My story begins before my birth when my mother and father left their village, Beit Dajan, near Jaffa. They were forced to leave this beautiful village in 1948 and head for the West Bank. During that agonizing journey, my mother, in her ninth month of pregnancy, gave birth in a small, remote village without any medical help. Her first born daughter was called "Herbiah," (sp?) a reminder of the war that erupted at the time.
They settled in Nablus. My father began working to support his small family, but in 1967 the Israeli entity conquered what was left of Palestine. My father joined the Liberation Organization, the Fatah movement, and armed activities. After five years of resistance to the occupation, he was arrested and placed in Nablus Central Prison.
I was three when my mother took me to visit my father in Nablus prison. I remember that visit with all its details. It was the first time I had seen my father behind bars when he had nothing but those light-filled looks, his brave smile and his great belief in his way. To my mother, who wept in pain, he said in a sharp, courageous voice: "I had no other option, my love, do not cry and look after yourself and your children." Then he looked at me with a heroic look and said, "Take care of your mother and be a man."
After a few months, the government decided to deport my father abroad, and this was the second time that he was forced to leave his land, home and homeland, but this time he was expelled from his beloved wife and family. My mother decided not to leave. She died in Nablus in 2013.
I grew up in the shadow of my father's absence, with the promise to resist the occupation. I had been in activities since I was 12. My first experience was when I was injured in the leg and was arrested in my school in 1986. I was 15. I was sent to Al-Far'a prison. After that I joined the Fatah movement and was active in it especially at the beginning of the first intifada.
Every time I was arrested, the love for my country and the desire to resist the occupation increased. Until the second intifada began in 2000, when I got married and my wife and I began to think about our life in a positive way. Our dream was to live with dignity and to raise our children with pleasure.
I felt that the constant violence must be stopped and that there was no choice but to find other ways to solve the issue between us and the other side. I began to look for a horizon that could bring security to us and to our children.
Two years ago I heard about the organization Combatants for Peace through my partner. When I sat with them, Palestinians and Israelis, I found in them what I was looking for and I was convinced of them and their principles. WE joined them with the hope of finding a solution to the conflict that has been going on for decades, in nonviolent ways.