I am Layla Alsheikh from the village of Battir in the Bethlehem governorate. A Muslim Palestinian
Mohamad Ahmad Isbitan - "My father was a pacifist"
My name is Mohamad Ahmad Isbitan and I live in Halhul in the Hebron Governorate. I was born in 1978, I’m married, and I have seven children. I am a physical education teacher.
During my life I went through many phases and stations in the shadow of the conflict and the Occupation. When I was a child, I witnessed the First Intifada and learned the importance of freedom for a nation that would go to great lengths to achieve its independence.
The years went by and I had many questions that echoed in my mind, namely, how long this suffering would go on under occupation and oppression.
During the Al-Aqsa Intifada, on October 26, 2000, my father was killed. He was taken by ambulance to Al Makassed Hospital in Jerusalem after suffering a severe heart attack. The ambulance drove from Hebron through the Tunnels Barrier checkpoint in Bethlehem. When it reached the checkpoint, IDF soldiers shot at the ambulance’ tires, thus preventing my father’s arrival to the hospital. This led to a deterioration in his condition. Though the soldiers had already inspected the ambulance and despite the medical team’s request to call another fully equipped ambulance since my father needed open heart surgery and was slipping away, the Israeli officer in charge showed no sign of caring. The soldiers kept my father in the ambulance for an hour. When he reached the hospital, he was already dead.
My family was shocked by the death of my father. I was so traumatized that I lost all hope.
My father was a pacifist who loved everyone, who loved life. Our family was always his priority and he always made sure that we lack for nothing.
The years passed and the pain at the loss of my father was always with me. However, together with the pain, I thought constantly about a change in the painful reality we live in. The moment that changed my life was when I became acquainted with the Parents Circle-Families Forum. I felt that perhaps I had found the path I was seeking, the path at the end of which I hope we can reach a safe haven and live free and in peace.
Peace doesn’t mean absence of conflicts; disagreements will always exist. Peace means that we solve the disagreements in non-violent ways, through dialogue, education, knowledge and compassion.