halabi, Rachel's Tomb...
> Antoinette Knesevich
> Life in Beit Sahour : Jaela Andoni’s Story
> Alexandar Qamar, Aida Camp-Rachel's Tomb area
> Makram al Arja - Everest restaurant in Beit Jala
> Shliby, living at Rachel's Tomb area
> Interview with Claire, living in Rachel's Tomb area
> Marwan, living in the Rachel's Tomb area
> Melvina, on the history of the Rachel's Tomb area
> Dima, a young architect,, about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Antoinette Kinesivich about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Shafiq al-Hout's Story
> A Doctor in Galilee
> My Utopian Jaffa
> Some Personal Recollections: Sixty Years Since 1948
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Antoinette Kinesivich about the Rachel's Tomb area
submitted by Arab Educational Institute

Antoinette Kinesevich lives quite isolated. She has to drive around the Wall at Rachel’s Tomb that is about 20 meter from her house in order to reach what once was the main street, the Hebron Road.

If you want to know about the wall you have to know what happened previously. Before 1948 we had good relations: Jews and Palestinian Muslims and Christians. We all lived together, sharing love, happiness and sadness. The Hagana that came in 1948 threw the Palestinians out of their country, out of their villages. I remember the massacre in Deir Yassin. When it happened all Palestinians got scared. Many decided to leave their homes and they came to this area. So you can find here many refugees. They thought they would come only for a short period, for a few weeks. And now they still are here: 60 years after the ‘Nakba’, waiting and waiting to return to their homes. In 1967 the Israelis also came here. And since that time we were under the occupation of Israel and the refugees could not return. Before the first intifada (at the end of the 1980s and beginning 19902) I could go to Rachel’s Tomb by foot and enter it from here. But then they put one wall, two walls, three around it. And then the big Wall came after the second intifada started, around 2005 they began to build it. And it caused many problems. Before the checkpoints and the Wall we could go back and forth to Jerusalem without any permissions; it was open for us. Now we have to cross checkpoints. And many people who had their jobs in Jerusalem are now forbidden to go there. We have no freedom of movement. And do you see this road in front of us? Empty! Before it was full of people. This was the best area before the uprising and all the Jews and Palestinians came to buy their things from this area. And now, you see, it is a dead area. We were surprised when they came and started to build the Wall. There were people on our roof who took care of the builders. You cannot imagine how it was for our children. One of my grandchildren was 3 years then. She had fever and was vomiting, so we had to go to the hospital. She was in shock; we thought it was due to fear. Sometimes children see things on the TV and they are afraid. You see the fear in their eyes. And they could hear the bombs falling in the area. My other two grandchildren, twins, came too early because the mother had smelled tear gas. We had to put them in the catheter. One had to stay one month, the other two months. Now they are nervous; for example they move too much in class. It was hard for the mother to have the two babies. We live a hard life, under oppression, occupation. But the Palestinians care for each other: the young adults take care of the older people. So we do not really have to suffer economically. For example personally, I am alone so I live with my brother. His son is working and we eat with the family all together. We do not let the elder people live alone. And then I want to tell you about myself. I belonged to the Anglican Church and was a volunteer there. I arranged the flowers and was active with the women. Now I cannot go to Jerusalem; the Wall separates me from my church, from my life. All my life was in Jerusalem! I was there daily: I worked there at a school as a volunteer and all my friends lived there. I rented a flat but I was not allowed to stay because I do not have the Jerusalem ID card. Now we are retired and have no pension from the government. I feel as if the Wall is built on my heart. I feel very, very sad. Of course I feel sad: they took our land and because of that they took our lives. We were free and living in peace. What happened with us? Why is this Wall there? The Jewish people do not like the Wall either. They say that it is security. Do you see my brother on this picture here? We had land with many olive trees near the checkpoint. The land was in front of the Har Homa hill in the valley there. We inherited it from our great grandfather. This land belonged to us for many, many years, maybe thousand years! And now we cannot go there; they closed it. And it was precious for us; we were living from the land. Palestinians did not put their money on the bank; they invested it in their land. But the Israeli army does not allow us to enter the land anymore. There was a siege and now there is the Wall. It cuts us from our lands. This makes me very sad; we loved our land. We did not sell anything, and we would not have liked that; we wanted to stay on it. My brother saw how they came and took all the olive trees from the land. His face became blue. I put vinegar on it. There was no doctor as it was curfew and no doctor could come here. We were very sad… And angry of course. We are sad in our heart; there is no joy.

Some people immigrated to America. Their children go to the university. Also young people from here now go there. They like it there because there are no checkpoints, no problems. Many parents now are crying as their children who study there do not want to return because of all this. That is difficult.
I do not know if we can change… but with this Wall there will be no peace. Not for us and not for them. We can go and live somewhere else. But it is not possible for Palestinians to go everywhere. And our life is here. I belong to this country and want to stay in my country! Not all persons can leave their country. Maybe letting us leave is the policy of the Israelis, but our roots are here. The Palestinians will stay here. If peace will not come in my life time it will come in the future. Now there are four generations since 1948, and more and more are asking for their land; they are still thinking about it. It has been sixty years since the Nakba and you can see that people are more active now. In the future they will succeed. No one likes it as it is now. No one in the world would. They make us live without liberty. But the day will come where we will all be free. I hope that it will come in my life time. I am seventy-four and I had problems all my life. I am not a refugee, but my land was stolen. The refugees can get something from the UNRWA, but we cannot. Still, the problems are for all Palestinians. Where is the peace? We want to have peace. Also the Israelis want to have peace. Everyone on earth does! At home you want to live in peace, with your husband, your family, your friends and so on. The peace comes from the inside. If you want to have peace you can find it; you have to begin with yourself. Deep inside you can find a small light and this light is the word of God. He has put it into everybody. Even in times of darkness we can find this small candle, this light. It is this light that gives us our hope.

Interview Nina Koevoets
Sumud Story House
October 2008

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