Israel’s 60th Birthday

In Diaspora: Travel, Reflections, and a mind on Justice. by Dave
September 3, 2009, 12:29 pm
Filed under: 1948, Israel, Palestine | Tags: , , ,

In Diaspora is a touching account of the return home to Palestine of a Palestinian-America woman.  As a sample of her work I’ve included her post on her visit to her grandparents village, Umm el Zeinat, from which her family was uprooted in 1948.

As planned, yesterday we returned to my ancestral village, Umm el Zeinat, near Daliyat al Karmel, on Mount Karmel, in Haifa.  Of course when I say “return” this is much greater than my brother and me.  This return is about my family, about an oppression that they, along with all the people of Umm el Zeinat and the people of the other 500 destroyed villages of Palestine had to endure.  What we undertook is the greatest act of resistance against the Zionist movement.  Three generations later we remember, and though not under our own conditions, we return to a village from which they hoped to erase our traces.

On our way into the village we met a man and his wife, picking cactus fruit with their four children.  My uncle pulled over to ask then how well they knew the village.  As it turns out they are from the Fahmawi family of Umm el Zeinat.  We told them we were returning and they offered to guide us through the village.  Of course all that is left of the village is rubble from demolished homes, overgrown shrubbery, and trees– both indigenous and those planted by the state in an attempt to make it seem as though no one ever lived there.

I discovered that the state of Israel grants permission to Jewish families every year to enter my village and harvest the olives.  The family that guided us through the village still lives off of the good of our land, however.  They have been trimming the fruit trees for years and eating pomagranates, cactus fruit, and they sneek around at night to harvest the olives, which they press for oil and pickle to eat.  They cannot harvest the olives in the day because it is illegal– the State sanctions the harvest for Jews only.  I was so happy to meet this couple and their kids, knowing that our people are still taking care of the land.  We picked and ate pomegranates, they gave us a bucket full of cactus fruit that they cleaned out, we drank well water from the only remaining working well in the village, we visited the grave yard where I read the fatiha for my great grandparents, and we explored some caves where its assumed that the fighters used to hide and store their weapons in 1936 and 1948.

Continue Reading…


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