I asked Samya what she imagined as a kid her life would be like when she was 21. She said she always imagined she’d continue her education. That might not have been possible even if she hadn’t married Hasan; many Palestinian universities have been closed for months at a time in the last two and a half years. So here she is. She has two kids, no job, and hasn’t seen her husband in more than a year. She’s lost hope that she’ll ever see him alive again, and her kids call their uncles "Baba" (father). Her son has never laid eyes on his father. No one in the house she lives in has an income. Aid organizations — including the Palestinian Authority — have refused to help her. The electric company came by a few days ago saying it’s going to cut off service. The house is freezing, and it could be destroyed anytime. She’ll be 22 in July.
POSTSCRIPT: Two weeks after I wrote this story, Samya’s husband and her brother were killed by the IDF. They’d sneaked in to visit Samya and the rest of the family and were shot as they tried to escape from her mother-in-law’s house, which had been surrounded. The house was then demolished. According to the IDF, Hasan was involved in the planning of several attempted suicide attacks. The IDF said its soldiers fired only after being fired upon. Neighbors said the IDF shot first.
The deaths of Hasan and Samya’s brother may have an effect on the peace process. They were killed on the same day the Palestinian Legislative Council was voting on whether to accept the new Palestinian prime minister’s Cabinet. This decision was basically a confidence (or no-confidence) vote on the "road map" peace process the U.S. is backing. Many Palestinians are interpreting these two killings, as well as two others in Gaza on the same day, as evidence that the Israeli government is not serious about working with the new prime minister or supporting the peace process. Demolishing a house and targeting and killing Palestinians — even wanted men — on the day of the PLC vote seemed to many Palestinians like deliberate sabotage. One man I talked to said, "Why couldn’t [the IDF] wait a few hours? Just a few hours, till after the vote?" A few hours after the vote, a suicide bomber killed three people in a bar in Tel Aviv.