Safa' Abdel Rahma-Madi

Palestinian Mother: I Sleep Every Night Hoping The Madness Will Stop

My name is Safa’, I am a mom of three little girls, Zeena, Yasmeen, and Leena. I live in Ramallah but am originally from Gaza. I wrote this letter Sunday night, after a long and bloody day – one of many. I want you to know what it’s like here – and what my family is telling me Gaza is like.

And I want to ask for your help.

In 1994 I left Gaza when I was 18 years old to pursue my university studies at Birzeit University, exactly one year after the signing of the Oslo Accords. I am now 38, and Israel’s occupation of Palestine continues.

When I got married in 2002, my parents were never able to make it to my wedding. My oldest daughter is not 9 years old, and has never met her grandparents in Gaza. Like most Palestinians, we cannot obtain a permit from Israel to move between the West Bank and Gaza.

Last March, I finally got a permit to visit my parents when my father got very sick. When I got a permit to go to Gaza it was for one week only, I was only able to take Leena with me as she was only 5 months old. One daughter out of three. One week out of nine years.

I am not the only one who is living in such a difficult situation; thousands of Palestinian are separated from their families and loved ones due to the separation wall and classification according to the type of ID they hold. We have Gaza, West Bank and Jerusalem IDs and movement to and from these areas require access permit from the Israeli government. Most Palestinians are denied such permits for reasons that they are not aware of but always rejected for allegedly “security reasons”.

For the past eight days Gaza is being massively attacked by the Israel Occupation Forces with all kinds of missiles and weaponry. The death toll just reached 170 people most of whom are civilians, children and women, and more than a thousand injured. Hundreds of homes were bombarded. Images coming out of Gaza are terrifying and heartbreaking. I do not think anyone with a little compassion in their heart would not sympathize with the victims.

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