Regarding these people who know nothing and don't understand our cause, we should focus on the sentimental aspect. They should visit the people who were affected most by the occupation. They should visit the old city of Hebron and see how it had its own history and culture, but is now empty. The houses and shops in the old city are closed and the settlers have gained control over this area and threaten the security of the Palestinians, including the elderly, and women and children. They should witness this situation and suffering because it reflects the reality of the occupation. They should see how a shop that was once always full of customers is now empty. The market in the old city of Hebron has its own special character. Some people love walking through the old city. It makes them feel fresh while they walk through it and enjoy the scents of yogurt, za'atar [hyssop] and perfumes that blend with the scents of oriental sweets, such as knafa and katayef. This delights people, especially people who come from outside the town and look forward to walking in the old city of Hebron or Jerusalem. But these people encounter a bitter reality in which the settlers threaten the poor families that don't have a place to take refuge. Most of people left the old city of Hebron and businesses have been closed. This is the peak of the suffering.
The Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron has been closed and they [the Israelis] dictate when people can pray and when not. The worshippers themselves are forced to endure being searched, so they think twice before carrying out their religious obligations there because they may be exposed to the harassments of the occupation. Only a tiny fraction of the people pray in the mosque. This is real suffering. Let them visit the old city of Hebron. There is something saddening about the old city of Jerusalem. The old city in Jerusalem is very dirty and untidy. This is unbelievable. An Israeli heads the local council of Jerusalem, which is why all the areas inside Israel are clean and full of gardens.
The Israelis aren't concerned about the old city of Jerusalem; they are interested in destroying it. Look at how drugs spread between the houses in east Jerusalem; the people of east Jerusalem are surprised to find these drugs in the morning on their doorsteps. Their goal is to kill the values and the health of the people in many ways. The occupying power is clever and aware, but to my regret we are sleeping and aren't aware of this issue. When you walk through the old city you will find dirt and bad smells. Why aren't we rehabilitating these areas in order to conserve our culture and cleanliness? To my regret there are many obstacles, and the occupation is the main one.
The people who want to learn about the situation should visit the lands in which olive trees are destroyed. When an olive tree is uprooted the women who owns the tree feels as if something has been uprooted from her heart. I never planted an olive tree and I am not interested much in live trees, but for the person who planted the olive tree and raised it as a son it is not easy to see the olive tree destroyed intentionally. I ask where are the human rights and human respect? These are the areas that should be visited. They should visit the destroyed houses. Why should the house of a person whose son resisted the occupation be destroyed while this house is a home for four families?
In Hebron entire apartment buildings are destroyed along with the furniture and the belongings of their residents, who are ordinary people, only because someone who resisted the occupation, or a brother of someone who resisted the occupation, rented a flat in the building. Why should these houses be destroyed in such a way? This has a large influence on the people's mental state. When someone breaks a plate, it has a mental effect on them because people aren't made of iron, they have feelings. Imagine a house owner who invested in decoration, furniture and paint, and is pleased but in a moment's notice is ordered to evacuate because the house is about to be demolished.There is a house in Nablus that was destroyed the night before the Eid (the festival); the five year-old child still in kindergarten told his mother, "if only they would let us take the clothes for the Eid." They were ordered to evacuate the house, the house was destroyed and the family that lived there was forced out on the street. People who come from all over the world and want to witness the suffering, learn about the roots of the conflict and see who is right or wrong should meet these people who suffer because of the occupation on a daily basis. They should meet women who lost children while giving birth at checkpoints. Do you know how many women lost their children while giving birth at checkpoints or gave birth to children with birth defects? They should meet the woman who screamed for hours at the checkpoint while the soldiers told her to turn back or they would shoot her. They should meet the woman whose husband became a martyr when he sent her to hospital to have her baby delivered. This woman's husband was killed when they came under fire while going to the hospital traveling on a bypass road. Her husband was killed and she was taken to hospital where she gave birth without knowing that her husband was killed. They should meet these people.They should visit Rafah, where entire houses were destroyed without a reason, the excuse being that there was a tunnel there. What kind of excuse is this? Who do they intend to convince with such a sorry excuse? It's like a madman talking and a sane one listening to him. The Israelis claim a tunnel passes through an area so they destroy an entire street with 70 houses. At that moment the sole possessions of a Palestinian woman are her quilt and a mattress, which she carries through the streets. When that incident took place in Rafah, I was in a conference in Italy. It was irrational. They destroyed tens of houses in a moment and it was aired on the satellite channels—that the sole possessions of the Palestinian woman, who was forced out onto the street, were her pillows and mattresses that she carried.How can a woman raise her children? How can a generation emerge infused with awareness and belief in the philosophy of peace? How can there be a generation that cares for their homeland...? I always say that I want a clean, peaceful and healthy homeland. We aren't reaching for the moon, we don't want to fight neighboring nations. We are saying: give us security and let us live in a clean and civilized manner, as human beings, like all the other nations. The nuclear waste from the nuclear plant in Dimona is buried in the area of south Hebron. The result is that we have the highest rate of cancer cases in the Hebron area, specifically in south Hebron. About a month ago, there was an outcry in the media; international specialists visited the region and studied the subject with the local authorities.