Israel and Palestine: Personal stories from Combatants for Peace, part three
On 28 July the Frontline Club asks: is the best route to peace in the Holy Land to put down guns and start talking? Four members of the Israeli-Palestinian activist group Combatants for Peace will be on hand to talk about how they plan to do just that.
Tickets and more information on that event can be found here, but until then we’re publishing four personal stories from our speakers on the night. You can also read our first two stories here and here.
My name is Malaka Samara, from Tulkarm in Palestine. I am 32 years old and I hold a university degree in English Language and Literature. I am the oldest of four sisters and four brothers.
I don’t know how to start my story; My childhood was as normal as any child in he world apart from the fact that I believed that there is an enemy in my life. I used to watch Israeli soldiers everywhere with their weapons, being scared every time we saw them, because they used to treat us differently, not like normal people who live together.
I used to go to the Mediterranean sea with my family, every Friday, just 15 minutes away from my home by our car, and we used to visit every Israeli city without any borders or checkpoints and pray in Jerusalem.
The first Intifada started when I was 10 years old and our lives started to change. Prisoners, martyrs, fire. The people’s way of thinking changed and was affected by fear, worry, doubt and the relationships between friends and relatives became strange and not normal. One of my uncle was killed and three of them were put in prison.
When I was 18 I went to University in Nablus. The first three years were normal as any university student in the world. I took lectures and came back home easily with normal transportation. In the fourth year, the nightmare started.
The checkpoints everywhere, the separation wall, invasion day and night, injured and killed people everywhere. As a student and a Palestinian I faced problems all the time.
The day I graduated my oldest brother was arrested and my next brother was seriously injured in his chest and heart. The next week my uncle was killed along with 17 Palestinians after an invasion by helicopters on Tulkarm camp. One week later my uncle’s house was totally demolished and my three uncles and seven cousins were arrested for many years.
I had to stay in our house for three years without work because of the total closure and curfew in the city. Despite the difficult economical situation my family were facing, my four sisters and brothers were studying at university and my father worked in trading but had little to no income, so he sold all his land to give us money for education fees and transportation.
Our father never believed in politics, he just cares about education and living life full with dignity and respect.
I have volunteered with many different NGOs, that work for peace and ending the conflict between Palestine and Israel. I have presented to many different American universities, talking alongside Israelis about the situation in Palestine. I have worked as a translator with the UN and with many other organisations in USA, India and Europe. I am now working with an international organisation called Art Of Living, working to spread peace all over the world and teaching yoga and meditation.
I have decided to devote all my life to peace for my country and peace all over the world, because the word "PEACE" itself affects me when I hear it.
I am very happy to be part of Combatants for Peace, doing something important to end occupation and do something for my country and my people. Since my first meeting I have attended all the meetings and participated with the activities. I believe that with more work, efforts and support we can achieve a lot to end the occupation and have an independent state.