Junior Abdelhai Syai Talks About His Life in Palestine Before Life in the U.S.


A section of the concrete Israeli West Bank barrier wall, with the world “Palestine” written on it, viewed from West Bank, Palestine.

A year and a half ago junior Abdelhai Syai immigrated to the United States from Palestine.

Abdelhai is from the city of Hebron, located south of Jerusalem. He was 15 when he moved to the U.S. He spent all of his childhood in Palestine, but moved because Hebron is in one of the most contested regions in the world, this situation used to affect his life daily before coming to America.

“Life in Palestine is beautiful,” Syai said. “But there is something that is not available, in Palestine. There is limited resources and technology. We could not travel anywhere under the occupation.”

Palestine is occupied by the Israeli Army, they have extremely limited the rights of the people who live there. Like, freedoms of speech and movement. With the lack the limited human rights in Palestine, citizens of Muslim or Arab origin are commonly discriminated against by Israeli security forces.

“The Israelites would try to control what you can and can’t do, they would randomly search you on the street or stop you when you were walking,” Syai said.

After immigrating at the beginning of 2016, Syai’s life has changed. Along with feeling more free than before, Syai Prefers school in America compared to his old home.

“I like Francis Howell North, my old school was very different,” Syai said. “My old school didn’t have buses or as many computers.” 

Although he is happy to be in America compared to his old life in Palestine, Syai is concerned about President Trump and his recent decision that, recognized contested parts of Palestine as under ownership of Israel. This goes further to take away the land of Palestine and its power.

“Donald Trump is making decisions that are not good for the people of Palestine,” Syai said.

Even with his doubts, Syai plans to stay in his newfound home, to make a new life for himself and his family.

“America is an advanced country that gives freedom,” Syai said.