- Osama Hamad was born in Anapta,
- a small village in the West Bank.
- I met Osama 20 years ago, when he was
- a student at UCLA. Osama lives in Philadelphia now,
- teaches at Rutgers university and also works for the
- Palestinian authority as an economic advisor.
- Being a boy in 1967 Osama remembers how the children,
- women and men of his village were rushed and gathered
- in the square of the village by the occupying Israeli soldiers.
- Then they were boarded on buses which took them to the
- Jericho military checkpoint to be transferred to Jordan.
- In the confusion and hysteria he remembers screams of
- women and shouts of soldiers. He felt the first time in
- his life as a boy the sharp taste of reality, being a refugee.
- The buses stopped near the Jericho checkpoint. Some of
- the refugees, as he recalled, already crossed the bridge to
- Jordan on foot. After several hours, the rest were boarded
- again on the buses which took them back to Anapta.
- His family still lives in that village, where many houses
- are vacant. No refugees were ever allowed to return to
- the village. The first time I heard Osama's
- story was only two weeks ago.