Just 5 miles away from the heart of Jerusalem, my besieged village has been converted to a concentration camp, where villagers are entrapped with only one access to the outside world, through an international-border-like checkpoint. The original road which connected Beit Iksa to Jerusalem through Beit Hanina has been permanently blocked, No one is allowed to enter except people from the village.
There is about 1200 people living in Beit Iksa, on an ever shrinking land due to military confiscation, but the vast majority (estimated 10000) are still living in exile, prevented from returning home by the Jewish-Zionist occupation.
The village was attacked in 1948, forcing the villagers out into refugee camps, leaving the old village centre completely destroyed, while the looting and burning the rest.
The villagers were able to return back to their half destroyed village after cease fire in 1949. My mother at the time was seven years old.
In 1967, a war to which I was an eyewitness, aged also seven years old, my village was ethnically cleansed for the second time, but this time those of us who evacuated in search of safety were never allowed back.
As the village was under heavy bombardment, the villagers with their fresh memories of the echoing cries of slaughtered families of Deir Yassin, panicked and started fleeing in all directions.
A group of families ended up in a nearby village, Beit Duqou, where we were kept for six days, in what I thought to be an underground shelter – only to find out 35 years later that it was a big tomb in the village grave yard.
My father who was in Syria at the time, sitting his final exams in Law School, was unable to cross the borders to be with us. The borders were open only in one direction, people were allowed, helped and encouraged through loud-speakers to leave Palestine for their own safety.
Searching for a place of safety for her five children, my young mother, alone, frightened and unable to feed or protect her children decided to join my father and to take us to a place of safety until war was over.
It has been forty six years since then, we are still waiting to go back home.