Mon. May 27th, 2024

I traveled from the U.S. to the West Financial institution on Oct. 2 to go to my Teta, my maternal grandmother, for every week. As a substitute, I stayed for one month to doc my individuals’s combat for freedom, and witness their ache.

Reflecting on my time, in arguably the “most secure” a part of the West Financial institution, 50 miles from the Gaza Strip, torments me. As Amnesty Worldwide has documented, Palestinians—whether or not within the West Financial institution, Gaza, or Israel, are subjected to the identical system of apartheid. Nonetheless, it might really feel insincere: Ramallah, the occupied metropolis I reside in, is only one drop in comparison with the ocean of erasure going down proper now in Gaza. 

Nonetheless, my elders all the time remind me that we’re one. Although I’m as previous as the primary Oslo Accord—which now lingers as an emblem for failed Palestinian statehood and peace—I resist envisioning freedom in fragmentation. 

A bed room within the demolished house of the Nakhle household within the Jalazon Refugee Camp close to the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah, on Oct. 28. There have been three generations of Palestinian refugees dwelling within the house, who at the moment are displaced—once more.Maen HammadA younger Palestinian man has his face shielded with a kuffiyeh throughout a confrontation close to Beit El, a settlement thought-about unlawful beneath worldwide legislation, within the West Financial institution metropolis of al-Bireh, on Oct. 13. The kuffiyeh, a standard headdress, serves as an emblem of Palestinian identification.Maen HammadA group of Palestinian employees from Gaza on the Sarriyeh sports activities membership within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah watch an Al Jazeera information broadcast on Oct. 12. Maen Hammad

My pictures are what I witnessed within the 5 sq. miles round me within the West Financial institution, over the span of simply three weeks, starting two days after the Oct. 7 assault on Israel. Illegal killings of youngsters, collective punishment, and genocidal violence in my very own yard. 

On Oct.  8, I entered Qalandia refugee camp to have dinner with my paternal household. One hour after we washed the dishes, information broke that Yasser al-Kasba, 17, had been shot and killed close to the Qalandia checkpoint by an Israeli sniper whereas his again was turned.

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On Oct.  12, I visited the Sarriyeh sports activities membership, the place there have been upwards of 400 Palestinian employees from Gaza who had been stranded in Israel after Oct. 7. One man obtained information that three of his members of the family had been killed by an Israeli airstrike. “What in regards to the others?” he screamed to his relative on the telephone in Gaza. “We’re nonetheless selecting up the rubble,” he replied.⁣

Over 400 Palestinians from Gaza discover refuge on Oct. 12 at Ramallah’s Nadi al-Sarryieh, a sports activities membership that was reworked right into a shelter. ⁣⁣Employees had been welcomed by Palestinian volunteers in Ramallah who tirelessly present mattresses, meals, drugs, a cellular salon, and unwavering solidarity. 1000’s of different Palestinian employees from Gaza have additionally sought refuge in varied places inside the West Financial institution. Maen HammadAhmad Mutair, 17, is bid farewell by members of his household earlier than being laid to relaxation on Oct. 25. Earlier that day, dozens of Israeli forces entered Qalandia camp in an early morning raid. Ahmad was standing on his roof when an Israeli sniper shot a bullet that pierced his chest and exited from his again. Ahmad was a fourth-generation refugee. After Ahmad was shot, his household spent over half-hour attempting to take him to a close-by hospital exterior Qalandia refugee camp. Israeli forces didn’t permit Ahmad’s household to go away. Ultimately they discovered an ambulance on the outskirts of the camp which took Ahmad’s physique to the Ramallah hospital, the place he was pronounced useless. Maen HammadPalestinian employees from Gaza line up for registration on the Sarriyeh sports activities membership within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah on Oct. 12. Over 400 Palestinians from Gaza sought refuge on the sports activities membership in October, earlier than being moved to a different facility within the West Financial institution metropolis of Jericho. Most of the employees arrived in buses after being taken from their work websites inside Israel. Some recounted being interrogated, overwhelmed, blindfolded, and compelled into the buses by Israeli police. Many others arrived on their very own, coming into the West Financial institution in secret, out of worry of being taken by Israeli police. Maen Hammad

Days later, once I went to the Redanna sports activities membership, chants from dozens of different Palestinian employees from Gaza might be heard: “We declare from Gaza: rebellion and victory.” A protest by Palestinian refugees, inside a refuge, inside occupied lands.

A 60-year-old employee informed me: “I simply wish to hear the voice of my grandchildren. You suppose we’re blissful right here? We don’t need meals or water, we wish to return to Gaza. We’d die for our land.”

A pal and photographer from Gaza, Majd Arandas, texted me to ask if I might test on his brother-in-law, who was one of many employees taking refuge in Ramallah.

On Oct. 25, tear fuel and rifle fireplace woke me up whereas in Qalandia refugee camp. I closed the home windows of our house as my 6-year-old cousin had completed throughout the earlier raid. I awakened an hour later to the mosque’s audio system. The imam was not making the morning name to prayer, however asserting one other killing, Ahmad Mutair—a high-school scholar and fourth-generation refugee was shot by an Israeli sniper whereas he stood on his roof to see what was occurring. The Israeli authorities has not issued a public assertion on Mutair or al-Kasba.

Neighbors within the Jalazon Refugee Camp, close to the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah, assist members of the Nakhle household retrieve valuables that might be salvaged following the punitive demolition of the six-family house on Oct. 28. The house was demolished beneath the pretext of building and not using a allow. Human rights organizations have lengthy documented how Palestinians are systematically subjected to house demolitions and compelled evictions and stay in fixed worry of dropping their properties.Maen HammadPalestinians in Qalandia refugee camp elevate their fingers after mourners pray over the grave of Yasser al-Kasba, 17. Yasser was shot by the chest by an Israeli sniper the night time prior whereas his again was turned.Maen HammadThe charging station on the Sarriyeh sports activities membership within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah on Oct. 12. Many of the employees on the sports activities membership spend their day attempting to make contact with their households in Gaza. Maen HammadClothes belonging to Palestinian employees from Gaza dangle to dry on a soccer objective on the Redanna Sports activities Advanced within the West Financial institution metropolis of Ramallah on Oct. 14. This sports activities complicated has been reworked right into a refuge for over 450 Palestinian laborers from Gaza who had been trapped inside Israel on Oct. 7. Maen Hammad

On Oct. 28, I walked into the aftermath of a house demolition within the Jalazon refugee camp, hours after dozens of Israeli troopers raided the camp alongside a bulldozer. Six Palestinian households and three generations of refugees misplaced their properties at dawn. Their bread for the morning was nonetheless laid out on their eating room desk. Israel’s punitive house demolitions are a type of illegal collective punishment and a grave breach of the Fourth Geneva Conference.  

On Nov. 1, I returned to the U.S. for a number of weeks to be with my companion. Whereas on the aircraft, I couldn’t bear to look out of the window. I felt nauseous sharing the identical view because the drones, Apache helicopters, and F-16 jets; my tax {dollars} bombing Gaza.  

I related to the wifi within the aircraft and obtained a message about my photographer pal.

“Majd was killed.” His neighborhood was hit by an Israeli airstrike.

Hammad is a documentary photographer, based mostly between Boston and Ramallah, West Financial institution. Hammad additionally works as a human rights researcher and campaigner.

Mud settles as Yasser al-Kasba, 17, is laid to relaxation at Qalandia refugee camp on Oct. 9. Maen Hammad

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