Return to the Statistics (home) page Learn more about us. If Americans Knew: what every American needs to know about Israel/Palestine
Statistics History Current Situation US Interests Media Analysis About Us
Top Border

printer symbolPrint Article
letter symbolEmail this Page


Family Life in Palestine and Israel

Life in Tel Rumeida

By Chelli Stanley
Tel Rumeida Project
October 11, 2005

Though each area of Palestine can be said to be unique, Tel Rumeida is truly a world unto itself. Located in the Israeli-controlled area of Hebron, Tel Rumeida is a small neighborhood living out the brutal extravagance of direct Israeli occupation. If Tel Rumeida is viewed as a microcosm of the Israeli plan for Palestine, the sometimes subtle realities of Palestinian life under occupation and the type of Palestinian state Israel desires can be more easily comprehended.

Nearly every tactic used by Israel to create its merciless occupation is employed in Tel Rumeida: displacement, imprisonment, economic strangulation, extreme militarization, arbitrary detention, land confiscation, disruption of normal Palestinian life, settler violence, soldier brutality, government complicity with illegal settler acts, and daily humiliation.

The Palestinian residents of Tel Rumeida never experience the living of a normal day. The nearly three years of curfew they endured during this intifada permanently scar the lives of every resident and the community itself. The five soldier stations and recently modernized electronic checkpoint currently located on three streets make it nearly impossible for residents to walk anywhere unhindered. The two settlements, Beit Haddasseh and the Tel Rumeida settlement, housing some of the West Bank’s most extreme settlers (including members of Kach, designated by Israel as a terrorist organization,) and located at the top and bottom of the Tel Rumeida neighborhood, ensure that Palestinians living here will, at the very least, have a daily reminder that they are no longer welcome in their own neighborhood. The endless abandoned homes and forcibly-closed stores, many of them sprayed with violently racist settler graffiti, do their own part in contributing to the solemnly eerie atmosphere of the neighborhood.

The living conditions in Tel Rumeida are that of apartheid. Palestinians are not allowed to drive their vehicles on the streets; they are for Israelis only. Palestinian residents must carry or cart everything to their homes while settlers take joyrides through the neighborhood. Palestinians are forced to take winding, dangerous, secondary paths to reach their houses while Israeli settlers use the primary paths. Though the Palestinian residents do not participate in the violence which is so unceasingly apparent in the neighborhood, it is they who are stopped by the Israeli soldiers and forced to lift their shirts and open their purses. Though it is mainly the settler children, immune by law from prosecution, who terrorize Palestinian children and adults and who attack soldiers, it is the Palestinian children who are constantly stopped, who have their schoolbags searched, who are yelled at and hit by soldiers. It is Palestinians who must wait in lines to enter the electronic checkpoint every time they enter or leave their community. It is Palestinians who are harassed and humiliated by nearly every conceivable variety of Israeli law enforcement official as are in existence.

Israeli settlers rule Tel Rumeida. Young settler boys saunter through the Tel Rumeida streets stoning or attacking homes and Palestinian residents at will under the indifferent eyes of Israeli soldiers and police. Damaged and destroyed Palestinian homes, gardens, water pipes, phone lines, and windows live as a testament to the wrath of the settlers’ former deeds. The absolute impunity with which these settlers operate, combined with their overt camaraderie with the Israeli soldiers and policemen, are nothing less than a palpable message to the Palestinian residents of the neighborhood that their safety is not an Israeli concern.

Nearly every Palestinian resident of Tel Rumeida has a disturbingly devastating story, such as that of a young pregnant mother who has had two miscarriages in as many years as a direct result of Israeli violence. Last year, she was two months pregnant and, after Israeli soldiers came inside her home and fired their weapons, was found lying on the floor of her home, bleeding, and later lost her child. This year, only a month ago, pregnant with twins and home alone, her house was attacked by seven armed settlers screaming death threats. Soldiers stationed less than 30 meters from her home did not respond to her calls for help during the 20 minute attack. Two hours later, lying again on the floor of her home, she lost her first twin. Later in a hospital operation, she lost the second. Since the death of her twins, she has suffered from nervous attacks and has been repeatedly hospitalized for collapsing.

The children of Tel Rumeida, though they are many, almost never play outside. Those who do venture out run off the streets at the first sound of an approaching settler vehicle and run into their homes when groups of settlers walk by. Even the youngest child of Tel Rumeida has learned indelible lessons about the type of people their Israeli settler neighbors are and their own place in the neighborhood, acting out these lessons on a daily basis.

Tel Rumeida is one of the few areas in Palestine living under direct Israeli occupation. The outcome of this occupation is a brutalized Palestinian community, economically devastated and imprisoned, living under the endless violence of their Israeli neighbors. Tel Rumeida is the Israeli occupation writ large.

Back to topBack to Top

printer symbolPrint Article

letter symbolEmail This Page


Jimmy Carter on “Hard Ball”

British TV Documentary – Dispatches: The Killing Zone

VIDEO: Palestinians Document Settler Violence

VIDEO: West Bank attack filmed

Video – Gaza: A humanitarian implosion

Video: Old Palestinian Man Describes Being Shot

Video – The Easiest Targets: The Israeli Policy of Strip Searching Women and Children

Audio Interview – Psychology of Suicide Bombings

Video – Soldiers Explode a Portion of a Palestinian Home, Killing the Mother

Video – Soldiers Force a Palestinian to Play Violin at Roadblock

Related Articles

Israel 2007: worse than apartheid

A capital question

Why Israel is after me

We Didn't Disappear
The Struggle for Equality Inside Israel

Row erupts over Israeli textbooks

More Articles on Discrimination Vs. Coexistence

Israel 'using food and medicines as weapons'

Nobel Peace Laureate: Hope as Palestinians Use Nonviolence in their Struggle for Human Rights and Freedom

Israeli Strip Searches: A Partial List

68 women gave birth on checkpoints, 34 infants and 4 women died

Americans Tortured in Israeli Jails

More on Collective Punishment/Terrorism

A Dangerous Journey: Settler Violence Against Palestinian Schoolchildren Under Israeli Military Escort

I Want to Keep my Wife!

Death in a Cemetery

UNRWA Suspends Emergency Food Aid

Social, Economic and Political Status of Arab Citizens of Israel

More Articles on Family Life

Additional Resources

Human Rights Watch – Second Class: Discrimination Against Palestinian Arab Children in Israel’s Schools

Jews for Justice – The Arab Citizens of Israel

The Gaza Strip: A humanitarian implosion

Back to a Routine of Torture – Torture and Ill-treatment of Palestinian Detainees during Arrest, Detention and Interrogation – September 2001 - April 2003

Amnesty International – Israeli Settlers Wage Campaign of Intimidation

Booklet – ‘No Exit’

Amnesty International – Under the Rubble

Amnesty International – Torn Apart: Families Split by Discriminatory Policies

Amnesty International – Law Quashes the Right of Israeli Arab Citizens to Family Life

Electronic Intifada – Prison Experience as a Normal Part of Life


Association for Civil Rights in Israel

Seeds of Peace

Mossawa Center: The Advocacy Center for Arab Citizens of Israel

Public Committee Against Torture in Israel

Get email updates: Sign Up!

If Americans Knew distributes and posts to our website copyrighted material, sometimes without the permission of the copyright owner. We are making such material available in our efforts to advance understanding of the Israel/Palestine conflict. We believe this constitutes a ‘fair use’ of any such copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law since it is being distributed without profit for purely educational purposes. For more information go to: If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond ‘fair use’, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.

This website is printer-friendly. Please Print this article and share it with your friends and family.