Osama ‘Amad Suleiman Hazahaza is seven years old and lives in the village of Far’un, south of Tulkarm. What is happening today to Osama’s family is sadly similar to the experiences of his grandfather, Hajj Suleiman, who was forcefully expelled from his home in the village of Qalansuwa in 1948 by armed Zionist gangs. Now, 60 years on, Osama too faces the threat of expulsion from his home. The Occupation has called for the demolition of his family home, ostensibly because it lacks the proper permit.

***image2***The pair sat together in the shade cast by Hajj Suleiman’s two-story home. The upper part of the house appears incomplete while the lower storey, though finished, lacks paint on the outside. The house is located on a small hill that is cut in half by the Apartheid Wall and overlooks a military base and watchtowers. The voice of Hajj Suleiman greeted us from a distance, and he pointed with his staff to some chairs set up in front of the house. He joined us, while his grandson brought refreshments.

Sitting with his grandson on his lap, al-Hajj let out a sigh of anger. He bowed his head, saying, “They use the permits as a pretext but by the wall[and the demolitions] they mean to destroy us, may God never treat them with kindness.” He refers to the recent demolition orders issued to his two sons Iyad and ‘Amad (Osama’s father) as well their neighbour Bassam. The families have been given four days to evacuate their homes, under the pretext that they are illegally built. But Hajj Suleiman is aware of the real reasons behind the actions of the Occupation.

***image3***Osama is strongly attached to his grandfather, and it would seem that he has overheard the conversations that have taken place between Hajj Suleiman and the people whom have visited in solidarity or for information. Osama has not left his grandfather’s side since the Occupation soldiers arrived and forced him and his family to vacate their home. They have moved most of the home furnishings, out of the fear that they will be destroyed. Osama, listening to his grandfather speak about the soldiers, showed a mix of fear, confusion and resentment. He is aware of what is coming, and his words exhibit both the innocence and courage of the young, “The Jews want to destroy our home…me and my grandfather will guard it and hit them if they return.”

Hajj Suleiman’s grandson, who is part of the fourth generation displaced in the Palestinian Nakba, feels what his grandfather felt 60 years ago. But in his youth, he lacks a complete understanding of what is occurring. Hajj Suleiman’s views, however, are informed by a much longer history; fleeing his home a kilometer and a half from Qalansuwa with its 40 dunums of land; walking on foot to Far’un; sleeping outdoors and later on in tents, the whole time without knowing why. But today, as he tells the story of his displacement, he is well aware that the Occupation has not ceased its project to create ‘a land without a people’. This, he knows, is the driving reason behind the constant killings and demolitions.

Osama was tense when he spoke about the destruction of the home. He was angry and annoyed about the fact that he lives in his uncle’s home where four families share a cramped space. Due to the lack of space, Osama and the other children sleep in a room that is also used for storage, where there is barely enough room for his small bed.

***image4***Hajj Suleiman expressed outrage and indignation about the work of the Occupation. He spoke about the experiences of those in the village who had already lost their homes to the bulldozers. He described them as honest, hardworking men who had invested much in their homes and the security and comfort they provided. Now, with their homes and lands gone, they are crushed by debt and without the resources to provide for their families. Pointing to the ruins of a number of homes that the Occupation had razed last year, he said, "Do you think the owners of these destroyed homes stole the money? I swear today they still owe money and are unable to buy food."

The Nakba is ongoing. While the Wall is in its last stages, settlements continue to be built on the ruins of Palestinian land and lives. Here, the colonizers live in luxury while the rightful owners of the land are prohibited from adding a single stone onto their homes. This is the racist logic of ethnic cleansing, and Hajj Suleiman will continue to both curse and defiantly oppose the Occupation.

Listening to grandfather and grandson, it is possible to begin to comprehend the history of the Occupation, as well as its modern techniques, in all of their manifestations. At just seven years old, already Osama is confronted with the racist crimes of the Occupation, and the challenge of how to resist.





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