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Why Won’t Palestinians Just Leave?

Mumtaz Moosa |
30 October 2023 | 10:15 CAT

2 min read

Photo Credit – Middle East Monitor

According to the United Nations Office for Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs, in the first quarter of 2023, Israeli authorities forced people to demolish or seize 290 Palestinian-owned structures across the West Bank; all but 19 of these buildings lacked permits. Permits are almost impossible for Palestinians to obtain. As a result, 413 people, including 194 children, were displaced. 

This was even before the war had started; Palestinian people for decades have faced forcefully removed and what we know in South Africa as the land areas act. As of this week, the numbers have intensified within Gaza, which sees almost one million Palestinians homeless. 

A simple question of why they won’t leave, especially since evacuation orders have been issued time and time again. In South Africa, we see a bit of unsettling, and we are ready to pack and go, so how can we understand why won’t they leave? 

During Nakba, evacuation orders were given, and people followed them in the hope of being safe, but they were never allowed to return to their homes or the land that they once had for generations in their families. Put yourself in their shoes for a moment; many Palestinian families have lived with each other as their homes are constantly bombed, and many are living in tents as refugees, but they stay.

Why should they leave? What awaits them elsewhere? Why should they be forced to be refugees in another land? 

Under normal circumstances, people would flee any country amid war, as we have seen with Ukraine, but these are not normal circumstances. The people of Palestine have nowhere to go; they live in one of the most densely populated areas on earth, with their movement restricted. 

Many Palestinians live as refugees already, and they have hope and are optimistic that they will return to their ancestral homes one day; as I have mentioned, they are already refugees in their lands, and this is the way they hold on to their roots and their identity. They have a fear that if they leave the last remaining patches that are known as Palestine, they may never have a chance to return home.

Even though pressure is mounting on Egypt to open the Rafah border, it would mean that Egypt would now have to allow people to stay in refugee camps there, and this is not welcomed by the Egyptian president, but the country can’t afford it. So, politicians looked to Jordan, which is already home to a vast number of Palestinians, and some say the Middle East. The reality is that no one wants them, and this is the sad truth of the plight of the Palestinian people.  

But we have to understand that they don’t want to leave and have their land confiscated; they are being killed, but they have so much courage and hope as they feel if they leave Islam’s first Qibla will no longer exist, they see themselves as the custodians to the first Qibla. 

But in all truth, why should they leave?  Why should they allow the ending of their roots and heritage? 

What stopped South Africans from leaving during Apartheid? Answering this will allow you to understand that Palestinians will hold on to their roots and identity until liberation



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1 Comment

  1. Fadeela Mohamed

    Slmz- I am formally from South Africa now living in Perth- my name is Fadeela Mohamed- some groups
    Of muslims have suggested a World wide Fasting Day for the Palestinian cause this Thursday 9th November2023- can
    One of the Imam’s/ presenters plse announce it& ask
    To participate- just as thousands of muslims around the world are marching for a Ceasefire -perhaps it can be followed up with Fasting and prayers as well.
    From Fadeela- in Perth- Australia


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