Video: Palestinian girl determined to stay in Silwan despite Israeli settler aggression

Tayma Fteiheh is thirteen and dreams of becoming a rapper. She’s the star of this terrific video short produced by Defence for Children International – Palestine Section (DC-PSI).

All the houses in Tayma’s Jerusalem neighborhood are threatened with demolition so Jewish settlers can seize the land.

There has recently been a spike in Israel’s policy of destroying Palestinian homes, a practice Human Rights Watch says “raises war crimes concerns.”

Tayma gives us a tour and talks about what life is like in her area for children like her, threatened constantly with violence from occupation forces and settlers.

There is also a great scene of Tayma and other children working on rap songs together with Tamer Nafar of DAM.

My favorite line: “We hang our towels on our shoulders, they hang their machine guns on theirs.”

All the houses are under threat

The video’s description:

“We had a childhood just like everyone else, but it wasn’t a normal childhood,” says 13-year-old Tayma. “Everywhere we turn, the settlers are around us … They came to our land, stole our land, and are saying that it’s theirs.”

Tayma lives in the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan on the outskirts of Jerusalem’s Old City. Israeli authorities issued many of the Palestinian families living in Silwan with demolition orders for their homes to clear the area for a national park.

Israeli authorities also approved a large tourism center in the heart of the neighborhood, which will include parking, an event hall, a cafeteria, and stores. They’ve handed development of the area to Elad, an Israeli settlement organization.

“All the houses here are under threat of demolition [by Israel] so that the settlers can build a park for their children,” says Tayma. “They want to throw Palestinian families on the streets so that they can build parks for their own children.”

Israeli settlers have moved into Silwan. With the aid of Israeli security forces, they subject the longtime Palestinian residents to daily violent harassment and intimidation.

Tayma and her sibling must share the same steps with settlers to access their home. “Sometimes we rub each other the wrong way, which creates some bad situations between us,” she says. “There are cameras everywhere that watch the kids as they go up and down the steps.”

“My dream is like the dream of any Palestinian kid,” says Tayma. “It is to live in safety and not in the shadow of colonization, and not to feel crushed every time I leave the house. And my other dream is to become a famous Palestinian rapper.”

The video is directed by Sevan Karkashian and edited by Sameer Qumsiyeh.

Also check out another recent DCI-PS video profiling Zeina, 12, a Palestinian girl from the Ras al-Amud neighborhood of eastern occupied Jerusalem, whose dad has been jailed since she was a baby.