A Gazan Narrative of Misery and Hope
Copyedited by
Lamis Rida
مؤسسة الدراسات الفلسطينية
Publication Year: 
Number of Pages: 

These memoirs take us through the life of a refugee and fighter from the generation of the Nakba in Gaza's refugee camps and the diaspora, on an extraordinary, event-filled journey. The author narrates through a combination of direct personal experience and description of public life, highlighting the transformations that Gazan society went through during critical stages, the most significant of which are: daily life in the al-Shatiʿ camp in the 1950s, after the first wave of refugees from the Nakba; the Gaza Strip under Egyptian military rule during the Nasser era; the beginning of the Israeli occupation [in 1967] and the chronicles of day-to-day resistance, about which some details are revealed here for the first time; and the Great [First] Intifada of 1987. These memoirs also shed light on the author's action-packed life first inside the camp, then as a student and militant in Cairo and Bulgaria, and finally after his return to Palestine and his role in the establishment of the Palestinian Authority.


Jamal Zaqout is a politician and activist from Palestine. He was born in al-Shatiʿ refugee camp in Gaza City to a family of refugees from the town of Asdud as a result of the Nakba of 1948. He was arrested several times by the Israeli occupation authorities, and deported in 1988 outside Palestine on charges of participating in the formation of the Unified National Leadership of the Uprising. His wife, Naila Ayesh, was also arrested more than once, along with their child, who spent six months with his mother in prison. Zaqout returned to the Gaza Strip in 1994 and has since held a number of positions of political leadership.