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From the field

Daniella Shumar, a resident of Far'on, has not seen her parents abroad for nine years

Ayman Shumar, father of three

Ra'id Fatafteh

In 1990, I went to Romania to study pharmacy at Iasi University . When I finished my studies, I met Daniella Larisa, whom I later married. We have three children. I am a pharmacist in Far'on. She is a Romanian national, twenty-nine years old.

When I decided to return to my home in the West Bank, we agreed that I would start the procedure to get her a visa from the Israeli embassy so that she could enter Israel and then the West Bank . A friend who studied with me in Romania helped me. He is an Israeli citizen. He requested a visa for her to enter Israel , because we were not married at the time, so I couldn't submit a request for a visitor's permit on her behalf. She came via Ben-Gurion Airport and received a tourist visa that was valid for a month. She arrived in the West Bank on 6 April 1997, and we got married four days later.

Since then, Daniella has lived with me in Far'on. In May 1997, about a month after she arrived, I submitted a request for family unification at the Palestinian Interior Ministry in Tulkarm. I was given a document confirming the request and the number of the application. I checked weekly at the Interior Ministry and the Ministry of Civil Affairs in Tulkarm about the request, but there was no news. When the intifada began, I lost hope completely because the Israelis froze the handling of family unification requests. From the time that Daniella arrived, we have not been able to visit her family in Romania . If she leaves, she will not be allowed to return.

Ayman and Daniella Shumar with their children. Photo: 'Abd al-Karim a-Sa'adi, B'Tselem. />

We have three children: Amir, 8, Yasmin, 3, and Zina, who is one year old. All three are registered in my identity card.

The restrictions on my wife's movement make things very difficult for her. I can't take her and the children outside of Tulkarm because there are checkpoints at the entrances to the city. We live in constant fear.

I worry that the Israeli soldiers will come to our house during some incursion into the village and discover that Daniella does not have a permit or ID card. She lives like a prisoner, without the detention and the prison.

When she speaks with her family in Romania , especially after she speaks with her mother and sister, she is very sad. They tried a number of times to get a visa to enter Israel , so they could visit us, but the Israeli embassy in Bucharest denied the visa application. I hope that the relations between Israelis and Palestinians become normal once again, so that all the problems can be resolved, especially the matter of family unification.

Ayman Saleh 'Abd a-Rahman Shumar, age 35, married and father of three is a pharmacist and a resident of Far'un in Tul-Karm district. His testimony was given to 'Abd al-Karim a-Sa'adi at his pharmacy on 18 August 2005.