Fadi’s Story: The Challenges to Palestinian Identity

Foreign Policy Brief #113 | By: Aziza Taslaq | January 9, 2024
Featured Photo taken from: www.foreignpolicy.com

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Fadi’s roots trace back to the village of Tetaba, situated near Safad in Palestine. However, his grandparents were compelled to relocate to Lebanon in 1948 as a consequence of the displacement caused by Israeli forces seizing their homes and lands. This historical event, known as the Nakba, led to Fadi’s family obtaining travel documents as they became part of the Palestinian diaspora. Based on the Geneva Convention, the travel document aimed to protect civilians during armed conflicts and facilitate the rights of Palestinian refugees, including international travel and access to various services.

Born in one of the Gulf countries, Fadi faced challenges early on. Until the year 2000, he couldn’t enter most Gulf countries due to his lack of a Palestinian ID. The Palestinian ID, issued by the Palestinian Authority, is a crucial identification card for residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. To obtain it, individuals must contact the Palestinian Ministry of Interior or local authorities, submit required documents like proof of residency and birth certificates, and follow the specific process outlined by the authorities. The Palestinian ID, issued by the Palestinian Authority, serves as a local identification and proof of residency for residents of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. On the other hand, the Palestinian Travel Document, also issued by the Palestinian Authority, is used as a substitute for a passport, enabling international travel for Palestinians who do not hold a national passport or ID, such as refugees. This limitation extended to Fadi’s professional life as local companies showed a preference for native residents, creating hurdles for Fadi and other Palestinians in similar situations.

Love knows no borders. Fadi met his future wife online while he was living in the Gulf, and she was living in Jordan. Despite the physical distance, their relationship deepened through virtual interactions. Driven by a strong connection, he made the heartfelt decision to travel to Jordan to formally engage her, bridging the gap between their two locations and taking their relationship to the next level. Attempting to unite post-marriage in the Gulf proved futile as Fadi’s request for his fiancée’s relocation was denied due to his possession of a travel document instead of a valid Palestinian ID. Consequently, Fadi chose to move to Jordan, and the couple built a life together, facing additional challenges due to his identity status.

In Jordan, Fadi encountered obstacles in his pursuit of a career as he lacked identity documentation. The struggles extended to his daughters when their mother’s attempt to secure Jordanian residency for them was denied, linking their status to their father’s. The only two possible scenarios for them to acquire residency were either through divorce or the father’s death. This situation significantly complicated Fadi’s family life.

In an attempt to find a resolution, Fadi journeyed to Bahrain in 2016 to secure a Palestinian passport from the Palestinian Embassy, valid for five years. Despite his endeavors, challenges persisted. Upon the passport’s expiration, a visit to the Palestinian Embassy in Jordan only deepened his frustration. He learned that possessing solely a Palestinian Passport is insufficient for entry into Palestine, even for tourism; a Palestinian ID is also required. This raises inquiries about the rationale behind these restrictions.

Currently engaged in remote work as a sales representative, Fadi utilizes his sales and communication expertise. He encounters persistent challenges due to global conflicts impacting his company. While appreciative of the international support for the Palestinian cause, he underscores the complexities with official identification documents and governmental institutions. Fadi emphasizes his inability to either return to or visit Palestine, expressing frustration with the dire circumstances in Gaza.

Fadi’s close ties to the ongoing conflict in Palestine are evident through his wife’s aunts, who are married to Palestinians, and his friends residing in the West Bank. These personal connections underscore the extensive impact of the war. The economic hardships and travel constraints imposed have resulted in the separation of families, highlighting the broader implications of the persistent conflicts in the region.

Despite residing outside Palestine, Fadi’s awareness of the internal conditions and political dynamics has grown. He remains critical of Zionism, emphasizing the denial of basic rights to Palestinians while Israelis enjoy dual passports and the ability to reside in various countries. Fadi’s story sheds light on the resilience and determination of Palestinians facing identity challenges and calls for global recognition of their rights and a just resolution to the ongoing conflicts in the region.

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