Diaspora, division, occupation, prison, deportation, refuge have all been part of every Palestinian’s life, especially with a 50 year old occupation that keeps tearing families apart.
Sa’diyya Karaja, mother of seven, tells her story of occupation-torn family while in tears.
Originally from Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, Karajah was married in Gaza in 1981, where she had to change her place of residence from Bethlehem to Gaza.
When the family moved to Bethlehem in 1996, Israel refused to change her ID address back to Bethlehem. In 2011, the family applied to change their place of residence but Israel refused due to security ban.
Now, she and her family are considered to be living in the West Bank illegally, since Israel refused to change their address or give them permissions to go to Gaza.
Three out of her six sons were imprisoned; two of them are still in prison and one of them is deported. The three were reportedly charged with stone throwing and participating in protests against Israel.
Her oldest son, Mohammad Karajah, was sentenced to 17 years in prison in 2004 and is still in Megiddo Israeli jail.
The younger, Hassan, was sentenced to 15 months in prison in 2006. When the family was waiting for him to return home after he finished his sentence, Israel sent him to Gaza since his ID said that the address was Gaza. He has been deported there since October 2016, and the family has not seen him or his two kids since then.
Hassan now lives in Nsseirat camp in central Gaza, unemployed.
Her third son, Mamdouh Karajah, aged 17, was arrested last year and sentenced to 10 months in jail and a fine of 12,000 shekels ( approximately $3,300), or else he would spend another six months in jail.
“Thank God for internet so I can see my child,” Sa’diyya told PNN. “I haven’t seen him or his kids for years, I haven’t had a single sit down or birthday celebration with them.”
“We feel paralyzed. We cannot move or do anything. We can’t leave the West Bank, and my son can’t leave Gaza.”
Sa’diyya said the only thing that would put the family out of its misery is having their address changed to Bethlehem so they can move and be able to meet, after years of deprivation and suffering.
This is one of many stories of Palestinians who suffer from being unable to see their families due to Israeli barriers and ongoing oppression.