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What Will I Tell My Son?

I was in my family’s home in Haifa, a city in northern Israel where both Palestinians and Israelis live. I saw groups of young men carrying Israeli flags and tire irons march by, shouting, “The people of Israel live” and “Death to Arabs!”…My father, who is 82, still waits for the day when he does not have to live in fear that we will be evicted from our homeland. To be a Palestinian in Israel is to wait for the day when Israel will decide to forever rid itself of you.

How do I explain to my 7-year-old son what being a Palestinian citizen of Israel means? For now, I try to shield him from the images on television and on our phones, but there will soon come a time when I cannot shield him from the reality that he is surrounded by people who consider him a second-class citizen.

Diana Buttu, The Myth of Coexistence in Israel, New York Times Op-Ed, May 25, 2021.