Monday, January 22, 2007

The Coming Storm

Nora Barrows-Friedman writing from Dheisheh Refugee Camp, occupied Palestine, Live from Palestine, 21 January 2007
(Nora Barrows-Friedman is the producer and co-host of Flashpoints, a daily investigative newsmagazine on the Pacifica Radio Network in the States. Twice a year, she travels to Palestine to document the situation there from the ground and lead media training courses for children at the Ibdaa Cultural Center in Dheisheh Refugee Camp)

".......Palestinians living today inside Israel will be particularly shoved against the literal and metaphoric wall. Talks of so-called "loyalty schemes" are becoming popular within the marble hallways of the Knesset -- contracts that Palestinian citizens of Israel will be made to sign declaring their loyalty to the Jewish and democratic state. If they are caught inside the occupied territories, or acting to change the political system, they will simply be stripped of their citizenship, and probably deported down the street to "Palestine."

There could very well be a Mogadishu next to Jerusalem; a sham state that will be the death of future talks of refugees' rights of return, of the settlement dismantling, of a unified, bi-national state for all that live in this sad strip of land next to the azure Mediterranean. This is a quite outrageous yet realistic vision, and time is running out before all the details are drawn up and plans are formalized, before the suits in Jerusalem and Washington DC shake hands and wipe them clean of the Palestine problem.

People are, meanwhile, buying time. Someone asked me today if I had spoken with anybody who held any hope. I couldn't think of one person during my travels up and down the region. In Gaza, a colleague there said that people have begun to run out of cooking gas and cigarettes, that people stay in bed out of hunger, cold and searing depression. For the three and a half million Palestinians living in the ghetto prison of the West Bank, they can see that the escalating squalor-nightmare of Gaza is on its way here, tumbling over the wet hillsides like a silent, aching storm."

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