Lives in: Shu'fat Refugee Camp Was born in: Jerusalem Year of birth: 1966 Identity: Muslim, Palestinian, West Bank/Gaza/E. Jerusalem Type of work: Arts and Media Website: "Dialogue On The Road" Works at Dialogue On The Road Interviewer Joline Makhlouf Date of Interview 2004

Salwa Abu Libdeh studied Arabic Literature and worked as a newspaper reporter before becoming a news anchor with the Palestinian Broadcasting Company. She worked on a joint Palestinian Israeli German project that made a documentary film about life on both sides of the Palestinian/Israeli conflict.

Salwa Abu Libdeh
Documentary Filmmaker
"Use words instead of swords... You can either beat me up and get what you want, or you can talk to me and get what you want, and more."
[The biggest challenge to joint work] was the language. I can't speak Hebrew, so I decided to start learning Hebrew. If I want to understand the other and try to create a link together, I need to understand his language. There's a proverb in Arabic that says, "If you learn the language of a nation, you guarantee that they can't harm you." So I followed the same idea, to understand him more to be able to deal with him better. So my first goal now is to learn the Hebrew language.
At first I was worried to do this work and to work with an Israeli journalist, because I didn't want people to think that I was normalizing with the Israelis. But I think that anyone could do his work and keep his personal opinions. I didn't change who I am or what I believe in, I just did the work. I didn't humiliate any value or principle, I just went and filmed and did my job. I also delivered my message. I had the freedom to decide what I want to cover and what questions I wanted to ask, nothing was imposed on me. […] A lot of my friends told me to be careful that the film should not turn out to be about normalization, but I told them that I am working on this film with my own thoughts and beliefs, and I have the right to agree or disagree with the work. Even the management of the television station was following up with us.
Palestinian Refugees    
I was raised in a very conservative home, I learned that the land equals the soul, and my brother died for that cause. Our dream is to go back to our home. My father died here, but he always used to tell us about his house and the fields of orange trees. We have carried on his dream to this day and in turn I tell my children about the house of my family in Jaffa. We will pass it from one generation to the next; this is something that will never be forgotten.
I don't want to lose my son. I lost my brother before and that's enough because I want my son to grow up and get educated. Until this day I think about my brother and what it would have been like if he had lived and had a family and children. Until this day my mother grieves for him. He died in 1979, but she still keeps his clothes in a bag and takes them out once in a while to look at them. Why? Doesn't she have the right to see her son grow up and have a life?
    Conception of Peace
It means the same as it would mean to any Palestinian, it means to be in my house and feel like I can sleep safely in it. Peace is to be in your home on your land. For example, when you are abroad you start to long to come back home. So how do you think it feels when you are on your land and you still have that feeling? Real peace is the peace of the soul. […] At the same time, I think of peace on the Israeli side, that they shouldn't go out on the streets and get killed. Just like I am a mother and care for my children, there are other mothers who feel the same way.
When you have a home and I have a home, we can be good neighbors, but if you have a home and I don't, I will continue to "screw" you until you get out of the house! I mean, if I had a piece of land, and you took it from me, built your house on it and forbid me from building my house! Let me build my house like you did. There needs to be compromise, giving and taking. We could have good relations, but not when you have a high quality of life and I live in the dirt under your feet. There can never be peace between the master and the servant.
   International Involvement 
I was in the USA for a media course, and they don’t know what Palestine is, they only know Israel. The Americans are in charge now, but they and their people know nothing about the Palestinian issue. So [....] they need to see what those two small nations are doing together. This needs to be shown to them and to the two people themselves.