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Testimony: Israel refuses to allow Nihayah Seif to visit her mother her ill mother in Jordan and return to her home in Tulkarm

Nihayah Seif, mother of two

Nihayah Seif

I was born in Kuwait . On 20 December 1996, I married '‘Amar Yassin, who is from Tulkarm. We got married and lived in Jordan and I gave birth there to our two children, Mundar, 10, and '‘Udai, 8. On 17 October 1999, the children and I arrived in Tulkarm on a visitor's permit. A month later, my husband joined us, also on a visitor's permit. Israel had revoked his West Bank residency because he had lived abroad for many years. The children and I remained in Tulkarm until 27 April 2000, when we went on a visit to Jordan . We returned almost two months later, on 15 June. Since then, my husband, children and I have lived in Tulkarm and I have not left the West Bank , though by law I was supposed to because both our visitors' permits have expired.

Without a valid visitor's permit, I cannot visit my family in Jordan . If I leave the West Bank, the Israelis won't let me return - since the beginning of the second intifada, Israel has refused to issue new visitor's permits. If I go, my family will fall apart and I won't be able to see my children again. What really concerns me is that I won't see my mother before she dies. She is 80 years old, very sick, and bedridden. I haven't seen her since 2000.

It really hurts me that I can't see my elderly mother. I am afraid that she will die before I get a chance to see her. Being separated from my sisters and other relatives in Jordan is also very hard on me.

On 11 March 1999, my husband and I submitted a family-unification request at the Palestinian Ministry for Civil Affairs, in Tulkarm. The problem is that when the intifada broke out, Israel froze the handling of all family-unification matters.

Nihayah Muhammad Sharif Seif, 40, married with two children, is a homemaker and a resident of Tulkarm. Her testimony was given to ‘Abd al-Karim a-Sa'adi at the witness's home on 19 August 2007.