A bitter memory of a child
Ibrahim N. Ebeid
We were living peacefully in our towns and villages until the Zionist entity was created in our Homeland and we were brutally evicted from our homes to make room for the colonialist racist settlers. Thousands of our people were murdered and hundreds of our villages were demolished.
Those foreigners now are living in our homes, on our farms and we were forced to become refugees scattered around the world. Millions of us are living in miserable camps waiting patiently for the conscience of the world to wake up and help them return home.
When I was eleven years old, in Jaffa, I witnessed few Zionist terrorist acts that I have never been able to forget. They dwell in my mind and never depart; they became part of me and my experience of being Palestinian.
Once I was with few kids from my school roaming around in our favorite hideout, in a crowded vegetable market in Jaffa. A pushcart exploded, the explosion was very powerful, few people were killed and scores were wounded, some so seriously, that later on died from the severe wounds.
In intent to blow up “The Barrack”, a large building, used to house some British Police Officers in Jaffa, located in Al Ajami neighborhood, few meters behind our house, the Zionists dressed like Arabs were driving a caravan of camels loaded with bombs hidden under loads of vegetables. The bombs exploded, the camels were killed and their parts were flown all over. Our house was cracked right from the right western corner. Luckily we were not hurt and I wonder if anybody was killed or seriously injured, I do not remember.
Fouad Kobti, a kid from my school living in my neighborhood, was shot in the chest but he survived. We used to look at his wound with amazement and wonder how he survived, he was proud of it
Palm Sunday 1948, the worshippers were praying in a procession around St. Anthony Roman Catholic Church when Zionist mortar bombs stared to fall all around the churchyard and Terra Santa School, my school where my brother George and Michael were enrolled . The Prayers were disrupted and the people were panicking.
A bullet pierced our wooden door and struck against the wall missing my father’s head by one inch or two. He was lucky and we were too to have our father around.
Omar ibin al Farran (Omar the son of the baker) was about fifteen years old and used to assist his father in the community bakery where we used to bake our bread. Like any other child of his age he had his hopes and dreams, but alas his dreams were not fulfilled, the bakery was blown up by Zionist gang artillery fire in the residential area where the bakery was located. His life was cut short and his body was torn apart into many pieces. Young Omar was gone and we were not able to see him any more neither we were able to carry the dough to the bakery to bake bread. Omar and the bakery were gone and Jaffa too.
On May 1948 my family was forced to leave Jaffa and left the beautiful orange grove of the Jallad family behind to settle in our village, Birzeit, in one room apartment that we used to spend few days every summer.
Summer 1948. Thousands of refugees, mostly women, children and elderly, hungry, thirsty and overwhelmed with panic and fear were filling the highway from Lidd to Birzeit. I joined scores of people from the village to help them. We offer them water and food. Thousands settled in caves and under olive trees. They made hasty shelters from rags and bushes to protect them from heat and to give them some sort of privacy.
Winter 1948 was bitter cold, most of those refugees who have never seen snow before, found themselves under a heavy blanket of that white cold stuff that made them desperate and fearful for their lives away from the warmth of their homes?
Birzeit with a population that did not exceed the one thousand swelled to fourteen thousand or more. Seeing this human tragedy befalling their brethren and the tragedy widens, the people of Birzeit opened their homes, schools and churches to shelter the victims of Zionism and Western imperialists who helped create this catastrophe.
Schools were closed and the situation was unbearable and everyone felt pain and despair. Fear was very dominant. The hope of the people for immediate return to their homes was shattered and they were forced to go to live in permanent camps which lacked running water and other basic facilities.
Years later the refugees started building their dwellings with tin, mud, and stones collected from the surrounding areas. These refugees with their descendants are still living in these miserable conditions impatiently waiting for the conscience of the World to wake up, if it ever does.