The young man at an Ar-Ram convenience store –always smiling and welcoming, this time giving me a cold glass of juice after a hot walk uphill –told me today, still smiling sadly: “I don’t want to live. What can I live for?”

He described finishing university and lamented the Occupation. Having seen its effects and heard the trauma from countless Palestinians, I still don’t personally know the Occupation. All I could do was say I knew about its effects and restrictions, that people around the world know about it and despise it. My words felt empty, as empty as the countless UN resolutions and international condemnations which, in the end, do nothing to prevent Israel from doing and taking what it wants to Palestinians.

The young boy, 9 or 10, beside me in the servis caresses his sleeping sister’s hair and cheek absentmindedly. His mother had shifted the 4 year old child over onto his lap, he accepting her uncomplainingly. And like so many I see, he displays the open affection and care for younger siblings that I rarely see to such a degree back home.

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