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From the field

Testimony: Israel deports mother and two daughters from West Bank to Gaza Strip, June 2007

Kawkab Jallo, 44

Kawkab Jallo

I married Ghazi Shukri Amin Jallo when I was only 13 years old and he was 26. We were both born in Gaza, but in 1996 we moved to Qalqiliya to look for work, and lived there until 29 July 2007. We have eight children, ranging in age from 30 to 10.

On 28 June 2007, I went with two of my daughters, Nisreen, 26, and Fidaa, 14, to visit my eldest daughter, who is married and lives in a-Ram, in East Jerusalem. My daughters and I slept over, and the next morning we left to return to our home in Qalqilya.

On the way, when we were between Jaljuliya and the Qalqilya checkpoint, we were stopped at a flying checkpoint set up by the Israeli occupation forces. The soldiers ordered the taxi driver and us to hand over our ID cards. The driver gave them his, but Nisreen and I didn't have our ID cards, and Fidaa is still too young to have a card. The soldiers searched our bags and found a photocopy of my ID card. Then they ordered the girls and me to get out of the taxi. My ID card still has a Gaza address. After my husband and I and the children moved to Qalqilya, we didn't change the address in our ID cards because we knew that the Israelis didn't allow updating of addresses.

A few minutes after we got out, the soldiers ordered us to get back in. They ordered the driver to follow a jeep, and another jeep drove behind us. Soldiers ordered the driver to stop it an area near a-Tira. I am not familiar with the place. I only recall that there was a yard that was closed with iron posts and netting. We got out and the soldiers ordered us to sit on chairs that were there. From time to time, they called me, and later Nisreen, to a room that had a table and three chairs. One of the soldiers in the room interrogated us. We were there from 8:00 A.M. to 4:00 P.M., when two regular-police patrol vans and an army jeep pulled up. Soldiers ordered me to get into the jeep and the girls into one of the police vans.

We drove for about an hour and a half until we reached Erez Checkpoint. When we realized they were going to deport us, we began to cry. I begged the soldiers not to take me away from my husband and children, who are in Qalqilya. Because I was so frightened and tense, I couldn't stand on my feet. I felt heartbroken and helpless. One of the soldiers told me there wasn't anything that could be done because the decision had already been made to expel us. At the checkpoint, there was a soldier in one of the rooms in the waiting area who spoke rudely to me. When I cried and begged the soldiers, she said, “Shut up. Go on, get out of here. We want to close the checkpoint. Go to Gaza.”

At the checkpoint, two people I think were Shabak (ISA) agents came by. I asked them how I could remain in Gaza while my children and husband were in Qalqilya. The Shabak guy told me that I could go to two Palestinians who are in charge of coordination with the Israelis, one of them Nabil a-Nahal, and the other Ahmad Abu Ghaza, who was in charge of coordinating health matters with the Israelis. I told him I didn't know either of them. I wrote down their names on a piece of paper. Around 7:30 P.M., Nisreen, Fidaa and I left Erez Checkpoint for the Gaza Strip. We went to my brother's house near Khan Yunis. After a few days, we moved to live with my husband's brother in Gaza City. We live in one room sized 3X3 meters.

The day after we arrived in Gaza, I went to the Plaintiff DCL and asked them to coordinate our return to the West Bank. They told me that it was impossible to get a permit to enter Israel, except in the case of ill persons and people who need to undergo medical treatment in Israel.

Since then I have contacted the Civilian Affairs Ministry in Gaza every day, and check if there is something we can do to get back to Qalqilya, but nothing helps.

I don't know why they don't let me return to my children, husband, and house, in which I have lived for twelve years. Since I have been expelled to Gaza, my life has been hell.

Kawkab Ghrayeb Ahmad Jallo, 44, married with eight children, is a homemaker and resident of Qalqilya who was deported to the Gaza Strip. Her testimony was given to Muhammad Sabah at the house of her brother-in-law in Gaza on 5 June 2008.