Suffering of Elderly Palestinians Survive in Hebron, West Bank

Israel applies strict rules in several areas in Hebron, West Bank. Tens of thousands of Palestinians are prohibited from driving, including ambulances for Palestinians.

The elderly in Hebron
Illustration. The elderly in Hebron, West Bank, bear a heavy burden to live there. (Doc. AFP)

ACTNews, WEST BANK – Being a Palestinian living in the West Bank is not easy, especially for the elderly. Many Israeli regulations are very burdensome for the elderly in Palestine.

This condition is felt by Tayseer Zahdeh (60), a Palestinian who lives in the Hebron area, the West Bank. Hebron is known as one of the areas inhabited by about 33,000 Palestinians, but some of its territories are fully controlled by Israel, including the area where Zahdeh lived.

Driving back home, Tayseer Zahdeh has to park his car hundreds of meters away from his home in Hebron city in the occupied West Bank. Israel prohibits Palestinians from using vehicles. In his old age, Zahdeh has to walk long distances every day.

Zahdeh, a gynecologist, lives in the settler neighborhood of Tel Rumeida in Hebron’s Old City since he was a child. He said most Palestinian residents have departed from the neighborhood due to the daily dangers they face as a result of Israeli restrictions and settler attacks.

“Here, people die in very humiliating conditions,” Zahdeh said. “One of my major concerns is that if I needed an ambulance one day, it would be impossible to reach my home,” he said.

Zahdeh recalled the story of his neighbors who lost their father due to Israeli restrictions. “Their 75-year old father suffered a heart attack and the ambulance was prevented by the Israeli army from reaching their home,” he said.

“As the Palestinians are banned by the Israeli army from driving their cars in the neighborhood. My neighbors had to carry their father and run for hundreds of meters to cross the military checkpoint to reach the ambulance, but their father breathed his last before they reach there.”

Zahdeh can’t sit at his home without making sure that all the doors are locked to protect himself and his wife against any unexpected settler attack.

“Even though we lock the doors, the settlers throw rocks and glass bottles at our windows,” he said. “This is how we live here since the settlers came to the area in the 1990s,” said Zahdeh.

Palestinian NGO, Youth Against Settlements, estimates that the Israeli measures in the heart of Hebron have caused the closure of all 1,800 shops in the Old City, 530 of which were closed upon orders from the Israeli army.[]