CHAPTERS
    Personal stories Ahmed Helou
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    Ahmed Helou

    Jerico

    Ahmed was born in Jericho. At the age of 15, Ahmed joined the local Hamas movement. He raised Palestinian flags and threw stones at soldiers. In 1992 Ahmed was sentenced to seven months in Israeli army prison as a political detainee. During family visits Ahmad first learnt of the Oslo agreements and was amazed to learn that the Palestinian flag could now be flown freely. In prison Ahmed decided that there must be other ways to fight for liberation without risking death or lengthy prison sentences.

    After his incarceration Ahmed finished his studies and began volunteering in the Palestinian Red Crescent ambulances. During the 1996 clashes in East Jerusalem Ahmed provided medical attention to many of the wounded Palestinians. At one instance he ran to help an unconscious man and to his surprise, discovered his close friend from Jericho, Firas.

    Ahmed immediately lifted his friend in his arms and began running towards the ambulance, but was shot in his back, and collapsed. On his way to the hospital Ahmed fell in and out of consciousness. In one lucid moment he heard the doctor ordering the paramedic to cease the revival efforts of the second patient in the Ambulance – his friend, Firas, died in the incident.

    After six months of rehabilitation Ahmed slowly began to walk, though the bullet is still in his back to this very day. At the age of thirty Ahmed married Hiba, also originally from Gaza. Sixteen years have passed since Hiba has been able to meet her family in Gaza. Their four children have never met their grandparents.

    Ahmed met civilian Israelis for the first time in various dialogue groups during the second intifada. He admits that up until then, all he knew about Israelis was from soldiers and check points. Even Though Ahmed and Hiba lost tens of their relatives to the numerous wars on Gaza, he thinks that bi-national cooperation is the only way to end the occupation and achieve peace.

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