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 The Jews' full control over the flow of time – as opposed to the Palestinians' lack of control over their time and movement in space – engenders the uncertainty that distinguishes normal from abnormal – or exceptional – states of being.  In exceptional states, uncertainty becomes normal, self-confidence is disrupted, planning capacity is thwarted and communication is disrupted.  Such environments, with their existential anxieties, serve the interests of the ruling regime.  At the roadblocks, uncertainty derives not only from endless waiting but also from the inability to foresee its duration.  For the Palestinians waiting at roadblocks, time has stopped; with time stopped, they are robbed of their individuality as subjects.  Their lives are thus open to manipulation and caprice, behaviors completely beyond their control. "At these sites," writes Adi Ophir, "it is possible to ascertain who is a friend and who is foe according to whose blood is let, whose life mingles with that flowing blood and whose life is treated with impeccable legality."{footnote} Adi Ophir, "Life as Sacred and Forsaken: Introduction to Giorgio Agamben's Homo Sacer" (in Shay Lavie, ed., Technologies of Justice, Tel Aviv: Ramot 2003): 358. Hebrew.     {/footnote}  Roadblocks thus express states of exception, of abnormality, where time is suspended.  By suspending their time, the roadblocks negate the value of the time belonging to those ruled; hence, they also negate the value of those lives. Waiting at roadblocks lays Palestinian lives bare.
    Palestinians, once deprived of legal protection, become subject to the whims of the Israeli soldiers in the field, for whom roadblocks represent battlefields. There, Palestinian existence is presented with the full weight of its mortality, infinite vulnerability and impending death. The erection of roadblocks – an exceptional act that represents the sovereign's legal power despite the law's suspension – allows soldiers to decide which cases are "deviant" and subject to forfeiture of their lives, without fear of any penalties.
    In recent years, some roadblocks in the occupied territories have been upgraded to "transfer points" in the occupation's jargon.  In the past, roadblocks were subject to the supervision of human rights groups; the transfer points, because they are quite isolated, are obscured from the organizations' inspection.
    Like the international terminals located along the border between neighboring states, the placement of the transfer points has reinvigorated the debate over the occupation's temporariness by cloaking Israel's desire to achieve true separation between Israel and Palestine in glass and concrete.  The roadblocks' replacement by transfer points is meant to create an impression that the state of exception has ended; witness the more "humane" and considerate conditions. And so, instead of the intense physical friction created between Palestinians and soldiers at the standard roadblock, sterile spaces now physically separate the soldiers from the Palestinians.  After equipping the transfer points with sophisticated electronic surveillance devices, soldiers standing in air-conditioned glass-encased booths can coolly observe the Palestinians, now forced to pass through granite conduits.  The situation initially appears to be governed by ordinary rules.  However, this normality is illusory. The transfer points in fact perpetuate the occupation's pseudo temporariness and the exposure of Palestinian life to its rules. They represent sterile war zones, typical of postmodern warfare during which killing occurs from a distance, without pricks of conscience. The actions taken at the transfer points are therefore not transparent; hence, what we have is a state of exception disguised as normality.
      Careful observation thus indicates intensification of the respective experiences of time.  The Palestinians are forced to discount a considerable portion of their time while waiting for the transfer points to open, an event that, because it is under the soldiers' control, increases their sense of time's emptiness and suspension. The timing of the openings is autonomously determined by the Israelis, in isolation from any consideration of the Palestinians' time or the conditions under which they wait.  
    Significantly, in the absence of any physical contact, the Palestinians are denied any possibility of informing the soldiers about the suffering inflicted.  By positioning them in glass booths, the soldiers are freed from the burden of moral reflection consequent to direct physical contact with people.  In phenomenological terms, we are talking about the bifurcation of a shared experience.  Although colonial mechanisms rationalize this phenomenological division by spouting "security", behind their rationalizations we find supervision used to silence consciences and relieve the mental anguish to which the soldiers are subject as a result of their presence in such an inhuman place.
    Yet, perhaps, it is their very isolation from Palestinian time that reinforces the control over that time.  The disparity between the conditions under which the Palestinians wait – in a narrow corridor under open skies, suffering from the quirks of the weather's quirks and intense crowding – and those under which the soldiers "work" distances the soldiers from the meaning of the others' time and thus the meaning of the others' lives.  

Temporariness as a Sphere for Palestinian Awareness and Protest
The Palestinians have not, however, remained apathetic to the imposition of Zionist time. Their protest against this act is expressed, among other things, by adoption of a gradually developing alternate and non-linear time frame.  In the Presence of Absence, the last book of prose published before his death, Mahmoud Darwish wrote the following: {footnote}Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence (Beirut 2006), trans. Amal Jamal.    {/footnote}
Longing is not a memory but, rather, what is chosen from the museum of recollection. Longing is selective like a smart gardener; it is the repetition of memory after purifying it from remnants. Longing has side-effects, among them: the imagination's addiction to looking back, the embarrassment in the face of possibility's simplicity, and the exaggerations of turning the present into past, even in love.   
Longing is a scar in the heart and the stamp of a country on the body. But no one longs for his wound, and nobody longs for pain or nightmare; he does long for what precedes them, a time empty of pain, but only the pain of the initial joy that melts time, like a cube of sugar in a tea cup, for a time encased in a heavenly image.  
    This intricate passage reflects numerous and varied feelings of collectiveness, including a sense of temporal crisis that typifies Palestinian awareness in response to the Nakba.  Darwish's passage also expresses the deep distinction found between existence and memory within the Palestinian consciousness and the Palestinian discourse before and after the Nakba.  In our context, we associate this distinction with an important argument developed by Walter Benjamin:  "Articulating the past historically does not mean recognizing it 'the way it really was.' It means appropriating a memory as it flashes up in a moment of danger." {footnote} Walter Benjamin, "Reflections, Theses on the Concept of History", in Selected Writings, Vol. 4 (Boston, [1940] 2003), p. 391.     {/footnote} The Palestinian past is, like any other past, the product of current constraints. This explains memory's selectivity, expressed in the huge intellectual and awareness-provoking efforts invested by Palestinians when protesting their removal from history and from time.
    Memory, yearnings, nostalgia and historical writing are the main tools employed in the Palestinian struggle against their expulsion from their historical paradise, their homeland.  Palestinian unity is based on the fact that it is impossible to separate their struggle against the Zionist historical narrative from their daily struggle over Palestinian being, reflected in the position taken by all Palestinians that they are historical beings, realized in their daily actions as Palestinians.  Formation of "plasticity" is thus a major instrument in their confrontation with exclusion from time, from history and from locality, a process that did not conclude with the fighting in 1948.  That is, the Nakba is not an event that simply ended but a continuous series of awareness-arousing events.
    Palestinian history, Palestinian memory and the repercussions of Zionism on Palestinian historical existence have occupied Palestinian researchers and thinkers at least since the 1980s. They have stressed – and continue to stress – how the Zionist narrative has expunged Palestinians from the history of Palestine and subordinated Palestinian identity to the needs of the Zionist agenda.  Edward Said's book The Question of Palestine, was one of the ground-breaking works in this area. {footnote}Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (Vintage 1992).    {/footnote} Yet, Zakariya Mohammad argues, Palestinian involvement in its own history is a reflection or echo of the Zionist narrative; it therefore presents and may perhaps confirm that agenda.{footnote} Zakariya Mohammad, On Palestinian Culture (Ramallah 2002). Arabic.{/footnote}      In addition, Palestinian historiography and the pre-occupation with Palestinian identity have focused until recently on the elites while ignoring the daily experience of those ordinary Palestinians who were and remain the majority of the Palestinian people.
    The voice of ordinary Palestinians has begun to be heard only recently thanks to the emergence of Palestinian oral history, which rests on the living testimony transmitted by refugees and displaced persons. Adoption of the historiography approach to tracing the a person's gradual historical awareness of time has greatly helped clarify the multidimensionality of the Palestinian struggle to return to history and time as well as Palestinian teleology and its components.  This new turn is a product of the fact that Palestinian self-presencing is not captured in history books but, primarily, in Palestinian fortitude in the face of what we have termed the emptying and suspension of time by means of daily practice.  
    It is important to note here that contrary to the Israeli historiographic and political descriptions that characterize the Palestinian reality as of 1948 and until the end of the 1960s as a state of "quiescence",{footnote}Yehoshafat Harkabi, The Palestinians: From Quiescence to Awakening (Jerusalem: Magnes 1979). Hebrew.    {/footnote}  the Palestinians have persistently attempted to return to their homeland and to protest the new reality forced upon them in 1948.  These efforts are reflected in the mobility of Palestinian displaced persons and refugees, their rebuff of Israeli attempts to cement their refugee status and subvert their intentions to return to their homes or at least to areas proximate to their villages.  The cases of Ikrit, Bir'am, el-Gabsiyya and Ilabun, among others, demonstrate the struggle against time and Israel's efforts to change the face of local history through political instruments based on Palestinian displacement or dispossession and Jewish construction, which apparently "replicates" the distant mythic past at the cost of the material present.
    The limited framework of this article prevents me from reporting every detail of the Palestinian return to its time and locality since 1948.  I therefore confine myself to describing the various layers of the Palestinian struggle from an existential perspective while focusing on the materialization of the Palestinian awareness of time and its confrontation with the challenge of Palestinian time's temporariness or suspension.
    Darwish's remarks, as  previously cited, elucidate one of the main outcomes of the imposition of Zionist reality in Israel, specifically, the transformation of Palestinian life into a temporary mode of being, sometimes in the victim's own eyes.  This sense of the transitory testifies to non-acceptance of Zionism's outcomes on the one hand, but also of distress, helplessness and frustration on the other.  Non-acceptance is part psychological, part instinctive, and part political.  Distress, helplessness and frustration are expressions of the longing for the realization of the past in the future or what Koselleck calls "the horizon of expectation" that constructs the past and the present.   {footnote}Reinhardt Koselleck, Futures Past: On the Semantics of Historical Time (Cambridge, MA. 1985), pp. 255-275.      {/footnote} This longing conceals an internal contradiction flowing from the very confusion sown when constructing time and translating it into protracted temporariness.
    Research on the post Nakba Palestinian reality tends to stress displacement and refugee status as existential problems.  Such framing is faithful to the difficult reality created: hundreds of thousands expelled from their homes and villages and forced to settle in distant places. Many had lived under reasonable socioeconomic conditions but even they were transformed, overnight, into destitute, dispossessed people.  Yet, the research literature rarely deals with the exclusion of Palestinians from history or to the relationship between exclusion and displacement from their homeland. Only in the last decades have we seen a re-evaluation of Zionist historiography and the human experience created in the Nakba's wake, primarily following the appearance of critical historiography as well as new narrative and discursive theories.  Innovative interdisciplinary approaches have motivated historiographic, literary, psychological, sociological and political writings that offer a more complete picture of the events and their outcomes.  Edward Said's theoretical contribution to the historiographical effort was crucial but now requires, in the tradition that he created, integration of the intellectual with the folk dimension in order to reflect a "truer" picture of reality. Our understanding of the Palestinian response to attempts to remove them from time and from history requires a more in-depth investigation of the evolution of Palestinian history and memory, just as it requires confrontation with hegemonic Zionist time.
    Palestinian historiography has made great gains in recent years, especially after the new historical discourse in Israel {footnote}Tom Segev, The New Zionists (Jerusalem 2001), Hebrew; Uri Ram, The Time of "Post" Nationalism and the Politics of Knowledge in Israel (Tel Aviv 2006), Hebrew.    {/footnote}  uncovered new information on the birth and maturation of the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel.  It has revealed the internal contradictions in the Zionist historical narrative and suggested an alternative narrative that questions the original's justification. The same approach bases the existence of Palestinian life in Palestine on an historical continuum covering hundreds if not thousands of years.  Although these studies have been unsuccessful in providing foundations for a modernized Palestinian nationalism, they have undoubtedly succeeded in demonstrating the implausibility of the "land without a people for a people without a land" theory that has become a cornerstone of Zionist ideology, mythology and propaganda.  
    With the help of research conducted by Western critical archaeologists and historians, Palestinian history and historiography have worked toward demolishing those basic assumptions found in the Zionist narrative that create a trans-historical link between the State of Israel and the Bible, all for the purpose of rationalizing the State's establishment in terms of return to the homeland after a coerced exile.  
    Although the majority of Palestinian and Arabic historical and historiographical studies are basically mirror images of their Zionist parallels, to the point of sometimes corroborating a portion of the underlying assumptions, they have succeeded in arousing an intense debate over the exclusion of Palestinians from history, their silencing and the suspension of their time.  The main force of the new Palestinian historiography rests on its investigation of the degree to which the formation of Palestinian identity was indeed dependent on Jewish immigration and the emergence of the Zionist Movement.  Findings from this avenue of research refute the dependency argument with new sources that demonstrate the existence of intense Palestinian self-awareness as early as the Muhammad Ali regime, before the Zionist "stimulus".{footnote} Mahmud Yazbak, Haifa in the Late Ottoman Period, 1864-1914: A Muslim City in Transition (Leiden 1998).    {/footnote}  The research bears witness to the entrenched, deep desire to return Palestinians and Palestine to history within the intellectual, academic discourse.
    Together with historiography, the increasing involvement with oral history, based on testimonies submitted by Palestinians who were either expelled or voluntarily left their homes until the guns ceased, has borne fruit. {footnote}See also: Rosemary Sayigh, "Palestinian Refugees in Lebanon: Implantation, Transfer or Return?" Middle East Policy 8:1 (2001): 95-105.    {/footnote} This research has provide living evidence of the pattern of actions initiated by the Palestinian defense forces during the Nakba, but especially of the spiritual crises in which numerous Palestinians have remained immersed since their loss of locality and of home.  It has therefore become clear that the 1948 Nakba surprised the Palestinians. {footnote}Rosemary Sayigh, Palestinians: From Peasants to Revolutionaries (London 1979).    {/footnote}  Many viewed the demographic upheaval and the loss of their homes as an unanticipated catastrophe.  In its midst, many lost their emotional balance as a result of the fatal blow to the fundamental being of the Palestinian people who, in a relatively short period of time, had lost the basic conditions for a humane and normal existence.
    The depth of the trauma is demonstrated in studies such as those performed by Helena Schultz-Lindholm on the Palestinian Diaspora, Julie Peteet and Laleh Khalili on Palestinian refugees in Lebanon, Ilana Feldman on refugees in Gaza and by the author on displaced persons in Israel. {footnote}Helena Schultz-Lindholm, The Palestinian Diaspora: Formation of identities and Politics of Homeland (London and New York 2003); Julie Peteet, Landscape of Hope and Despair: Palestinian Refugee Camps (Philadelphia 2005); Khalili, Laleh and n/a, ”Places of Mourning and Memory: Palestinian Commemoration in the Refugee Camps of Lebanon,” Comparative Studies of South Asia, Africa and the Middle East, 25:1 (2005): 30-45; Ilana Feldman, ”Home as a Refrain: Remembering and Living Displacement in Gaza,” History & Memory 18:2 (Fall/Winter 2006): 10-47.    {/footnote} These and other studies point to the centrality of displacement as well as loss of home and locality in the awareness of refugees in general and of Palestinians in particular. They also confirm the findings of numerous psychological studies on locality and displacement. {footnote}See for example: Mindy Thompson Fullilove, "Psychiatric Implications of Displacement: Contributions from the Psychology of Place," American Journal of Psychiatry 153:12 (December 1996): 1516-1523.     {/footnote}
    Analysis of thousands of interviews conducted with Palestinian refugees reveals persistent themes of nostalgia and yearnings for the lost past, the return to which is doubtful.  This finding is in keeping with Peter Fritzche's insight that nostalgia, when associated with a culture of victimhood, offers an alternative version of history as catastrophe. {footnote}Peter Fritzsche, ”Spectres of History: On Nostalgia, Exile, and Modernity,” American Historical Review (December 2001): 1592.     {/footnote} Nostalgia and the pain of loss with respect to the presence of Palestinity in history have also found expression since the Nakba in the literature, art and poetry produced by the major Palestinian artists active in their homeland and abroad. {footnote}Kamal Boullata, The Evocation of Place: A Study in Contemporary Palestinian Plastic Art (Tunisia 2000), Arabic; Ismail Shammout, Art in Palestine (Kuwait 1989), Arabic; Gannit Ankori, Palestinian Art (London 2006).     {/footnote}  Poetry and prose reconstruct the past in sublime images that have been purified by time and memory as well as arouse the pain that echoes in the awareness of Palestinians who, expelled from their homes in the dead of night, continue to dream of reconnecting with their imagined past.
    In his autobiography Out of Place, {footnote}Edward Said, The Question of Palestine (Vintage 1992).    {/footnote}  Edward Said expresses the depth of the displacement crisis that continues to resonate even after decades of life elsewhere, even after all the financial predicaments accompanying displacement are no more. Said expresses the spiritual rent as going beyond the initial displacement; the pain also results from the changes the original home has witnessed, and from the inability to return or connect with this home after his return.  Other well-known Palestinian authors, such as Murid Barghuthi and Fawaz Turki {footnote} Murid Barghuthi, I Saw Ramallah (New York 2003); Fawaz Turki, Exile's Return: The Making of a Palestinian American (New York 1994).    {/footnote} have also documented their return following the Oslo Agreements, together with the emotional crisis they experienced after renewing contact with their homeland, which had changed radically since their departure.  Others have shared their sense of alienation. These include exiled authors and poets such as Ihsaan Abas and Zakariya Mohammad, or authors who remained to lived as internal refugees, such as Muhammad Ali Taha and Raja Shahada, and still others who lived as strangers in their homeland, such as Emile Habiby.
    The experience of displacement is, undoubtedly, an intense, common Palestinian phenomenon; it motivates much of the deep-seated protest against Israel's fragmentation policy. Ever since 1948, Israel has attempted to devise various and sundry methods to detach Palestinian communities from one another, primarily in their current localities, and thereby institutionalize internal differences.  It is therefore important to note the similarities in the experience of loss and estrangement shared by Palestinians wherever they are, including Israel. This experience is reflected in the shared Palestinian collective imagination that crosses the borders created as a result of the Nakba as well as the creation of an imagined continuous imagined community that functions at least on the level of cultural awareness and political solidarity.
    A prominent feature of recent interest in the Palestinian experience of displacement is the almost exclusive emphasis on locality (or space) as a core dimension of the Palestinian existential crisis.  Most of the work on displacement demands – justifiably – some connection to locality, to home, and to the ensuing spiritual, social, economic and political crisis.  
    This brings us to the role of language. The concept "home" in Arabic is etymologically derived from the root bata, which has numerous meanings, such as "becoming," "being," "dozing," "sleeping" and more.  The home, or in its collective sense the homeland, provides the most basic evidence for human existence and being, inherent in the very reiteration of the awareness of domesticity and the reconnection with the same physical environment that incessantly penetrates our awareness and consciousness.  A home is more than shelter or a roof over one's head; a home is primarily a milieu, surroundings with which we are acquainted by force of habit, whose loss is expressed in the loss of being, the disruption of awareness and the pervasiveness of existential anxiety.  
    In like manner, the Arabic synonym for home, al-maskan, is derived from the root sakana , which means stillness or death, denoting the importance of home as a place providing comfort after the day's travails. The Arab home is therefore a place where a person comes to rest, a safe and peaceful environment; its loss invites painful anxiety and existential neuroses that can be alleviated only upon the return – or at least the attempt to return – home.
    Nonetheless, the stress on locality tends to overshadow other dimensions of displacement that arouse the feelings of crisis and incongruity characterizing the Palestinian experience. Also overlooked is the distinction between the refugees' sense of loss and the feelings of displacement felt by Palestinians who remained in their homes after the Nakba but also after the 1967 war. The differences in the experiences of these two groups are crucial but do not justify ignoring the other aspects of Palestinian existence that bridge these differences by transforming the homeland into the locus of exile and thus exclude all Palestinians from history and from time.
    Palestinians living in their homeland also experience daily a sense of exile and estrangement from time and locality. This issue refers to the quality of the experience common to all Palestinians in the wake of the Nakba: suspended time, an attenuated existence over which there is no control, and the lack of normal continuity. All Palestinian communities, wherever located and irrespective of the quality of their lives, confront the same crisis. They share a festering sense of temporariness, the suspension and emptying of time, of waiting, feelings also reflected in the works of Palestinian writers and artists intently dealing with the experience of loss, return, alienation and the challenge of suspended time.
    Palestinian communities everywhere are divided between the desire to normalize their own lives and those of future generations and the desire not to accept the current situation because doing so would mean renouncing the return to their original condition of affiliation.  Suspension in time is therefore a crisis-ridden experience, intimating powerlessness over time as well as over the possibility of self-expression within time, whereas its normalization implies departure from one's original normal existence.  
    My argument is therefore based on the view that human beings not only live in time, they also live time.  Time is the essence of existence; hence, the inability to express oneself  as time creates a predicament expressed in the sense of suspension from time or exclusion from the flow of normalcy.  The growing gap between the reality in which Palestinians formerly lived and their lives in borrowed time, uncontrolled and unrelated to their existence, has become a universal experience for Palestinians, even among those who remained in their homes.  
    In the eyes of the majority of Palestinians, destruction of the Palestinian reality existing prior to 1948 created new, temporary existential conditions that deprived them of the ability to live time.  Palestinian existence since the Nakba has therefore been rooted in repeated efforts to return to a "normal", "authentic" existence, to surmount its loss of the different time dimensions for the purpose of returning to uniform, simultaneous time.  The parallel existence of different time dimensions, in tandem with the temporariness common to all, has given birth to complex phenomena expressed in actions or the sense of urgency associated with finding a solution for the Palestinian problem or the meaning of a normal life. This unease is reflected in positions stressing the urgency of arriving at a solution to the Palestinian problem in light of the continued crumbling of the existential foundations of locality and time. This view contrasts sharply with that upheld by those assuming that time is working to the benefit of the Palestinians while it sabotages realization of Zionism's main objective – establishment of a Jewish political entity devoid of Palestinians. According to the latter, the continued Palestinian presence negates Zionism's foundations and requires suspension of all agreements reached on this issue.
    The most prominent feature of the development of Palestinian national awareness consequent to the Nakba but especially after 1967 is the renewed aspiration for standardization of Palestinian time and synchronization of Palestinian existence despite the divisive demographic-geographic reality. Control over time's flow, its frequency, consistency, synchronization and division has become a key attribute of the Palestinian national struggle and been merged with defiance to Zionist/Israeli control over Palestinian time. This complex developed with the awareness of loss that evolved immediately after the Nakba; its foundations in this awareness became a core element of the Palestinian existential experience and of Palestinian being, aimed at presenting itself within historical, human and national time. Presentation, as an objective, reveals the centrality of the Palestinian perception of time as an existential dimension questioning Zionist time while simultaneously aspiring to be freed of dependence on Zionism.
    Being in time is impossible without preserving existential temporariness as a primary component in the struggle for the return to history and to national time within the lost homeland. In this way, the Palestinian present – as a prisoner of the Palestinian past and the events of 1948 – sustains the Nakba: To confront the Nakba , the Palestinian present remains temporary. Temporariness thus becomes a characteristic of the awareness that developed in relation to the connection between the conditions of Palestinian physical existence on one hand, and the continuation if not intensification of the experience of displacement on the other. It thus appears that the Palestinian sense of temporariness developed as a neurotic outcome of the existential experience, but also as a source of revolutionary energy that stimulates mass recruitment and collective readiness for self-sacrifice.
Temporary Temporariness
Palestinian perceptions of the Nakba did not immediately take this form. At first, many displaced Palestinians believed that displacement would end with the violence. Perception of this situation as temporary eased the experience of displacement for hundreds of thousands of Palestinians. It likewise permitted them to cope with the cognitive dissonance induced by the expanding gap between their sense of home and their refugee status. Refugees living in Lebanon, the West Bank and Gaza, internal refugees living in the proximity of their original homes as well as Palestinians who never left their homes have all confirmed this syndrome.
    Temporariness acts as a mechanism for bridging the gap between natural hopes to remain home and the shock of displacement and pain. Within this context, the sense of temporariness, even if it means loss of control over the temporal order, can become a "constructive" factor in the awareness of refugees and displaced persons who, unable to accept the loss of home, are left hanging onto the anticipation of return inherent in their temporary status.  Particularly noticeable in such contexts are expectations, components essential for the human perception of time, as well as aspirations that the gap between the "horizon of expectation" and "the space of experience," in Koselleck's terms, will be bridged. {footnote}Koselleck, p. 22.    {/footnote}  
    Although expectations were replaced by yearnings for the past, they continue to exist at the heart of the Palestinian experience, especially among those who still live in the unbearable conditions characterizing the refugee camps, where temporariness and divergence from the "natural" order of human existence continue to be their main characteristics. Nostalgia has come to function as a link between time, coping and loss, an instrument for presenting the past in the present in order to deal with the pain of loss at the basis of the still-subconscious recognition that the past can never return.
    Temporariness has therefore permeated Palestinians' actions in their new, post Nakba residences and localities.  Because temporariness is a central aspect of their existential awareness, the search for solutions to the crisis of displacement is likewise considered temporary. Numerous refugees, together with Palestinians who remained in the State of Israel, have explored temporary solutions.  They have sought temporary shelter without entertaining any thought of those lodgings as permanent; they have likewise viewed themselves as temporary guests of other Palestinians; they have constructed temporary residences in distance places.  Even their "hosts" in villages in the Galilee, the West Bank or Gaza saw those measures as interim solutions.  Temporariness is incapable, however, of generating solutions to the existential crisis although, based on testimonies delivered by numerous internal and external refugees, the perception of the new situation as temporary does help people continue their lives in the hope of eventual change.
    Awareness of temporariness has thus taken on the attributes of a powerful psychological defense mechanism, sustaining the continuity of the Palestinians' chosen state of awareness.  Without such a mechanism, it is doubtful that the Palestinians who lost their homes overnight would have been able to confront the agonizing situation.  Even so, for many, the defeat, humiliation, displacement and helplessness are unbearable physical and spiritual burdens.  At this stage, temporariness offers them a constructive mechanism for overcoming the existential shock that shattered the fundamental properties of their being.  Kanafani, Habiby, Khalifa, Ali, Ismail Shamout, Salman Mansour, Nabil Anani, Abed Abdi, Ibrahim Nubani, Osama Said, Asad Azi, Asim Abu Shakra, like other authors and artists, have given voice to the Palestinian sense of temporariness.

Protracted Temporariness
As it became clear that the displacement's end was far from imminent, a sense of protracted temporariness began to filter into Palestinian awareness. At this second stage, the existential crisis intensified, but in new dress. Because temporariness could ease the existential dissonance, "non-temporary" temporariness, together with waiting and expectation, eventually became enduring characteristics of Palestinian awareness. Findings from research on the roadblocks have shed light on the meaning of waiting under the inhuman economic and physical conditions caused by relentless political pressure and repression. In these circumstances, waiting becomes a permanent companion, inducing aberrant action patterns that express the deviant reality, with hope of returning to the past – as the impending future – the only factor ensuring normality.
    Endless waiting is known to have two important effects on the Palestinian reality: (a) Arousal of an intense experience of crisis, illustrated, for example, in Kanafani's "Men in the Sun."  Such a feeling allegedly represents one type of acceptance of reality and the existential state created by loss. Significant differences related to locality also become mechanisms for differentiating between Palestinians, especially with respect to the reason for waiting.  Refugees residing abroad are prevented from taking violent measures to overcome the crisis of waiting; yet, Palestinians living in the homeland are also subject to the repression that prohibits any possibility for open rebellion, including expression of their spiritual and existential frustration.  (b) Materialization of a common Palestinian awareness despite – or perhaps because of – differences in locality.  The connections to new locations established following the Nakba are set aside, to be replaced by the experience of displacement, loss, refugee status and the connectedness to Palestine, as the major sources of consciousness.   This process reflects the transition of the homeland from being a physical site into space. The space of the homeland undergoes a process of "purification" that expresses a struggle to "rescue time from the reign of contemporaneity" and transform the homeland into a common "myth," capable of transcending the limits of immediate time. The ceremonies commemorating Land Day, celebrated annually on 30 March in all Palestinian communities throughout the world, bear witness to the unity of suspended Palestinian time and how temporariness negates the normalization of protracted time.
    Lengthy waiting and expectations that something will occur have become universal Palestinian characteristics.  However, the protracted temporariness has stimulated formation of a new awareness incorporating temporariness and normality, not as stability-shattering contradictions but as features to be implemented by means of a unique type of integration. I call this lengthy process the creation of temporary normality. In other words, temporariness as an abnormal state is replaced by the awareness of normality as something temporary, to disappear upon return to the homeland. Temporary normality thus transforms the homeland into a fantasy or "lost paradise," justifying every sacrifice, especially that of life itself.  In the words of Mahmoud Darwish: "The homeland was born in exile. Heaven was born out of the hell of absence." {footnote}Mahmoud Darwish, In the Presence of Absence (2006), p. 141, tr. Amal Jamal.    {/footnote}
    The awareness of temporary normality is best expressed in Palestinian practice. Here as well, we can speak of spatial variation: Location of residence and living conditions. That is, every Palestinian community, irrespective of it location, aspires to the normalization of the temporariness marking its life. This type of normality has two aspects: One involves the restoration of what was normal life in the period prior to Nakba through the reconstruction within the refugee camps of lost villages and neighborhoods, bearing their original names.  In other words, replication has become the main pattern of action among the various Palestinian communities. Alternatively, stipulation of life's normality as temporary avoids the termination of normality's origins.  The deep longing for normality as experienced in village life or selected neighborhoods, together with the neighbors themselves, become sources of inspiration.  Refugees dispersed in various places have thus expressed yearnings to recreate original patterns of existence in new localities but without exchanging the original for the replica.  That is, after the crisis of temporariness was revealed to be protracted, the Palestinians began to express their protest by replicating their original homes as demonstrations of temporary normality.  This is not meant to say that they were able to do so everywhere or at identical levels of success.  However, the yearning for the normal, as subjects in control of their time, undoubtedly characterizes Palestinian communities, unifies them and sustains their capacity to see themselves as a group sharing not only the same past but also the present and future.  These efforts are expressed, among other things, in the processions to the villages that had been emptied and destroyed by the Israeli authorities, held on the Nakba 's anniversary.

Normal Temporariness
The third stage in the development of Palestinian awareness of time and the struggle against its suspension belongs to the normalization of temporariness. Temporariness is not only an integral part of being, it is primarily a condition for the sustained existence as an historical subject. Palestinians, but primarily refugees and displaced persons, do exist as subjects – so long as they exist in time.  Normalization of their existence in their present residential locations poses a threat because it destroys the existential basis of their arguments as products of the Nakba and as autonomous, historical subjects possessing historic rights demanding realization.  Nevertheless, there remains a sense of everything being temporary and remaining so until the past recapitulates itself in the future. As a result, the fluidity of the temporal order and the disappearance of rigid time frames built on clear distinctions between past, present and future undergo transformation into salient attributes for numerous Palestinians.  In describing this fluidity and temporariness within the search for existential solutions, Murid Barghuthi has stated that permanent temporariness as one of the dimensions characterizing Palestinian life. {footnote} Barghuthi, I Saw Ramallah: 92     {/footnote} Protracted temporariness, however problematic, therefore contains the revolutionary potential for the return of the past to the future and for overcoming the obstacles of the Palestinian return to history.
    The revolutionary potential of temporariness is also reflected in Edward Said's ground-breaking description of exile as a source of great power and "normal" existence in space.  The experience of exile, once fixed as a feature of being in Palestinian self-awareness, should not be considered a detriment.  Exile creates opportunities to acknowledge the homeland's value and beauty.  In an era of globalization in which time–space relations undergo extensive transformation, in an era where human migration is commonplace, in an era in which the homeland can be experienced as exile, Said views temporariness as a source of inspiration and strength; in this he follows the father of Palestinian being, Mahmoud Darwish. {footnote}Said (2001); Darwish, (2006).    {/footnote}  Darwish argues that the obsession with "permanent" time can become a delusion because such time is incapable of realization not only because of the temporariness of the temporary, but also because of its routinization. Darwish describes this stage of Palestinian awareness most incisively in his book The Presence of Absence, when raising the question of the danger reflected in the past's invasion by the present and the danger to the past posed by delusions regarding the present.  He mulls over the relationship of self-identify to memory and time, phrased as: "Are you what you were or what you are now?" {footnote}Darwish, ibid., p. 154.    {/footnote}  His observation collapses an entire system of binary concepts: temporariness–permanence, homeland–exile, continuity–truncation, rapidity– sluggishness, dynamics–statics, and so forth.
    Said proposes a temporal horizon that contradicts the closed time frame of "Men in the Sun." He suggests crossing the rigid and closed boundaries of national identity while aiming toward a fluid space of awareness that supports the recognition of otherness, making reconciliation possible.  This acknowledgment of time's fluidity as a source of strength and inspiration puts an end to exclusion from history as well as the emptying and suspension of time.  According to Said, the sense of loss, exclusion and rejection serves the Zionist Movement and the State of Israel; only release from these feelings will allow the transformation of weakness into strength while facilitating the transition from slavery to freedom.  Free peoples are capable of overcoming loss, anger and vengefulness, of passing through the gates of nostalgia to once again board time as free and legitimate passengers.  To those holding fast onto the reins of time, Said proposes a new world of concepts built on shared existential spheres that recognize difference as the mark of reality.  To him, global displacement and refugee status have assigned new meanings to protracted Palestinian temporariness and opened the doors to reconciliation. This, he suggests, can be accomplished not only on the strength of a new self-identity, but also by involving those responsible for the loss of normality together with the Palestinians' exclusion from history, the homeland and time.
    Many Palestinians, primarily those displaced within Israel, have internalized the traps of waiting to find a solution to the crisis of displacement and exile that were set in place by the Zionist Movement and the State.  Many have normalized their time by traversing the Nakba's boundaries and limitations, but without renouncing their demands for repatriation.  In this respect, we can argue that the concept "temporariness" is undergoing a transformation, from an awareness derived from the inhuman conditions in the realms of displacement to an awareness derived from the revitalization of memory and its tokens as a mechanism of awareness that permits retaliation. Normal temporariness thus allows reconciliation with the immediate needs of daily life without renouncing former rights and claims.  The past loses neither its value nor its force from the renunciation of its continued existence in physical space.  It presents itself consistently in Palestinian collective imagination, possibly strengthened by its very conversion into nostalgia.  It follows that longing for the past can become a factor within Palestinian awareness capable of motivating the future without persisting in exacting payment for the past.  
    This stage in the development of the Palestinian awareness of time has yet to be fully legitimated; it requires rephrasing in formats other than Darwish's poetry or the visual arts, both of which have successfully freed themselves from the chains of the tangible and immediate pain of displacement and exile. It requires the metaphysical contemplation of exile, of human existence, but especially of Palestinian existence.  Palestinian literature and art do not reflect normal temporariness; rather, they confine themselves to wording that temporariness and constructing an awareness that is deeply rooted in the pain of displacement. They have, nonetheless, succeeded in hovering above its physical being to critically observe the twists and turns entailed with crossing boundaries.

Kanafani's "Men in the Sun," first published in 1963, captures the despair felt by Palestinians trapped in appalling conditions, dependent on external forces to restore them to their "lost paradise".  The story has been interpreted as signifying the tragedy of losing direction in exile from locality while reflecting the concrete historical awareness sustained by the Palestinian majority.  According to this reading, the book's message is revealed to be a revolutionary call to alter the Palestinian and Arab status quo; "Men in the Sun" has therefore retained its avant-garde stature among Palestinians and Arabs to this very day.  Its story, however, remains encased within former conceptions of reality; as such, it presents a mirror image of what the Zionist state hopes to create among the Palestinians.  The novel describes the futility produced by the Palestinian reality and advocates change without indicating any specific direction for that change.  Kanafani's later stories, such as "What is Left for You?" or "Returning to Haifa," {footnote}Kanafani, "Men in the Sun", op cit.; "All That's Left to You" in All That's Left to You, trs. May Jayyusi and Jeremy Reed (University of Texas Press 1990); "Returning to Haifa" in Palestine's Children, trs. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley (Boulder, Co: Rienner, c2000).    {/footnote} do sketch such a direction; they describe the symbiosis between the Jewish and Palestinian people as well as the tragedies that exile has caused each to attempt to achieve normality by displacing the other.  Kanafani successfully crosses boundaries to indicate the calamity inherent in national linear perceptions of time and lays the foundations of an identity-crossing discourse.
    This is also the route taken by Darwish, Said and other Palestinian artists who have confronted the Palestinians' exclusion from history together with the emptying and suspension of their time.  Their approach does not mimic the Zionist historical or identity-focused narrative but breaks through temporal and national space as well as  modern temporal conceptual frameworks to reach higher spheres.  They speak to Palestinians and Jews alike, explaining that from a contemporary perspective, the insistence on returning to history implies continuation of the common tragedy.  Without ignoring past injustices or current injuries, they propose overcoming the national temporal narcissism that reaches for eternity by emptying or suspending the other's time.  They show that to achieve the infinite, we must renounce exclusivity, closure and repression and replace it with a plea for a more thorough self-observation, designed to release the autonomous self from the unconscious chains that bind being. They perceive temporariness as a source of power rather than a repressive tool for suspending the other and his self-presencing. They also advocate acceptance of time's temporariness as a guide to reconciliation, one that would allow mutual, non-exclusive existence according to the vital formula relating history, time and homeland.

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