“When we get up we say to ourselves, is there school today or not? From 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m., it’s a very difficult hour,” said Ms. Benara, a mother of three, in the camp in the northern West Bank. , Palestinian territory occupied by Israel since 1967.
Either she decides to keep them at home, or she is worried about what might happen to them and decides to accompany them.
“The eight-year-old boy says he no longer wants to go to school because it is next to the road” where Israeli jeeps pass and where Shireen Abou Akleh, a Palestinian journalist, was killed on May 11. American who covered one of the army raids there, explains this 43-year-old social worker.
The Israeli army has stepped up raids on the Jenin camp, considered a stronghold of Palestinian armed factions, and where it claims to be carrying out “counter-terrorism” operations and arresting “suspects” linked to a wave of anti-terrorism attacks. -Israeli bloody carried out from March 22.
Often early in the morning, the raids are punctuated by clashes with residents and fighters. The exchanges of fire, with live ammunition, startle the camp which hosts some 14,000 inhabitants, stealing the sleep of the residents in the process.
At 10, Ahlem Benara’s daughter recently started wetting the bed. “She doesn’t sleep well, she’s afraid of noise. Sometimes I turn up the TV at night so she doesn’t hear ‘the chaos outside.’
“We are sleeping and we wake up with the clashes. So we are afraid and we are worried”, testifies Majd Owis, a 16-year-old teenager.
The young man’s house overlooks the street where Shireen Abou Akleh was killed. It’s an alley like any other, but distinguished by the crowd around a tree.
At its foot were placed flowers, portraits of the Al Jazeera reporter, handwritten pieces of paper and posters reading “Goodbye” or “Thank you Shireen”.
And all around, on wooden easels, drawings, often black, “to represent sadness”, explains the artist Fidaa Sammar.
In Jenin, “every house has its own story of sadness and pain. It’s not a life, we want to live in dignity and peace,” she told AFP, regretting the lack of security.
“We wake up to the sound of gunfire, the situation is frightening. Everyone is afraid of seeing armored vehicles and the army disembark”, continues the artist who wears a large keffiyeh on his shoulders.
Like most residents, she blames Israeli forces for the chaos, not Palestinian armed fighters, symbols of the “resistance”.
Throughout the gray camp, the concrete walls are covered with portraits of the local “heroes” who rose to the rank of “martyrs” by fighting at the cost of their lives, and sometimes Israeli civilian lives, against the Israeli occupier . For the Jewish state, they are “terrorists”.
The Jenin camp has had a long history of clashes with Israeli forces. Besieged by the army in 2002, it was devastated during fighting in which 52 Palestinians and 23 Israeli soldiers were killed.
Twenty years later, Ahlem Benara feels the same fear, except that she now has children, a source of additional concern.
Born in Algeria, she says she is thinking about leaving, convinced that the Israeli raids will not stop.
“I would like (to be) somewhere else for my children,” she says. “My (Palestinian) husband tells me that’s life, you have to get used to it. I can’t”.