Young Palestinians Speak: Living Under Occupation

cover image

By: Anthony Robinson
Annemarie Young

Northampton, Mass: Interlink Publishing Group, Inc. 2017. 118pp. $19.99. ISBN: 978-1-56656-015-3

Volume: 5 Issue: 9

September 2017

Review by:

Mauro Sierra III

University of Texas - Rio Grande Valley

Edinburg, TX

Young Palestinians Speak is a conjuncture of personal narratives of youth living in occupied Israel. It is the voices of witnesses to the gruesome treatment of Palestinians in the hands of Israelis and their military. These are children who live in despair and in a situation from which the world turns its face.

Children are possibly the most essential part of our society. They are not only the future, but the present as well. Their development and growth will mold them into the adults that they will become and their experiences will either make them or break them.

As parents we will always seek what is best for our children. We hope to see them grow emotionally, psychologically and physically healthy. However, is this really the case everywhere? What if you are not able to raise your child in a land where their wellbeing is possible? Such is the conundrum of the Palestinian peoples. 10 year old Yara of Ramallah states,

“We should be able to live and be happy with our lives. I am from Gaza, but our family is not allowed to return. The Israelis won’t give us permits. My father lived in Ramallah before, so the family came here, but now we are not allowed to go back.”

Palestinian Arabs have been losing their homeland since 1946. Following the United Nations Partition Plan of 1947, the Six Day War in 1967, and the illegal Israeli settlements in the West Bank, Palestinians have lost almost all their lands. Some of us can only imagine what it is to suffer loss of homes, family heirlooms, stability, jobs, and at times, family. Nour, a 14 year old from Gaza says that living in Occupied Palestine is not living.

“We survive. Some families are separated and might never see each other again. It’s too crowded here. There is no space and not enough housing for families. Everybody gets tense, fights start. We are prisoners and have no control over our lives.”

Many of these children see more than what they should and live through more than what they can. Lina, a 10 year old from Sebastiya stated that her cousin was arrested for two days without being told why. He was returned at 2am and will not speak of the incident. What could have happened? What could he have gone through? Is there no sense of justice?

The land continues to be stripped from Palestinians, at times even desecrated. Ahmed of Sebastiya states that settlers constantly uproot their olive trees and in 2012 they began to pump raw sewage into Palestinian olive and apricot groves. How disgusting is that?

These are just some of the situations that Palestinians go through. This book is not a book to be interpreted. This book is filled with the hopes and dreams as well as the live nightmares of many young Palestinians from Jenin, Nabulus, Qattana, Sebastiya, Gaza, Beit Ur, Hebron, Ramallah, and East Jerusalem. Do not seek to read this book if you are prejudice. Read this book to learn what the youth of Palestine go through on a daily basis. Through many of these quotes you can see what life they live.


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