Why is Israel separating me from my wife?

Israel has decreed that my wife and I can no longer live together. I am Palestinian and she is Swiss and we have been married for 28 years. She was recently given two weeks to leave the occupied Palestinian territory. The Israeli Ministry of Interior wrote on her Swiss passport: “LAST PERMIT.” We have been living together in Ramallah for 12 years. We came in 1994, when, after the Oslo Agreement, we were encouraged to move to the West Bank by the prospect of ‘peace’ and development. My wife Anita speaks Arabic, likes the landscape, cooks Arabic meals, and she cares for my grandfather’s village house — an old stone building and the plants around it — more than I do. 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Witnessing an Undercover Israeli Operation in Ramallah (2)

Today is November 15th. Today is our supposed “Independence Day”. A joke. Was almost killed today. This will be brief and inarticulate. I am still in shock…I peeked again, to see some Israelis beating the shit out of a Palestinian man and throwing him into their van. The mustarabeen next to us got back into their van. As we were in their way they smashed into our car and sped off. Meanwhile in front of us and to the right, the Israelis started to pull back. Kids started throwing stones. They shot at us again. They started pulling back again. 

A Tale of Two Sisters: Witnessing an Undercover Israeli Operation in Ramallah (1)

Four hours ago my sister Emily, her curator Carolyn and I were shot at by the Israeli army. My nerves are still shaky. We’ve been drinking ever since. My legs are weak. I feel I can’t stand on them…I was alone in the front seat. Emily and Carolyn were in the back. Suddenly, there was a van directly in front of our car. He veered a bit towards our car. I slowed down, wondering how I was going to pass him. And then he emerged from his window… pointing an M-16 across the street and spraying bullets. The three of us hit the floor of the car. All around us… shooting, shooting, shooting. So close. So close. 

Photostory: Ramadan in Ramallah

With the coming of Eid al Fiter and in spite of the depressed economy and Israel’s chokehold on Palestinian revenues and customs, traders and vendors in Ramallah are hoping to make some money. Some of them are children, since government schools have yet to open in the West Bank because of the strike by government employees. The vendors’ merchandise is all cheap, but it is colorful and maybe affordable. Popular items appear to be plastic weapons — plastic guns and swords. To Palestinian children, the scene in downtown Ramallah is as exciting as any Christmas season is in downtown New York to American children. 

Killings in Ramallah

29 August, pre-dawn - It is only now that the gunfire saluting the killed young man has become sporadic and no longer constant, and that the verses of the Koran, chanted in farewell of him, have ceased. But the streets are full; and full too are the hearts of all who had to witness an attack that should only have been imaginable in the darkest back-alleys of some underworld city. By thugs wielding heavy M-16’s. At 9 pm undercover Israeli Special Forces walked down the main street of Ramallah. They wore civilian clothes and Palestinian police-caps. They carried M-16’s as all the police force does. No one looked at them twice. 

A Night in Ramallah

When I began reading the account below of the shooting in Ramallah, I remembered that it was only nine weeks ago that I was walking the streets of Ramallah and I was eating ice-cream at the famour Rucarb ice-cream shop and I was being driven around al-Minara. It all came flooding back to me - those fifteen minutes in the early hours of the morning as my driver, Abu ‘Issa was taking me back to Jerusalem and we were caught in the cross-fire between Palestinian police in riot gear and armed youths. I’ll never forget the painfully hesitant drive up and down narrow streets as shadowy figures ran in and out of shop recesses with guns cocked while others smashed windows. 

Palestine to Lebanon: So close, yet so far away

As I play back what I have seen and heard today in Ramallah, Tel Aviv-Jaffa, and Lebanon, and as I see the Israelis unaffected and showing no mercy for the immorality of their state’s action, I can’t help think about what all this means.  Is it Lebanon’s fate to be the sacrifical lamb of the Middle East as the rest of the Arab leaders remain traitorous masters of rhetoric?  In all honesty, Syria, Iran, Jordan and Egypt should open their fronts.  But they won’t because they aren’t worth the dignity they claim as Arab.  If anything good comes out of this it is that no one should ever question the Arab identity of Lebanon.  

From Palestine: Generation After Generation

A chance encounter with the well known Palestinian filmmaker Michel Khleifi at the offices of the Qattan Foundation in Ramallah says it all: “No, one should not get depressed about the current situation,” says Khleifi. “In fact, this is the best time for us to work seriously on the Palestinian as a human being.” There is indeed quite a lot to be depressed about. Palestinian factions are busy fighting each other while Israel pursues its own criminal designs with the complicit approval of the international community. 

Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: The Wounded

Sa’ed Jamal Al Taleb (26) of Al-Jalazone refugee Camp (originally from Um Al Zainat close to Haifa) was the last of the scores of wounded to be discharged from Al Ri’aya Hospital in Ramallah. When the events of May 24 took place, he had been on his way home from the Arab-Amman Bank, where he worked as a messenger (he had worked for five years in Jordan and Saudi Arabia before returning home). Sa’ed was hit in the leg, as he ran towards Al Manarah to see what was going on. 

Portraits of Palestinian Resistance: Aysar Kamal Abu 'Arra

With Aysar’s death during the May 24 Israeli raid in Ramallah, Kamal Jamil Qasem (49) of Aqqaba near Jenin buried his second child. The first to die was Fadi, who, at 19, fought with Abu Jandal of Islamic Jihad during the nine-day Israeli attack on Jenin Refugee Camp in April of 2002. He fought against bulldozers, apache helicopters, tanks and heavy machine guns. Aysar, a member of the PA national security forces, was stationed in Ramallah, because he was having trouble getting to Hebron, his original post, as a result of the Israeli check points.