Abu-Zahra, Nadia & Adah Kay. UNFREE IN PALESTINE: Registration, Documentation and Movement Restriction. 2013, Pluto Press. UK. ISBN 978 0 7453 2527 9

Review by Theresa Wolfwood

“In this book we focus on denationalization rather than displacement or dispossession…we draw attention to the 1.4 million denationalized Palestinians… The focus on denationalization, rather than solely dispossession, implicitly recognizes the nationality and citizenship of Palestinians prior to 1948.”

If there are still any people of good will who believe that the conflict in Palestine with the Israeli occupiers is an evenly balanced situation – this is the book for them. It is also a well-researched book that Palestinians and supporters of Palestine will find useful. In painfully detail, the authors document the long history of ever increasing repression in Palestine. As some of the people interviewed state, it is a repression aimed to force Palestinians from their homeland by making their lives unbearable.

Every strategy and technique is documented; identity cards, permits to work, permits to reside in one’s own home checkpoints, detention, imprisonment, including of children, without trial or with totally biased court system, movement restrictions, separate highways and of course the wall-barrier, Blacklists are also an effective way to punish those who refuse to inform on other Palestinians, to sell their land or vote as ordered in local elections.

Some of the procedures sadly echo the treatment of Jews in Nazi ruled territories in Europe during the 2nd World War: these images show the same techniques; pages 9 & 62 in the book.



But the Palestinians have not given up; they continue to resist in many creative and non-violent ways. Most refuse to leave; they continue to work their land, if trees are destroyed-they are replaced. Even attempting to live a ‘normal life’ is an act of resistance. The writer Raja Shehedeh made us aware of the Arabic word ‘sumud’, the quality of steadfastness that Palestinians possess and that gives them the strength to resist daily on many levels. We have to hold in our minds and work that, “Palestinians from the beginning wanted the restoration of their rights, not simply aid.”  Reading this book makes it clear that we need to express our solidarity creatively and non-violently in consultation with Palestinian people and their social movements; that we may also possess ‘sumud.’

Filed under Nadia Abu-Zahra & Kay Adah