• Return to Palestine

      Shakkour, Suha; University of Derby (Ashgate, 2015)
      To begin to comprehend the complexity of life in exile for Palestinians, it is important to first recognise that for many the desire to return is not rooted simply in a return to the homeland, but to a particular region and, specifically, to their former houses. In a sense, these houses – of which the majority were either appropriated by Jewish-Israelis (and in some cases, by internally displaced Palestinians) or destroyed in 1948 – serve as place markers in history, the moment of exile forever preserved within their walls. Thus, for their original owners, a return to them is considered a return to their ‘authentic selves’, that is, to their pre-exilic identities. Given this, it comes as no surprise that the keys and deeds to these houses are carefully guarded and passed down along with the memories of the sights, sounds, and smells they evoke in the first generation of exiles. This first generation is comprised of an estimated 726,000 Palestinians who were displaced in the 1948 Nakba, and later the nearly 300,000 in the 1967 Naksa. While those who had more resources (e.g. an education or financial resources) were able to exercise more choice in terms of destination, many remained in neighbouring Arab countries hoping to return to their homes when the political situation was resolved. Today, more than 60 years later, the vast majority continue to wait.