Is one of the properties my (father’s) family owns in Gaza. On this land were thousands of orange, grapefruit, lemon, olive & valencia trees. We’ve owned this land for generations and it has fed and housed generations.
There are pictures of me as an infant playing and sleeping among the trees, covered head to toe in dirt.
It was where we welcomed guests; it was where my cousins and I ate fresh cactus fruit and hid from the adults.
It was there pictured my mother and my father and a newborn infant, still a happy couple.
It will always be there that my favourite picture of my paternal grandfather and I was taken; it’s a black and white photo of him seated shelling peanuts and handing them to a four year old me in bloomers and a sleeveless dress covered in flowers. I was looking at the camera squinting, smiling and waving with a fat hand because my grandfather was spoiling me.
My paternal grandfather commanded respect, not love. As an infant, the barriers paid attention to by adults meant nothing to me, though I would later grow into a teenager who was scared of this man, who held her tongue in his presence and who often wondered why he’d bothered having children.
I have become a woman who understands that the choices we make in this life define who we are, and even though his choices made him a difficult man to love, I hold on to that photo, on that land, in that summer house, and let it guide my heart when I think of this Seedo.
This past weekend, the Israeli Defence Forces went on to our property and uprooted each one of those trees.
They demolished our home.
They have left: Nothing on 100 acres of land.
There is no justification, but there is an explanation: Apart from the psychological warfare in which Israel is engaging against the Palestinians, so too does it every day engage in economic warfare. This instance is one of them. The land was viable. The land was productive and healthy and offered fruit and vegetables to Palestinians. That is reason enough for the State of Israel.
Our property is not unique, we are not to be pitied for this loss as there is nothing ‘special’ about it (only that we’ve managed to escape the bulldozers for so long); our land is one of thousands that has been raised. It will not be mentioned in history aside from a default into the land that was destroyed by the State of Israel.
Only, it is unique to us, my family; it is a part of our history and no matter the size of that tank or the size of that bulldozer, that is one thing that – try as they might – the State of Israel will never occupy or demolish.
“Stop, O people, that I may give you ten rules for your guidance in the battlefield. Do not commit treachery or deviate from the right path. You must not mutilate dead bodies. Neither kill a child, nor a woman, nor an aged man. Bring no harm to the trees, nor burn them with fire, especially those which are fruitful. Slay not any of the enemy’s flock, save for your food. You are likely to pass by people who have devoted their lives to monastic services; leave them alone.”
-Islamic rules for engaging in warfare. (My guess is that the Jewish God agrees…)
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