Affidavit No. 1728/2004

Sworn Statement

I, the undersigned, Usama Salah Nasser Marziq, holder of ID #023308695, born on 5 June1968, a shopkeeper and a resident of Jabal al-Mukabber, Jerusalem Governorate, would liketo declare the following:

I hereby declare that the information provided by me in this document is true and accurateand any false declaration of information will expose me to penalty.

In 1995, my family decided to invest its entire savings in opening an excellent supermarketon al-Quds/Jericho Main Street at a distance of 200 metres from Kabasa “Abu-Dis” junction,and on 1 January 1995, the shop was opened. My brothers 'Adnan (35) who is married,Bassam (27) who is married, Basel (25), Nasim (23) and I worked in this shop, which wehoped to be livelihood of the whole family (50 persons), most of which are children. Thestrategic location of the shop made citizens from al-Shayyah quarter, Ras al-'Amoud, Abu-Dis and al-'Eizariyya do their shopping from it, in addition to citizens from Jabal al-Mukabber,Wadi Qadoum and Silwan.

During the first five years, work was expanding month after month. The shop covered all theexpenses of the big family, while a part of the profits was saved. It is worth noting that al-'Eizariyya and its surroundings was considered a quiet area and the Israelis called it “KfarHasholam” which means the Peace Quarter. Our maximum daily sales amounted to NIS15,000 (equivalent to USD 3,500). Despite the outbreak of the intifada on 28 September2000, work in the shop was not impacted.

This situation continued until 26 July 2002, the day when a suicide bombing took placeinside the canteen of the Hebrew University in Jerusalem, resulting in the death of a numberof the University’s students. It was revealed that the person who implemented that suicidebombing had come from the south of the West Bank, through Abu-Dis and al-'Eizariyya. Atthat point, Israeli occupying forces decided to close Kabasa “Abu-Dis” junction and all theentrances of al-'Eizariyya with concrete cubes along a distance of around one kilometre fromal-Shayyah quarter to the Mosque in Abu-Dis, separating al-'Eizariyya and Abu-Dis fromJerusalem. The height of that wall amounted ranged between one meter and a half to twometers.
Consequently, work in our shop constantly deteriorated as customers from Jerusalem andthe surrounding neighbourhoods such as al-Shayyah, Ras al-'Amoud, Wadi Qadoum, Silwanand Jabal al-Mukabber became unable to reach us in their cars. Moreover, dozens of highincomefamilies holding Israeli identity cards moved from the al-'Eizariyya and Abu-Dis area.
Therefore, although our shop had been located in a strategic location, the south gate toJerusalem, this location became the end of Abu-Dis line and it no longer witnessed trafficjams coming from the south of the West Bank (Bethlehem and Hebron). These measures(the construction of the wall) made our daily sales drop from NIS 15,000 to NIS 4,000(equivalent to USD 900). No doubt this change has negatively impacted all member of ourextended family - 50 members, mainly children and school children as I mentioned above.As a result of this situation, the family decided to dispense with the services of three of mybrothers who were working with me in the shop and who relied on the shop for theirlivelihood. So Bassam worked in the Israeli Egged Bus Company, Basel worked as a driverfor a school bus, and Nasim worked for UNRWA. 'Adnan and I were the only ones left towork in the shop. We continued to work, hoping that this temporary wall will be demolishedand the final Wall will be built during the next few months and will include a six metre widegate that allows citizens to pass through it by their cars, especially Jerusalem citizens.

We lived on this hope from 26 July 2002 until 28 December 2003. Our sales deterioratedand our profits dropped, so that we could hardly cover our expenses and the shop expenses,especially that the annual rent of this shop was JD 10,000. The shop has almost collapsedbut our dream in the gate encouraged us to continue. But on 28 December 2003, the Israelioccupying forces announced Kabasa “Abu-Dis” as a closed military area, and so all theshops located in that area were closed for 17 days, the period needed for building the finalWall, which is supposed to be 9 metres. We watched its building with tension waiting for thegate which was said to be at the junction of Kabasa “Abu-Dis.” Upon completion of the Wall,all our hopes disappeared as the Wall was a full wall without gates, extending from Kabasa“Abu-Dis” to al-Sawahra al-Sharqiyya, completely isolating Jerusalem from al-'Eizariyya andAbu-Dis towns. Not only this, but the Wall deprived us of seeing Jerusalem with its mosquesand churches. The objective of the occupation is not only to isolate Jerusalemgeographically from the West Bank, but also it went far to take Jerusalem from our hearts.

We later closed the shop because it was no longer a profitable project that may afford us adignified life. We will go back and depend on the occupation for our livelihood by working aslabourers and paid workers with the Israeli occupation.

This is my declaration and hereby I sign, on 8 March 2004.

Affidavit Details

  • Affidavit Number: 1728/2004
  • Field researcher: Manaf Abbas
  • Affidavit Date: 8 March 2004
  • Name: Usama Salah Nasser Marziq
More in this category: Affidavit No. 1723/2004 »
Simple Dreams Everything is forbidden

Al-Haq on Twitter