“. . . I shall carve the record of my sufferings . . . On an olive tree. . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Suspended in space: uprooting of olive trees for the expansion of Zufin, Jewish settlement in the Tulkarm district (Photo: B’Tselem/ Christoph Gocke – EAPPI)

❶ Israeli forces demolish Palestinian-owned structures in Nablus
. . . ―❶ (ᴀ) Israeli Occupation uproots 300 trees west of Hebron
. . . ―❶ (ᴃ) Israel demolishes multiple Palestinian structures in Jerusalem area
. . . ―❶ (ᴄ) Israeli forces uproot 50 olive trees as Palestinian farmer awaits court date to appeal

  • Background: “Uprooting Identities: The Regulation of Olive Trees in the Occupied West Bank.”

❷ Gaza Strip: Attacks in the Border Areas and their Consequences
❸ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2016
Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished two rooms used for agricultural purposes and leveled stone walls in the villages of Khirbet al-Marajim and Qusra in the southern part of the occupied West Bank district of Nablus.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli forces, demolished a room belonging to Tariq Dirawi in Khirbet al-Marajim.    MORE . . .  

Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 17, 2016
Hebron. ALRAY. Israeli military bulldozers uprooted about 300 olives trees on Wednesday morning and swept lands in Oula town, West of Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank.
___Isa Al Omla, the activist in the wall and settlements resistance, said that the Israeli bulldozers broke into Al- Najar Valley area, near the apartheid wall, and swept away some lands ( 15 acres) owned by the family of Mohammed Khalil Abdul Aziz Al Omla.  MORE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 16, 2016
Israeli forces demolished multiple Palestinian structures in the Jerusalem area on Tuesday, the same morning that Israeli-enforced demolitions left more than 70 Palestinians homeless in the Hebron and Bethlehem districts of the occupied West Bank.
___In the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, bulldozers escorted by Israeli police officers and Jerusalem municipality inspectors demolished a single-room house and several outdoor walls, because the structures were built without licenses issued by the Jerusalem municipality.     MORE . . .  

Event marking Rachel Corrie's death, Qariyut, West Bank, 15.3.2
Israeli soldiers attack Palestinians during an olive tree planting commemorating (March, 2015). Corrie, an American, was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003, blocking the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip (Photo: Activestills.org)

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 16, 2016
Israeli bulldozers uprooted more than 50 olive trees on Tuesday morning in the Palestinian village of Shufa in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, Palestinian farmers told Ma’an, two weeks before a court hearing was scheduled to be held to appeal the Israeli-ordered confiscation of the land.
___One of the farmers, Abed Hamid, said he received a phone call from a neighbor notifying him that Israeli forces brought bulldozers to his olive tree orchard and started to uproot the trees, which were planted between 15 and 20 years ago.
___After Hamid rushed to his land, he said he witnessed Israeli forces “stealing” the majority of his trees, which were left intact.    MORE . . .    

  • Braverman, Irus. “UPROOTING IDENTITIES: THE REGULATION OF OLIVE TREES IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK.” Polar: Political & Legal Anthropology Review 32.2 (2009): 237-264.    FULL ARTICLE.   

Trees in general, and olive and pine trees in particular, perform a pivotal role in both the Zionist and the Palestinian national narratives. Since 1901, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) . . . has planted over 240 million trees in Israel, most of which are pines. This massive enterprise has fundamentally transformed the Israeli/Palestinian landscape. Indeed, over the years, the pine has come to be perceived as the quintessential symbol of the Zionist project . . .  If the Jewish tree is the pine, the Palestinian tree is the olive. As Ismat Shbeta, a refugee from the depopulated Palestinian village Miske, tells me in an Interview, “The olive is the Palestinian tree . . . . That’s the olive’s nationality”
[. . . .]  A fusion of humans and trees is thereby constructed: the olive embodies the Palestinian people, the green of its foliage is perceived as interchangeable with the red of their blood. However, the olive is not only a proxy witness; it also provides a model of survival for the Palestinian people. In this sense, the olive not only stands for but also speaks for the mute and uprooted Palestinian . . .
[. . . .]  Since its inception, and increasingly in the last two decades, Israel has been uprooting Palestinian olive trees. . . . . Israel’s central rationale for uprooting olive trees in the occupied territories has not been framed as punitive, or at least not explicitly so. Israel explains these uprootings, rather, as essential for its national security. First, Israel has been uprooting olives to make way for the recently built Separation Barrier. In the same vein, Israel’s Defense Forces have uprooted thousands of olive . . .  to secure roads, increase visibility, and make way for watchtowers, checkpoints. . . .
[. . . .]  In addition to the uprooting of Palestinian olive trees by the State of Israel, for the last decade or so Jewish settlers have also been targeting Palestinian trees. . . . The tree warfare conducted by the New Settlers adds another layer of meaning to the relationship between humans and trees in the occupied West Bank. . . .  the sabotage of olive trees is still an everyday occurrence in the West Bank. As a result, Palestinian access to agricultural land is frequently jeopardized.
[. . . .]   Although both the New Settlers and the human rights activists interviewed here have insisted that the Israeli/Palestinian war is not really about trees but about land, it is nonetheless clear that the emotional, cultural, ritualistic, and economic significance of the tree has been at the forefront of their actions. [Palestinians] would never have claimed that trees are unimportant in this battle. However, they also see clearly the connection between the trees and the overall power struggle over land, autonomy, identity, and power . . . .

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Aug. 16, 2016
Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip.
[. . . .]
Preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and fishing areas violates numerous provisions of international human rights law, including the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Enforcing the “buffer zone” through the use of live fire often results in, inter alia, the direct targeting of civilians and/or indiscriminate attacks, both of which constitute war crimes.     MORE . . .

Because I do not weave wool,
And daily am in danger of detention,
And my house is the object of police visits
To search and “to cleanse,”
Because I cannot buy paper,
I shall carve the record of my sufferings,
And all my secrets
On an olive tree
In the courtyard
Of my house.

I shall carve my story and the chapters of my tragedy,
I shall carve my sighs
On my grove and on the tombs of my dead;
I shall carve
All the bitterness I have tasted,
To be blotted out by some of the happiness to come

I shall carve the number of each deed
Of our usurped land
The location of my village and its boundaries.
The demolished houses of its peoples,
My uprooted trees,
And each crushed wild blossom.
And the names of those master torturers
Who rattled my nerves and caused my misery.
The names of all the prisons,
And every type of handcuff
That closed around my wrists,
The files of my jailers,
Every curse
Poured upon my head.
I shall carve:
Kafr Qasim, I shall not forget!
And I shall carve:
Deir Yassin, it’s rooted in my memory.
I shall carve:
We have reached the peak of our tragedy.
It has absorbed us and we have absorbed it,
But we have finally reached it.

I shall carve all that the sun tells me,
And what the moon whispers,
And what the skylark relates,
Near the well
Forsaken by lovers.

And to remember it all,
I shall continue to carve
All the chapters of my tragedy,
And all the stages of the disaster,
From beginning
To end,
On the olive tree
In the courtyard
Of the house.

From  THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY.  Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.
About Tafiq Zayyad. 

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