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I am Palestinian and I have a dream

A Palestinian holds a Palestinian flag during a protest within the "Great March of Return" demonstrations on the Israel-Gaza border near Jabalia Refugee Camp in Gaza City, Gaza on December 21, 2018. ( Ramez habboub - Anadolu Agency )
A Palestinian holds a Palestinian flag during a protest within the Great March of Return in Gaza on 21 December 2018 [Ramez habboub/Anadolu Agency]

Every time I read how Martin Luther King Jr. had a dream that came true, to a certain extent, I feel hopeful again that my dream of the return of the desperate Palestinian refugees, scattered in all corners of the world, will eventually come true, so that we can live together in peace as we used to before the occupation. During the pre-Zionist era, Muslims, Christians, Jews, non-believers and followers of other religions lived harmoniously in Palestine without having any sectarian or ethnic issues.

I dream to do like the Germans who pulled down the Berlin Wall, reuniting families which had been torn apart and rebuilding homes that were split in two.

I have a dream that I can live in my homeland after liberating it from the brutal occupation. A country ruled by an egalitarian system where values of justice, equality and freedom are paramount, where there are fair elections in which no candidate or voter is afraid of being attacked or abused because of his or her political position, where people are not identified according to social class.

I dream of a homeland where people belonging to one country are not – even implicitly – sorted into a first privileged class that enjoys all the benefits and a crushed second class that struggles to obtain the most basic rights.

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I dream to harvest the olive trees in the land that my grandfather left us and have no strange settler coming to ruin my property, humiliate me and deliberately destroy my trees. He might even burn it down, setting a part of me ablaze.

I have the right to walk freely in the towns and villages of my occupied country without being stopped at "security checkpoints" to show my papers to a soldier who might or might not let me pass, depending on his mood, while having pleasure in seeing my exhaustion and suffocated breath as I surrender to the instructions of his weapon and the status quo.

I have a dream of walking comfortably while I visit the Rosh Hanikra Grottoes and the wall of Acre, before taking a swim in the beaches of Haifa; and then heading to Mount Carmel to fill my lungs with fresh air.

In the evenings, I would rest in Nazareth and continue my journey through the centre and south of the country, tasting the oranges of Jaffa and embracing the corners of Al-Aqsa Mosque, the destination of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)'s nocturnal journey and ascension to the heavens (the Isra and Mi'raj), before passing by the Church of the Resurrection in Bethlehem, home of the Cradle of Jesus (peace be upon him).

I dream of visiting Gaza when the siege is lifted and eating some of its famously delicious strawberries and spicy food, although I cannot handle chilli dishes. I heard a lot about the peppery flavours of the city's gastronomy that made me so curious to taste it.

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As you wander in Palestinian villages, thousands of small towns, you have to try the Palestinian "Musakhan". You will not need to buy the ingredients from the market because you can find it in the garden of every Palestinian household, and if a family needs a certain ingredient, they can easily get it from their helpful neighbours.

As soon as I savour the Musakhan, I would definitely have to try the Knafeh Nabulsi with its sweet aroma and delicious taste. Talking about food, there are the kaak of Jerusalem and the Eid Ma'moul, as well as hummus and falafel with traditional bread baked on firewood in the morning to be eaten at breakfast with locally sourced olive oil.

Palestinians prepare homous and falafel for iftar on 19 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Palestinians prepare falafel in Gaza on 19 May 2019 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

As for Hebron, it is another story of civilisation and history

The advanced crafts of shoes, leather and Dahdah sweets, and the city's exceptionally smart merchants, whose stories have become a distinct heritage passed down from generation to generation, offer a great insight into Palestinian life.

I indulged in describing the pleasurable details of my dream because it is about Palestine, the country of Lod and Jerusalem airports, to name a few, as well as its extended railways network. A country that excelled in various industries. It is the same country mentioned in almost all the archaic books, encyclopaedias, and search engines like Google cannot wipe its name off even if the company owners are willing to do so.

Indeed, many people want to deny me the right to dream, and place obstacles along my path. They even facilitated the migration of the Palestinian people from their homeland, while welcoming strangers to settle in the country; until we reached a point where the Palestinians, who have been expelled from the land of their fathers and ancestors and banned from entering their country, are also denied the Palestinian nationality, while strangers, who are the descendants of outsiders, are granted citizenship and enjoy full rights and privileges!

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Why are the Palestinians, rather than any other population on the face of earth, forced to recognise a thief, who stole their homes, and accept occupation? Why should they be willing to welcome and coexist with him?!

Accusations of terrorism are on set for anyone who thinks of resisting or boycott the occupier while trying to recover his colonised home!

Any attempt to regain usurped and hijacked rights has become unacceptable for many, despite the fact that international covenants guarantee this endeavour, and I do not know, after my candid talk about my dream, whether Facebook and Twitter will pursue me and prevent me even from dreaming in light of their insane war on Palestine-related content!

But even if the occupation, the UN Security Council, and all their allies on this planet meet to deny me the right to dream and strive to realise my dream, they will not be able to take it away from me. If the forces of the whole earth come together, they will not be capable of depriving me of this right, which many consider impossible, but I and millions of Palestinians and supporters of the Palestinian cause see victory as being as close as a blink of an eye.

The views expressed in this article belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of Middle East Monitor.

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