Intisar, 65, is married with two sons and four daughters. After her father died in 1975 her five brothers all refused to contemplate giving Intisar her share of his property, instead offering her and her children a 9m2 room. Today she, her husband and their three unmarried daughters live in a small two-bedroom house with a leaking zinc roof.
“I’ve been trying to resolve the dispute with my brothers for many years but they just won’t co-operate. They haven’t spoken to me or had any contact with me for many years now. I feel very sad but what can I do?”
Friends told her about an NRC partner in Gaza, the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution. In 2013 a PCDCR lawyer checked through her documents, which included her father’s death certificate and a document from the Palestinian Land Authority confirming the land remained registered in her deceased father’s name. He sent a summary of the case to a mukhtar (traditional leader) who tried in vain to contact one of the brothers. He eventually tracked down another brother and expressed hopes of reaching an amicable out-of-court settlement of Intisar’s decades-old claim, pending which the case would be taken to court. The lawyer estimates the value of Intisar’s share is around $17,500.
Intisar is pleased that negotiations have begun.
“If they give me that amount I will be very happy. I can use this money to build an extra room so we can have more space and also to improve the roof. I think the threat of court makes a difference. They won’t do anything otherwise.”