News of the Rafah border crossing opening has brought a sense of renewed possibility for Palestinians. People are relieved and excited that all women and children as well as men over the age of 40 will now be allowed to leave Gaza via the Rafah crossing in Egypt.
Sixty-three years ago, a 13-year-old Palestinian boy was forced to leave his home in the Galilean city of Safed and flee with his family to Syria. He took up shelter in a canvas tent provided to all the arriving refugees. Though he and his family wished for decades to return to their home and homeland, they were denied that most basic of human rights. That child’s story, like that of so many other Palestinians, is mine.
This month, however, as we commemorate another year of our expulsion — which we call the nakba, or catastrophe — the Palestinian people have cause for hope: this September, at the United Nations General Assembly, we will request international recognition of the State of Palestine on the 1967 border and that our state be admitted as a full member of the United Nations.
Many are questioning what value there is to such recognition while the Israeli occupation continues. Others have accused us of imperiling the peace process. We believe, however, that there is tremendous value for all Palestinians — those living in the homeland, in exile and under occupation.
While diplomatic discussions are beginning between the US and Israel in Washington, on the ground Israel is grinding on with construction on occupied Palestinian land. Why Israel continues to cement its occupation, if it’s supposed to give the land back?
Israeli soldiers shoot on protesters trying to cross the border from Syria, Lebanon and Gaza in commemoration of The Nakba.
Israel refuses to hand over Palestinian Authority donations and government employees cannot receive paychecks.