In his editorial, Fawal discusses the displacement of approximately 2.5 million Palestinians by Israeli forces following the formation of the state of Israel in 1948. He examines the controversial settlements built by Israelis in the West Bank, and also the wall erected in Bethlehem. In addition, Fawal touches on his own experiences following the Second World War.
From the editorial:
I was 15 years old in 1948, and not a day goes by that I do not remember the tens of thousands of Palestinian refugees streaming into my hometown of Ramallah, which did not become part of the new Israeli state. The woman who later became my wife, rose Rahib, fled her home in Lydda as a 6-year-old girl. Rose and her family walked in the stifling heat some 30 miles to Ramallah. Her father had been successful in the trucking business and had built his family a fine home. But Israeli soldiers came, stuck guns in their faces and asked the out of that home, saying “go to Abdullah,” meaning to Jordan, which was then ruled by King Abdullah.
… Perhaps it is because of the progress I have seen in the half-century I have lived in Birmingham—a city whose history is so deeply rooted in the civil rights movement—that I am prepared to look forward to a brighter future in which Jews and Palestinians can live side by side as equals. I remain convinced that if Americans truly understood what the Palestinian people have endured at the hands of Israel – in 1948, in 1967 and today – they would strongly disapprove of their government’s financial and diplomatic support of Israel’s systematic discrimination and oppression of Palestinians.
The words of the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. echo powerfully for me: “We must come to see that the end we seek is a society at peace with itself, a society that can live with its conscience. And that will be a day not of the white man, not of the black man. That will be the day of man as man.”
Click to read the entire editorial at the Birmingham News.
On the Hills of God Fawal tells the story of a seventeen-year-old Palestinian boy, Yousif Safi, whose life is turned upside down with the founding of Israel in 1947. As the future of Palestine begins to look bleak, Yousif is frustrated by his fellow Arabs’ inability to thwart the Zionist encroachment and by his own inability to prevent the impending marriage of his beloved Salwa to an older suitor chosen by her parents. Despite the monumental odds against him, Yousif vows to win back both his loves—Salwa and Palestine—and create his world anew.