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Oral History

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Showing 1 - 20 from 33 entries

> Palestinian Women in Resistance
> Mary van Teeffelen-Morcos: Mary's anger
> Violette Lama, Rachel's Tomb area
> Talal Barham, Rachel's Tomb area
> Nicola, restaurant owner at Rachel's Tomb
> Michael and Linda Costa Halabi, Rachel's Tomb...
> Antoinette Knesevich
> Life in Beit Sahour : Jaela Andoni’s Story
> Alexandar Qamar, Aida Camp-Rachel's Tomb area
> Makram al Arja - Everest restaurant in Beit Jala
> Shliby, living at Rachel's Tomb area
> Interview with Claire, living in Rachel's Tomb area
> Marwan, living in the Rachel's Tomb area
> Melvina, on the history of the Rachel's Tomb area
> Dima, a young architect,, about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Antoinette Kinesivich about the Rachel's Tomb area
> Shafiq al-Hout's Story
> A Doctor in Galilee
> My Utopian Jaffa
> Some Personal Recollections: Sixty Years Since 1948
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Shliby, living at Rachel's Tomb area
submitted by Arab Educational Institute

Interview Nina Koevoets
June 2008

Shibly owns a souvenir shop with his brother at the end of the former main street in Bethlehem now a few meters from the Wall.

They started to build the Wall in 2002 during the 2nd intifada. First there was a fence and than they came with these big concrete blocks. The wall was built within 3 days! In the beginning there was a lot of fighting in the streets, there were clashes between the army and the people. When they start building the Wall it was declared a military zone; Palestinians could not go there and see what was going on. You know that Sharon was even against the plan at first? Because the Wall puts limit to the Israeli state. But finally he agreed.

As you can see the Wall is only about 5 meters from our shop and we have to look at it all day now. It affects your emotional well-being, your economic situation; everything! This was the main street of Bethlehem, where all the tourists and people from the village crossed. It was a very lively area, although that’s hard to imagine now. It was the centre of all economiclife of Bethlehem. Now it’s a dead area and people rarely come here; they take another street. So we don’t sell as much as we did before. Sometimes there is a group of tourists, if we have a special deal with the tour guide, but it’s not very often. We do some special services, like bringing large quantities directly to people’s homes, in their areas. And we also have another shop in Bethlehem.

In addition, the Wall stops us from going outside of the West Bank. The checkpoints stop us from travelling within the West Bank. I have been in America and I felt so free; you can drive for hours and hours without any one telling you to stop. People just let each other live their lives. I was in America with my music band. This band helps me to enjoy life; I love music and it is nice to travel. I would like to live in America… It is such a free country; you can do anything you want and no one is looking at you, everyone just minds his own business.

We cannot do much to change the situation we are in; the governments take decisions, not the normal people. You can go every day to demonstrate against the Wall, but no one will listen to you, nothing will happen. People were demonstrating a lot against the Wall and sometimes they still do, but the government of Israel just ignores these people and the international community is not doing anything either. Maybe you can try to persuade your government, because if Europe would pressure Israel, it can help. But will I see the Wall fall? Maybe my grandchildren. Right now it does not seem as if Israel is trying to change anything; on the contrary they are building more and more. But of course I still have hope. Without hope you cannot live! I hope that the times will get better. Maybe there won’t be a solution or an end to the occupation, but maybe it will be better than it is now.

We must help each other. In my family that has been also very important. Like me and my brother, we always try to help each other and that is how we can survive.

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