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Amal al-'Amleh has been separated fromher children in the West Bank for four years

Muhammad al-Amleh, teacher

Muhammad al-Amleh

I live in Beit Ula, which is situated northwest of Hebron . I teach in one of the local schools.

In 1994, I went to Jordan for three weeks. While there, I met my cousin, Amal Hussein Muhammad al-'Amleh, who was seventeen years old at the time. Her family has lived in Jordan since 1967. We got engaged and I returned to the West Bank . In 1995, Amal and her family entered the West Bank on visitor's permits, and we got married that summer. Amal lived with me and then, in 1996, went to visit her parents in Jordan . She stayed there a month and then returned. In August 1998, I submitted a request for family unification, but it was rejected. I have not submitted any additional requests. After the intifada began, there was no reason to do so because Israel had frozen the handling of request.

We lived in our home in Beit Ulla until 2002. In the meantime, we had four children, the eldest being Hiba, who is eight years old. On 29 May 2002, my wife went to Jordan . She knew that she couldn't return, but she missed her family and wanted to see her father, who had fallen and fractured his spine. Since then, she has remained in Jordan . She is in a very bad mental state because she is far from the children and me. She constantly asks me when she can return. I am still waiting, but the Israelis have stopped granting visitor's permits and family unification. The children ask when their mother will return, and I calm them and say that the day shall come when they see their mother again. Amal left when our baby daughter was ten months old.

Muhammad al-'Amleh with his children. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, B'Tselem, 8 June 2006.
Muhammad al-'Amleh with his children. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, B'Tselem, 8 June 2006. />

I have trouble managing with work and taking care of the small children. I make about 1,800 shekels a month, which is barely enough for me. I can't take care of the children like their mother does, but I didn't send them to live with her in Jordan because they are in school here. I always hear the children crying and mentioning their mother. I send a hundred dinars (about 600 shekels) a month to my wife, and our telephone calls cost me about 100 shekels a month. I also take care of my parents, who live with me. It is because of my poor financial condition that I have not visited Amal since she left.

I don't understand why I, my children, and my wife are being denied the right to live in the same place, like everybody else in the world. Relatives and friends suggested that I take a second wife, so that she could take care of the children and my parents. I don't want to harm my wife, and, in addition, I can't take a second wife due to my poor financial condition. It would cause me unnecessary expenses, not to mention the social and emotional problems that a second wife would cause for me, the children, and my wife.

Muhammad 'Abd al-Halim Muhammad al-'Amleh, 43, married and father of four, is a teacher and a resident of Beit Ula in Hebron district. His testimony was given to Musa Abu Hashhash at PARC offices in Hebron, on 13 February 2005.