Affidavit No. 3020/2006

Sworn Statement

After having been warned to tell the truth and nothing but the truth or else I shall be subjected to penal action, I the undersigned, Ribhiyya As'ad Da'oud Ighbariyya, holder of ID # 970691655, Palestinian nationality, born on 1 January 1960, a maid at al-Tayba Secondary School for Girls, a resident of al-Tayba town, Jenin Governorate, would like to declare the following:

I am a citizen of al-Tayba town, 17 kilometres west of Jenin. Al-Tayba is directly adjacent to what is called the Green Line, which is the separation line between Palestinian territories occupied in 1948 and those occupied in 1967. The nearest town to al-Tayba inside the Green Line is Um al-Fahem city, to which we, the residents of al-Tayba, numbering 2,500 persons, used to belong.

By the end of 2002, the Israeli army had embarked on the construction of the Separation Wall. My home and my mother-in-law’s home are located right near the Green Line; only a few metres separate us from that elusive line. During the construction of the Wall, the Israeli soldiers started to bother us by coming to our house and searching it and other things like that. Our life started, day and night, to turn gradually into hell.

To the west of my home are the graves of my father-in-law, Ahmad Sadeq Ighbariyya, my husband, Muhammad Taysir Ahmad Sadeq Ighbariyya, and his brother, Mahmoud Sadeq Ighbariyya. One day, the Israeli soldiers came to my home and asked me to take them to the above-mentioned graves, which I did. To my surprise, the soldiers told me that we would have to dig up the graves and take the corpses to another place because the Israeli army was planning to blow up a mountain less than 200 metres to the west, opposite my house, and at the same distance from the graves. The reason for this was that the Israeli authorities wanted to create a security road in order to provide protection for the Separation Wall. The road would pass over the graves. Hearing this, I was shocked. How can we excavate the graves after almost 17 years?

The Israeli army gave me two months to do this; otherwise they would destroy the graves. During these two months, the harassment and troubles from the Israeli soldiers continued and they started blowing up the mountain. The explosions were intense and strong and rocks began to fall on our houses and on the graves. My home gradually started to crack; the cracks appeared on the wall and the ceiling. Then the stairway collapsed.

I felt that I had no choice but to excavate the graves. I brought two men from al-Sila al-Harithyya village in Jenin Governorate. These two people were specialists in disentombing. They started their work. It very painful to see my husband after 17 years. His features were still clear. My husband was killed in family fights without committing any crime. We carried the three corpses to al-Tayba cemetery.

The explosion of the mountain continued and it caused the collapse of the ceiling of our house. Thank God my children and I were sleeping in the kitchen because we were expecting that to happen, otherwise we would all have died under the rubble.

With the help of the village residents, my children and I moved to a room in al-Tayba Elementary School for Boys. That happened in February 2003. To my surprise, after the explosion of the mountain and the construction of the security road, we discovered that the road, which was around 300 metres west of my home, had not passed over the area that the graves were in, on the grounds that the old plans had been changed. This means that the aim of the disentombing and the threats to excavate the bodies was only to distance us from the road, not to build the road over them.

We stayed in the school room for a full year, during which my children and I suffered and were living in very difficult conditions among the school students and teachers, without a kitchen or other facilities. It was a very critical period for us all caused by the Israeli occupation.

I owned a small amount of land in al-Tayba and one of the philanthropists there donated a sum of money to build a room and a kitchen to shelter my children where, as you see, we are living now. Currently, we are in a better situation than when living in the school. As for my mother-in-law and her granddaughter Fida' Mahmoud Ighbariyya (14 years old), they are now living in a room and a kitchen that were also donated by one of the al-Tayba philanthropists.

As a result of the Israeli occupation, we were evacuated from our homes, had to excavate our family graves and lived in school rooms. I was and still am in a very bad psychological state that has led to many diseases, in particular diabetes.

The Israeli occupation not only led to our evacuation and the excavation of my husband, his father and his brother’s graves, but it confiscated 30 dunums of agricultural land planted with olive trees. This land is west of the Separation Wall. Nothing is left for me. The occupation does not have mercy. It excavated the graves – even the dead have not escaped the evil acts of the Israeli occupation.

This is my declaration and hereby I sign, 10 June 2006
Signature: Ribhiyya As'ad

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 3020/2006
  • Field researcher: Tareq al-Haj Mahmoud
  • Affidavit Date: 10 June 2006
  • Name: Ribhiyya As'ad