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Promises, Promises: Palestinian Gallows Humor and Boats

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“When the time comes, we can pull strings for you so you can stay in Palestine,” (meaning the country from the river to the sea) my friend Ahlam said to me one day during the last war in Gaza. Attempting to explain black humor ruins it, especially when it comes to Palestinian gallows jokes about expulsion. But let’s give it a try.

What she meant was clear. As in every previous round of fighting in which Hamas demonstrated its military capabilities, in May too, it involved hints and wishful thinking that very soon Israel would be crushed; the liberation of Palestine was approaching; and finally, there would be justice.

Ahlam, whose mother and family were expelled from Safed in 1948 and whose home there is now occupied by Jews, was in her own way mocking Hamas’ pretensions about its might. She went straight to the next step in this fantasy of victory and justice: the Jews will leave or be expelled, but she will speak to the people in charge so that I, her Jewish friend, could remain.

Your promise is an upgrade from what Nidal and Bassam promised, I said, referring to a conversation a........

© Haaretz

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