Morning in Silwan. Israeli bulldozers are at work. Again. The details? Nature and Parks Authority. Land that is both privately owned by Palestinians and part of a National Park. Bulldozers. Probably a hundred heavily armed […]
This morning, I ventured out to the village of al-Mufaqara in the South Hebron Hills. I went with four members of Ta’ayush, an Israeli organization that challenges the Occupation by helping Palestinian farmers access and work their land (they usually go out on Saturdays, so I don’t go with them, but am a big fan of their work and was excited to have this opportunity to go on a non-Shabbat). Our intent was to help the folks in al-Mufaqara fix a dirt road for a few hours, and then to go meet up with a tour in Susiya, right near by, led by the Solidarity Movement. We did both, but were “delayed” for a bit, between steps one and two… (Explanation forthcoming. Below is a picture of a few of the 20 soldiers who came. Backup!!! That is to say: Boredom).
Also with us in al-Mufaqara were a few lovely and friendly Italian volunteers from Operation Dove, a group that does peace and nonviolence work in various locales throughout the world, and in Palestine is based in al-Twane. These activists in particular, and their group in general, struck/strike me as the exact opposite of the sort of international activists I wrote critically of last week, humble, loving, nonviolent, dedicated (one of the volunteers, who told me she plans to stay for two and a half years, inshallah, spoke excellent Arabic). Together with these two, and a maybe twenty young boys from the village, ages 5 through 20something, and a few older men from the village, we began shoveling dirt into buckets and loading the buckets onto a truck. My little writer’s hands started cracking immediately, and I could only laugh at the fact that the seven year-old Palestinians were shoveling much more efficiently than I was. We were there, of course, primarily in solidarity and as a sort of “protection” (if Israelis and internationals are present, chances of violence from settlers or the army are decreased).
Work goes great, as far as work goes, and then, as we are heading to a different part of the village, the kids see soliders, and start chanting:
1, 2, 3, 4
Ockibush No More!
Huh? Laughing, I clap along. And then I get it:
1, 2, 3, 4, Occupation No More had blended, in their minds, with 1, 2, 3, 4 HaKibush (Hebrew for Occupation) No More.
Brilliant. Tamar, another one of the activists there, made a supersharp lingual observation that may translate only mediocre to English: The two words have the same root in Arabic.