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Book review: Determined to Stay: Palestinian Youth Fight For Their Village

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So many stories of Palestine and Palestinians remain untold. The brevity associated with news reports barely scratches the surface of the ramifications of Israeli settler-colonialism, let alone allow non-Palestinians to ponder the intricate web of politics that sustains colonial violence. Unless Israel unleashes its military power against Gaza, the world largely remains silent. This year, however, the protests at Sheikh Jarrah marked a turning point in international awareness.

Jody Sokolower's book, 'Determined to Stay: Palestinian Youth Fight For Their Village' brings Silwan's stories to the helm. With an introduction by Nick Estes, who ruminates on the similarities between US and Israeli policies in terms of colonial violence against indigenous populations, the book gives a detailed glimpse into the ordinary lives of Palestinians in Silwan. As the people continue resisting forced displacement, Palestinian resilience is a permeating theme and reality.

Sokolower, who is Jewish, keeps the identity privilege visible throughout the book, to illustrate Israel's apartheid politics. Indeed on several occasions the author ponders her positioning, her freedom in colonised Palestine, even as Palestinians' freedom of movement is either severely restricted or completely eliminated. Sokolower's positioning is particularly important, as it centres her role as a facilitator in presenting the Palestinian people's stories of Silwan.

Sokolower writes

As we walked through the Old City and the streets of Silwan, we seesawed between walking in solidarity with Palestinians living under occupation and reaping the benefits of looking like Jewish........

© Middle East Monitor

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