Art, Sketch — April 18, 2017, 5:49 pm

Same Old, Same Old

Palestinian-Americans on the meaning of Donald Trump’s presidency.

As a Palestinian, U.S. president Donald Trump’s talk of travel restrictions, refugee and Muslim bans, and wall-building strike me as eerily familiar. Through his appointment of David Friedman as U.S. ambassador to Israel, his stated intention to move the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, and his bolstered military aid package amid devastating budget cuts, he has made clear his commitment to supporting Israel. Yet, quick as people are to condemn Trump’s positions on a slew of issues, few have spoken out about how his commitment to Israel fits in with the rest of his bigoted policies. In this centennial year—100 years since The Balfour Declaration, 70 years since we were ethnically cleansed from our homeland during the establishment of Israel, and 50 years since the June 1967 War (the Naksa)—many of us, descendants of refugees, remain barred from entering our homeland. Considering the Israeli policies that make it impossible to return, and the echoes of border control cropping up in American political rhetoric, I asked Palestinian-Americans from all walks of life to reflect on what this presidency means for us.

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Mrs. B’s Baby Village Day Care was on a frontage road between a mattress wholesaler and a knife outlet. There were six or so babies as regulars and another one or two on weekends when their parents were passing through looking for work. They wouldn’t find work, of course, all the security positions were full, the timber and ore had all been taken under the active-stewardship program, and the closest new start-up industry was the geothermal field hundreds of miles away. Mrs. B didn’t even bother to write those babies’ names down in her book. It was fifteen dollars a day and they had to be in reasonable health. Even so the occasional mischievous illness would arise and empty the place out.

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