Palestinian-Venezuelan author exposes Israeli crimes – Middle East Monitor
In his book Seven days in Palestine, Jehad Yousef weaves a very personal journey with stories of the persecuted Palestinians in their country as he tries to expose the crimes of the Israeli occupation authorities. The Palestinian doctor, who has lived in Venezuela for over 30 years, tells in detail about his first return to his homeland under Israeli occupation. It provides detailed insights into the history of the Zionist movement and how British colonialism paved the way for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine. The book is published in Spanish. The author talks about the constant suffering of Palestinians as they move between Israeli checkpoints, ongoing arrest campaigns, illegal settler incursions and the apartheid wall.
“The book reflects my personal experience during my visit to Palestine in 2006 after 20 years of Israeli prohibition,” Yousef told me. “My first visit to my homeland where I was born, to my Palestinian family and grandparents, where I spent my childhood and where I finished my studies. I am exposed to the brutal practices of the occupation against the Palestinians.” It expresses the painful reality in stark contrast to the fake Zionist narrative adopted by the Western and Latin American media.”
Jehad Yousef was born in the village of Iskaka in 1957 in the northern West Bank. After the 1967 war, Yousef and his family were expelled from their homeland. In 1979, he went to Spain to study medicine, and was unable to return to Palestine after qualifying as a doctor. He moved around the world before arriving in Cuba in 1992. There he specialized in pediatric medicine. Since moving to Venezuela, he has been living and working in Ciudad Guayana. He held the position of Director General of the Palestinian Federation in Latin America, and a member of the Palestinian National Council since 2018.
Despite his Venezuelan passport, Yousef faced a lot of hostility during his trip to occupied Palestine. “With my own eyes,” he explained, “I saw the real suffering of the people just because of being Palestinian. My possession of a foreign passport did not help me. I saw how humanity is under pressure, the houses of the Palestine, Palestinian youths are killed or imprisoned and treated like animals at Israeli checkpoints.”
It was very difficult at the checkpoints. “They separated me from the others, asked me questions over and over, and searched me from top to bottom. That’s why I wanted to go home and meet my family.”
According to Yousef, his seven days in Palestine were the most important days of his entire life, hence the title of his book. “I always write for myself and keep most of my writing to myself. After my visit to Palestine in 2006, I met a friend who encouraged me and told me that my book deserves to be published. He helped me publish my book. “
In his book, he tells how an Israeli soldier argued with him about her right to the land of Palestine, even more than the Palestinians themselves, although she had only entered the occupation state four years ago from her homeland, Argentina, and simply because she came. he is jewish. “I was surprised when she told me that she has more right to the land than my grandparents who were born and grew up there.”
Yousef’s book is now available on Amazon and is in many local libraries in Venezuela. It can be translated into different languages, which he is happy about. “The book is written for people around the world, so that they can learn about the suffering of our people under occupation through the facts and my own personal experience.”
Up to 15,000 Palestinians live in Venezuela, most of them in Valencia and the capital, Caracas. Despite the challenges they faced with the differences in language, culture and customs, they managed to integrate into Venezuelan society where they are respected. The public supported the government and President Nicolas Maduro during the presidential crisis, criticizing the US-backed right-wing “coupling attempt”.
Under the presidencies of Hugo Chavez (1999-2013) and now Maduro (2013-present), Venezuela has shown strong solidarity with the Palestinian cause. It was the first country in Latin America to recognize the State of Palestine on the nominal borders of 1967. In 2009, Venezuela and the Palestinian Authority established diplomatic relations and announced the opening of the Palestinian Embassy in Caracas. Diplomatic ties remain close, and Venezuela has supported the Palestinian cause at the UN. There are also economic ties, including oil deals, emergency aid and scholarships for Palestinian medical students. Venezuela was the first country to grant free travel and movement to Palestinians without a prior visa, and to grant residency rights to Palestinians. According to President Maduro, his country wants to give “more” to Palestine.
The physical distance between Palestine and Venezuela may limit Palestine’s knowledge of its large supporters in Latin America to what they see on television. They should be sure, however, that the solidarity is strong and very real.