Made in Palestine

A Palestinian’s perspective on politics, society, and the everyday

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Ramadan Kareem to a Mourning Falasteen

The holy month of Ramadan begins tonight. It’s normally a cause for celebration, but it comes at a sombre time as we say goodbye to our dead and reflect on the tragedy of two days ago in Gaza. We are reminded of our ever-growing fragility and helplessness in the face of a futile world order that has mastered the art of condemnation and concern, but nothing more. Needless to say that there is a lot of frustration with recent events, but more so with the knowledge that such tragedies will undoubtedly reoccur because the global political system in place allows them to reoccur. In the absence of consequences and accountability on the perpetrator, the perpetrator will perpetrate again and again and will become emboldened with impunity. The evidence speaks for itself. We pray and hope that this holy month will bring with it something. Something of a change. Let us not aspire for peace, or...

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Mea Culpa, Aleppo

In many ways this is a mea culpa. Since my daughter Naya has come into our lives, I decided to focus more on the things that make me happy in life and not the things that don’t. So, for example, whenever I pass a checkpoint, I always try to think of my family while I’m queueing and not of the fact that I am forced to queue. I think of the moment the soldier releases me from his or her control into their path. I also started writing more about my daughter Naya, and less about our hopeless politics, because of the happiness it brings me. I started viewing life through her eyes and it rejuvenated the child in me like never before.

With this new focus on happiness, I started scrolling past stories which pop up constantly on my Facebook feed and remind me of the dark side of humans and humanity. Aleppo, Yemen, bombings in Egypt, bombings in Turkey. The stories keep piling up. I have to admit...

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Days Lost But Not Forgotten: My Family’s Account of Nakba Day

Nakba day is a significant day for the Palestinian people. Almost every family has a story to tell about that day in 1948 when many Palestinians were forced to leave their homes to seek refuge in less troubled lands. For the Sabella family, Nakba day is a day of reflection. Today, I visited my aunt Hilda and uncle Maurice in the Old City of Jerusalem along with a friend and asked them to share more about their memories of Nakba day.

My aunt takes a sip of her sweetened Arabic coffee and looks at me with somber eyes: “I still have the paper and the key, you know,” she says. Aunt Hilda was talking about the piece of paper that proved my grandfather’s ownership of his home in Katamon in West Jerusalem in the year 1936. I ask her to tell me more about that house. “Your grandfather purchased the estate from the Latin Patriarchate in 1936 and our family lived in it until 1948 when the war...

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Bill Clinton, Barack Obama, and Israel’s Decision

In an event in Tel Aviv marking twenty years since the murder of former Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, former US President Bill Clinton took the stand and delivered a speech to tens of thousands in attendance. President Clinton was the President of the United States at the time Rabin was murdered back in 1995 and he described news of Rabin’s murder as the worst moment in his 8-year tenure.

President Clinton’s speech included the following: “… the next steps will be determined by whether you decide that Rabin was right, that you have to share your future with your neighbors, that you have to stand for peace, that the risk for peace isn’t as severe as the risk of walking away from it. We are praying that you will make the right decision.”

If President Clinton is praying, maybe he should pray a little harder and pray for something different altogether, perhaps a reversal of a...

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My Interview with NPR’s Morning Edition

Audio file:

Link:
http://www.npr.org/2015/10/28/452466412/what-its-like-to-live-in-east-jerusalem-a-palestinians-perspective

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The Killing of Mahdi

Mahdi Mohtaseb, a 22-year old Palestinian from Hebron, was shot dead at close range by Israeli forces this morning. This is a section from a report written and published by the Israeli online news website Ynet: “After wounding the soldier, the assailant, 22-year-old Hebron resident Mahadi al-Muhatseb, reportedly tried to attack a border policeman who shot and killed the individual.” The report can be accessed here: http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-4717937,00.html

It turns out that the “reportedly” bit of the report is indisputably inaccurate and a brazen distortion of reality. Mahdi was a victim of an extrajudicial killing. In the video below, you can see Mahdi clearly lying on the floor, struggling for life. An Israeli soldier walks up to him, points his M16 machine gun at him, and shoots him point blank, killing him on the spot. At no point did Mahdi pose a threat to the...

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A Day in the Life of…

In a meeting in Bethlehem this morning, a colleague sitting across the meeting table gets a phone call. His facial expression changes, and he becomes very distressed. I ask him what’s wrong, he says: “They killed Mustafa, my colleague Adel’s son. We have to wrap up, we have to go.” I immediately went on both Israeli and Palestinian news sources, and the discrepancy in reporting was evident. Israeli press depicted Mustafa as a terrorist who tried to stab an Israeli policeman at Lion’s Gate in Jerusalem, whereas Palestinian press along with eye witness reports tell a different story altogether. Mustafa was shot after he refused the policeman’s order to remove his hands from his pockets. Pictures of Mustafa, lying in his pool of blood, his body stripped of its clothes by Israeli police, confirm the Palestinian story, there is no knife or screwdriver around.

On my way home from Bethlehem...

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We Lost Them

The back door of the lorry shut. With it vanished the last ray of light, the last breath of fresh air. Lights out. No air. No hope. No life.

Wave after wave, their small boat rocked out of hope. Their bare feet will never tread on land ever again. They sink to the bottom of the sea, gasping for air, struggling for a better life, or just a life. “They’ve abandoned us,” they think as they leave this life.

They’re gone, and gone with them is the conscience of humanity. Their only fault: born in Syria, born in Libya.

Little children clinging onto their father, grabbing their mother, no more tears left, they’ve dried out. But fear remains, and will remain with them to the last second. Any shred of hope for a better life quickly evaporates as their boat capsizes, their lorry runs out of air. Their tragic end will be forgotten, no one will know their names, just numbers unworthy of a human...

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Thoughts in the Wake of Ali’s Murder

Zehava Galon, leader of the Israeli left wing party Meretz, had this to say today in response to the burning of Palestinian toddler, Ali Saad Dawabsha, and the stabbings at the Jerusalem Gay Pride parade: “I say to Netanyahu and to MKs from the right: We don’t want your condemnations and we don’t want your soul-searching… Netanyahu has made a career out of inciting against Arabs and leftists – from the balcony in Zion Square to campaign videos comparing Arabs to Hamas, to ‘the Arabs are voting in droves.’”

Any sensible person can see the direct link between decades of incitement led by Israel’s right-wing leaders and the systematic violence that Palestinians suffer on a daily basis. If Israeli opposition leaders, such as Galon, can see the direct link between Netanyahu’s political rhetoric and the ensuing violence perpetrated by settlers and Israeli soldiers in the West Bank, then the...

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Peace Talks? What Peace Talks?

Israeli “peace” shenanigans continue. The joke of the day here in Palestine goes as follows: An openly racist Israeli Prime Minister, who has gone on record to reject the two-state solution, has appointed a former foreign minister, who himself has gone on record to reject a Palestinian state, as the “peace” envoy in the new Israeli government. Silvan Shalom, who has expressed his full support for West Bank settlement expansion, has been tasked with pursuing peace talks with the Palestinians.

Now just to be completely clear here, and in order for us to avoid any confusion, peace talks in the Israeli lexicon are defined as follows: a process led by the incumbent government with the purpose of misleading the world to believing that Israel is interested in a just and fair solution to the so-called Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The process is meant to show Israeli seriousness (wink wink) in...

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