The images and words below show the beliefs and experiences of Palestinian children facing the Apartheid Wall and Israeli Occupation.
The statements of the children of Nazlet Issa, who have created the drawings and given their testimonies, are one of the most genuine expressions of our peopleâs suffering and determination to obtain liberation. It shows how deeply our souls are rooted in this land and in the struggle for freedom and justice.
Nazlat Issa is located in the North of the West Bank next to the Green Line.
The village has been divided since 1948, but the communities kept alive the ties within the village until today. In an attempt to disrupt this unity among Palestinians on both sides of the Armistice Line, the Wall has been built right down the middle of the village, separating families and neighbors, shopkeepers and customers from their markets, people from their work, and children from their schools. 216 shops and houses have been demolished close to where the Wall has been built. 600 out of the previously existing 1,200 shops had to close.
The devastating effects of these actions are felt everywhere. The village’s children have been deprived of their childhood and their lives have changed forever.
âIt was a sunny and nice day when the soldiers started demolishing houses in the villages around Nazlet Issa. They destroyed or demolished the houses that made building the wall difficult and that were in their way. They started from the morning. From that time everything turned dark in my memory.
The nice things were not as nice as they were before and while the Israeli military kept on destroying there were an announcement in the mosque asking the women and children to go away from the houses that would be destroyed. At that time I thought they would destroy all the houses in my village so I couldnât stand up. Because I thought we would be left without a home. Ideas came to my mind without stopping. I couldnât keep my fear away.
I wanted to start crying but my brother told me about everything. Only the houses near the wall would be destroyed. I felt a little bit more comfortable. But one thing bothered me. Some people will miss their homes and will feel like I felt before…â
âIt was the darkest day of my life. It was the day of the wedding party for one of the Palestinian youth in the village, Moin Mahmoud Assad. The soldiers came when he had his party. They demolished his house the same day.
Some people came to the party and said: âThere are a lot of Israeli tanks and big bulldozers. They want to destroy your house.â All the people ran to the house and they began to talk to the Israeli commander to discuss with him if they could take something from the house. The man whose house was about to be demolished cried. He refused to leave the house and he told the people: âIf they want to destroy my house they can do it on my head.â But some of the Palestinian youth they held him and got him out of the house. You cannot imagine the scenery that day.
His sister came. She was married in Kafin and she was there for the party. But the party didn’t finish because they demolished his house. A beautiful house but that was the end of the wedding party. They demolished his house.â
âThey occupied the land and uprooted the trees. People have no work. The teachers can’t reach the school because of the Wall. They stopped me from being in a wedding party for my aunt in Baqa Gharbiyya.â
âWow, it was a very beautiful day. Sunny and springtime. But it was also a sad day because the Israeli army started to build the Apartheid Wall. This wall destroyed our life. Before the Wall we went to visit our relatives in the villages around our village and we bought things from those villages.
Then they started to build this Wall. We wanted to see what they were doing to know what was going on. We saw the Israeli tanks and bulldozers. They destroyed the houses, the buildings, the supermarkets and uprooted the trees.
Oh, my god… I looked at all of these people and at what they were doing. They were crying and crying and crying because they demolished their houses. The Israeli army confiscated their land and uprooted their trees. Some of them were very angry because they destroyed their supermarkets. They demolished many and closed others of them because they want to build this fucking wall.
And now we cannot visit our relatives on the other side of the Wall. We cannot buy anything in our village because they closed all supermarkets in our village. We need to go to Tulkarem. We cannot go to our land either. So we are living in this small village, we donât find the things we need and we lost all of our rights.
We live in a very scary village because of the Wall which is very close to our house.â
Aiya Jamil Ahmed, 12
“This wall has been built and had many bad effects. Unfortunately all the people have faced problems because they didn’t plan for this kind of future. They didn’t know what would happen because of the Wall.
People lost their jobs and started living as unemployed. Some people can’t find meat, bread or any kind of food or drink. People’s salaries and profits of their products are a fourth of what they used to be.
Let’s leave these bad effects and let’s talk about what the Wall left for us. This Wall deprived us of our simplest rights as visiting our family or going out of the village even to clubs or gardens so we are now like birds in a cage. If they want to let us go they will or if they want to keep us inside they will do that. We begin to wish we loose our life because there is no hope for tomorrow.
There are also other bad effects. We can’t move if we don’t have “permission”. The soldiers start to walk in our village. We cannot sleep because we are terrified. Many things come into my mind. Will they kill us or bomb us or enter our houses? Or will they force us to leave our homes?
This Wall has become like a nightmare entering my mind every night.”
Basma Fadel, 14
âA bad accident happened â¦ but no one noticed it. Things became worse after the Annexation Wall or the Apartheid Wall as they call it.
This is a permanent prison that will leave us as slaves because people didnât save any coins or money from their salaries but they wasted it for worthless things. And then the disaster happened: The building of the Wall. So from that day no fathers went to work. No mothers visit their family. The children canât go to school. No teachers, engineers or workers are happy anymore, not even the bride experience happiness on her wedding day. Kids are forced to leave their schools. The baby is prevented from being breastfed by its mother because she has to leave to work from 4 oâclock in the morning till 7 oâclock in the evening. How long will this poison continue?
Every person has been affected and I hope to see Palestine free of any harm.â
Hanan Awwad Abdel Wahab Hussein, 14
âWe cannot see our relatives and friends in Baqa Gharbiyya. The Wall stops the kids from going to their school. Farmers cannot go to their land. Houses were demolished in order to build the Wall. They changed the view of the nature. Workers and other people cannot pass the gate if they do not have permission. They confiscated the land in order to build the Wall.â
The above are excerpts from âThe Wall Through the Eyes of Palestinian Childrenâ. The stories told here and some of the drawings were produced during Child Rights Advocacy Workshops in Nazlet Issa. The remaining drawings were made in Azzoun by Tamer Institute for Community Education in June 2005.