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.

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