Mohamed Owedah, a social worker, was born in the village of Silwan in East Jerusalem, Al Quds. Mohamad’s village is the biggest village in Palestine, but it is also a very popular village amongst the settlers due to its proximity to the City of David. As a child, Mohamad remembers how families from the village were forced to leave their homes in order to settle jewish families instead.
The first Intifada broke out when Mohamed was 16 years old. Most of the men and youths in the village were jailed for various charges, such as stone-throwing, and even hanging Palestinian flags. Mohamad’s four brothers were also locked up in the Israeli prison system.
Mohamad remembers the difficulty of daily life while most of his family was in prison. Every Friday, at 5 a.m, he would wait for the Red Cross to ask for help, so that he could visit his brothers on a monthly basis. The ride to the prison was long and hard, and included a humiliating inspection of him and his parents, after which they might not even be granted access at all. Cancellation of visits due to collective ‘punishments’ or boycotts was routine. For months on end, this was the Owedah family’s life.
After the first Intifada came the Oslo Accords. In their hearts, Mohamad and his family thought, “The nightmare has ended and the dream has come true! Finally, we will have freedom, and we will no longer have our children in Israeli prisons”. When the second Intifada broke in 2000, the bubble had burst in their faces.Violence spread, Mohamad lost many of his friends and the Occupation became more brutal. In Silwan, more and more homes were demolished.
Together with friends from his village, Mohamad decided to resist the Occupation — not with their bodies, but in a nonviolent way, without bloodshed, without more dead friends. They started training themselves in nonviolent resistance against the settlement of and the home demolitions in the King’s Garden (Silwan) in the City of David.
Through his resistance, Mohamad was looking for the sane voice on the other side. He asked himself why this voice is unheard, and thought that it would benefit the nonviolent struggle. He started looking for a partner for this new way of life he had chosen, and he found CfP, which at the time was in its first year.
He attended a meeting to hear about the movement and to see its activities. A bond was formed between Mohamed and the other the activists; nonviolent activity against the Occupation started in Silwan and other places in both the West Bank and Jerusalem.This activity showed more people that things can also be achieved without violence, even if the achievements sometimes seem small — they point us in the right way, the way of peace and freedom. Mohamad has been active in CfP for more than 8 years, and is now the the movement’s General Palestinian Coordinator.