Beit Nūba – Al-Ramla District
speaking from Qalandya refugee camp, 2011
I was born in Beit Nūba in 1912, and was married at fifteen to my husband, Abdallah Muḥhammad Shḥadeh, who was from Bir Ma‛īn. The day they took us from Beit Nūba for the wedding, I rode on a camel with a small sitting-box embroidered with finery strapped on top. When we arrived at Bir Ma‛īn, someone caught the camel’s rope and I was afraid, but he only wanted to invite us to eat with his family, but we told him that Yūsuf al-Ḥajj had already invited us to eat with him. Back in Beit Nūba we had rented land to farm. Our house was near the mosque and it was huge, with two big rooms, one for us, the other for our cows and sheep. Before long, we had four sons: Khelmi, Fauzi, Tufaha, and Ribḥi. Then the day of the Nakba arrived.
When we heard the Jews had entered Ramle, we knew they would soon come to Beit Nūba and we were ready to flee. We slept in the fields, feeling it would be safer to be away from our homes. When the Jews attacked, the women and children left the fields immediately without going back to their houses. I put three of my sons on the donkey and the youngest walked by my side. The older villagers were too frail to move and there was little we could do to help them. There was Abu Hassan, who was blind, and a woman who was too old to move. I know they were both killed. The old woman’s body was put outside and just covered with hay.
The first place we landed in was Beitillu, but I wasn’t happy there during the four months we stayed, so I asked my husband to take us to Kharbata, which we reached after Deir Qaddīs. We stayed there for six months before my mother brought us back to Deir Qaddīs for the harvest. We finished helping her and then my husband brought us here, to the Qalandya refugee camp, where we have lived ever since. Our village is now near the Israeli settlements Mevo Ḥoron, and the Canada Recreational Park is on our village land, so you won’t find anything left of our homes.
Fatima died in 2013 and is buried in the Qalandya refugee camp.