coralhouse  asked:

what is your heritage/family background and what is it that you love the most about it?

I’m Palestinian American. My family is from Jerusalem. I’m Arabic and what I love about where we come from is the way of life. Jerusalem is the holy land…and the way I was raised…love is the way of life. Everything I represent is love. Family-wise too…we really stick together as a family. 


Book photo via

At the very start of Hala Alyan’s novel Salt Houses, a woman buys a coffee set — a dozen cups, a coffee pot, a tray. It’s a simple act that unexpectedly becomes painful. The woman is Palestinian — part of a family displaced after the founding of Israel — and the tray reminds her of an old one she lost in one of the family’s many moves.

Alyan builds her story on little moments like that — a peek into the lives of several generations, forced to relocate and resettle. Her characters are lost and looking for a home

She spoke to NPR’s Steve Inskeep about the book – find their conversation here.

– Petra

Days Lost But Not Forgotten: My Family’s Account of Nakba Day

Nakba day is a significant day for the Palestinian people. Almost every family has a story to tell about that day in 1948 when many Palestinians were forced to leave their homes to seek refuge in less troubled lands. For the Sabella family, Nakba day is a day of reflection. Today, I visited my aunt Hilda and uncle Maurice in the Old City of Jerusalem along with a friend and asked them to share more about their memories of Nakba day.

My aunt takes a sip of her sweetened Arabic coffee and looks at me with somber eyes: “I still have the paper and the key, you know,” she says. Aunt Hilda was talking about the piece of paper that proved my grandfather’s ownership of his home in Katamon in West Jerusalem in the year 1936. I ask her to tell me more about that house. “Your grandfather purchased the estate from the Latin Patriarchate in 1936 and our family lived in it until 1948 when the war broke out,” she says. “It was a beautiful home with many empty fields around it,” my aunt recalls. “I still remember the view from our front door.”

asked her about what happened in 1948. She shakes her head, takes a puff from her cigarette and takes me back. “Your grandfather used to love this home, but when the Hagana bombed Katamon’s Semiramis Hotel killing 26 people in the process, he decided it was time to leave.” The Hagana was the Jewish underground militia which was active at the time and later formed the core of the Israeli military. My grandfather was worried that the neighborhood, which was the only Arab neighborhood between two Jewish ones, would continue to be targeted by the notorious Jewish militia. He chose safety first, as did many others who were forced to flee in search of safer grounds.

My grandfather Zacharia, my grandmother Margaret, my father Bernard, my uncles Abdallah and Maurice, and my aunts Hilda and Bernadette packed their bags and made their way towards Lebanon where they sought refuge in the small town of Ghazir. They stayed there for nine months until they decided to return to Jerusalem and settle in the Old City, which was under Jordanian rule at that time. This is the very home where we were sitting drinking our Arabic coffee and talking today. It is the very home where my family meets for holidays like Easter and Christmas and where we honor and keep alive the many traditions that were celebrated by my grandparents. Back in 1948, this house in the heart of the Old City of Jerusalem was a one room flat. There was no kitchen, no toilet, and no running water. The seven members of the Sabella family lived there in these dire conditions for seventeen years. “But we managed,” says my aunt Hilda.

In 1965, the house was renovated and for the first time, the Sabella family, which by then consisted of ten members with the addition of my uncle Tony, my aunt Therese and my uncle David, was able to enjoy a home with running water and an en-suite toilet. In 1972, my family went back to the place where their Katamon home once stood. “We went back there to visit our home but found that it had been destroyed and in its place was a sixteen-apartment building complex,” my aunt Hilda recalls. My aunt tells me that my family stood there in silence for a while reminiscing about their childhoods and the surrounding empty fields where they used to play and wander.

We, the Palestinians, commemorate Nakba day not because we hate our neighbors, but because while our neighbors celebrated, we suffered. Each Palestinian family has a story to tell which it holds dear to its heart about that day. How can anyone ask my father, my aunts or my uncles to forget the memory of Katamon, to bury their childhood memories of that place, or the empty fields that surrounded their home? We commemorate Nakba day because in a way our Nakba is still ongoing to this very day. Whether it’s a family eviction in Silwan, or the seizing of land in Beit Jala, or a destruction of a Bedouin village in the Jordan Valley, or the stripping of residency rights for Palestinians in Jerusalem, the suffering of our people continues and all we have is our memories to hang on to. We will never forget our past, but perhaps when our people are free, independent, and lead a dignified life, we can start looking for the future rather than mourn our past. But until that day happens, our people will continue to go back in time to commemorate our Nakba.

Dispatch from Cecilie Surasky: “On Monday, Nawal H Musleh, (on the left in photo) a US citizen of Palestinian descent on the Interfaith Peace-Builders delegation, was detained at the airport and held for 7 hours. Her colleague at AFSC, Katie Huerter went through passport control in one minute, but came back for Nawal and was then also detained for 7 hours. After extensive questioning and a search through Nawal’s phone, they were both denied entry. Only after high-level UN involvement, were they allowed in. Nawal has been working for Palestinian children’s rights for 2 years. In marked contrast, although I’ve been with Jewish Voice for Peace for 14 years–a group that supports BDS and has protested the Israeli Prime Minister–, I walked through passport control in under one minute. I should note that unlike Nawal, my parents and grandparents have never lived in Israel/Palestine. Nawal notes that the detention room was filled mostly with Palestinian American families with children.


That scarf around my neck is called a keffiyeh, and this one was given to me by a Palestinian family in Bethlehem. Palestinians live under an apartheid rule by the state of Israel, and are denied many of the rights and privileges given to their Israeli counterparts. Their situation is very similar to the plight of black people and I believe if I’m fighting for my rights and my freedom it is only right I fight for theirs as well.

So here’s a smile and a laugh for Palestine, hoping one day they can do the same.

Happy Blackout.


Oyoun Qarra Massacre, 20 May 1990

In the early hours of Sunday, May 20th, 1990, a group of 100 Palestinian labourers from the Gaza Strip were waiting at the Oyoun Qarra (Rishon Lezion) bus stop to be transported to their working place. An Israeli occupation soldier, Ami Popper, from nearby Rishon Lezion Zionist colony approached the workers and asked them for their IDs. After making sure all the workers were Palestinians, Popper lined them up, asked them to kneel down in 3 lines and using his M16 sub-machine gun he opened fire killing 7 on the spot and injuring others. When the Israeli police finally arrived to the scene of the massacre, they started beating the Palestinians workers who had survived the death machine. On that day, later known as “Black Sunday”, at least another 6 Palestinians were killed by Israeli occupation forces in subsequent demonstrations while protesting the massacre.

As with all massacres committed by Zionists, the Israeli government rushed to declare Popper deranged. But when it was proven that he wasn’t, he was tried and charged with murder in 7 cases. However, while in detention, the terrorist Popper receives “special treatment”; he was allowed to get married, had 3 children with his wife and is allowed 48-hour furloughs. In 1997,

The 7 Palestinian martyrs were all refugees. Their parents were expelled from their homes and villages in 1948 by Zionist terrorists. To feed their families, these Palestinians were forced to work as slaves for the Zionists who had made refugees out of them. The martyrs of Oyoun Qarra massacre are:

Abdil Rahim Mohammad Salim Baraka,  from Khan Younis
Ziyad Mousa Mohammad Swe’id, from Rafah
Zayid Zeidan Abdel Rahim Al-’Mour, , from Khan Younis
Suleiman Abdel Raziq Abu ‘Anza, from Khan Younis
Omar Hamad Ahmad Ad-Dahleez,, from Khan Younis
Zakariya Mohammad Qdeh, from Khan Younis
Yousif Ibrahim Mansour Abu Daqa from Khan Younis

Palestinian martyrs killed by the IOF in subsequent demonstrations on 20.05.1990:
Iyad Ismail Abdallah Saqir, 17 yrs from Ash-Shati’
Shifa’ Naim Ali Al-Hummus, 23 yrs, from Khan Younis
Mousa Ibrahim Abdel-Hay Hassounah, 27 yrs, from Ash-Shati’
Ali Mahmoud Mohammad Az-Za’amrah, 21 yrs, from Halhoul
Husam Abdel Rahman Abdallah Ghazal, 14 yrs, from Qabatia
Wail Mohammad Al-Badrasawi


A ‪Palestinian‬ wins a Gold Medal for the first time in Olympics history at ‪‎Rio2016‬ :)
The Taekwondo player ‪‎Ahmad Abu Ghoush‬ who holds the Jordanian nationality has just won a gold medal after winning the final match against a Russian player. Although he holds Jordanian nationality, Ahmad is Palestinian refugee; his family was forced to flee the country and his village, ‪Imwas‬, was demolished by “Israel” in 1967.
Congratulations!!! ‪‎Long Live Palestine‬

It took two years for this Palestinian family to build their home and just one afternoon for the ‘Israeli government’ to destroy it.

There are many injustices everywhere but the Israel thugs have stolen land, killed unarmed civilians and bombed Palestinians and yet nothing has been done to bring them to justice. In fact Europe and America are sponsoring them.