Fiora Garenzi

  • « I am 22 years old and I was born in Duwwara, a village in the south of Hebron in Palestine. Living under the occupation you see your rights and your freedom disappear a little bit more each day. I cannot move as I want I cannot go where I want.

    (...) I never suffered from the occupation’s violence directly but the occupation, it’s not only physical violence, above all it’s a continual psychological oppression. (...) So many of my friends have been hurt or have been in jail without any real reason. I wish I could protest in some pacifist political meetings, but you know, if you do this you can be shot and even if nothing happens to you during the protest, even if you are behind everybody and not doing something special ; the military and the government will put your name on the blacklist, if you are on the blacklist, everything will be so complicated for you. (...) »

  • « I am 18 years old, living with my parents. My mother used to live in Gaza. 18 years ago, during the intifada, her and my father had to leave Gaza to protect their lives, they could never go back. They came to Nablus which was a refugee camp for Palestinians who used to live in Gaza or in territories which now belong to Israel.

    (...) In Nablus, I live next to the tomb where Israelis come once in a while. When there are religious meetings in this place they close the whole area which includes a lot of Palestinian houses. If you are outside when they close it, you cannot come back home and you have to spend the night somewhere else. (...) »

  • « (...) During the second intifada, I was 18 years old and Hamas allowed me to join them. I was actually a member before, but when I was 18 years old I became an active member. Hamas is divided into two parts : a political part and a military part. I chose the military side. One of my missions was to help people to get in and out of Nablus because the city was surrounded in 2001-2002 by the Israeli soldiers. (...) I spent 15 years in jail (...) where I studied history and politics. But in 2011 they stopped this program. It was a punishment for the prisoners because Hamas kidnapped an Israeli soldier. (...) »

  • « (...) At the beginning of the second intifada (2001) a lot of military attacks happened suddenly in Nablus. The first person to die on the first day of the second intifada was my dad. After our evening meal, my father went on to the rooftop of our building, (...) we guess that the military saw the light of his cigarette and his movements but we don’t really know what happened. They started to shoot. (...)

    Living under the occupation means every day you see soldiers who are against your community, with big weapons and wearing war clothes. They are here when you go to work, when you go to do some shopping and when you hang out with your friends. Every day they are just here to remind you that you are under their control, that you are not free. Every day their presence reminds you of all the past events and how they hold your life in their hands. (...) »

  • « I am from Hebron, I was born in the old city. (...). When you are walking in the street they (the military) can ask for your identity papers all the time, you have to cross a lot of checkpoints in the city, once in a while they want to touch me to check I don’t have any weapons on me, it even happens that they ask me to remove my clothes. Sometimes it’s without reason, they just try to humiliate you, to make you go crazy. They are particularly rude to boys, aged between 15 and 35 years old. Sometimes with the machine under which you’re going to check if you have metallic stuff with you they are telling you « go », « go back », « go », « go back », maybe ten times, it’s like a game for them. Obviously it’s not all of the military, but some of them are doing this. (...) »

  • « (...) When Palestinian people are buying something on the internet and the product crosses Israel, they have to pay taxes but according to the Oslo agreement, Israel should return 97% of these taxes to the Palestinian authority and keep 3% as a service. But currently the Israeli authorities asked our president to stop distributing the salaries of the Palestinian people killed by the Israeli military to their families, because they consider them as terrorists. Our president Mahmoud Abbas refused and as a punishment the Israeli government decided to stop returning the 97% of product taxes owed to Palestine.

    (...) Now the Palestinian government miss a lot of their budgets. For this reason, the Palestinian employees in the government have received just half of their salaries in the past few months. It’s a lot of money to lose out on, and prevents the people from living decently and the Palestinian economic situation from improving. »

  • « People think that the war is the consequence of the religion’s growth but the truth is that people in Palestine became more and more religious after the intifadas. When you are scared, and you cannot do anything to protect your life and your family ,the only solution you can have is to believe in God. »

  • « (...) The Israeli government controls the media. We can’t express ourselves freely even in the media, freedom of expression isn’t something we know in our country. You know that’s a big problem because the Israeli people have never been to Palestine, they just know us by the intermediary of their media and so they have an idea of us which is so far from the reality.

    (...) The Israeli people are brainwashed by their government. They teach them at school that it’s their land, that they have to fight with us, they fabricate the truth that they want and they repeat this to every new generation.(...) »

  • « (...) In the Palestinian Territory, there are lots of settlements, which are on land illegally occupied by Israeli people. They are taking the land, without any right, without any reason and they have built their houses on it, sometimes entire cities. In these settlements they are also building factories. These factories are helped by a lot of Israeli subsidies. This money allows the factories to have better technologies and material. It’s a situation totally unfair for Palestinian factories, which don't have the financial resources to survive. After production, these Israeli factories sell their products to Palestinian supermarkets, which are then sold next to the Palestinian products. This creates a terrible dilemma for Palestinian people who have to choose between buying lesser quality goods, and supporting their country, or buying better quality products, but supporting the occupation. (...) »

  • « (...) The worst thing in my mind is that the occupation is killing our social lives. You know, when you feel this constant oppression the only thing you want is to stay at home. Every time you go out there are military personnel and constant struggles. You hear that some of your people have been arrested, so hanging out with friends and having fun doesn’t seem like a good idea, let alone something you want to do. It sounds stupid but the Israelite government wants this. For example, you know Friday is our day off in Palestine, so the evening before, all the young people from Nablus are going to Ramallah, a city not far away, about 50 minutes, because it’s really nice to go there for parties as it’s less conservative than Nablus. You can buy alcohol and have fun. But on this evening the roads between Nablus and Ramallah are always closed by the military, they want to discourage us from going to parties. If the roads are not closed, then there are a lot of controls, sometimes they check all the young people’s cars, they are just looking for the smallest reason to arrest you or to forbid you to go. Preventing people from enjoying their life is the best way to make them lose all motivation in life (...) »

  • « (...) In Palestine, because of the occupation, transport between cities is really complicated. This really affects medical emergencies. Sometimes we have people needing immediate medical assistance but they live in the countryside or just not in the centre of a big city. To reach them, doctors or firemen have to cross checkpoints, these controls always cause them to lose precious time and it can even happen that the military refuse them access.

    At the checkpoints, the military are checking ambulances and sometimes the ambulance cannot cross, the doctors have to switch to another ambulance on the other side of the checkpoint. It takes so much time but time is the most important thing when you’re talking about medical help. (...)

    Another point is that sometimes we don’t have access to some kinds of medicines, especially for chronic conditions or cancers. That’s terrible to know that a medicine exists that some people are using in other countries but we cannot because Israelis won’t allow us to. They say that it’s because of many issues but all that I see is the doctors I am following everyday who have to say to the patients « there is a cure but we are not allowed to give it to you here ». (...) »

  • « (...) When you work in the West Bank and you’re living in Jerusalem, the salaries are far lower because Palestine’s economy isn’t as strong as Israel’s but you’re paying Israel’s high taxes so it is really complicated. As a Palestinian it’s not easy to have permission and find a good job in Israel so I choose to continue working in Ramallah, but, if I want to keep my Israeli ID, I have to continue living in Jerusalem. So I cannot avoid this situation where the taxes I am paying are so unfair compared with the salary I am earning. (...)

    With this ID you have medical insurance which is one of the best things you can have, and you can move everywhere in Israel. (...) It is such a big dilemma to choose to stay in Jerusalem, because as I said before there is a big advantage having the Israelite ID, but as a Palestinian living in Israel, you’re living in a country where the government doesn’t like you. You’re paying for services but you don’t have these services. For example, we pay taxes for a clean city but the government isn’t cleaning the Palestinian’s districts of Jerusalem. They are not renovating or maintaining streets and buildings in our districts but we are paying as much as the Israelite people. It’s also really complicated for us to have the authorization to build houses in Jerusalem. (...) The police are everywhere in the Muslim quarter, and they are far more demanding and rude with Palestinians. »

  • « (...) Palestine is separated into 3 areas : area A, B and C. Zone A includes all the big cities, it’s under Palestinian control but the military are intervening even if normally they cannot. Zone B includes most of the other Palestinian cities, it’s under the control of Israel for security, and Palestine for civil life. Zone C is under the total control of Israel.

    (...) I basically spend all my life moving between Israel and Palestine because it’s so much more interesting to live in Israel and have the Blue ID but the housing prices do not allow Palestinian people to live there. Basically my family just moved to Israel to keep the Israelite ID and because of all the government controls. I grew up changing places every few months. This situation is illegal, so now because I’ve got this Blue ID and I am living on the West Bank, if the government catch us, they will take back all the services they gave us because of the ID, for example the money to help raise children or for medical insurance.

    (...) I am Palestinian, I’ve got a Blue ID (Israelite) from 1967 and a Jordanian Passport. I have never been to Jordan. If I want to have a Palestinian ID, I have to lose my Israelite ID. »

  • « (...) There are two kinds of blue IDs : people who got it in 1948 who were in the Israelite Territory at this time and people from Jerusalem who got it in 1967. Those who got theirs in 1967 are called Arabs in Jerusalem, and the others are called 1948 Arabian. The first ID is stronger, that’s the one I have, thanks to this I have an Israeli passport. [girl from the precedent picture] She has the second Blue ID and a Jordanian passport. I can travel abroad without visa, she cannot.

    My mother has a Palestinian identity and my father has an Israeli ID, the one from 1948. In 2001 me, my brothers and my sisters didn’t have an Israeli identity, a lawyer said to my father we should take this Israeli ID so we could have the Israeli passport and so more rights.

    (...) The Israelite government know how hard it is financially for Palestinian people to stay in Jerusalem, and that the people do this to keep the Blue ID. So they have started to create some areas around Jerusalem, outside of the wall ,where they want to move Palestinians, to make them leave the main part of Jerusalem.

    To encourage them to go to these regions they offer them they can hold onto their Blue ID. A lot of people accept this because it’s financially so hard to stay in Jerusalem but it’s actually a disaster. There are so many people in such small spaces, it’s creating a kind of ghetto around the city, where the economic situation is really bad, just high buildings, terrible roads and no services. »

  • « Everyone has their own way of believing and interpreting what is good and bad. Everyone is free to do the most beautiful things or the worst things and hide themselves behind God. To my mind, God isn’t an influence on my behaviour. God is never talking to you and telling you what you should do, he is just listening when you need to talk and helping you to think a little bit more. And in each religion, there are some people thinking that they have the best way of believing and who want to make others think like them. If they know that they cannot change the way of the other’s thinking then they kill them or they take control. »

  • For more than a century the situation in Palestine has been complicated particularly since 1948 and the creation of Israel’s state. The two states are in a bitter conflict, two religions clash and tensions rise amongst the desire of each state to extend its land ownership, a tense climate remains. Nowadays, whilst the West Bank is no longer in the midst of war, Israel’s military advantage and the situation of occupation has led to a violation of fundamental Palestinian rights.