Mahmoud Abu-Sneineh

Ijlil al-Shamaliyya

There were good relations with all the Jews. There’s no difference, we spent the night at their houses, they spent the night at ours. We were more than brothers.

In 1948 I was seventeen years old. Cinema City was a hill made of gravel, and our house was on the hill. Up until the 1960s they were taking gravel all the way to the edge of the house. Then they came with a big tractor and destroyed the house. All the stones of the house are on the seashore. There were 500 meters. They took the gravel from beneath the house.

When I was young I would go to the cinema in Tel Aviv. There was a cinema in Herzliya too, and I would go with Jewish friends. The Jews would speak to us in Arabic, everyone knew excellent Arabic. They were sabras, from German descent, Polish descent, and others. My father would tell me, “Rukh la-Amek Moussa, rukh la-Abu Daoud” [go to Moshe’s mother, go to David’s father] – they talked about them like they were our cousins. There were Jews who bought lands from us and lived in Ijlil. The Herzliya police was the border of Ijlil. They would carry sand from the beach with camels and would sell it in Ramat Hasharon for building. Everyone here had about 50 camels… in the house here, which remains from then, live Arabs from Ijlil.

Since 1967 this is the second time that I have been here to visit. Why come? For heartbreak, so I’ll get a heart attack? My house, someone came to live in it. I told them, ‘You are allowed  to live in my house and I can go to hell? Why?’ And he was a good friend of mine from Ijlil, from Arab al-Hayb. He can come from there and live in my house and I am not allowed to step foot here? And I am a citizen of Israel with an Israeli identity card. Because of this I don’t want to see anything. Once I asked him if I could enter the house. I showed him where every room was and what was in the house. I showed him an identity card, that I am Abu Sneineh, and there was a stone in the house on which the name of the family was engraved, “Abu-Sneineh.”

Ijlil Tour 2004 (15)

Ijlil Tour 2004 (14)

Ijlil Tour 2004 (13)

Ijlil Tour 2004 (9)