Israeli forces are preparing for a possible ground invasion of Rafah, a tightly packed city of 1.5 million people in the southern Gaza Strip, according to international news outlets.

Officials warn the move could displace hundreds of thousands more Palestinians. Many are already trying to cross the western border to Egypt to find safety, for a steep price.

From his home near Detroit, Tariq Luthun has been getting reports from his mom, who’s in touch with extended family in Rafah. Luthun is worried about their safety, as he has been many times before.

“I remember one moment where we weren't sure where my aunt was and where her family was, and my mom asked for help,” Luthun said, describing efforts to reach people on the ground in Gaza to get information. “Nobody could do anything.”

Egyptian officials are comparing the potential displacement of Palestinians to the Nabka of 1948, when more than 700,000 people were violently forced to leave their homes by Zionist militias during the creation of the state of Israel.

The people displaced in 1948 and ever since have found themselves all over the world, many in the United States. Despite hopes and efforts to make their displacement temporary, many remained in the U.S. for decades.

Their children were born into what many call a “diaspora.” Tariq Luthun is one of those children. Nada Al-Hanooti is too. She was mostly raised in Dearborn, she said, with her parents’ and grandparents’ stories and feelings of loss deeply ingrained in her.

“I think what I'm scared of is us losing more, right? And the more people leave, the more we lose more [of Palestine],” Al-Hanooti said. “But I'm saying this living in the suburbs of Dearborn, where I'm safe.”

With Israel’s ongoing bombardment and siege of Gaza dredging up that pain, she and other Palestinian-Americans are working out what home and identity mean to them.

Many are proudly owning their identities: They’re writing poetry about what it means to be Palestinian in this moment. They’re cooking the same food their families have for generations. They’re rocking keffiyehs in public.

Some are also leaning into the pain that crosses generations. It “solidifies” their identity, said Germine Awad, a professor of psychology, diversity and social transformation at the University of Michigan.

“When something terrible happens to your family like that, you don't forget it and you pass it down,” Awad said. “It contributes to intergenerational trauma. It's the storytelling of who you are in your life, and it's sort of a way of keeping your Palestinian identity alive, even when people are trying to take it away from you.”

Read the complete article in Michigan Public