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'They completely hated us'

THE shooting started around 2 in the morning [of June 7]. My brother was living upstairs and I had told him to come to our apartment because it's on the ground floor. I thought it would be more protected, but it wasn't. Most of the glass was broken because of the explosions. It was terrible. The windows, tiles and furniture were in bad shape….

We had to keep quiet and not move in order to protect ourselves. We were afraid of the unknown: What type of soldiers are they? What do they want? What's on their minds? You expect anything. You are afraid. Simply afraid. Scared. We hid ourselves under the kitchen table. There were five of us and five in my brother's family…. My son was a year old and wanted to cry. My wife put a tomato in his mouth to stop him.

[Later] my brother and I decided to take the children and the ladies to Jericho to stay with relatives…. But as I was leaving Jerusalem, the Israeli soldiers stopped me near the Rockefeller Museum and took my car ….

We found it on Mt. Scopus in pieces …. Parts of the engine were missing. The tires were flat. People had taken parts of the car….

[A few weeks later] I listened to prayers at the Al Aqsa mosque on the radio …. Imam Jamil Khatib started the sermon with an Arabic verse that says, 'What a bad time for a feast.' Immediately after he said that, the Israelis cut off the broadcast….

I felt defeated and depressed….

Jerusalem had been divided by a wall, and when the wall went down I found something completely different from what I expected. In 19 years there had been a change on the Israeli side. They were not the same Jews we knew [before]. They were more aggressive. And I don't know how to describe it: They completely hated us.

Before, there were some common values…. We were supposedly equal under the British mandatory government. But now the Israelis were controlling us…. There was no bridging. Until now, there is no bridging.

Copyright © 2015, Los Angeles Times
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