Gaza Think Tank- The PA’s UN Palestinian Statehood Bid
By: Jehan Alfarra
I miss the day when my little Barbie toy and my fluffy and soft teddy bear were all that mattered. They were the things I clung to the most and the things I held on to too tightly when I layed down in my tiny little bed, with its white-painted wooden bars around, to sleep. I would squeeze the fuzzy ball between my tiny fingers and close my eyes, without having to worry about a Palestine and a world of prejudice and misplaced integrity.
Though I am no child no more. My voice matters, and whether I liked writing or not is irrelevant. Writing is a duty first and foremost, and a way to let off some steam second. I have been brought up to two doctors, thus my life have been more privileged than ordinary residents of the Gaza Strip, my father originally Gazan, and my mother a refugee. I have been raised on the stories of the Nakba (Palestinian Catastrophe/formation of Israel), and how my mother’s family were thrown out of their houses in 1948 for an Israeli family to live there instead. My mother’s grandpa was shot by the Israeli Hagana gangs, and my grandpa was a kid back then. He is still alive and dreams of going back to their small house and their farm.
My parents got married inside our house, there had been an Israeli curfew and no one was allowed out during those days. I remember, as a child, the invasions of Israeli soldiers. Cracking down on houses, searching some and demolishing others. I remember the piercing sounds of bullets, and how my knees would fail me every time I heard one. I remember the first time for me to see a tank, I was in primary school, but I am not exactly sure what grade I was in. As I was leaving school and waiting for a car to pass by, a tank came out of the blue and was hardly 6 meters away. As soon as I saw that monster, my knees brought me down to the ground in a split second and a loud explosion caused my eyes to shut too tight that it hurt. I never knew why at the beginning, but then as I grew up, I became more aware. I read about Zionism, about the holocaust, and about the state of Israel. I never understood what our fault as Palestinians was. I never understood the relevance between what Hitler did and what my people had to pay. I never understood how a people don’t matter for the sake of other people to exist. Palestinians, for over six decades now have been struggling for freedom, but the only thing I heard when I went to the US for an exchange year is how Israel deserves that land and how we are violent towards them. Does the world (the west more specifically) really thinks Arabs, Palestinians, or Muslims in general are violent by nature? Do they think that not recognizing Israel’s right to exist is racism and anti-Semitism? They clearly do. What I will never tire out from saying, though, is that not recognizing Israel’s right to exist does not mean not recognizing the Jews’ right to exist. Jews lived with us Muslim and Christian Palestinians in Palestine peacefully prior to the formation of the state of Israel, but it is the racist basis on which Israel was built that we oppose. Placing those born to a Jewish mother on top of everyone else, killing us in the thousands and humiliating us at every possible opportunity, denying us our right to our own homes in what is now Israel, and never even recognizing a Palestinian people and their right to exist is what leads to such hatred, anger, and dissatisfaction. You will never hear a Zionist talking about a one democratic state solution for all faiths, but when we do, we are accused of ‘wanting to eradicate the state of Israel and Jews’.
Anyhow, this has not been the exact reason why I am writing this. Today, as known, marks the PA’s Palestinian Statehood bid at the UN asking for the recognition of a Palestinian state on 22% of historic Palestine. I will let you watch the video I am embedding of a video myself and a few of my friends recorded the other day addressing this matter and our thoughts regarding it. It is still uploading… I tried to upload it yesterday but an electricity cut by Israel yesterday stopped the uploading and it failed. I have been trying to upload it all day and it has been over 7 hours. I hope this ‘state’ will give us a better internet connection at least. I will write more about the pros on cons of this bid later tonight.