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I want to keep my wife PDF Print E-mail
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Written by Ghassan Abdullah   
Saturday, 13 November 2010 16:07

I want to keep my wife

November 2006

(Letters from Palestine-Page 88)

Israel has decreed that my wife and I can no longer live together. I am Palestinian and she is Swiss, and we have been married for twenty eight years. She was given two weeks to leave the occupied Palestinian territoriy. The Israeli minister of interior wrote on her swiss passport: “Last permit”. We have been living in Ramallah for twelve years. We came in 1994, when after Oslo agreement, we were encouraged to move to the west bank by the prospect of “peace” and development.

My wife Anita speaks Arabic, likes the landscape, cooks arabic meals, and she cares for my grandfather’s village house, an old stone building and the plants around it, more than I do. She votes in Palestinian elections as the spouse of a Palestinian. She is active in serving the local society in public health. She has so many friends here and considers it home. She still has her valuable European element and contacts, but she doesn’t want to be deparated from this environment or from me, and I certainlt do not want to be separated from her.

Our children are grown up and work abroad. But they are also not sure they will be allowed to visit us here. On her way to visit us in Ramallah a few months ago, our daughter, who has a Swiss passport, was delayed for six hours at Tel Aviv airport and grilled when she landed. She was lucky. Others are deported to where they took off from, often spending a night or more at that notorious detention “facility” at the airport.

For the past twelve years, Anita has managed to stay here by diligently renewing her permit or leaving and coming back every three or six months to comply with the Israeli “law” that applies in the occupied territories. She is fighting now to stay here by going to a lawyer and to the Israeli courts, hoping for an injunction to be able to stay until a verdict is reached. She is also in touch with her embassy, and she has joined others in the same predicament in addressing the European Union and the American consulate and in talking to human rights organizations, both Israeli and Palestinian, and the media.

We don’t know what to do. But we have to do it quickly. What do we do about our shared life, our papers and accounts, the hundred of little things that we have grown to share? What do we do about the new apartment that we made the “mistake” of purchasing at the wrong time? She was keyed up about what tiles to choose and how to model the kitchen. We can’t believe, or accept, that we are going to be separated. We believe it though, when we are reminded by other “mixed” couples or families who have, and are being, separated around us.




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