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Palestinians’ quasi-life

Akram was told about the suffering of the Palestinian refugees from his parents and is telling this to his sons


First person account of painful experience of second-generation Palestinian refugee. However, hopeful, but describes chapters of suffering sticking to all stages of Palestinian life

By Akram al-Satarri

Ever since the drastic changes in the lives of Palestinians in 1948, the Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank, Gaza and the diaspora, have been living a quasi-life moving from one refuge to another.

A landslide majority of the Palestinians live outside Palestine in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon and the diaspora at large.

My 70-year-old mother, who was 3 years old back then, was one of tens of thousands young, old, healthy, sick, wealthy and poor Palestinians running under the pouring fire of the Zionist gangs. They were simply seeking refuge, knowing that the Zionist gangs would slaughter them the same way they did to neighboring villages and townships.

An estimate of the number of people who left or fled the area captured by Israel was 726,000, according to the Final Report of the United Nations Economic Survey Mission for the Middle East, published by the United Nations Conciliation Commission, December 28, 1949.

My father who died in 1991, had told us many stories about him collecting the rotten corpses of Palestinian villagers young or old who were gunned down by Zionist forces, whose main aim was to drive Palestinians away from what they wanted to become their state!

As children, we angrily and painfully listened to my father. We saw sadness and, sometimes, tears in my father’s eyes taking us beyond the words.

While we lived in the UNRWA camp in Khan Younis City, we heard the story of our family grapevine and deserted house on the outskirts of Ramla. The stories of unharvested wheat, unfinished meals and devastated hope irritated our childhood and fuelled our anger.

We as refugee children were also targeted by the Israeli occupation. We lived in refugee camps and we longed and waited for freedom.

I recall being shot by Israeli occupation forces in 1989 at the age of 13. I was arrested more than 4 times between the ages of 13 to 16, until I served an imprisonment of 9 months in 1993 at an Israel military detention camp in Negev Dessert.

I suffered a mild paralysis in the Israeli occupation’s detention camp, and they denied me access to medical care when I was in dire need of it as a patient, and as a child. At that specific time, I realised that they wanted to belittle, humiliate and break us. They wanted to build the glory of their fake democracy on the wreck of the rightful owners of an occupied land.

I survived the test of my condition, yet, they failed the test of humanity, in my eyes! As a child struggling to cope with harsh jail conditions, I realised bridges can never be built on the ruins of human beings or dignity.

In 2008, 2012 and 2014, my young, loving, tender and lively children were traumatised by Israeli occupation bombardments, reminding my mother, myself and my children that the suffering that was endured by two whole generations is likely to happen to the third!

My eldest son was injured during the 2014 war by an Israeli F-16 bomb targeting our neighbourhood. Gaza was divided into three separate areas by Israeli occupation forces, separating me from my family. All I could do was to ring my wife and ask about my son, but she did not know his whereabouts amidst the chaos and devastation.

At a very critical point in time, I spoke to my youngest son who told me he was suffocating due to the gases and smokes of the Israeli bombardment at the neighbourhood.

Again, we survived the tender wounds and scars, and then we could smile again and wait for the better yet to come, unlike those who have no conscience or consideration for dignity or the rights of people.

Therefore, it is a matter of time to apologise for the people of Palestine, rectify the historical crimes committed against them and start consolidating a political solution that will guarantee freedoms of the Palestinians.

(Source / 08.06.2016)

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