Osama Tannous has long campaigned for the municipal independence of Tarshiha, his hometown in the Galilee region of present-day Israel.
For decades, Tarshiha has been administratively connected to the neighboring Jewish-Israeli community of Maalot and the two share a municipality.
On all government records, paperwork and tax documents, the two have, since 1963, been classified as the town of Maalot Tarshiha. Yet the communities are geographically separated and local Palestinians have been campaigning for independent representation and municipal sovereignty for decades.
“It’s important to control your own land, institutions and budget,” Osama, a 29-year-old activist and pediatric physician, told The Electronic Intifada. “It is also politically necessary to break away from a colonial entity that was built on our land with a view that we’re the enemy.”