on monday, the occupier’s forces uprooted another hundred+ trees in al wallaje to make more room for the illegal apartheid wall. on what is suddenly considered the “jerusalem side”, these were pretty much
the last trees standing on its designated route. see pictures on anne’s blog and also check her prior documentation of ongoing annexation of more of the village’s lands.
i meant to write a bit more about this, but i don’t get down to organizing my thoughts. we’ve known for a while that they are building the cruel apartheid wall all around the populated areas of al wallaje, we’ve been at demonstrations, at events, we talk and write and email about this, it’s not new. it’s an ongoing atrocity happening a few minutes away from me, and i rarely have the heart to go see it happening.
when anne told me they had uprooted many trees (and pointed out that there were really few reactions from our side), sure, i felt sad, angry, etc. – the routine mix of feelings around here, but it wasn’t much of a reaction really. only i went back with her the next day (tuesday), only when i saw… i broke down crying. i could have written this any other time they did this in al wallaje, often much more massively, except that those times, i didnt bother to go, i didn’t see. it was just another of those messages to receive, to forward.
knowing about it is one thing, seeing it… one thing that was so painful again is what is one of the most terrible, most cruel aspects of this ongoing ethnic cleansing and colonization of palestine: while we talk, while we resist, while we try to come up with more efficient ways to stop this, the zionist regime continues to create those FACTS on the ground. when they announce they will, it sounds ludicrous, outrageous, there is this strong sense of “but they can’t! this is too much! surely they can’t!” and we resist. but then, they go ahead and suddenly, it’s hard to remember the unthinkable wasn’t there even thinkable before, suddenly, it appears almost irreversible.
when we are in abu dis or in bethlehem, do we really still feel the outrage at the apartheid wall cutting through the community? do we really understand that until this monstrosity came along, our friends and others with “west bank ID” went shopping in al quds and that that was something very ordinary? are we still aware that this disgusting regime and its spreading practices WERE NOT THINKABLE BEFORE THEY HAPPENED?
when i arrived on tuesday in al wallaje, i struggled to wrap my mind around the fact that only a day before, this place had looked so different. it was really difficult to understand that this “road” lying so securely in front of me had not been there for ages. it was there and it hadn’t been there the day before. i broke down crying when i remembered that only in december, we removed the signs that indicated where this monstrous route would run through the village.
i broke down after i asked the 50something land owner, issa, who sat at the spring looking down at the vast and beautiful land sloping down in front of him, whether he had any lands left, and he said “no, it’s finished, we’re saying goodbye now”.
we sat there for a bit and watched as a herd of sheep grazed on the leaves of the branches of his trees that the army had left lying around – most of the actual trees, they had replanted on an adjacent stretch of land on the this side of where they apparently plan (and began to) build the apartheid wall, someone else’s land, presumably to avoid another “graveyard of trees” for journalists to film and photograph. it didn’t matter any more.
issa’s grandson, a child, was cutting off smaller branches and carrying them to a pile on what has suddenly become “this side” in an attempt to save SOMEthing. the story of palestine. the unthinkable happens, and we get used to it.
when i sit at the spring and look over all that beautiful land, i CANNOT imagine that concrete monster that is intended to cut all that beauty off. but i know, one day, i will stand in front of it, and have difficulty remembering that it hadn’t been there, that it is reversible.
i’m off to a demo (another one, elsewhere) now. can’t think of anything else to do. but my heart is hurting.