Saturday, August 30 2014 Wadi Simsim, Tequ’a by David Shulman There is innocence, and there is the smug delusion of innocence. It’s not hard to tell them apart. I saw a lot of both today. Suhail was born in the tents of Wadi Simsim and has lived his whole life here, in the wadi, with the goats and the sheep. This is his world. He knows every rock. He never studied. He speaks only Arabic (the lush, musical dialect of the south). Yet he is a man of the world, and he knows right from wrong. He’s holding in a […]
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Saturday, August 2 2014 Tequ’a and Umm al-Ara’is by David Shulman   Dizzy from the dissonance. In the felafel shop off the main street in Tequ’a, the TV is perched high on the wall in the corner. News from Gaza in Arabic. A mother lies on a hospital cot, her face pocked with a hundred tiny, and some not-so-tiny, red wounds, probably from shrapnel. She cannot speak, keeps fading off into sleep (let us hope it’s not death). Beside her, a two-year-old child is crying, hopeless, holding her hand, looking at her face. The young owner of the shop scoops balls […]
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Saturday, January 18 2014 Umm al-Ara’is, Khushiyya and Twaneh by David Shulman It’s not a good time to walk through the fields. The first, tentative green shoots are pushing up from soft soil irrigated by last month’s fierce snowfall. At Umm al-Khair, the huge field we cleared of rocks and thorns last summer is now a miracle of Irish green, wildly at odds with the browns and purples of the desert. The light is wintry, crisp, more than sufficient to highlight the gap between good and evil.   Still, we find ourselves moving rapidly through fields, stepping as lightly as we can […]
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Saturday, November 16 2013 Umm el ‘Amad, Umm al-Ara’is and Susya by David Shulman By a miracle of sorts, we had a mostly peaceful day in South Hebron today; such an event is so rare that I thought it might be worth mentioning to you. In lieu of a more substantial report, let me just say that Abu Sharif and Fadil plowed three fields, with an iron plow and a donkey, on one end of the wadi at Umm al-’Amad, just under the settlement of Otniel– lands they were denied access to for some 15 years– and there was a slightly higher-tech plowing, with […]
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Monday, July 15 2013 Umm al-Ara’is and Umm al-Khair by David Shulman July 13, 2013    Umm al-Ara’is and Umm al-Khair A man wants to walk on his land. He knows they won’t let him. The soldiers are already there, waiting for him. Still, he wants to walk on his land. Settlers have stolen it, and the soldiers are there for their sake. Still, he needs to go there, it’s his land, it’s like a part of his body. He’s not about to give up. Week after week, on Saturday morning, we follow him to the fields. Today, like every week, there are […]
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Wednesday, July 10 2013 [Watch] The False Arrests – Umm al-Kheir by Amitai Ben-Abba Saturday July 7th, 2013. We’re called urgently to Umm al-Kheir. When we arrive, a woman is shouting and people from the village are running down the hill. Abdallah starts running ahead of me with his big camera. He sprints incredibly quickly for this rough terrain. People and soldiers are scattered chaotically on the hill above the well of the village. A young shepherd of Umm al-Kheir, Sa’id (aliases throughout), is being howled into a military jeep. People gather around the jeep, the women scream to God in over-bearing agony. People […]
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Friday, July 5 2013 Initial Grappling With Weird – Umm al-Ara’is by Amitai Ben-Abba The warrant was issued, we were shooed off the land. I sang an Italian song about the vanishing greens of the countryside as they were pushing us off. Clown self-diffusal mechanism , if anything. We settled, beyond the imaginary white line (every officer sees different colors – in Umm al-’Amad the imaginary colors of separation are yellow). Like every week, the women start making tea. One of them crosses into the closed military zone for a brief second to gather thorns for fire. The Border Police commander says that if […]
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Saturday, June 29 2013 Umm al-’Amad by David Shulman June 29, 2013    Umm al-‘Amad Ahmad likes to sing. Almost from the moment we turn up—around 7 AM, when it’s still deliciously cool with light wind and cloud—he’s been singing happily as he keeps an eye on his goats. Ahmad is something between a boy and a young man. Seems happy. So do the goats, feasting without pause on the varied menu of thorns that this hill offers them. The songs, too, are varied. They include the latest hit in Palestine, the song a young singer from Gaza, Muhammad ‘Assaf, […]
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