VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 8

Burin – Settlers’ violence

We are outside the area just declared closed military zone, looking at the soldiers on the other side of the road, to control that Abu Salem can continue to pick olives from his olive grove.

Suddenly a loud noise comes from behind us. I turn around. I don’t have time to realize that the sound I’ve just heard is a shot, that I start to run following the others. We rush inside the car which starts to speed in the streets of the village of Burin. When it starts to slow down, we jump outside the car which is still with the engine turn on.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 7

Bruqin - Coordination and settlers' violence

It’s the first day of the olive harvest. Farah has waited for this day all year. Throughout the year she tried to remember her olive trees, the smell of the land, the sun that filters through the branches of its ancient and powerful trees at dawn. For a whole year, she hoped that her field would not be vandalized by the settlers of Bruchin, the settlement just outside her land.
They are all at work: her brother, her four children, and her husband. Sometimes Farah looks at the soldiers not so far from them. They are four, with their khaki uniforms and their M-16 held tightly. They are near the jeep, showing no interest in anything that surrounds them. Farah is not quiet. The soldiers are there to protect them from the settlers, in case of need. She knows it. But she is still not quiet. The soldiers are not on their side, they’ve never been.
While she is loading a sack on the truck, she hears voices coming from the settlement, right behind her. Shortly after, four settlers appear. They are young. They get close to the jeep, where the soldiers greet them with big smiles, shaking hands, and hugs. They start to talk altogether and then a soldier nods at Farah and her family, who in the meantime are still working, pretending nothing is happening.

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Letter to (my) Palestine

Two days left, when I will say goodbye to you once again.
I met you for the first time a year ago, and one of those love stories that you see in the movies was born: your fields, your green hills and the smiles of the people who welcomed me here, where I thought that I would have had a three-month experience, but that has become Home.
You were strange, my Palestine, especially in the eyes of those who had never seen you, and never understood your inconsistencies, if not those read in the books.
I saw the wall they had built around you, with strips of sand on its sides to check that no one was approaching it, and barbed wire on its top, and I wondered why the man had decided to separate himself from his fellow men, with that barrier.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 6

Al Hadidiya – Exploitation of water resources in the Jordan Valley

A moving van.
Jerry cans slamming at every dip on the road.
The traditional headdress on the head.
Abu Saqr sets off to supply with water his family and livestock.
First checkpoint.
He stops.
Document check.
He takes off again.
A second, a third checkpoint.
Again.
Soldiers approach him, inspect the vehicle, check the barrels one by one, scrutinize his face.

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VISIT PALESTINE: POSTCARDS FROM OCCUPIED TERRITORIES / 5

Firing zone and military training

Amira opens her eyes. It’s night, but somebody is screaming outside those four walls that she calls home.  It’s a cold night of December, the blankets wrapped her as a bundle, when she sees the front door opening with violence.
Amira knows those faces. She meets them every day, on the road to school, in the nearby valleys, near the outpost which is a few meters from her house. She knows those soldiers who are screaming at her and her sisters, yelling at her mother and grandmother to get up. They are looking for weapons, something they have lost during the day, and now accusing the Palestinians to have hidden in their homes. Behind the soldiers, her father tries to take them away, while her mother is looking for something to cover her head. There, in the room where the women have always slept, Amira was never afraid. Never, before that night.
The soldiers are searching for something. They are looking among the blankets, inside the few furniture, even inside the teapot in which Amira prepares the tea for her grandmother every day.

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