Alexandar Qamar, Aida Camp-Rachel’s Tomb area
Contributed by Arab Educational Institute on 19.10.2011:
By Sytske van Bruggen and Rania Murra
Alexander Qamar is retired. He used to live together with his wife in Katamon, now a Jewish quarter in Jerusalem.
We have one son and one daughter. My sister lived with us as well. We worked 18 years in a factory in Jerusalem, and had also a souvenir shop there. But after the war of 1948, the Israelis didn’t allow us anymore to work in Jerusalem. We had to leave all our properties, went to Bethlehem and settled down in a rented house.
We started a small towel factory. Our business went well, and step by step, we were able to expand our factory. But in 1968 an Israeli officer was killed by Palestinian rebels in front of the factory. The Israeli occupation decided to destroy the factory within 24 hours. We therefore had to move again to another place.
In the same year, the mayor of Bethlehem gave us permission to build a new residence on a piece of land we bought near Aida Camp. We opened a new factory on the first and second floor, and constructed a home on the third floor. The house was built in 38 days.
We bought new machines and were able to hire even more workers. Our products were sent to Tel Aviv, Haifa and Jerusalem.
In 2002, the Separation Wall was constructed. Since then we were not allowed to go to Jerusalem. Moreover, it became much more costly to export our products to Jerusalem, Haifa and Tel Aviv. As a result production decreased dramatically. There was even no money for the salaries of our workers. Then the workers stopped doing their jobs. Finally, there was nothing else left than to close the factory. Here, employees have the right to get financial compensation. Because I did not have enough money, I had to break the machines and sell the iron to pay for the compensation.
So this is my story. Now I am older. I live with my wife and my sister. My son and daughter have their own life. I don’t have any income anymore. I am completely dependent on my son. I wish every day that my son and his family will have a better future. As for me and my wife, we will live on our memories to keep going on and to have patience and hope.