Sunday, January 24, 2021

Haj Sami Sadeq and the struggle for Al Aqraba

By Calum Toogood - February 05, 2013
Section: [Main News] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Aqraba] [Haj Sami Sadeq] [military firing zone]

Al Aqaba is a small Palestinian village located in the northern Jordan Valley, home to around 300 residents.  Since 1999 Haj Sami Sadeq has been the mayor of this town, facing a constant struggle against the Israeli forces and authorities.

Al Aqaba is located within Area C of the West Bank, which is under full Israeli military and civil control. Like many other villages in Area C the land on which Al Aqaba resides has been designated as an Israeli military firing zone.  

Training within the village of Al Aqaba with live ammunition, which has been occurring since the beginning of the occupation has become commonplace.  During such training shooting often occurs between the houses, and military training regularly occurs in the surrounding lands.

Around 50 people have been wounded as a result of this training and another 13 people have been killed over the years.  Many of these deaths and injuries have been a result of explosives being left on the land after training exercises.

Haj Sami Sadeq was the first villager to be injured as a result of the Israeli military’s presence on their land.

We need peace.  Not to be under occupation.  But the answer from the Israeli side is to damage the houses, damage the streets

Haj Sami was born in Al Aqaba.  He was shot three times by an Israeli soldier when he was 16 while farming his family’s land with his father.  While working on this land, his father had been granted permission from the Israeli civil administration to do so.

The shooting occurred on the 28th June 1971, after which Haj Sami was taken immediately to an Israeli hospital for treatment.  He remained in hospital for almost a year before being transferred to Jericho for physiotherapy.

Two of the bullets were removed from Haj Sami’s body initially but to this day one still remains close to his heart.  As a result of the shooting Haj Sami can no longer walk.

Haj Sami spent around 29 years in Jericho, initially under observation in the hospital due to the constant pain he was in.  While in the hospital he began to work, first as a telephone operator, then as a clerk and finally he became the director of administration.

In 1999 Haj Sami returned to Al Aqaba to become mayor of his hometown.

Majority of Al Aqaba residents moved due to hardships

Life had been hard for the residents of Al Aqaba. At the point of returning Haj Sami said there were no electricity, no water supply, and no paved street, in addition to three Israeli military camps surrounding the village.

Since beginning his job as mayor of Al Aqaba, Haj Sami has worked hard to raise international awareness to the plight of his village.  He has secured funding for many projects within the village such as the building of the kindergarten, clinic, mosque and access to an electricity supply.

“Outside organisations have helped a lot, but all the time I speak about the peace,” Haj Sami explained.  “We need peace.  Not to be under occupation.  But the answer from the Israeli side is to damage the houses, damage the streets.  And until now they refuse to give us permission to take water from another village.”

Water is bought in tanks and transported to the village by tractor.  If water could be piped from another village it would be much cheaper and more reliable than this current method.

Over recent years house demolitions have occurred regularly in the village and at present around 80% of the village buildings have demolition orders against them.  This includes the clinic and kindergarten.

Over the years the population of Al Aqaba has drastically depleted.  Before the war in 1967 it had a population of around 1000; now only around 300 remain.

“I try to speak with all of the embassies and congressmen to try to help us to bring the people back here.” Haj Sami said.  “To build here for them.  Many people [who have moved to] Tayasir and Tubas are like refugees.  I want to be able to allow building in Al Aqaba so they can return.  They are very poor. We must help them to come back.”

Post new comment
Comments Policy
Your Name: *
Home Page:
Comment: *
Security Code: *

Back to Top

Related Articles

Covid-19 vaccine rolled out in Israel, as Palestinians are forced to wait
December 18, 2020

Palestinian minor killed at protest labelled a “war crime”
December 09, 2020

Under siege; Gaza’s healthcare system faces collapse as poverty hits 1 million
November 27, 2020

Most Popular Articles

Israel’s puppet war unmasks apartheid regime
The El-Hakawati theatre was colorfully adorned to host its annual International

Rushdi Tamimi becomes second victim of Israeli army in Nabi Saleh
On Tuesday November 21st, the body of 31 year old Rushdi Tamimi was

Israel Avoids Hard-Right Shift: No Benefit for Palestinians
With many commentators predicting big wins for the settler movement in

Designed & Developed by: Pixel Co