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The Inner Struggle

Moustafa stares into emptiness on the stairs. Majed silently gazes out of the secure cell window. Laith smokes fervently, hidden away. Ghassan ponders his father's reaction as he hits rock bottom. Oday makes a personal vow to no longer deceive his daughters.

While Israel is bombing Gaza, a quieter, less visible issue is eroding Palestinian society from within in the West Bank. Drug use, a hidden shame within the Palestinian community, has emerged as a multi-generational response to the suffering caused by the ongoing conflict. Both the older generation, who came of age during the Oslo Accords, and the younger generation, shaped by the armed struggle, are in the psychological sense united into the same response to suffering.

The high unemployment rates, the lack of prospects, and the geographic confinement within the borders of the West Bank have ignited a deep-seated anger. In the absence of a political solution, this anger is channeled into drug use, particularly synthetic marijuana imported from Israel, known as "Mr. Nice Guy," which produces psychoactive effects similar to heroin.


The Inner Struggle is a series that documents the life of Palestinians recovering from drug addiction in a rehabilitation center located in Al-Eizariya, a once thriving Jerusalem neighborhood now economically and socially isolated and disregarded by authorities. Alcohol and drug addiction are a prevalent coping mechanism, two decades after the separation wall's construction and seventy-five years into the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.


As these men endeavor to piece together shattered lives, their journey epitomizes an intrinsic yearning, one that unites humanity: the powerful drive to mend, heal, and reclaim one's sense of self, not despite sorrow, but because of it.

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