© Shareef Sarhan/UNRWA Archives
For the next season at the Global Oyster I will be dedicating myself to forgotten tragedies around the world. I will report on wars that are less covered by mainstream media, providing analysis on hidden violations of humanitarian law and attempting to voice different points of view by involving affected citizens, mainly young students, to speak up.
With these high objectives in mind, I thought there was no better way than to start with the issue of Palestine.
The question of Palestine is not a hidden one, everyone knows something about it, yet many times ideology and demagogy tend to cover facts and lead the discussion elsewhere. Over the past months, I have been accused of being a Nazi for openly supporting Palestinian positions.
This highlights one thing: the Western perspective on the question of Palestine is totally distorted. If, on one hand, it is true that you cannot take into consideration the issue of Palestine without looking at the Shoah and the post-WW II history, on the other hand these facts – very tragic facts to which everyone should show compassion, remembering how miserable human history has been and putting all the efforts in avoiding similar situations – well, these facts are often taking our eyes away from the pivotal aspects of the question itself. But I won’t talk about this.
What I will try to do with this interview is to offer answers to objective facts about life in Palestine. I will do this thanks to Yasmeen Rabah, a 24-year-old postgraduate student at the London School of Economics from Gaza who collaborated with the United Nations Relief and Work Agency (UNRWA). Yasmeen has worked alongside a team of refugee youth to advocate for inclusive development and participatory approach. At her young age, she has experienced two Israeli military operations, two Intifadas and one internal conflict- in addition to seven years of blockade.
Hearing from Yasmeen helped me understand the truth and I hope this interview will be helpful also for all the people who read it.
Hello Yasmeen, thank you for allowing me this interview. I will mainly ask you to clarify some aspects of real life in Palestine and specifically in Gaza. I want to start with something that remains unclear to many: What is the citizenship status of Palestinians? And how does your passport and visa process work?