I have spoken to a few Palestinians over the last few weeks who have expressed their desire to see the sea. A simple dream you might think. This however would involve entering Israel – an impossible aspiration for many.
In 1993 Israel implemented its ‘general closure’ policy. This policy meant that Palestinians without permits are not allowed into Israel. Since the second intifada Israel has tightened and restricted the conditions for those seeking permits to enter into Israel. At times (such as in October 2000) all movement between the occupied Palestinian Territories and Israel was completely stopped.
The policy of ‘general closure’ has meant that there are large swathes of this young generation who have never been to the beach. In the case of the village of Jayyus where I am currently staying, this beach is just over 20 kilometres away and the shoreline is visible from most house tops.
Last night one of the guys from the village out of the blue said to me, “I dream of sitting on the beach, I am going to live by the sea one day you know”. This was his dream, his aspiration and his source of hope. I think I must have been tired because as he was talking to me the first two lines of this poem popped into my head.
The beach of dreams…
The beach is all that has never been seen
The beach is all that could have been
The beach is in all of their dreams of hope
The beach of dreams is their tool to cope
The beach remains not a stone’s throw away
The beach is in another land, and there it shall stay
The beach is the dream they hold for tomorrow
The beach is a reminder of yesterday’s sorrow.