On Occupation

When I first started blogging, I thought I will be reflecting on personal issues related to a divorced woman living under occupation. The relationship between divorce and occupation for women is interlinked. It interwinds in circles and in every intersection. As my writing developed into other topics that always, maybe subconsciously made the fact that I am a divorced woman a triggering point to my response to any cause that I believed needs support. 

Causes of people and affairs that have no obvious representation, and if any, are hushed, quiet and in secret. 

It felt normal speak out loudly and to address what became every issue maybe: occupation and its violation, racism, inequality, home demolitions, checkpoints, oppression, aggression… It is easy to trigger a woman who has been encountering a vicious divorce for a decade. 

But I wish it was a relationship that I can stop at in linking it to my reality. A reality of a woman who is divorced and lives under occupation. The rest of the sentence seemed like an intellectual statement: A divorced woman living under occupation inside a patriarchal structure. Today the statement stands with another addition, that is neither intellectual nor philosophical: A reality of a woman who is divorces and lives under occupation inside a patriarchal structure that is molding in corruption. 

I was thinking that fighting corruption is a way to fight for a better state. I always believed that what we are going through as Palestinians is a must-be phase in the building of states. Well, I always also believed that you cannot build a state skipping out the phase of liberation from occupation. I have to say I deserve to pay the price of believing that we should give this a try: A Palestinian state under occupation. This led us to this point of total destruction. We are like a timed bomb that we inserted ourselves and we forgot to create an exit. 

Actually, they did… We the fools who agreed to replace the dream of liberation with a flag and an authority with no borders, autonomy, economics, and security. A natural result that the borders will get us into a point of suffocation. The autonomy will be practiced on us, and we will be paying the taxed of the economy to fill their pockets. Those who claim weapons to oppress us and to safeguard the occupation.


At some point I made a decision that I have to write in Arabic if I am sincere in my mission. The mission of building up on the building of a state. Standing up for our rights. Facing corruption. Addressing issues of social taboos. Representing the voice of Islam, women, nationhood in what they truly are. 

It was easy to write n English to non-Arab speakers to speak about freedoms and its violations. However, I knew that speaking out to the public I address, and to the government I live under is the real act in making a difference towards building. 

And yes, the margins became full pages, and topics never seized to end. The more you open up on issues, the more issues evolve rule of law, accountability, corruption, honor killing, women killing, homosexuality, CEDAW, violence, education, health sector, medical mistakes, medical facilities, political disputes, Fateh, Hamas, Da’esh. 

I don’t know when I realized that I was like a loner. I looked around me and found myself alone with a few addressing the most critical issues, daring, courageously, with nothing in mind except bringing justice as a must have rule in our lives.

But from another side, I saw how much people were reading what I write. How much they were actually waiting for my articles. How much fulfilment and hope what I write gives them? Many told me that I represented the unspoken public opinion that nobody dares to address. 

I know of many who are afraid to put a like or share my articles. I know how my articles are passed through inboxes on different groups like the forbidden tree.

 After all, … I am a woman who in her best can be a Virgin and this is not possible…with four children surrounding me, or an Eve who can convince Adam to the unforbidden path. 

I tried my best not to stop at threats. I never turned an eye to an insult that stroke to my reputation as a woman… I long time ago stopped even think of this as an insult… I must be that sexy and appealing and demanded if I have all those men or all those illicit behaviors happening from me!!! I fought to keep my appearance the way I believed it should be when addressing religion and women. I never hindered or retreated from defending a case that saw just. I wrote in defense of rivals, and I wrote in criticism of close friends. My slogan remained that I write about causes, about performance, about responsibility, and people represent causes not private figures. 

I thought I was losing friends and allies in this path. Probably creating enemies from all directions but at the same time I knew well that y words were wrapped and perceived with great respect and admiration on all levels. 

as freedom of expression continued to deteriorate in the Palestinian authority domain, threats became louder and closer. I insisted not to listen, but I remained careful. I refrain from going to the west bank except in full cautiousness. I equipped myself with scenarios of what to do in case anything happened. I stayed home! 

I knew it was coming after the article I published in criticism of the government spokesperson some months ago. I have to say it sounded ridiculous to see the backlash of that article. After all I only criticized the spokesperson over his performance, which means I criticize the government. 

I often follow closely my intuition and this time I know it was serious. Maybe it was getting more and more serious after the last time I was attacked after an article about the stealing of graves in Jerusalem. I should haven known then that the silence that accompanied that incident was just a preparation of more. I should have maybe raised my voice higher when an official said in one of the social groups “someone needs to shut this woman up”. but I always thought … stay strong woman. Don’t allow then to scare me. after all you survived the most vicious war of divorce. It couldn’t be worse… but apparently there is worse. 

After all I am hitting hard on the ego of this patriarchy. I feel like holding a stick shooting in all directions into a hive full of hornets. when I assumed, I am only awakening dedicated bees?

Our Palestinian hive is nothing, but a graveyard guarded with a horizon of hornets and filled with hyenas savaging whatever is left of us. whatever is left from our integrity, pride and security. 

They burnt the car… but they cannot burn my words. 

Yes, it is horribly dangerous. because this time we were surrounded by the blessings and mercy of god and the quick intervention of the police… sarcastically it is the Israeli population police. 

Ironically, the Israeli occupation secured me from the terror of those who are supposed to be protecting me from the occupation. 

I always thought of my relationship with the Israeli occupation like the relationship with my ex husband. It is also sarcastic that my ex-husband was the first to come to help when the car was set on fire.

Should I update my position on occupation and make it a relation of a forced marriage to a rapist? Even here it sounds more human than the reality. 

Sometimes a rapist husband is kinder than a family that forced such a marriage!!


بنات فلسطين كتاب لامل قعوار يرصد النضال الفلسطيني بنسائه منذ ايام الانتداب حتى التسعينات . ومذكرات النسوية الاولى لعنبرة سلام الخالدي ، يحاكي احاسيس ونضالات المرأة الداخلية وسبل تحريرها 

فما بين الكتابين كانت كذلك سيرة ليلي خالد التي تابعت حياة ليلى في السبعينات ، وتكلمت كثيرا عن الوجه “الفدائي” للنضال الفلسطيني .

وفي الجانب المقابل للكتب المكدسة بقراءاتي المتقطعة لا تزال يوميات خليل السكاكيني تنتظر رجوعي. فتوقفت في مكان بدا لي غير مبشر ،استعصى في مرحلة ما على فهمي ، عندما وجد نفسه منفيا الى سوريا.

هكذا كتب لا يمكن قراءتها بدون الولوج فيها بشخصانية كبيرة . وما يحدث قصريا . فعادة ما نتعاطف مع كاتب او مع بطل الرواية ومع مكانها واحيانا نربط الحبكة ونشبهها بحكايانا.

الا ان هذا النوع من الكتب والاخص السير الذاتية ، يحاكي المكان نفسه والصراع ذاته ، والاشخاص في اغلبهم مرت اسماءهم وعائلاتهم على ارفدة حياتك . فالقدس تحديدا صغيرة وفلسطين ليست اكبر بكثير لتترامى اطراف حكاياتها .

ولكن ما كان اقوى من شعور الاثارة الذي يربطك شخصيا باماكن السطور وشخوصها ، فلقد تعرف فلان ولقد تكون سمعت عن علان ، ولا بد انك تعرف المكان الذي تصفه العبارات والتي تتحدث عنه الكثير من الفقرات . قد يرافقك شعور بالاقتراب او الاغتراب من جملة ما او فقرة او كلمة . فإن الشعور الاقوى الذي يعصف بك هو تلك الحقيقة المفككة المبهمة عن واقعنا . فهناك حقائق برؤوس اقلام واضحة ومعرفة تربينا على حفظها ومعرفتها وحتى انها سكبت في عقولنا وجمدت واغلق عليها . فلقد يجتمع الواقع العربي والفلسطيني على تعريفات مؤرخة في تلك الحقبة التي علمت مع بداية القرن العشرين . فهناك انهيار الامبراطورية العثمانية ووقوع فلسطين في صحن الانتداب البريطاني قبل  الالتهام الكامل للامبراطورية الراحلة فيما بين افواه الاستعمار الغربي. وهناك النكبة الفلسطينية والنكسة وحرب الكرامة وصبرا وشاتيلا واعلان الاستقلال واوسلو.

فيما بين تلك الوقفات التاريخية التي شكلت ما نعيشه بهذه اللحظات من فتات تلتقطه افواهنا نحن مما تبقى من حلم بوطن عربي وآخر تحرير لفلسطين ، تكمن الحقيقة المبهمة التائهة منا . وكأننا بوعي اعصبنا اعيننا عنها نثرنا عليها اغبرة الزمن لكي لا نرى حجم المصيبة التي نعيشها حتى تجلت امام اعيننا كما تتجلى اليوم.

فالواقع الحالي من فتات وشتات ودمار ليس صنيع المرحلة الحالية فقط. ليست مصادفة ولا غضب الهي تلك الانهيارات المتتالية التي يتسابق فيها انهيار الكيان العربي. فنحن شعوب لا نعرف الا التعامل مع الحاضر بردات فعل لا تتعدى النحيب والصياح والشجب وتقتصر رؤيتنا على ما لا يتعدى انوفنا وننشغل به . ونرفض بشدة الرجوع للماضي والتعلم من اخطائه ونصر وبشدة بأن الأسوأ مستحيل لاننا شعوب الايمان بقدرة الله واصطفافه مع حزبنا هو الغالب فينا .

ويبقى واقعنا الهلامي كالفقاعة المرمية على الارض بعد الاستمتاع والانبهار برقصاتها المحدودة والمؤقتة في فضاء نتحكم تماما بمجاله قبل السقوط الابدي الى التراب. نستمر في نفخ فقاعات جديدة موهمين انفسنا ببهاء الرقصات المائية المؤقتة ، وما نلبث نعي الا اختفائها . ولكن الحقيقة الكامنة والمتربصة لنا بفقاعات تفجيرية مليئة بالكبريت والسموم وليس الماء والصابون . وكأننا اعتدنا عليها ولا نزال نصر على حالنا المؤقت.

وحالي لا بد لا يختلف عن حال الاكثرية التي دأبت على تسكين الامها ومواجعها بعدم المعرفة والسعي وراء قوت يومها ، لعل وعسى ، لان ما يلحق بنا لن يقدر على خلاصنا منه الا الله . وبالفعل ، فرحلتنا الى الله ظهرت بالحركات الاسلامية التي استمرت بالتزمت والتجرد من الله حتى اصبحت ما نراه اليوم من داعش وتحت لواء الله.

وبين ألوية الله المختلفة والمتعددة التي ننتمي جميعا اليها ، لا تزال الحقيقة ملقاة لتشكل قمما داستها اقدامنا ولم نعد نعرف شكل وقيمة وهوية الميت الذي دفنناه .

ولعل مرور الزمن من جهة ،وتعقيد الامور من جهة اخرى جعلتنا مع استسلامنا مقعدين حول انفسنا بلا حراك

.ما فعلته بي تلك القراءات يشبه النبش بالمقابر . وكآني ابحث عن عزيز فقد في زمن ما ودفن في مقبرة جماعية تم اكتشافها حديثا. وفي رحلة البحث عن هويته ،تبدأ رحلة معاناة كل تلك العظام المتراكمة بحثا عن قبر يليق بالتضحية التي قدموها اولئك الذين قضوا من اجل نفس القضية التائهة منا .

بينما احاول رصد الحراك النسوي في تلك القراءات ، التقرب اكثر من معاناتها وحروبها في كسر القيود والتحرر. رأيتني كتلك النساء استسلم تماما لمصيري ولا اجد بديلا عن ربطه بقضية الوطن . فكما استمرت المرأة الفلسطينية في تأجيل قضاياها من اجل القضية الاهم وهي تحرير الوطن ، هكذا استبعدت وتلقائيا قضايا المرأة البديهية المستعصية من اهتماماتي.

فبينما كان الغرب يقترب من افتراسه المحكم ووضعنا بين فكيه ، كانت النساء لا تزال تناضل من اجل التجرؤ على نزع الحجاب. والحجاب في ذلك الوقت لم يكن مقصورا على غطاء الرأس ، بل كان غطاء الوجه . فعندما وقفت هدى شعراوي في محطة القطار مزيلة لغطاء وجهها ، كانت هذه من اعظم الكبائر . وعندما قررت عنبرة سلام الخالدي رفع الغطاء لتستطيع ان تقدم خطابها بلا تلعثم كان يحجبه الحجاب ، قامت بيروت ولم تقعد. ونسوا العالم بطش الاتراك المنصرم والانتداب الذي كان يقطع بهم اربا ، وكان رفع حجابها هو موضوع الخطاب.

في كل مرة كانت تصل فيه المرأة للخروج الى حريات بديهية ، كانت حرية الوطن تقف امامها وكأن ما تبغي الوصول اليه هو المهدد الاكبر للوطن .

واستمرت المرأة في مراوغاتها بلا كلل ، فلم تطلب او تبتغي يوما التمرد على الرجل . فبكل ومع كل محاولاتها بالتحرر من قيود الذكورية التقليدية ، كان للتقاليد الحصة الكبيرة في نهجها . فبقيت خطواتها بطيئة وتأخذ طبع المراوغة الذي ابدا لم يكن ليخرج عن طوع الاب والاخ والزوج . فالحقوق المبتغاة كانت حقوقا تستطيع فقط ان تنالها من خلال اعطاء الرجل لها اياها.  وترى السيدة الفلسطينية ابان الثورة في السبعينات بين رحلات الشتات للمقاومة ما بين الاردن وسوريا ولبنان ونزولا بتونس تجرأت على التحدي من اجل القضية . فكانت النتيجة الحرمان من الامومة والطلاق والعنوسة لانها ندرت نفسها للقضية . وما لبث الاعلان عن وقف المقاومة المسلحة حتى وجدت تلك النسوة انفسها  في اماكن اكثر ذكوره من الذكور لتحافظ على بقائها . فتحولت بنات فلسطين في تلك الجزئية الى بنات المنظمة التي حولتهم فيما بعد الفصائل الى ذكورهم. فذكرني المشهد وبطريقة محزنة بالخصيان في زمن الخلافات السابقة . فاصبحت تلك النساء التي ضاع شبابهن وجمالهن وانوثتهن من اجل قضية كفاح قدمن فيه مع اولئك الرجال المخلصين لنفس القضية امام خيار وحيد بالترجل عن حلم المقاومة والاسترجال للبقاء مع رجالات القضية التي ما لبثت ان تتحول من قضية شعب لقضية حفنة من الشخوص رددوا ولا يزالوا شعارات التحرر والتحرير حتى سئمنا الحرية وتفرقنا واياهم طوعا في القبوات التي اعدها لنا الاحتلال كل على مقاسه وانتمائه واحتياجاته .

واصبحت تلك النساء كالرجال تصيح وتندب وتشجب وتؤكد على استحقاقها لتاريخها النضالي العريق الملىء بالتضحيات لراحتنا نحن . فالاستحقاق الذي تم المطالبة به من بنات وابناء الفصائل بالرغم من ايفائه وبكل اسى من لحم القضية وارضها وليس فقط ابنائها ، لم تنل فيه المرأة الا الحصة التي رماها امامها الرجل . فلا الحصة الشرعية ولا تلك المناسبة لنضالها … تلك فقط التي املاها المجتمع الذكوري التي حافظت هي على بقائه واستحسنت بما ظنته دهاءا منها الحصول على بعض الحقوق فيه . فالمرأة الفلسطينية تشبه المجتمع العربي ، وتاريخه الحديث . تسعى بالاساس من اجل حقوق حقيقية وحريتها هي قلادتها التي تقسم بها ، ولكنها كالعرب في سعيهم وراء التخلص من الاستبداد ، تخلصوا من مستبد ليقعوا في معتد غاشم وهكذا دواليك .

قراءاتي لتلك السير الجميلة الحقيقية الهادفة الساعية فعلا وحقا وراء الحرية ، اوقفتني في اماكن تاريخية اخرى ، لا بد البحث فيها بوعي اكثر . وجعلتني اقف لاختم امام التساؤلات التائهة التالية :

تلك الفترة الاخيرة للخلافة العثمانية ، والتي رافقتها مذابح الارمن واليونان والاسيريين واستبداد وسفك للدم العربي من قبل جمال باشا (السفاح) ، الذي نجح باقناع العرب بدءا بالالتفاف نحوه للتخلص من السلطان عبد الحميد ، ليعوا وبسرعة فائقة بأنه كان كارها للعرب وحاقدا عليهم .وما تذمروا منه من تهميش بحقهم من عبد الحميد كان زوبعة في فنجان .فلا نزال نحن العرب نعتمد على المسلسلات التركية وسرايا عابدين لتكون منبرنا الثقافي لفهم التاريخ . فلقد نشأنا على كرهنا للاتراك والسلطنة العثمانية ،رامين وراءنا كل ذلك التاريخ العظيم للخلافة الممتدة في أرجاء المعمورة ، وكأجدادنا احتفلنا بما كان سقوطا لليبيا والشام وما صار يتردد على لساننا من “مستعمرات عثمانية على ايدي الاستعمار الغربي الذي فتحنا له اذرعنا وتحالفنا معه . لننتبه وبوقت قياسي اخر لا يحتمل الشك باننا تحالفنا مع الشيطان . فاصبح حليف الامس عدو اليوم ، وهكذا توالت علينا الائتلافات والمؤامرات وتشكل عالم عربي بني اصلا على باطل. ففي رحلتنا بالتخلص من البطش العثماني الذي لا افهم بعد كيف توقف عن كونه مسلما بالنسبة الينا ، رمينا انفسنا نحو خلاص مع عدو كان دائما معرف . فهل كانت تلك سذاجة ام خيانة ؟ ام ان القهر كان هكذا مستفحلا رمانا طوعا في حضن الشيطان ؟ وكم يشبه ذلك الحال حالنا اليوم . عندما يفكر المقدسي منا بالذهاب طوعا للحصول على الجنسية الاسرائيلية . حينما يتحالف المسلم في العراق وسوريا على اخيه المسلم مع المرتزقة او الامريكي المحتل او غيره من متآمرون ضده ولا يأبه الا بالانتقام او الهروب نحو خلاصه فقط. ما نراه في تناحر فيما بين الفلسطينيين بين فتح وحماس ، وما بين المصريين في شرخ قسم الشعب الى اخوان وغير اخوان . وبين حوثيين في اليمن شيعة يجب قتلهم وبين حزم امر عرب على التحالف على العرب انفسهم . بين ابتهاج وتهليل لمصائبنا التي غضضنا الطرف عنها في سبيل التخلص من الاخر منا الذي انتدبناه الد عداوة من اعدائنا .

وتساؤل نحو الواقع كذلك ، كيف تتكشف لنا الايام هذه عن خطة كانت منذ اليوم الاول يتم تنفيذها وكنا نحن العرب نضحد تصديقها واستمرت بالتكشف واستمرينا بالانكار حتى اصبحنا جزءا منها . فما اشبه ما نعيشه اليوم بالذي جرى علينا يوم ساهمنا بالتخلص من الامبراطورية العثمانية وهللنا لسقوطها واعلنناها العدو الاكبر لنا . وكحالنا اليوم نجري وراء فتات ما كان ارضا ووطنا وقضية . …

نعيش نفس التيه … ونمارس نفس الجهل … ولا نزال نقع في نفس الاخطاء والتي لم يعد لها تعريف الا بالخطايا ولا نزال نكررها وبلا حياء….  

I look around and wonder if it is just a foggy day or month or year or decades of my life as a Palestinian … holding up tight within myself waiting desperately for a clear day … just an average day when I will wake up and look at the sky and see it bright. Look at the sun and see it shine…look at the trees, the flowers and watch them moving in their destinies lively dance. Waking up one day to the Palestine I grew up thriving to have… to the Palestinian cause that was injected into our veins. To join the rally of humanity .. to feel normal.. to feel human .. to feel belonging to the human race…

But instead. I wake up not knowing if it is another dusty day .. if the sun that shines in the morning will keep its warmth to the night…

An ugly reality of our lives.. a nation that has been so fragmented when each one of us became a nation of his own. Palestine became a single unit for each. Each one of us has his own Palestine, with its people, its government, its ministers. It is not the Palestine we were raised to have.. it is not the Palestine we thrived to liberate…

It is a Palestine that is injected with egocentric needs and personal interests, and anything else is the enemy…

A day, a month, a year, six decades… of crying over a loss of a land, of a diaspora of a nation, of imprisonment of a population, of occupation…. And yet… we fail to have a single voice for reconciliation … we carry on to a black fog of authority that exists on personal interests and draining every single vein of its people … a mist that certifies.. each single moment the death of Palestine.

Yes… this is Nakba.


I was listening to some news about the Israelis renewed the attempt to demolish the Mughrabi Gate and the installation of the new bridge, in preparation to create a museum or whatever…under the tunnels… and somehow behind all the political games of occupation and attempts of seizing more control over Jerusalem and AL-Aqsa and everything else. And somehow behind the reality that Israel wants to shake the grounds under the Aqsa. And somehow also that Israel works within a matrix of control as well in the surrounding of the old city, and this attempt would increase the possibilities of seizing the area at any needed time. There lies a good thing behind the current excavations and tunnels that are unveiling what the Israeli calls as the Torah city. And that what disturbs me when I hear our closed circle defense and shallow calls for defending the Place. The fact that there is a Torah city that existed thousands of years ago is only a complement to the greatness and authenticity of this town. The ignorance of the Israelis in trying to make a myth about their history and forcing it into a new reality that denies our existence is a mere act of ignorance and panic. And the fact that we Muslims deny the existence of a two or three thousand years of history where Jewish people lived, and that life was under the earth of the modern Jerusalem is also ignorance.

I really cannot understand that we have to fight against the findings of the city under the current city. It is part of our history as people of this land. It is part of our history of monotheists. It is part of our history as human civilization as well.

And admitting, recognizing, acknowledging, whatever term we might use, the presence of these people (the Israelis) in this land, doesn’t take our rights in it. The Islamic Jerusalem (Christian as well) cannot be denied. It is all there standing up high and proud, and deeply rooted and evolved despite three thousand years of history of various people who lived , resided or existed and continued to live on this land.

Paulo Freire says in the pedagogy of the oppressed: “It is only the oppressed who, by freeing themselves, can free their oppressors. The latter, as an oppressive class, can free neither others nor themselves. It is, therefore, essential that the oppressed wage the struggle to resolve the contradiction in which they are caught; and the opposition will he determined by the appearance of the new man: neither oppressor nor oppressed, but the man in the process of liberation. If the goal of the oppressed is to become fully human, they will not achieve their aim by merely reversing the terms of the contradiction, by just changing poles.”

When would it be time, when we rise for who we truly are, and just acknowledge our existence without denial of the others? When we get there, we can end our vicious occupation, or at least can manage it as human beings, not as dehumanized people.


Permits to Israel

Israeli government allowing Palestinians from the West Bank to enter Israel in the last weeks, seemed like an appalling out of the ordinary phenomena to both Palestinians in and out the borders of permits.

I don’t know why are we surprised that people from the West Bank are dashing to the sea, or shopping in the malls. There is a whole Palestinian generation that doesn’t know how the sea looks like.

Unless you’re wealthy enough to travel to the East Bank and the West. Lest you are privileged enough to belong the PA VIP category of magnetic permits to Israel, or you are lucky enough to work on a project with an international NGO and can get a free training and trip here and there; you are among the two million and so Palestinians (excluding Gaza of course) in the West Bank who don’t know how life outside the wire fences, concrete walls and delimited checkpoints look like. Any life behind that border became a fantasy.

It doesn’t matter why the Israeli government issued such unprecedented numbers of permits. Whether it was to get more benefits as usual; such as the economic cash flow that such a movement of people allowed or any kind of maneuver Israel as usual as good ploys. What is definitely true is that Israel’s economics will not improve because of this month money that was spent by Palestinians in Israel. Israel’s plans and moves are sad to say, are far from what we see or want to know. Israel has transformed us into passive reactionaries instead of being not active planners, but merely ordinary observers, who lost the capacity of seeing beyond our moment. We even miss the moment.

I have been reading and hearing about “their” substantial passageway towards Jerusalem (Israel). We already became “us” and ‘them,” another sub-category of the “we “ and “them,” which makes “them” sub-category of “ we,” because we originally have a whole category of “them” relating to the Israelis.

Why do we find it so absurd, that people are flowing on the sea-shore of the Mediterranean? What do we want from “them” and “them” (the sub-category of one of the categories)?

Do we want “them” to stay roaming inside the barbed wires and cemented walls?

Do we want “them” to keep “them” locked up in what looks like ghettos?

We want everyone or boycott Israel, except us. Israel is as much vital to “them” as much as it is to “us.” Among us, as well, those who would boycott Israel, if they exist, are only those who are extremely tolerant, aware, educated and productive. IF you are not someone with such a characteristic, then you cannot boycott Israel, because otherwise, you are entirely dependent on “them.”

Boycotting need a clear strategy with a clear, viable vision, with achievable objectives and sustainable goals and a work plan that can be accomplished. People are not just things that can be controlled by a remote control, with on and off buttons.

What should we expect from people who watch their operating government drowning in dysfunctional apparatus, stinking with corruption, totally bankrupted?

One day the whole nation is set for boycotting, on the evening of the very same day, whoever announced boycotting announces meetings for negotiations.

Those patriots who call for boycott, have the privilege of making their announcements from coffee shops in Ramallah who sell coffee for $5 and attend seminars in Europe every next month or week sometimes. And have magnetic permits that allow them to enter Israel whenever they wanted.

And “Israel” who always benefits from our continuous failures, I sincerely thank “them” for allowing “them” to have a breeze out of the ghettos, even if “they” spent their year savings, or took loans in Israeli markets …



My state of justice

Something popped into my head as I was involved in some discussions about the possible solutions to our conflict. As my head is spurring from Plato to Dante, and my brain and emotions swift between the perfect state the consequences in a divine comedy, things seemed possible after all.
This could be a very unacceptable view for all sides. To avoid being judgmental and start with assuming that the other will not accept. I have to put my papers on the table directly, the first opponent to my idea was my daughter, then my sister, then my other daughter, then my other sister. To start with it was impossible to continue with explaining my smart evolutionary idea because after the second sentence my Palestinian fellow would jump and refuse to listen.
I kept tempting them, that if they continued to the end, it would be a great deal… but …no interest.
Something else I realized from my piloting to this idea for a few days with my fellow family members, a significant question we Palestinians need to face ourselves with, what do we want?
Do we want a Palestinian state with the Palestinian leadership, or do we want a Palestinian state with Israeli given civil services?
As the discussion exploded from its beginning with my daughter, I tried to prove myself right in cornering her with the civil services concerning sovereignty, and she was straight in saying that she does not want to be ruled by the Palestinian leadership, insisting that she did not choose this current leadership. They do not represent her.
What my daughter mentions is what the street feels as well. However, how do we make our choices? We want a Palestinian state; we need to be responsible for our decisions. We cannot create a Palestinian leadership from the perfect space. After all, these people are from us, and they are a reflection of our needs and desires… well.. they turn into nightmares… but they are ou choice… like a bad marriage.
There is a lot of what came out before I even went on with my magic solution. One can only imagine what the Israelis will think… I have to admit that I was biased because I started with the discourse in asking the Palestinians to accept what they don’t want to see… the legitimacy of the state of Israel in being.
Let’s start with the common ground of how we want to achieve the just world- state. The united nations. I don’t also like the united nations, but there are some factors we cannot bypass. We Palestinians stand out to the world in every major and minor issue and ask for recognition and justice through the UN. We pray for the application of the UN resolutions starting from 181 and ending with the one that recognized us as a state.
One important thing we need to accept and work accordingly fully is that as this UN a resolution created the state of Israel within the real decision we want to apply.
Yes, creating a state for Jewish people on land that had people was not the best choice.. for the people who were there. And we those people did not make things very easy . but the UN created this resolution, we the Ottoman Empire lost the war because we the people helped in that loss. The Arabs wanted a revolution against them, and they got their nation states.
In between, some details are primary, but of course, we skipped… Belfour and the Zionist conspiracy … well, that Zionist conspiracy did not only compose of jews. From day one apparently, those imperialist and colonizing countries could not pass anything without the acceptance of the Arab leadership. Back then it was sheriff Hussein of Hijaz. Whether we like him or not, we approve him or not. We allowed him to get us the Arab nations we wanted … and of course, that should have been a good deal.. after all the Arabs were part of a losing falling empire.
We all know about Belfour promise to the jews, and we of course decline and refuse his pledge, yes it is true that it was a war and we were on the losing side, Britain was controlling the scene. They won we lost.
Not precisely we lost … because we wanted the ottomans to disappear. And they did…
It does not matter if we all agreed or not. It does not matter if many were against this. What matters is that those who bargained on the future of the people of the region were also from us.
Before one also tells me that who is Hussein of Hijaz? Well.. this was the choice of the famous hallucinating epic of what we know of Lawrence of Arabia.
This man not only represented us, but we followed him with his Arab revolution. So we are responsible.
Of course, who is we is another thing .. but here we have this historical collective responsibility.
Our enemy was not one … it was not Britain giving birth to Israel on our account only … Britain did this with the Arab leadership agreement.
Little we know of the agreement between Hussein and Weizmann in 1919 as Arabs. We don’t even know that this agreement existed. Of course, the man was tricked, and they gave him a translation of something and made him sign something else. But the man got an expensive watch and a car, and he wandered with them in the desert proudly.
We Palestinians were the sacrifice of the creation of the other four Arab nation states that Hussein was promised to have. The deal was closed and signed.
We the people did not know….
Is something else…
We the people did not change much since then.
I can imagine we applauded for Hussein and the Arab revolt, as much as we praised for Oslo.
Here again … the collective is responsibility, and it does not matter if we those who keep saying we did not choose chose or not … in the end, we accepted by not being strong enough to resist or say no…
Anyway, this is all history.
The un gave the jews a state, and they also gave us a statement on the same land.
Yes, we did not agree. And yes, we would not have accepted now … you don’t bring a stranger to my land and tell me he is my fellow new landlord… in the best scenario of course… because the colonial side of this was not the fellow landlord. He was here to be my landlord in my land.
We are in 2018, and all scenarios of possible states and no state solutions failed.
It is not also easy for me as a Palestinian to open my eye wide and admit that those Israelis are here and they are staying …and well.. they do have a narrative.
This narrative is getting stronger and more human.
Some twenty-thirty years ago, I was always superior to the debate, where are you form is the first question that takes my opponent out because he is likely to be from somewhere else before taking my land.
Now, Israelis my age have been born here. Their children are born here, their grandchildren as well.
In ten-twenty years when my grandchild ask an Israeli child where is he from, he and his father and his grandfather and maybe his great-grandfather are from here. If his great grandfather, for instance, is Netanyahu, he is very rooted he will think. ..and he is ….
Since my real belief stands on the grounds of justice, and justice for me will be based on three significant facts: two people, two states, on land.
Both people believe they have the right to be here.
Both people are here.
Both people want their state.
Both people should live on the same land.
I believe that there is space for everyone…
I know there is a problem,
Israelis want a Jewish state where all the jews can live
Palestinians want a Palestinian Arab state where all Palestinians can live.
Well.. we have a tip here, the un resolution 181 says this .. and they kind of split the land into two 48, or 49 percent to 52, or 53 percent will not be an issue when we all believe and decide that this land is for all of us.
We can have two states with separate governments in every city; each state will be given the same opportunities and resources. No borders will be assigned, each citizen of each country will be living in his same geographical place. I live in Jerusalem, I stay in Jerusalem, I receive the same services and benefits, and I pay my taxes, and I vote for my council that is Palestinian. And the Israeli will do the same to the Israeli side.
I live in Nablus, and Israeli lives in Ariel, the same. Two governates, councils, whatever we call them, and each citizen will belong to his government .palestinians for Palestine and Israelis for jews.
If Israel wants its state Jewish .. they are free to do this so that it will be Israel for the jews,
And Palestinians and Israeli Arabs will be with Palestine.
If I live in Haifa, I am a Palestinian living in Palestine. If the Israeli lives in Haifa, he is also an Israeli living in Palestine.
Each state will have its constitution where they will design the country they want.
So in the end, we will have, 20 million Jews, and 20 million Palestinians.
I still believe there is enough space for all. Refugees are free to come back to their original places. If the area is occupied a committee of reconciliation and compensation will be created to all those case. The committee is composed of a group of wise people from both sides.
Everyone is free to come and live here on the land of Palestine and the land of Israel in whatever we want to call.
One condition only,
Citizens of Palestine and citizens of Israel are only allowed to single citizenship.
You can only be Israeli or Palestinian. You can have other nationality, no dual citizenships in the state.
Those who want to live in this land with only one citizenship that belongs to this land Israel or Palestine are welcome….
I can only imagine who will want to stay and who decides to leave…
I think this is a real test for all those who claim their attachment and right to this land. We want national states … let’s go all the way.

Nabi Samuel is a village on the seams of Jerusalem towards the west-northern part of the city. In 1971 the whole village was destroyed, and the people partially fled, and some were displaced outside the village close to their agricultural land. Nabi Samuel stands on more than 3500 dunums of land including one of the most impressive fortresses within a mosque that landmarks the mountain that stands in the middle of a landscape that shows you as far as Jordan and Tel Aviv.

Today the village of 200 inhabitants is considered part of a national park where Israelis feel like a holy site right under the mosque. You will see ultra Jewish people praying, in all direction of the place with minimal attention to the grand mosque that hosts this whole site. They enter, they move, their kids play, and somehow over there you may spot a Palestinian who became part of an ancient unwanted heritage that will disappear at some point.

As in almost every other model, the Palestinian cities, villages, graveyards and mosques are becoming an odd reality in the new reality Israeli masterly creates … A situation not different to the Palestinians themes elves who are finding themselves strangers in those your on lands… Homes…

This is a quite very old essay…. somehow many things changed since then. Brownie was kidnapped one time after the other… left to an unknown destiny and a grip from my side to write his Memoirs after yet another last rescue.

The president is still here.. sarcastically repeating same advocacy addressed to Others, and now as we are caged in one shrinking living Cantons.. he is struggling for his Party and his own escape Maybe… with yet another empty threat that nobody takes serious, and surprisingly , with a nation giving up to their kidnapper…. Somehow maybe, like Brownie, who gave up on us rescuing him from the never ending kidnaps.


My dog and the president ( a confused title for a confused situation)

My search for Brownie (the dog), reminded me of our failure as a nation. I was wondering like a fool probing for a “stolen” dog, that seemed appealing in the eyes of those youngsters inside a society, who stares at you with strange pathetic looks for looking for a dog.

I couldn’t but stop and think of how much of a schizophrenic nation we are. The same filches who crept it, come from the same people whose kids are probably hiding it in their house or neighborhood and feel disgusted seeing someone looking for a dog.

I don’t know if it is a total state of perplexity, or it’s the rush of jittered energy in my nerves that is making me connect this with Mr. Abbas interview with the Israeli TV, and saying his unflustered ’goodwill’ pledges and assertions to the Israeli audience.

He didn’t bother to come out to his nation on the municipality elections ( which is nonetheless a gravestone for our nationhood) and at least comfort us with anything . Or was he so assured, that the only audience that could have a real elections and he can address are the Israelis and that is why he addressed them?

I really wish to understand, what kind of consultation is he receiving and from whom???

One day he goes to the united nation and exploit Israel, and the next, maybe same day, he goes to the Israelis and he tries to get their sympathy and support??? For what?

Why would he think that the Israeli voters even think of him? Why would he ponder that whoever he is or whatever he says would assume the Israeli public opinion?

Or maybe , his consultants are affected with the American elections heat, and cogitate that his words will make any variance for the Israelis? And if so. For whom and against who? Who is our President in favor for? He wants to support the Israeli radical right or right right wings?

And he guaranteed that there would be no intifada during his time???? Of course he will do his best to avoid any intifada, because the only intifada will be against him.

It is such a calamity, that this so called leadership, not only has ragged us away from our land, but abolished what is left from the Palestinian Cause.

And Right of Return , and his right as a refugee … so what does he exactly mean , that as a leader he gives up the right of return , and as an individual he will claim this right as a refugee ?????

Seriously Mr. President … even the young burglar of my poor dog gave a more convincing alibi …

I can only pray for Brownie some Divine protection …. Like us Palestinians ….


While we were in Lockdown:
Developments in the Historic Jerusalem under the Coronavirus

The Coronavirus pandemic has certainly stopped the tourists from arriving at Historic Jerusalem, but development works at sites run by the settlers have continued even through the present crisis. The fact that the construction workers have been defined as essential for the economy has enabled the Elad Foundation to continue development works on places like Beit Shats in the Peace Forest. Works have also continued on the Roman Stepped Street nicknamed “the Pilgrims’ Road” in Silwan, albeit at a reduced capacity.

The Stepped Street
The ambitious excavation of the Roman ‘Stepped Street’ in Silwan (nicknamed the “Pilgrim’s Road”) has been ongoing throughout March and April, albeit less intensely than usual. The 600-meter-long Roman era street is being heavily promoted by the Elad Foundation as the ancient road talken by pilgrims to the Temple prior to the its destruction in the year 70AD. The street links the Pool of Shiloah Pool/Birket al-Hamra/Pool of Siloam, with the Herodian Road at the foot the Temple Mount/Haram al Sharif compound inside the Old City walls. The horizontal method of excavation used in Silwan is highly controversial in Israel and internationally.

Last June, the road was inaugurated in the presence of American Ambassador David Friedman. Only a small section of the road has been opened to the public so far, but a series of virtual tours released by the Elad Foundation in cooperation with the Israeli free tabloid Israel Hayom, suggests that a further section of the tunnel leading up from pool of Siloam will soon be opened to the public. The virtual tours in Hebrew and English (for children and adults) released over the Passover holiday were seen by tens of thousands of viewers.

Above the ground, a less glamorous reality has evolved over the years with almost forty housing units suffering cracks and subsidence while the excavations underground have continued. Our report Fissures and Cracks, released last month documents the massive damage to the homes and their impact on the lives of its Palestinians inhabitants. Some of the homes have been deemed unsafe for living in and the residents were forced to leave. The damage to the homes has occured in addition to the incessant noise of tunneling underground which has been ongoing for years. In their response, the IAA claimed it has taken strict precautions ensuring the safety of the excavations  and the Nature and Parks Authority have said they have not received complaints of the nature described in the report.

Entrance to shaft leading to the stepped street excavation in Silwan. March 19,2020.

Beit Shatz

Beit Shatz was a privately-owned house purchased by Elad at the edge of the Al Farouk neighborhood in Jabel Mukaber. The house is also at the edge of the Peace Forest which is situated between Jabel Mukaber and the neighborhood of Abu Tor. It is being developed as a tourism center and the base for a zipline planned for the Peace Forest. Work on the compound proceeded during the Coronavirus shut-down. The Shatz house is part of larger scheme by the Elad Foundation and the authorities for the development of the Peace Forest. In 2019 the Ministry of Housing allocated 43 million NIS for renovating the structure.

Works on Beit Shatz. April 16, 2020.

The Old City

The Old City was shut down to tourists in the third week of May. The market in the Muslim Quarter has been shut down and only the residents have been allowed in and out of the city walls.

Jaffa Gate, March 19, 2020

 Cable Car

The Jerusalem cable car is probably one of the hardest affected projects by the Coronavirus pandemic. Following its approval by the National Infrastructure Committee in June 2019, and the 200 million NIS government allocation, the project was to enter the tender phase. However the bidding process for an international company specializing in the construction of cable cars has been hampered by the pandemic. Our appeal to the High Court against the project is scheduled for June.

For additional information:
Yonathan Mizrachi, +972-54-5667299, yonathan@alt-arch.org 

Our mailing address is:
Emek Shaveh, P.O.Box 8580, Jerusalem 9108402

You quote Neruda in an essay entitled “Yeats and Decolonization” saying “through me freedom and the sea will call in answer to the shrouded heart.”

The idea is that human beings are not closed receptacles, but instruments through which other things flow. The idea is of the human being as a traveler, who can have imprinted upon him or her the sights and sounds and bodies and ideas of others so that he or she could become an other and can take in as much as the sea and therefore release the shrouds and the barriers and the doors and the walls that are so much apart of human existence. That’s what it’s all about.

I’ve always thought the interesting thing about Palestine is that Palestine in a certain sense, and here’salittlechauvinism,hasakindofuniversality to it. In fact, because of its fantastic referential power, Jerusalem as the center of the world.

Jerusalem, the city from which I come, has a unique status in the world. It’s not an ordinary city, at least in its existential and imaginative status. But to think that Jerusalem is just the city of one person and that it’s just the place where Christianity started

or only the place where the patriarchate of the Greek Orthodox Church says is the seat of its authority is a debasement of that. It has this extraordinary exfoliating power which has been betrayed by almost every political program.


The Pen and the Sword

Edward Said.