I have been in Palestine for nearly 4 months now. The last time I spent more than a few months here was 1999-2002, at which time, my family left due to the intifada.
Friends and family continue to ask me whether I will stay in Palestine or leave in a year or so. Having “returned,” it seems criminal to even think about leaving. After all, how many people have the opportunity to return to the motherland? My family and I are those few Palestinians that have benefited from the Oslo process by gaining Palestinian “citizenship” – the right to live in the Bantustans of the West Bank without worrying that the occupying force will deport you for living in your ancestral land “illegally.”
I am now working in what my friend Nour calls the “most tense city” in the world, Jerusalem. Although I didn’t live through the time period, in 2012, I can imagine Jerusalem being a southern city in the U.S., in the 60’s, with a large population of KKK members and their supporters. But before you tell yourself that’s not so bad, I’d like to add to the 60’s pre-civil rights image. Let’s add today’s minute men on the U.S. border with Mexico “taking care” of “illegal immigrants,” in addition to the colonial practices of French Algeria and Rhodesia (what is now Zimbabwe).
The “conflict” between Palestinians and the Israeli government cannot be described in one way. It seems to me that Israel has combined everything that was wrong with past colonial powers, in addition to everything that is wrong with the current nation-state, and is practicing it on its territory (Israel) and the occupied Palestinian territories (the West Bank and Gaza).
Meanwhile, the Palestinian Authority, which semi-controls the Bantustans of the West Bank – in collaboration with Israel – are too busy directing traffic to pay attention to settlement expansion and the colonial entity that is literally surrounding the future Fayadistan.
In answer to friends and family about leaving or staying, wallah mani 3aarif (I have no idea).
In the coming months, I will attempt to record the ongoing nakba, catastrophe, of the Palestinian people.