Our partners in Tuba are raising money to buy a legal car that can serve as an emergency vehicle for the community. Below, our partner Ahmad shares about his experience trying to arrive at a hospital without access to a legal vehicle.
In the last month my wife was pregnant, we prayed every day that Inshallah the birth pains would begin in the day, but unfortunately, they came at night. I started to make phone calls to several people in the middle of the night so that someone could come with a legal car, but no one was willing to come. This was during the most recent escalation of violence, and settlers in the area had been throwing stones at Palestinian cars at night when they drove on the main highway. I saw my wife was in pain and her water had broken, so after about an hour I decided that we had to go with my mashtuba (unregistered) car.
In this area, if you want to buy a legal car with a Palestinian license plates, it is so expensive, maybe 15 times more than a car with expired Israeli registration. I bought my car for 2000 shekels. If I were to buy a legal car, even a used one, it would be 40,000 shekels. We are living under occupation as shepherds in Area C in an area that the occupation has declared a firing zone, and we barely have enough money to live and feed our family.
I dream like any normal person of starting a family and getting married. My wife Rana and I got married a year ago on August 22, 2020. She is from Yatta and lived her life in the city, not knowing about us or our living conditions in the cave and tents. After a month she was pregnant with our child, and we were happy with this news. It became difficult for us because she needed to see a doctor every month and we had to drive two and a half hours on an unpaved, bumpy road only accessible to cars with four-wheel drive. This is the only road to Tuba because the Israeli outpost Havat Maon blocks the main road to Yatta, and the occupation prevents us from paving the longer route.
My wife was in pain and we needed to decide what to do. If I used the highway, I feared I would put us in additional trouble. If I encountered the police, they could confiscate the car and delay us more. If I encountered settlers they would throw rocks and I didn’t know what would happen. So I took the long and bumpy one-lane road through the mountains. If you make any mistake you could fall down into the valley. Driving at night, the dust and the dark makes it hard to see. I wanted to drive fast, but the fastest you can go on this road is 40 km an hour. I was driving under pressure and thinking of many things at the moment: the road, the car, Rana screaming in pain, if the hospital would even have room for us. After about three hours, we arrived at the hospital at 2:30am. It felt like it had taken ten hours.
We arrived at the hospital in Yatta but they didn’t have room for us. There wasn’t even a chair free for Rana to sit on. I called a taxi who drove us for another 20 minutes to a larger hospital in Hebron. I felt afraid, we had already lost so much time. We arrived in Hebron and they took Rana straight to the delivery room and I sat in a corner holding my head. After a few minutes, the doctor came out of the room. I was hoping he would reassure me, or tell me Mabruk (congratulations) but he screamed at me “Why did you delay her like this?” But I wasn’t the one who delayed her--the Occupation did. Having to take a long, dangerous road to bypass the illegal settlement of Havat Maon delayed us.
Thankfully my daughter, Arianna Ahmad Omar Jundiya, was born that day. I can’t describe the feeling of becoming a father, especially after such a difficult journey. Back in Tuba we started talking about how we never want to have to go through this again, or take the risk that our luck could have been worse. We don’t want to have another baby in these conditions. From the moment she thought about coming into this world my daughter had to deal with the occupation.
From that moment, I started feeling like I became a father and understood why the fathers are scared about their children and always ask them where they are going. The children in Tuba also have to be escorted to school by the army because of the settlers’ violence, but the army does not always show up. If we had our own vehicle, I could drive my daughter and the children of Tuba to school during the day safely on the road and not have to rely on occupation soldiers.
We want to buy a legal car that can serve as an emergency vehicle for the community. We want it to be able to drive on these roads so that it will be available for anyone to be able to reach the school or the hospital in case of an emergency. That will cost about 80,000 shekel (approximately $25,000 USD). If 800 people donate 100 shekels we will be able to provide our community with the essential transportation needed to remain steadfast in our only home village.
Under the Israeli Occupation, financial services are incredibly difficult for Palestinians in the West Bank to access. Part of our work at CJNV is hosting and sharing Palestinian partners’ fundraisers on our platform and helping them to access the money that international solidarity networks raise for them. CJNV covers associated processing fees, so that all of your donation reaches the community.
One of the ways that CJNV supports our partners in their efforts is by supporting their fundraising. Donations made to the CJNV special partner fund will be allocated for partner projects CJNV supports in accordance with mutually agreed upon budgets, expectations and guidelines.
On the 9th of June, 2021, Israeli army bulldozer destroying the whole path that leads to Masafer Yatta, what the army has declare as Firing Zone 918.