I think tonight I won’t be able to sleep a wink. I was born in the village of Silwad in the West Bank and have lived here my whole life. My father had farmland which he cultivated for many years with hard work. There were fruit trees on the various plots – there was a fig grove, olive groves and other fruit. When I was a little girl, my father sat me on a donkey to take me to those plots. After my father died, my brothers and I inherited the land. In 1996, Israeli settlers built the outpost they call “Amona” on it.
Evacuating the invaders from my land is an especially exciting day for me. I’ve waited so many years for this moment and I always believed it would come eventually. That’s all I wanted, and I still just want to return to my plots safely and peacefully, legally and without any problems with anyone.
I’ve never understood, how could the settlers come, take my land and tell me it was God’s will? That’s land confiscation. They took my land against my will. I’m glad it’s finally over. Our struggle to return our land was long and exhausting and we succeeded thanks to our patience and fortitude, our belief in our just cause and the help of those who stood by us and supported us on this long journey all these years.
It’s hard for me to express my feeling in words. What I’d like to do is go outside and hand out candy to all the people in my village, I’m so happy because I’m about to return to my land and go back to farming it again, and I want to share this special moment with my family and neighbors. I’m so excited that I’m positively floating with joy.
I haven’t been to my land in 20 years. But I still remember the days before the settlers came. How we’d stay on the land and work until evening. Apart from fruit trees, we planted tomatoes, cucumbers, fakus and okra. The soil was very fertile and gave us abundant, rich crops. The fact that my land has been returned to me takes me back to my childhood days, to family memories, love and happiness. That’s a special feeling, I wish it on anyone who has lost land or anything else. After many years, I feel my belief and confidence in life returning to me.
After years of expectation and waiting, I can’t wait for the moment I’ll work on my land again like I used to. I’ve already prepared the wheat and lentils for sowing, and even the tools I’ve kept over the years.
Law Enforcement Authorities’ decision upon conclusion of investigation
July 2019: The land where the outpost was built and then removed from is defined a “closed military zone” and Israel continues to prevent the Palestinian landowners from accessing their land.