I had heard Joe talk often and excitedly of Ali Abu Awad, so when the opportunity to meet him and colleagues arose soon after my arrival in Bethlehem, I was glad to accept.
Talking to Ali, it didn’t take long to understand the enormity of his vision. Ali presently lives on his family’s land just south of Bethlehem, on the other side of the main road from the large Jewish settlement of Gush Etzion. (For different perspectives on this settlement’s history and expansion see Wikipedia and +972 Magazine). Nothing extraordinary in this: many Palestinians live in the shadow of settlements. The story of Ali’s youth and upbringing are not so uncommon either. He was brought up in a politically active refugee family which was under constant pressure from the Israeli military, this eventually culminating in the imprisonment of himself and his mother. Following the dashed hopes of the Oslo…
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