‘We’re used to it.  This is our life.  What can we do?’

Since I arrived a few days ago, I’ve heard variants of this when I’ve expressed concern about the situation for people here. I heard it from the Palestinian staff at the Christian guesthouse in Jerusalem, where I stayed on my way in: ‘We’re used to it. Every year we have some weeks when it is like this; only, this year it is worse.’

I heard it today from the Palestinian headteacher of a boys’ school in Hebron. ‘We are used to it. This is our life.’
And yesterday a shopkeeper in the Hebron souk spoke not just of the killing of one of her relatives but also of the drastic reduction in the number of visitors to the city and consequent loss of business: ‘This is our life. What can we do?’ 

‘What can we do?’ is a rhetorical question. Fortunately, because, of course, I have no answer. All I can say is, ‘You shouldn’t have to be used to it.’

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