The United States moved its embassy to Jerusalem. The Yom Ha’atzmaut (“Day of Independence” in Hebrew) in Israel is equivalent to its neighbor’s Dhikra an-Nakba (“Memory of the Catastrophe” in Arabic.) In my memory, the conflicts between Palestinian civilians and Israeli soldiers always started with loud noises of ammunition, however, in the end, were filled with rich sweets, tea and coffee in warm houses. Many people’s stories were caught between tears and laughter, hard be told. Who were the people? The college students from West Bank who gambled their lives to enter Jerusalem by climbing the separation wall? The kids who saved money for paying the traffickers in order to work in Israel? The falsely accused political prisoner who pretended drawing super heroes in political prison, waiting for a day to be released and complete the cartoons with bars and handcuffs? The Israeli activists who lost friends and were ridiculed as traitors due to opening opposing Israeli settlements, whose houses were attacked after participating in solidarity movements with Palestinians? The foreign journalist who was caught under multiple guns by IDF and expelled in a midnight for her illegal extension of stay? The Palestinian photojournalist with an eye shot by a bullet causing 30% visual loss who nevertheless insisted being present at the scene of every conflict in his homeland?
They were all my friends.
“Between Conflicts and Tables, Israel and Palestine” combined the experience of different identities living in Israel and Palestine, along with immersive elements such as footages, photography, poetry, food and fire, the performer traveled between three walls projected with materials, with her oral narration, she interacted with audiences in the reappearance of a land that she cannot returned to for the time being.
When the conflicts intensified, the performance came to a kitchen table workshop, where people cooked together, worked together, and discussed topics such as history, religion, tradition, ethnicity, culture and homeland together. Food had become an important medium for the transmission of identity and values. It had also become a possibility for integration in a divided political system.