Can Palestinians and Israel ever live side by side in peace, or will the legacy of ‘nakba’ endure?
It is ironic how children of the victims of the Holocaust are now accused of injustice against the indigenous population of none other than the promised land.
The State of Israel at its inception expelled at least 750,000 indigenous Palestinians, whose children are now refugees and who for over 70 years now have been struggling for an equitable right of return.
The “nakba”, or catastrophe, commemorating that forced expulsion, continues to be a rallying call for an uprising – a struggle against the stranglehold Israel commands over the lives of ordinary Palestinians, a battle against the expanding demolition of Palestinian homes in the occupied territories and illegal detention of unarmed activists and youth, unfairly imprisoned like Ahed Tamimi, or injured and even killed, especially since the beginning of the ongoing March of Return.
As for up to five million others, like me and my family, we – the children of those Palestinians expelled in May 1948 – are puzzlingly not able to return.
Unlike Israel, that either denies we exist or wishes we didn’t, we don’t seek the end of Israel. All we want is the peaceful coexistence of a Jewish homeland alongside a Palestinian one. Is such an equitable arrangement too much to ask for?
Maryam Abu Khaleel, Sai Kung