When my children were very young, and we were still able to cross the Green Line, my daughter once walked along the streets of Netanya and wondered which house would be ours had there been no Nakba. Her dad’s village once owned most of the land on which the city was built. Even though, or maybe because most Palestinians cannot visit what they generally refer to as historical Palestine or the 1948 areas, their emotional connection to these places is strong. Family origins are traced to towns and villages that were lost – some razed and demolished. Memories are cherished by the older generations and shared with younger family members, as anywhere in the world, only here it is tainted by a great sense of loss.
In this issue, you will read about the history, archaeological treasures, religious sites, culinary delights, literary development, and natural beauty of the areas that are inaccessible to many and, unfortunately, learn about the hardships that Palestinians on both sides of the Green Line (continue to) have to endure.
As always, our gratitude goes to the authors of this issue: Sami Abou Shehadeh, a Palestinian historian from Jaffa and a former member of the Israeli Parliament; Dr. Johnny Mansour, a historian, lecturer, and author; Fida Jiryis, a Palestinian author who lives in Ramallah; Dr. Ali Qleibo, an anthropologist and artist; Khalil Haddad, a licensed guide for English-speaking tour groups in the Holy Land; the Nazareth Cultural and Tourism Association; Adalah, The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel; Usama Libis, who loves nature and driving four-wheelers; Vivian Khalaf, the elected chairperson of the board of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund; Ala Hlehel, a Palestinian writer and editor based in Akko; H.E. Ambassador Husam Said Zomlot, a Palestinian diplomat, academic, and economist; Professor Ilan Pappé, the director of the European Centre for Palestine Studies at the University of Exeter, and the author of The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine; Dr. Waleed Atrash, a graduate of Haifa University with a PhD in classical archaeology who has been working at the Antiquities Authority since 1987; and Dr. Dalal Iriqat, an assistant professor at the Arab American University Palestine.
Our two Personalities of the Month are Shukri Arraf, a pioneer of Palestinian historical geography, and Saleem Zaroubi, a physicist from Nazareth. Our two books of the month are the first translation into English of an historical account of Bethlehem and the must-read Palestine Hijacked by Tom Suárez. If you visit Bethlehem, don’t miss our Exhibition of the Month, titled December Happening, that lasts throughout January.
The entire team at TWiP wishes you a good start to the new year that hopefully will bring more peace and justice worldwide.
By Marina Parisinou