“. . . what is the name of the soil? . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

IMG_3404
Settler Bypass Road near Beit Jala (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 8, 2015)

❶ Agricultural group urges support for farmers in Sakout area in Jordan Valley
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers attack Palestinian olive pickers in Hawa

  • Background: “Not Just a Picnic: Settler Colonialism, Mobility, and Identity among Palestinians in Israel.” Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Mar’ee: Israel seized my olive grove in Salfit and built factories
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) US project aims to improve water access for Palestinian farmers
❷ Netanyahu to build bypass roads for 200 million NIS to protect illegal West Bank settlers
❸ POETRY by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ AGRICULTURAL  GROUP  URGES  SUPPORT  FOR  FARMERS  IN  SAKOUT  AREA  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Nov. 7, 2017 ― The Union of Agricultural Work Committee (UAWC) called on Tuesday to support Palestinian farmers in Sakout village in the northern Jordan Valley after settlers had forced a farmer to leave his land and sabotaged a water pipe built to irrigate crops.
___They said in a statement that Israeli settlers protected by the army attacked Zamel Daraghmeh and his family while they were working on their land planting it with vegetables and forced them to leave it.
___The settlers also sabotaged a water pipe they had built to help the area farmers reclaim their land and irrigate their crops.
___UAWC said the Palestinian farmers in Sakout, whom the army had not allowed to reach their land since 1967, were able to win a court order allowing them to work on their land after they proved ownership. The order affected 3500 dunums of land out of a total of 5600 dunums.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  OLIVE  PICKERS  IN  HAWARA  
The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 7, 2017 ― Extremist Israeli settlers have stepped up assaults against Palestinian farmers across Hawara’s olive groves, south of the occupied West Bank province of Nablus.
___Head of the West Bank department at Rabbis for Human Rights, Zakaria Sadah, said dozens of Israeli settlers violently attacked Palestinian farmers on Monday evening while they were picking olives in their groves northwest of Hawara town.
___The Israeli army forced the Palestinians out of their farmlands after they ruled that all olive-picking activities in the area be immediately halted.   MORE . . .

Shihade, Magid.
“NOT JUST A PICNIC: SETTLER COLONIALISM, MOBILITY, AND IDENTITY AMONG PALESTINIANS IN ISRAEL.”
Biography: An Interdisciplinary Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 2, Spring2014, pp. 451-473.
[. . . .] Compounding this situation of estrangement, for the rest of the Arab world leadership, it was as if the Palestinians never existed. Political leadership in the Arab world spoke about Palestine and about liberating Palestine, but never about the Palestinians who remained on the land. In the eyes of the Israeli state they were and remain “present-absent”: physically there, yet legally, and as a national indigenous group, without existence . . . . for the Arab leaders, too, the Palestinians who remained within the Israeli settler colonial state in 1948 did not exist . . . Arab Palestinians behind enemy lines, facing forgetfulness by Arab leadership and a war on existence and memory by the Israeli settler colonial state.
[. . . .] Another shift evident in the village is the contraction of land and resources . . .  space is shrinking due to state policies of land confiscation and encroachment on Arab villages and towns. The past, where homes were more humble but surrounded by large gardens with fruit trees, is almost extinct . . . .  After destroying the Palestinian urban space that existed before 1948, Israel built hundreds of Jewish settlements on land confiscated from Arab villages, limiting further the space for those villages that remained intact after the creation of the state. These villages’ natural space and fields shrank, and the villages became more crowded . . . .
___While resembling ghettos in many western cities, here the village as a whole is constituted as a ghetto, a shanty town to the Jewish cities nearby, which have much more space, superior public services, cleaner streets, gardens, libraries, cinemas, and more state funding. This inverted ghetto, which exists not inside but rather on the outskirts of Jewish towns and cities, divides Palestinian Arab citizens from Jewish Israelis, who come to the village only for cheap labor, cheap products, cheap food, and possibly to feel good that they have some contact with the Palestinian Arabs . . .  FULL ARTICLE . . .

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) MAR’EE:  ISRAEL  SEIZED  MY  OLIVE  GROVE  IN  SALFIT  AND  BUILT  FACTORIES
The Palestinian Information Center  
Nov. 1, 2017 ― With a sigh of sadness, Palestinian farmer Abdullah Mar’ee looked at his annexed plot of land in Farkha village, west of Salfit, which was once an olive grove before Israel took it over along with other vast tracts of Palestinian land and built large factories in their place.
___“We planted olive saplings on 25 dunums of land in Karm Ashour area, west of Salfit, and we were happy with them, especially when we saw them starting to yield olive fruits of the Nabali type, but all of a sudden, the settlement of Ariel encroached on our land,” Abu Mar’ee said.
___“They built a factory for cosmetics, another for sweets and a huge iron plant, and their bulldozers are still embarking on razing more lands belonging to us and others,” he added.   MORE . . .    ..
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) US PROJECT  AIMS  TO  IMPROVE  WATER  ACCESS  FOR  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS 
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)  
By Ahmad Melhem
Oct. 31, 2017 ― The US Consulate in Jerusalem launched a $10 million project on Oct. 15 to support the water sector in the West Bank governorate of Jericho. In attendance during the announcement of the launch was Jason Greenblatt, US President Donald Trump’s special envoy to the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
___The project . . .  (network expansion), which should be ready by early 2018, will connect 70% of the residents of Jericho to the water treatment plant, which, in turn, was funded by the Japanese government in the city and launched by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in June 2014.
___The project will be of great help to the farmers in the city of Jericho and the Jordan Valley, especially palm farmers, as it will increase their irrigation resources, which is the biggest problem plaguing this sector.   MORE . . .
❷ NETANYAHU  TO  BUILD  BYPASS  ROADS  FOR  200  MILLION  NIS  TO  PROTECT  ILLEGAL  WEST  BANK  SETTLERS 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 7, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu pledges to support a plan to build new bypass roads and deploy new measures to “strengthen protection” for the Israeli settlers in the West Bank for 200 million NIS.
___This came after arguments in the Knesset’s Finance Committee meeting in the presence of Netanyahu, who was strongly criticized from families whose sons were killed in the streets of the West Bank.
___They demanded “strengthening their protection by creating bypass roads” away from the centers of Palestinian towns.   MORE . . .

“NAME OF THE SOIL,” BY ZUHAIR ABU SHAIB
what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun, a town near the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awraq.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

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