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Thoughts on the Nakba from a Palestinian living Britain: Dr. Abdel Salam Mraish

May 10, 2016, midnight

I was born in the village of Thikrin, in the district of Hebron, in 1946. My family lost a lot of land in 1948. My father’s name was Omran Hussein and he was born, in 1924, on a farm by the town of Tarqoumya, west of Hebron.

He was born in the fields while his mother was harvesting wheat. The spot where he was born and all the farmland was appropriated by the self-declared Israeli state. My grandmother was not the only woman to give birth in the fields. The rhythm of life revolved around people’s working cycle on the land. Today, many Palestinian women have been forced to give birth at military checkpoints controlled by the Israeli occupation. They are designed to restrict Palestinians’ freedom of movement, even when they need to get to hospital.

The Nakba resulted in the theft and confiscation of the land and village of Thikrin, which was one of 420 Palestinian villages totally destroyed by Israel. I was lucky, as I was able to study in Hebron and then went on to study Islamic Law in Damascus. While I was a student there, Israel occupied what remained of my homeland in 1967.

I found work, like many Palestinians in exile, in Saudi Arabia, where I continued my studies also. Now I live in the UK but I am able to go and come between exile and my homeland. I have, however, many difficulties travelling to and, in Palestine because I constantly challenge the occupation and encourage others to do so when they visit. Palestine is what makes up our identity as Palestinians and is central to our culture and traditions. I work in different fields: political, religious and academic. I am pleased that I can officially represent Palestine at many events.

As a Palestinian living in Britain, I ask the UK Government to be just and fair when it comes to Palestine as it does elsewhere. I ask Britain not to have double standards as it did as a colonial power last century, causing the great injustice visited upon the Palestinian people.

My hopes for the future and my dearest dream are to see Palestine liberated, secure and settled.

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