Palestine Voice: Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

palestinefoundation

The first magazine by UK based non-profit, Palestine Community Foundation.

PALESTINE VOICE

ISSUE 1 WINTER 2018/19

IN THIS ISSUE: Projects - Reviews - News - Fun


INTRODUCTION

DEAR READER,

Growing up as a British Palestinian my

upbringing and adaptation to British

society was at one point easy but became

more difficult as I matured. I often found

myself torn between my identity and my

environment and this internal conflict

got worse as I became more exposed

and aware as to what it means to be a

Palestinian living in diaspora.

Preserving a Palestinian identity was extremely

important for my parents. My siblings and I

attended Arabic school every Sunday, we had

playdates with other Palestinian families, we

travelled to the Gaza Strip every summer and

attended summer camps and dabke workshops.

When the situation in Gaza became worse and

the borders closed, we travelled to the West Bank

for the summer and attended a summer camp in

Ramallah. My father taught me Palestinian poetry

and had me recite these poems on stage and

teach dabke to children raised in London.

A few years ago, I planned to travel to Palestine’s

West Bank in my final year of university.

Unfortunately, I didn’t make it to Palestine as I was

detained and denied entry. Since then I have felt an

emptiness that I will live with forever. It was at this

point that I began to think of a need for a “home”

for Palestinians in the UK since it is difficult for us

to travel back home. I began to think of a need for

a safe space for like-minded people, Palestinians

and non-Palestinians alike. A need to educate

future generations to come. A need to celebrate

the culture of Palestine. A need for a community. A

need to raise the voice of Palestine.

We are extremely excited to announce the launch of

the Palestine Community Foundation (PCF) through

our first edition of Palestine Voice.

RAZAN SHAMALLAKH

Programme Director

Palestine Community Foundation

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


CONTENTS

FIND IN THIS ISSUE

4-5

PCF Aims and Objectives

PROJECTS

6

7

8-9

10

11

12-13

14-15

DARDASHA: VIRTUAL LANGUAGE CLASSES

JUST CYCLE

PHOTOGRAPHERS OF PALESTINE

BETHLEHEM LINK

TATREEZ

STUDENT ADVOCATES FOR PALESTINE (SAP)

UK-ISRAEL ARMS TRADE FACT SHEET (PULL OUT!)

8-9

PHOTOGRAPHERS

OF PALESTINE

NEWS, REVIEWS AND VIEWS FROM PALESTINE

16

17

18

19

20

21

22-23

FUN

24

25

26

27

LEEDS BDS VICTORY by Omar Aziz

GHOST HUNTING AT LONDON PALESTINE FILM FESTIVAL

by Natasha Regan

TALES OF ELIA: PALESTINE’S FIRST GRAPHIC NOVEL

LETTERS FROM PALESTINE: NADIA WRITES

CHRISTMAS IN PALESTINE

A REVIEW OF LARISSA SANSOUR’S NATION ESTATE

by Al John

A WEAPONISATION OF TIME [LONG READ] by Omar Aziz

12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS: PALESTINE EDITION

CROSSWORD

COLOURING IN. USED WITH THANKS FROM THE

FRIENDS OF AL AQSA PALESTINE COLOURING BOOK

GET INVOLVED

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TATREEZ

22-23

A WEAPONISATION

OF TIME

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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Who are PCF and what are our aims?

WE ARE PALESTINE COMMUNITY FOUNDATION (PCF),

a not-for-profit organisation aiming to become the

point of entry for everything relating to Palestine

in the UK. We are a space for Palestinians and

non-Palestinians alike to unite and build a sense

of community, whilst discovering and sharing

the cultural, political and social life of Palestine.

We aim to stand out by first and foremost, building a community. We want to bring people in the UK from all

walks of life together under the Palestinian flag. This is regardless of nationality, ethnicity, religion, culture

or gender; whether you’re a well-versed activist or an individual just wishing to find out more.

PCF hopes to become an information hub for people who wish to work together to promote the human

rights of the Palestinian people. We will promote knowledge and awareness of Palestine, from information

on human rights violations to the steps of traditional dabke dances.

PCF Aims and Objectives:

• Raising awareness of the Palestinian issue and

highlighting human rights abuses

• Acting as a point of contact and facilitator

regarding all Palestinian related activities

• Educating people on the Palestinian issue

through lectures, workshops and publications

• Promoting Palestinian culture through sharing

music, art and food

• Campaigning for the right of self-determination

and right of return of the Palestinian People

• Mobilising international condemnation of the

Israeli occupation through BDS

• Enhancing the Palestinian community in the UK

and strengthening relationships among each

other and those living in diaspora

• Empowering and supporting livelihoods of

Palestinians in Palestine and across the diaspora

through our initiatives which highlight their skills

such as photography, embroidery and Arabic

• Effectively coordinating and collaborating with

national and international organisations to

achieve these aims and objectives

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


WHAT WILL WE DO?

We have been extremely busy working on several exciting projects which you will

learn more about throughout this magazine:

DARDASHA

Teaming up Arabic

speakers with learners

all over the world for

Skype language lessons

JUST CYCLE

Promoting Palestine through

the cycling community, through

educational cycling visits around

Palestine and advocacy days of

action in Europe

BEHIND THE LENS

Promoting Palestinian

photographers from all over

the world by showcasing

their work

BETHLEHEM LINK

A cultural exchange

bringing talented teenage

Dabke dancers from

Bethlehem to the UK

TATREEZ

The PCF shop which promotes

authentic embroidered products

made by women in Palestine

and across the diaspora

STUDENT ADVOCATES

FOR PALESTINE (SAP)

Support for university

societies promoting the

Palestinian cause

across the UK

We also create fact sheets and resources, available on our website, and will hold several exciting

events in 2019. If you’re interested in staying up to date, please sign up to our email mailing list from

our website and keep an eye on our website and social media for announcements.

0300 777 1 777

palestinefoundation.org.uk

facebook.com/palestinefoundationuk

@PalCommunityUK

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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Speak Arabic! Learn with Palestinians,

Dardasha! (Arabic): Chat (English - noun)

potential of their children in a rapidly changing

and ever more competitive world.

D espite the fragmented nature of the diaspora

whereby Palestinians may be far removed from

their loved ones and homeland due to forces beyond

their individual control, they remain connected in

their history, struggle and rich cultural heritage.

Underpinning all of these is the Arabic language which

unites the people to their culture and the individual to

the collective.

As with all languages, Arabic is shaped by its speakers

as much as it creates the boundaries of individual

expression. So, in order to engage with an individual,

or truly understand their culture, engaging with the

language is the first step towards achieving both.

Despite being affected by huge barriers to accessing

education, Palestinians in the occupied territories

remain some of the most literate people in the world,

partly due to UNRWA schools. Palestinian families are

right to recognise the power of education which they

traditionally nurture in their children, recognising its

necessity to understand, articulate and overcome their

own oppression. But also simply to unlock the full

Not only is Arabic spoken by 1 billion people

globally and is an official UN language, it also

holds the secrets of two millennia’s worth of

collective history, and learning it unlocks the door

to the unimaginable wealth this may provide.

From appreciating the true word of the Qur’an, to

reading the original script, as intended, of poets,

writers, philosophers and scientists responsible

for shaping much of the modern world as we

know it today, Arabic creates new opportunities

for personal growth as well as granting access to

a global community of speakers.

Through Dardasha, a colloquial expression in

Arabic for informal ‘chat’, we want to team up

Arabic speakers to those seeking to learn, practice

and enjoy speaking the language. Connecting

safety checked and quality-controlled language

teachers to avid learners, enabling you to take oneon-one

language lessons over your screen at your

convenience. Whether it’s a session on your phone

during your lunch break or at home from the sofa

on a Sunday evening, times can be tailored to suit

the needs of both students and teachers.

You may wish to begin by picking up everyday

Arabic phrases or you may be looking to simply

perfect your pronunciation, whatever personal

aims you’ll also have the opportunity to build

a friendly relationship and enjoy a cultural

exchange across the screen. At the same time,

know that in a challenging economy, you are

enabling somebody to improve their livelihood

in chime with the opportunities of today’s

technological world.

Sign up as a prospective teacher at: palestinefoundation.org.uk/project/dardasha/

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


JUST CYCLE IN PALESTINE!

CYCLE FOR JUSTICE - APRIL 2019

AN EXCEPTIONAL OPPORTUNITY TO SEE THE SIGHTS,

LEARN THE HISTORY, MEET THE PEOPLE, AND

DISCOVER THE TRUTH ABOUT PALESTINE - – –

• A unique 10-day cycling trip through some of the

most spectacular places on earth - visit Nazareth,

Haifa, Jenin, Al-Fara, Nablus, Ramallah,

Bethlehem, Jericho, Al-Khalil and Jerusalem

• Ride through towns and villages and meet with

groups and communities to learn about the

realities of life in Palestine

• Show solidarity with the Palestinian people living

under occupation and call for justice as the only

path to peace.

The ride really did make a difference to the

people we met and to each other –

I will never forget it!

Just Cycle is open to any age or ability, all backgrounds

and cultures, email for an information pack –

info@palestinefoundation.org.uk or visit our website

for more information www.palestinefoundation.org.uk

ONE DAY FOR PALESTINE!

EUROPEAN DAY OF ACTION - SEPTEMBER 2019

WE INVITE PEOPLE FROM EVERY COUNTRY IN

EUROPE TO COME TOGETHER AND JOIN A DAY OF

ACTION CALLING FOR JUSTICE FOR PALESTINE - –

• A cycle ride… through Brussels, ending at the European Parliament

• A rally… outside the European Parliament, with voices from Palestine

• A festival… to celebrate Palestinian culture, with music, dance,

food & crafts

CALLING FOR COUNTRY CO-ORDINATORS

Can you help promote this event in your country or region

and organise people to come to Brussels to take part? If

you would like to join our team of co-ordinators please

contact us at info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

Date of event to be confirmed – full details will be on the

PCF website soon - www.palestinefoundation.org.uk

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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Photographers of Palestine

IMAD HUSSEIN

Imad Hussein is a medical doctor who works in

Ramallah. He is interested in studying plants and the

surrounding environment, looking at their medicinal

properties and ethnobotanical side of them.

MARIAM ABU DAGGA

Mariam Riad Abu Daqqa

is a press photographer

from the Gaza Strip.

HOW IT WORKS

We create profiles of photographers showcasing their pictures on our

website, along with their chosen contact information.

This enables anybody interested in

using the imagery to get in touch with the photographer directly,

supporting Palestinian photographers who are doing the — often very

dangerous — work on the ground of documenting life in Palestine.

AHMED SHAMALLAKH

is a dentist based in the Gaza strip. He picked up the camera a few

years ago and revealed a hidden talent for photography.

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


Promoting talented photographers from

Palestine and across the diaspora

SANAD ABU LATIFA

is a 22 year old freelance

journalist from Gaza

City. “My favourite

photography is the

depiction of human

stories, human images

and the portrayal of

wars and hot events in

Palestine. My wish is to

travel outside Palestine

to search for new

humanitarian stories all

over the world.”

NAYEF HAMMOURI

Nayef is a

Palestinian from

Hebron living in

Ramallah. He

works in Digital

Marketing & Social

Media, with skills

in photography,

graphic design and

video production.

RAED ABUQHAZALEH

is a photographer from

Ramallah, Palestine.

His photographs are

inspired by natural

and urban elements

of his environment. He

currently resides with

his family in Indiana,

United States.

Know a talented Palestinian photographer? Ask them to get in touch to be

featured on our website and future magazines! info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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Bethlehem Link

Nina Beaven talks us through the history

of Bethlehem Link, a project being revived

by Palestine Community Foundation with

an exchange visit planned for July 2019.

It was with a great sense of gratitude and pride that

I heard that Rajab Shamallakh wanted to resurrect

Bethlehem Link, a cultural exchange programme

between the Hakaya dancers in Bethlehem’s Ghirass

Centre and schools in the UK, which closed when I

became ill a few years ago.

The charity was set up in 1997 following a trip to the

West Bank. On my return I established a link between

the centre and Saint Gregory’s Catholic College in Bath.

I then heard that Hakaya had been invited to perform at

Westminster Abbey. Knowing that many of the children

were living in refugee camps with no hope of affording

airfares to England, I decided to try to raise the money

for them and, with the help of a friend, brought the first

group over in 1998.

In 2003 the charity was registered officially with the Charity

Commission and Rajab Shamallakh became one of the

patrons. With his valuable advice and support the profile

of the charity was raised considerably over the years.

The children always wanted a trip to London during

their stay, and it was then that Palestinian hospitality as

demonstrated by Rajab and his wife Manal, really came

to the fore, when they would host the whole group in their

house, with Manal preparing breakfast in the mornings

for 30 people! I came to appreciate then the sincerity and

generosity of our patron in his work for Palestinians.

The dancers, backed by singers, perform dabke, the

traditional Arab dance performed at weddings and

celebrations. They perform to a very high standard, which

presents a positive image of Palestine, undermining the

negative stereotypes shown in the media. During one

of the stays at Rajab’s house, the children were relaxing

after one of the performances with a drumming session.

It was so good that the drumming is now included with

the main dance performance.

Over the years, as well as in schools and local venues,

Hakaya has performed at Westminster Abbey; The

Rise Festival, London; Bloomsbury Theatre, London;

The Millennium Dome, Cardiff; Wiltshire Music Centre,

Bradford-on-Avon and The Curve Theatre, Leicester.

Links were also made with twenty schools.

As well as dance workshops at the schools, the visits

were an opportunity to link through subjects such as art,

literature, embroidery, science, film and relevant curricular

subjects. To help us with fundraising, the Palestinian

children produced artwork for Christmas cards (some on

sale now) and calendars, and exhibitions of their work

were held in London and the Guildhall in Bath.

The organisation is non-political and has no religious

affiliation. It merely provides the opportunity for young

people to meet those from a different culture, to enable

them to form their own opinions and explore their

shared humanity. It presents a positive view of both

our cultures, which have expected differences, but

also surprising similarities. Some of the friendships

established years ago are still maintained, and with the

support of Rajab and his family, I hope that Bethlehem

Link will succeed in establishing many more.

Interested in hosting the Hakaya dancers

at your school or home? Please email

info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


PCF Shop - Tatreez

Our shop is named after the Arabic

word for embroidery, Tatreez,

a craft woven deep into

Palestinian culture.

For centuries, Palestinian women have

traditionally got together to embroider fabulous

clothing and art using this technique passed

down in succession from mother to daughter.

The pieces have typically reflected the beauty of

rural Palestinian lifestyle, with patterns inspired

by ancient mythology and the natural landscape.

Whilst the intricate patterns and designs are

often complex works of art in themselves

illuminating the culture from the millennia-old

lands of Palestine, Palestinian women have

also historically used this means of creative

expression to display their individual abilities and

document their own thoughts and feelings. Since

1948 Palestinian women have communicated

their personal protest to violence and foreign

occupation through this medium, adding another

dimension to the importance of the craft.

Nowadays Tatreez is an important symbol of

Palestinian culture, with its signature cross-stitch

embroidered pieces found across the Palestinian

diaspora, from the dresses and authentic costume

found in many wardrobes, to lining the walls of

family homes.

Inspired by the tradition of Tatreez, through our

shop of the same name, we seek to empower

Palestinians, particularly women, by promoting their

stories and works and encouraging our supporters

to invest in their livelihoods and families.

We are in talks with individual women in Palestine and across

the diaspora who make beautiful embroidered products

including pillowcases, purses, bookmarks and Christmas

decorations which will all be available to order through our

website. In buying these women’s labours of love, you can

help them support their families and livelihoods.

Please visit palestinefoundation.org.uk/project/tatreez

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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STUDENT ADVOCATES FOR PALESTINE (SAP)

CALLING ALL STUDENT GROUPS, WE ARE HERE TO HELP!

The Palestinian cause has a long and proud history

of international student solidarity, and often student

groups push the boundaries for imaginative and creative

campaigning. Student societies are a key pillar of

the Palestinian community in the UK, working on the

frontline confronting new challenges in the fight to defend

Palestinians around the world and foster international

solidarity. But for what they have in energy, enthusiasm

and innovation, student groups often lack in resources,

time and funding. This is where PCF can step in.

We are here to offer societies support where they see

fit. We have no interest in telling them how to operate

or what to do, only to offer our resources and ideas

to support theirs. Student Palestine groups across

the UK vary substantially in size, resources and

ambition, and so we want to tailor our help to what

best suits each society.

Are you an individual who wants support setting

up a society? A member of a modest group which

requires information resource packs and support

setting up events? Or perhaps the chair of a wellestablished

society who simply wants funding

towards an upcoming event? It’s up to you and we

are here to help.

Head over to palestinefoundation.org.uk/project/student-advocates-palestine to find the application form for funding

assistance, or contact our Programme Officer Omar Aziz omar@palestinefoundation.org.uk for an SAP starter pack.

SAP ambitions

and assistance

There are currently active Palestine-focused societies across 49 UK universities. This is a

wonderful figure but with just over 100 universities in the UK, we want to see one at every UK

institution. Organisation and coordination are crucial attributes for any effective campaigning.

We want to connect societies across the UK in person, online and in their endeavours.

OUR ASSISTANCE WILL INCLUDE THE FOLLOWING:

• z Tailored assistance to your society

• z Funding for your events and campaigns

• z Ideas for potential events and campaigns,

as showcased by other societies in the UK

and internationally

• z Advice and contacts for speakers at your events

• z Resources: leaflets, factsheets, posters, stickers,

bookmarks etc. to assist your efforts

• z Invitation to an online forum where student groups

in the UK may collaborate by sharing ideas,

coordinating efforts and overcoming obstacles

• z A calendar of events and campaigns for everything

Palestine related across the UK

• z Assistance promoting your campaign stories and

successes in local and national press

• z SAP twinning – coupling up established societies

with developing groups to facilitate learning,

coordination and expansion

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


UNIVERSITY OF CENTRAL LANCASHIRE

FRIENDS OF PALESTINE SOCIETY

Our first collaboration has been with UCLan’s Friends of Palestine Society (FPS).

UCLan marked the UN’s International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People

with a powerful piece of political theatre at their campus, in association with PCF.

On the 29th November 2018, UCLan FPS captivated students with an

imaginative piece of dramatic protest inspired by Geneva University’s

own display from May 2018. Paper aeroplanes rained down on

students dressed in Palestinian costume as they marched towards

freedom, symbolising the barrage of projectiles which have struck

down Palestinians in Gaza this year.

As the student line progressed in time to Palestinian music, adorned

in keffiyeh, a crowd of students gathered to watch the performance

unfold. Slowly, one by one, the students fell to the ground, dead, until

none remained standing.

Imitating the murder of Palestinians in the Great Return March

which started on the 30th March 2018 where over 4000 Gazans have

been struck by live ammunition, killing over 180 including 23 children,

this act of creative symbolism emotively displayed the blatant

injustice inflicted by Israeli forces on Gaza this year. However,

it also illuminates the broader story of Israeli oppression of

Palestinians more generally throughout the Occupied

Territories; indiscriminate, inhumane and unjust.

The Chair of UCLan Friends of Palestine Society,

Sarah Ahmed, described the event as:

A powerful symbolic gesture to the Palestinian

people demonstrating our solidarity, made possible

with the round-the-clock support and resources

supplied from Palestine Community Foundation

During the display leaflets were handed out to the intrigued audience,

connecting the symbolism of the performance to the situation of

Palestinians in Gaza and the Occupied Territories, calling

for ‘Apartheid Off Campus’.

UCLan have proven the power of creative resistance, successfully

drawing wide attention to the plight of Palestinians through their

performance as well as the need for students to unite in ending their

own universities’ complicity in the oppression of Palestinians.

Well done UCLan Friends of Palestine Society!

UNIVERSITIES

WITH ACTIVE

PALESTINE

SOCIETIES

Aston University

University of Bristol

Brunel University

University of Cambridge

City University London

University of Central Lancashire

Coventry University

University of Dundee

Durham University

University of East Anglia

Goldsmiths, University of London

University of Essex

Imperial College London

University of Exeter

Keele University

University of Glasgow

Kings College London

University of Hull

Lancaster University

University of Kent

London School of Economics

University of Leeds

Manchester Metropolitan University

University of Leicester

Newcastle University

University of Manchester

Northumbria University

University of Nottingham

Oxford Brookes University

University of Oxford

Queen Mary London

University of Portsmouth

Queen’s University Belfast

University of Sheffield

School of Oriental and African Studies

University of Strathclyde

Sheffield Hallam University

University of Sussex

St George’s University of London

University of Warwick

University College London

University of West England, Bristol

University of Aberdeen

University of Westminster

University of Birmingham

University of Wolverhampton

University of Brighton

University of York

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


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CONGRATULATIONS -

University of Leeds

Divestment Success!

University of Leeds has confirmed its divestment

from three companies complicit in the oppression

of Palestinians through their manufacturing of

military equipment sold to Israel.

University of Leeds Palestine Solidarity Group (PSG) called for

an immediate withdrawal of all funds in an open letter from

companies which supply aeronautical equipment, jet engines

and other military components to the State of Israel and the

Israeli Defence Force, citing the University’s own Ethical

Investment Policy.

Whilst the open letter called for an immediate withdrawal of

funds and had gathered 469 signatures by 1st November, a

University spokesperson has since claimed it had withdrawn

funding on the 15th October for reasons other than BDS.

It is claimed the companies in question, Airbus, Keyence

Corporation and United Technologies, all fall outside of the

University’s new climate active strategy, and so were no

longer viable sources for investment.

Leeds PSG have responded to this claim stating their

campaign has been active for over a year, that none of the

three companies are targets in the Fossil Free Campaign

and that the most recent University portfolio still contains

investments of over £3.5m in Shell and BP.

Leeds People and Planet Society have said, ‘The fact that the

University is using our campaign to erase the efforts of Leeds

PSG, whilst still investing millions in fossil fuel companies, is

hypocritical and offensive’.

HSBC holds over £800m in companies

proven to contribute to Israel’s

military assault on Palestinians

The University of Leeds is yet to divest from HSBC in which

it holds £1.3m of shares, but PSG have stated via their

Facebook page they ‘will still campaign until the University

divests from HSBC and adopts a screening policy to assure

us that they will never invest in a complicit company again’.

HSBC holds over £800m in companies proven to contribute to

Israel’s military assault on Palestinians. This includes £3.6m

worth of shares in Elbit Systems which produces drones like

the ones used to bomb Gaza in 2014 when 2252 Palestinians

were killed, including 551 children.

Whilst Leeds’ BDS pressure has seen a commendable

outcome, it also draws attention to the relationship between

environmental and human rights activism and opens

up potential avenues for further collaboration. It is not a

coincidence that companies which consistently enable

the violation of Palestinians’ basic human rights by Israeli

military occupation and assault often also contribute

disproportionately towards accelerating climate breakdown.

Leeds’ success shows cooperation between human rights

and environmental campaigning is a powerful alliance in

the larger fight against corporate power and they need not

be mutually exclusive endeavours. Where transnational

corporations show disregard for their involvement in human

rights abuses and their contribution to climate breakdown

whilst pocketing lucrative profits, our resistance is strongest

in solidarity.

Where multinationals act with impunity, Leeds PSG have

shown we can encourage our institutions to invest more

responsibly with the power of collective action and drawing

public attention. Whilst the official statement of Leeds

University’s divestment announcement does not directly

cite BDS for inspiring its actions, Leeds’ PSG have clearly

been successful in scrutinising their University’s investment

portfolio, drawing attention to it and demanding divestment.

Congratulations to University of Leeds Palestine Solidarity

Group, and good luck to other organisations challenging

their own institution’s investment portfolios in the fight

against enabling Israel’s oppression of Palestinians and for

a just and sustainable future.

OMAR AZIZ

(Facebook 2018)

Cooperation between human rights

and environmental campaigning is a

powerful alliance in the larger fight

against corporate power

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PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


Palestinian prisoners re-enact trauma

in FIlm Ghost Hunting

After a two year break, the London Palestine Film Festival returned

in November with a packed ten day programme across the city.

The festival opened on Friday 16

November at The Barbican with

a screening of Ghost Hunting

followed by a Q&A with the film’s

critically acclaimed director Raed

Andoni. The film picked up the

main documentary prize at The

Berlin International Film Festival

and was Palestine’s entry for Best

Foreign Language Oscar at the

2018 Academy Awards.

The real life stories carried

more weight and emotion

than fiction every could

Ghost Hunting may well raise

a few eyebrows for its ethically

ambiguous premise. A group

of former Palestinian prisoners

reconstruct an Israeli interrogation

and detention centre in a

warehouse in Ramallah, primarily

based upon Jerusalem’s notorious

al-Moskobiya.

The participants, who all willingly

volunteered for the process,

play out their experiences

from prison, in turn playing

interrogator and prisoner during

scenes depicting verbal, physical

and sexual abuse, all based on

their actual experiences from

time in Israeli jails. In fact, having

originally scripted the film,

Andoni scrapped this on the first

day of filming, realising the real

life stories carried more weight

and emotion than fiction ever

could.

Andoni explained how during

filming he would outline a scenario

and then ask for volunteers to play

it. When stepping into the role of

interrogator, the men unleashed

the pain and trauma that had once

been inflicted on them back onto

the prisoners, often using verbatim

lines they recalled being said

to them. The result is incredibly

raw and powerful, with the men

at once both captor and captive.

Two psychologists were employed

as part of the crew to ensure

no further harm was caused to

participants’ mental health and

the men knew they could leave

the process at any time. But even

within the realms of this relatively

safe and controlled environment,

this is a highly disturbing and

unsettling watch.

As director, Andoni was as much a

part of this process as the others,

having too shared the experience

of incarceration as a teenager.

With one in four Palestinians

having passed through Israeli

detention centres, Andoni

remarked how this is simply

part of the collective Palestinian

experience. He recalled

sitting in the cell and weeping

uncontrollably when making this

film. He believes it is because

he shares in this collective

experience that the film works

as well as it does and the men

were able to reach the depths of

emotion they do. The men trusted

him, he said, and even allowed

him to be violent with them.

Andoni is not suggesting that

in re-enacting their trauma, the

former prisoners will somehow

exorcise and be freed from their

demons. “The only solution to

trauma is to accept that your

ghosts will follow you and

become part of your life,” he said,

sardonically referring to his own

sat beside him on the stage.

Your ghosts will follow you

and become part of your life

But the film suggests some

catharsis is achieved by at least

acknowledging the demons are

there. It suggests some strength

may be drawn in collectively

expressing the things they have

been through. Andoni shared

how after the film’s screening

in Ramallah, a large audience

made up mostly of former

prisoners stayed behind for over

two hours sharing their prison

stories with one another. There is

often a glorification of prisoners

in Palestine and Andoni spoke

of clichéd language we have

become used to using around the

subject. One audience member

expressed hope the film would

serve as a springboard for talking

about Palestinian prisoners’

mental health, and the mental

health of Palestinians in general.

Despite the fact that an

estimated 10,000 Palestinian

women have been arrested

and/or detained over the

last 50 years (Addameer),

Ghost Hunting deals almost

exclusively with the experience

of the Palestinian male prisoner.

Though the film fell short of

much acknowledgement of the

female prisoner’s experience,

it was not a total erasure as

towards the end a young woman

visited the set and shared with

the attentively listening group

her own recollections from six

months in an Israeli detention

centre, in a cell she described

as even smaller than any in this

recreation.

They’re damaged characters,

but they’re not broken.

Ghost Hunting does not serve

as an informative documentary

about Palestinian prisoners. It is a

raw experiment: confrontational,

upsetting and at times tittering on

the edge of acceptability.

The group went through different

motions during the experiment,

which Andoni described as

revealing layers. By the end, they

were sat together joyfully talking

about their loved ones. “All the

love came in the end. It became

beautiful. I didn’t want the film to

finish. I would have loved to stay

another two months because it

became an amazing place where

we were sharing stories about

fiancées, wives, their love stories,

their kids,” described Andoni.

Azza el-Hassan, who chaired the

conversation, expressed perfectly,

“You get the feeling that they’re

damaged characters, but they’re

not broken.”

NATASHA REGAN

Natasha works in Media and

Communications for Palestine

Community Foundation. She

holds a Social Anthropology

degree from The University of

Manchester and joins us after

living in Ramallah working as a

reporter for Palestine Monitor.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

17


The Tales of Elia:

SupportING Palestine’s FIrst comic novel!

These tales happened somewhere under the Sun

of Elia, the ancient soul and protector of the city of her

namesake. They were written in the first language,

the mother of all sounds and silence, at a time when

people whispered to the wind, smiled to the sun,

caressed the rain in gentle touch, and embraced the

earth essence. This language has roots in all tongues

that succeeded, so the meaning it conveys shall always

reach the pure souls. Elia or Ilia was one of her many

names, along with Salem, Jerusalem and Quds...

Tales of Elia is Palestine’s first comic novel, created by team Comic Palestine and supported and sponsored by PCF.

They are a group of four writers, designers and artists, aged 25 to 30, living in Ramallah and Jerusalem. The team

grew up reading stories about heroes and now seek to use this cherished format to communicate Palestinian identity

and ideals to a young generation across the world. They have been working passionately on Elia for four years. The

world they’ve created is based on different myths from around the world, but draws deeply upon Palestinian culture.

IN A PALESTINE VOICE EXCLUSIVE, WE SPOKE TO

TEAM COMIC PALESTINE ABOUT THE PROJECT.

WESAM ALQARAJA Founder, Writer

SULTAN NABIL Designer

BISAN SAMAMREH Co-Writer

MUJAHED DAMIRI Comic Artist

WHAT WAS YOUR INSPIRATION FOR

THE COMIC?

We have been inspired by

multiple stories and tales, from

our childhood and the popular

animation, manga, comic books,

fantasy books, global and

Palestinian myths and culture,

history, literature.

HOW DO YOU WANT YOUR READERS

TO FEEL WHEN READING THE

TALES OF ELIA?

We want our readers to feel that

imagination has no limits and

neither do humans.

WHY DOES PALESTINE LEND

ITSELF TO A COMIC BOOK STORY/

FORMAT?

The history and tales in this territory

are incredibly extensive, full of

adventures, beauty and sorrow,

representing them in a comic book

format is an engaging, pioneering

initiative to portray with pictures,

colours and a touch of fantasy.

WHAT HAVE BEEN THE

CHALLENGES?

Being an unprecedented initiative

in Palestine, the challenges have

been several. Finding the right type

of comic design to represent the

story that readers can relate to was

essential, thus we decided that mixing

the Japanese manga style with

western style was the best option. In

addition, the complexity of the story

fabric and balancing visuals with

script was also a challenge we had to

overcome. And finally, finding trusting

publishing and distributing partners

that will join us in this venture.

WHERE WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE

THE COMIC GOING IN THE FUTURE?

We would like for readers to immerse

themselves in the story, being

transported to Palestine and awake

their curiosity about this land's history

and people. Furthermore, we want to

keep developing the project to have

educational comics, and maybe in the

future animated series or movies.

18

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


Letters from Palestine

Nadia from the Ghirass Cultural Center

DEAR READER, Hoping you are all fine? I am fine,

but I need someone to listen to me and I need

someone to share me my feelings. Will you?

Sometimes I ask myself why am I a Palestinian girl… Why am I not English or American or Australian. The youth

in that country do whatever they want, go wherever they want without thinking or being afraid from anyone to ask

them about their identity card or permission to pass. They think about their future dreaming to study at the

university and to become whatever they want without anything which forces them to do what they don’t want to do.

Then I said, ‘Foolish Nadia!’ You are not like them. They live in independent countries. Their future and dreams

are not limited. They can go to anywhere they want from city to city. If they want to travel anywhere they have

airports and passport in which all the countries all around the world. They have water every day - they have

chances. Moreover, they have governments and soldiers with weapons to protect them. They live in peace. That is

peace, isn’t it?!! If you know, tell me... Please tell me if that is peace. I think your answer is ‘yes’. Am I

right?! Yes, I am. Please tell me is anybody in England, whose age is the same as mine, afraid when they travel

from Bath to London, or must they need permission to visit their country’s capital?

Let me ask you another question. Does any English youth person suffer from water being cut off? Or do they suffer

from being under bombardment by tanks and airplanes? Or do they suffer from losing their dad or friend when they

are on their way to school, or their uncle because he is a patriot? Your answer is no!

Again, to my thoughts... I hope that you are not bored with this letter. Okay, now let me tell you about a new

type of peace. I think you know much about it. Moreover, the everyday suffering Palestinian fathers endure from

having no jobs and no work means they can not bring food for their children and they must pay taxes and taxes for

the Israelis. Furthermore, every day new pieces of land are taken by the settlers and new settlements are being

built, from 1992 till now, nothing new, the same situation. Also many people, Palestinians, were killed like the

man in Bethlehem near Rachel’s Tomb. The Israeli soldiers who were making a little camp to protect this tomb from

us, they are afraid because of our stones when they have tanks and missiles. They killed that

man when he was passing from that road, which is a Palestinian main road, while he put his hand in his pocket.

They said that he was going to take out his gun to kill them. They are sitting in a tower and he is walking in

the road. But really he was looking for his cigarettes.

This is peace! Yes, don’t say it. This is real peace in which we must live for good. What nice peace! Sorry for

saying this, but even a dog will not like to live under this situation. After all, what can I do! Must I love the

Israelis? The whole world said after all this, Palestinian people are terrorists. Why?! They want from us to just

watch! To see ourselves killed by our enemy and to say for them, thank you for killing my father, my brother, my

friend. Thank you because you are putting my neighbour in prison. Thank you because you steal my land, for making

me a refugee living in a camp, for not letting me go to Jerusalem and Jaffa, Haifa.... and more...

The thing which makes me mad is that everything which the Israelis did and do and is doing to us, they are not

blamed or judged by the whole world... But how come this happens? I am sorry to say that, please forgive me,

world. How will Israelis be blamed or judged... all the rights are with them. They are the stronger and in this

unfair life the strong has all the rights. They are America and America is them. Can anyone say no for America

they are the strongest ... America means the U.N. if the other countries try to help us, just VETO from USA will

stop everything.

Believe me, we don’t want any help from the world. I want from them just to know the truth, only the truth. We

do not need any help. Food - we can eat anything, we never mind - weapons we have our naked bodies to stand

against our enemy. I want from them the whole world just to know who is the real terrorist, the Palestinians or

the Israelis? But how they are strong and the whole world listens to them…and even the press in the whole world,

Israel control it by giving the journalist whatever he wants.

As you know, at our TV we get CNN, BBC and other channels and know what kind of news they put. Believe me, not all

of it is true. They try to tell the whole world that the Palestinians are some people living in desert and travel

on horse or donkey or camelback... they live in tents... Believe me, I met many people in France who ask me ‘From

where are you?’ I said, ‘Palestine.’ They said, ‘What?’ I said, ‘Holy Land’. They said, ‘Oh, yeah, Holland.’ I

said ‘No, not Holland. My land is under the Israeli occupation.’ They said, ‘Yes, we know Israel!’

Another person from Sweden came to our school and while I was talking to him he told me, ‘I am going to tell you

the truth. Before coming to Bethlehem, I called the Israeli Tourist Office to ask about a hotel in Bethlehem.

They gave me many names in Tel Aviv and I ask about Bethlehem. They give me names in Jerusalem... So I called

your school. They arrange for me to come here. But when I was at Ben Gurion airport and while speaking to a man

he told me that people in Bethlehem and Palestinians are very bad and robbers and killers. I became afraid, but I

came here. At first I was so afraid, but after two days I feel like I am at my house when I visit your school and

was introduced to you. I love the way you live together here.’

He asked me, ‘I want to ask you a question. I heard that Muslims are bad people, and you, as a Christian girl,

please tell me.’ I answered, ‘I’m not going to answer you. You can ask Samira, my friend. She is a Christian and

can tell you better than a Muslim girl!!!He said, ‘You are a Muslim?’ I said, ‘Yes, I am.’ He said, ‘I thought

that Muslims were different’. But when I told him that Palestinians are Christians and Muslims living together

peacefully and we are friends and no problems between them, he was very surprised.Israeli propaganda is very

strong and that’s why I want to study journalism to work to tell the whole world the truth, just the truth.

I think I must stop now, but I will not stop writing. Are you bored from me? I am talking, I mean writing much

that is right. I know, don’t remind me. Believe me, I am very mad every day. Many people are killed. Many

children are suffering. That makes me anxious.

All my family here are fine. Please greet everybody for me. I love you all...

With love

NADIA

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

19


Christmas in Palestine

WHAT DOES IT LOOK LIKE?

With the story of Jesus’ birth in the Bible and Qu’ran taking place in Palestine, we created and sent Christmas cards in 2018 using

drawings designed by children from the little town of Bethlehem itself. Some of the children’s pictures reflected the traditional

Nativity story, with shepherds and mangers, others were a painful reminder of the reality of being a child under occupation.

As has been pointed out many times, in Banksy’s Christmas card or by Right to Movement’s #MaryCantMove campaign, a heavily

pregnant Mary and Joseph would face many obstacles should they make their journey to Bethlehem today, with checkpoints and

the Separation Wall. Perhaps Mary would have delivered baby Jesus at a checkpoint,

like the 67 Palestinian mothers who did so between 2000 and 2005.

Banksy 2004 Christmas Card

Four Christmas card designs drawn by

children at the Ghirass Centre in Bethlehem

Abood Dayyah, a tour guide in Bethlehem,

shines a light on what Christmas is like in his city.

Bethlehem is a wonderful city. During

Christmas time, thousands of tourists

visit the Holy city of Bethlehem where

Jesus was born over 2000 years ago.

Every year we have about 3 million

visitors and pilgrims. The come from

Asia, Africa, Europe and America,

from all over the world, to celebrate

the great event and to remember the

birth of Jesus.

Jesus is love and peace. Both Muslims

and Christians celebrate and share

happiness in Christmas.

For me, December is a happy month

because I was born December 22, just

two days before Christmas celebrations!

A special thing in Bethlehem is we

celebrate three times on three different

dates. Why? We Palestinians celebrate

the Catholic Christmas (Calendar) then

in January the Orthodox Christians

celebrate Armenian and Coptic,

celebrated by Egyptian Christians as well.

HOW WE CELEBRATE

CHRISTMAS IN BETHLEHEM

The celebrations are amazing in

Bethlehem. We have a great wonderful

Christmas tree and tons of Christmas

lights and the Nativity scene also

decorated with colourful lights.

People visit each other and many

Palestinian Muslims and Christians

from Bethlehem, Ramallah, Nablus and

Hebron come to celebrate with their

brothers and Christian friends.

Here in Palestine we are suffering

because we are living under the military

Israeli occupation. Life is not too easy but

we always work to find our happiness and

we have hope for a better future. We wish

all people every Christmas and every New

Year to bring more peace and to stop all

wars in the world.

Best regards from Bethlehem, Palestine.

20

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


Cultural Production in

Larissa Sansour’s Sci-Fi Trilogy

Palestinian visual artist

Larissa Sansour’s

otherworldly film

‘Nation Estate’ (2013)

screened 24 November

as part of the London

Palestine Film Festival.

Al John reviews for PCF.

L arissa Sansour’s Nation Estate might

just as easily be an e-State. In the film, the

state of Palestine has been displaced and

located within a single high rise building; the

skyscraper is organised by touch-screens and

facial recognition systems, swift and seamless

elevator shafts, keycards and marble floors. A

place where the only voices are tannoyed and

the governing is algorithmic. Where interaction

is cold, clean and faceless, and citizens stare

straight ahead in atomised proximity.

Each Palestinian region is contained and

segmented onto a different floor, connected

only by elevator shaft. It’s a place where the

appurtenances of the nation state are equally

broken off, packaged and made to stand still—

What happens to immaterial notions of identity,

tradition, community when they are trapped and

on display like subjects in a police line-up? The

answer seems to be simple. Nothing.

Frantz Fanon notes the tendency of culture,

in the context of oppression, to fall into

representationalism. Cultural products can

often become ‘the inert already forsaken result

of frequent, and not always very coherent,

adaptations of a much more fundamental

substance which is itself continually being

renewed…mummified fragments which

because they are static are in fact symbols of

negation and outworn contrivances’.

Nation Estate is saturated with mummified

fragments, and it’s not surprising that the

clinical, modernist efficiency of the high rise

immediately draws comparisons with another

locus of mummification—the museum.

Nowhere else but for the museum do we

see medieval architecture sequestered

within cold marble. The protagonist, played

by Sansour, exits the elevator shaft onto her

floor—Jerusalem—which sits against a brutal

white backdrop, as if it were a permanent

museum exhibit. All that’s missing is a short

descriptive paragraph pinned below the

Dome of the Rock. In the following scene

we see, in her apartment, a cupboard full

of homogenous, tinned food, ready-made

falafels and tabbouleh, literally preserved,

destined to remain in a time-warp, forever

the same everywhere but for in the collective

imagination of the Estate’s residents. What

is ready-made is unchangeable. Like the

high-rise, the food is unable to grow but for

‘upwards’. It can only ever expand via a kind

of constant self-replication, ever-more mythic

and ever-harder to see from the ground.

The genre Sansour chooses to work in is

always generous. Science fiction frees the

artist from their contemporary restrictions by

challenging them to invent new realities. Of

course, new realities confront old ones, which

lays bare the notion that the contemporary is

always an ongoing process of invention, made

up of a patchwork of political and economic

narratives. It marks an engagement with

what’s known as de-fetishisation; the process

of making reality seem contingent and thus

changeable provided you have the right tools.

In another film, A Space Exodus, we see

a new kind of political narrative in play. A

reworking of The Moon Landing—one of the

most symbolically charged ‘events’ pertaining

to the mastery of capitalism—becomes ‘one

small step for a Palestinian, one huge leap for

mankind.’ Sansour riffs off Stanley Kubrick’s

2001: Space Odyssey but with arabesque

musical influences—a film which is not so

much trying to construct new symbolism as it is

about that process of symbol-making. Which is

always a process, and is always associated with

power. The film is playful and there’s a pleasure

in being given the opportunity to think about

this kind of reality. As in In The Future They Ate

From The Finest Porcelain, where characters

bury porcelain is deep into the ground to imply

a different kind of past to future archaeologists,

Sansour commits to the notion that narrative

construction is itself a type of struggle.

During a Q&A at the London Palestine Film

Festival, Sansour, in response to a question

about the role of the Palestinian artist, is quick

to disavow her films from politics—or from

pre-existing political narratives—because, she

says, those have all been expressed already.

The purpose of science fiction is to seek out

the unsaid, the new and the strange. The result

is that we might remember that everything

was at some point new, and everything

continues to be strange.

Al John is a postgraduate student

living in London. He has written for

OpenDemocracy, 3:AM Magazine,

Adbusters and elsewhere.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

21


The Weaponisation of Time

Illuminating Invisible Violence Against Palestinians

in the West Bank and East Jerusalem

By Omar Aziz

Omar is Programme Officer at Palestine Community Foundation, he

recently completed an MA in International Relations (Middle East)

and has written for OpenDemocracy, Middle East Monitor, Adbusters,

Palestine Chronicle and elsewhere.

‘Time is our worst enemy’ Palestinians often tell visitors to the

West Bank. They explain how they wait at checkpoints daily and

indefinitely. How they wait in ‘temporary’ refugee camps often

lived in for generations. How they wait imprisoned for decades

on charges of trivial offences or wait for their loved ones to return

home from detention. How they wait in anticipation of soldiers to

raid their homes during the night. How they wait in vain for building

permits which never arrive to provide homes for their families.

How they wait for the ‘temporary’ occupation to be lifted. How their

time is stolen from them. How they know it and they feel it.

For Palestinians in the occupied territories, time is not a

transparent medium which can be traversed with ease to

productively go about their daily lives, instead it is a thick

and opaque substance, through which they must struggle

to forge their lives, experiencing each minute, embodying

each second.

Under occupation Israel controls Palestinians in the

occupied territories through the hyperregulation of the

everyday life seen in the 5,000 military orders which

govern everything from travel permits, work permits,

building permits, digging for water, transporting goods

and tending crops. But what we learn from listening

to Palestinians is that it is not just their freedom of

movement which is hyperregulated and controlled by

checkpoints, travel permits and such like, but time itself.

Time itself is wielded as a weapon, forcing Palestinians to

live a temporality defined by waiting, slowness and stasis.

But for Palestinians waiting is not a neutral period of

stasis, or a welcomed rest from everyday life. Instead

the waiting is often coloured by emotional states of

fear, anxiety and suffocation produced by personal and

collective histories of emotional and physical pain at the

hands of the occupation.

Whilst the bullet fired from a gun may subdue,

immobilise and shorten the life of its victims, the

weaponisation of time possesses, incapacitates

and steals the life from them. It operates under a

cruel silence, violence made invisible by Israel’s

theatrical-duplicitous legal system and by a neoliberal

media ignoring its victims; rendering them ultimately

powerless yet fully conscious of their life being stolen

from them, minute by minute, day after day.

In the context of over 40 years of illegal ‘occupation’ of the

occupied territories, with the US withdrawal of funding

from the UNRWA and recognition of Jerusalem as the

capital of Israel, the need for Palestinian voices to be

heard in the silence between industrial-military assaults

on Gaza, not just in response to them, has never been

more urgent.

But Palestinian voices are not transmitted through a

neoliberal media which prioritises sensationalised news

of bloodshed over the everyday suffering of Palestinians

under occupation, so as not to risk challenging the

narratives of their loyal audience.

However, by listening to Palestinians and projecting

their voices widely, we may be able to overcome the

noise of empty empirical abstraction which informs the

intransigent class of the global-political elite. And when

we do choose to listen, we are met with eloquent stories

rich with invaluable information from the people who

matter most, those who endure suffering and try valiantly

to survive it.

Using Cate Malek and Matteo Hoke’s Palestine Speaks

(2015) we can do just that. The autobiographical

narratives they have compiled from Palestinians

throughout the occupied territories deserve our

attention, analysis and projection in a climate where

Palestinian voices are rarely heard. They give life

to empirical abstraction by projecting the voices of

the oppressed, who so vividly illuminate for us the

invisible forces of Israel’s colonial control.

The term ‘weaponisation of time’ was coined by social

theorist Nina Power in an openDemocracy article in

2012. Her later (2014) article ‘Time does not always

heal: state violence and psychic damage’ describes

her partner’s experience after nearly being killed by a

UK police officer and yet was charged himself with a

public order offence:

‘This stretching out of time is a central feature of what

punishment is, from the slowness of bringing someone

to trial, to the trial process itself, to prison, the purest

manifestation of time used as a weapon.’

Here the deliberate and extrajudicial enforcement of a

person to wait in precarious and painful circumstances,

filling each moment with dread, anxiety and fear displays

the effects of the weaponisation of time.

But what is this sinister method of control and submission

if there is no physical injury? How do we define it and how

do we expose it?

The concept of violence is central to Palestinian suffering

in the occupied territories; only by understanding what

violence is, its various forms and their relationship to

each other can we begin to expose the prevalence of

violence against Palestinians and how power operates

through it as a means of colonial control.

Johan Galtung (1969), widely considered the founding

father of Peace Studies, has shown how peace ought

to be considered the absence of violence. And how

peace itself is present when individuals are reaching

the full realisation of their somatic and mental potential

achievable given the level of insight and resource.

As such, violence is the cause that which reduces one’s

potential, this violence may be direct, structural or cultural

in origin, or a combination of all three. Direct violence has

a clear subject-object relationship, structural violence is

embedded in process and may lack a clear subject-object

relationship and cultural violence is social legitimisation

of direct or structural violence so as to render it socially

acceptable or invisible.

Like tuition fees prohibiting mostly black students

from accessing education in post-apartheid South

Africa, or austerity needlessly inflicted on the UK

disproportionately affecting the poorest in society, or

newly developed medicine unavailable to those in need,

these examples of structural violence limit the potential

realisations of their victims and operate under broader

cultural violence which justifies their prevalence or

makes alternatives seem ‘unrealistic’. In Palestine,

we witness direct violence between IDF soldiers and

Palestinian civilians, structural violence embedded into

the system of occupation itself and cultural violence

in Zionism attempting to justify the segregation of

Palestinians from Israeli Jews and the colonisation

of Palestinian land. Violence breeds violence and

proliferates in the absence of peace, and only once

exposed may we begin to overcome it.

Through the concept of violence, the idea of

‘weaponisation’ begins to take shape as a deliberate

attempt to produce and target violence through a medium

wielded against its intended victims.

Listening to the stories of Ibtisam Ilzghayyer, 58 year

old director of the Ghirass Cultural Center in Bethlehem,

checkpoints are immediately illuminated as a violent tool

through which time is weaponised. She recalls during

the Second Intifada when checkpoints regularly closed

altogether:

‘the checkpoint was closed…[there were] children,

old men, workers…hundreds of people! I waited [over

three hours]. Surrounded by soldiers…nobody had any

place to hide if they started shooting. I was so angry and

depressed I started talking to myself. I said ‘God, are you

there? And if you are there, are you seeing us? Finally,

a little after seven p.m., I gave up and came back to

Bethlehem and stayed at the Center.’

22

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


ANOTHER TIME SHE RECALLS:

‘I remember a little girl was crying. She needed to get

to school to take exams, and the soldier wouldn’t let her.

It’s not guaranteed that a child is able to go to school…

Many parents have told us that their children have

nightmares and achievement problems. Children look

to us adults as people who can protect them, and

when we can’t—in many situations, we’re scared!’

Whilst Ibtisam believes the repetition of everyday norms

under colonial occupation, such as waiting at checkpoints,

produces nightmares in Palestinian children, it has also

resulted in them having a warped sense of time and

space:

‘The children I teach don’t have a good sense of

distance because of the restrictions. They might say

they live “far away,” and I’ll ask, “How far?” And it’s a

ten-minute car ride away, if not for checkpoints. That’s

far for them, because that fifteen minutes might

actually be an hour or two most days.’

As of January 2017, there were 98 mapped checkpoints in

the West Bank, 59 of which are permanent and a total of

5,587 flying checkpoints were counted in 2016, affecting

over 2.5 million Palestinians.

Older and younger Palestinians alike are forced to confront

armed soldiers often facing abuse and coming to physical

harm. Ibtisam recalls being called ‘a prostitute’ after

explaining her disability made it impossible for her to follow

a soldier’s orders, other women recall being forced to divide

themselves into lines of ‘beautiful’ and ‘ugly’ women.

However, the past is not dead, but alive in the present in

wounds lived and relived each time a Palestinian is forced to

wait at a checkpoint, not just of their personal experiences,

but of stories from the collective trauma inflicted on the

community. From 2000-2005 60 women gave birth at

checkpoints, 36 babies and five women died as a result.

IBTISAM STATES:

‘usually I avoid going to the checkpoints, because it

makes me sick — physically, emotionally, all kinds

of sick. It usually takes time to come back to normal.’

Clearly the intensity of her emotion is not necessarily

proportional to the immediate severity of the injury from

an isolated experience. Instead, emotion is contingent

on past memories and collective histories, whereby

one can also feel intense pain when reminded of past

encounters without any physical impression at all. So

not only are Palestinians forced to wait at checkpoints,

making it sometimes impossible to access education,

healthcare, work or go about daily life but the conditions

of this waiting can be loaded with fear, anxiety and pain

from repetitive reliving of past experiences of trauma

each time they wait at a checkpoint, serving to intensify its

violent effects.

Laith Al-Hlou, a 34 years old father, recalls the trauma

of seeing his barn and house be demolished in Area C

of the West Bank after the complex process he faced in

trying to obtain a building permit which he exasperatingly

navigated through yet was denied on all three attempts:

‘They said a bulldozer was coming…We could see

what was happening out the window, and we watched

for an hour and a half while they drove the sheep out

and knocked down the house. We cried. We had just built

the barn the year before, all by hand. It had taken

months of work and it was a big investment.’

Laith’s time has been wasted in processing the

applications, in labour hours sold to purchase the marble

and in the time endured unable to live in an adequate

sized home. Laith describes how him, his wife and his

five children are living,

‘we have one room where we all sleep, and then we

have the kitchen… We have electricity sometimes

through our generator. But gas is expensive. We usually

only turn it on around once a week to wash clothes in our

washing machine. It’s hot now, and we have no electricity

for fans. In the winter, we have no heat to keep us warm.

When it gets cold, we stay in bed all day under the

blankets to stay warm…The biggest problem for us is

water. The pipes run through the settlement, and we’re

the last in line in the village.’

The material effect of unfair planning policy is not isolated

to simply less new builds on the horizon, the ramifications

prove to be insidious and extensive on Palestinian lives;

Palestinians are forced to choose between an impossible

choice of waiting for the planning application which may

never arise or waiting for the bulldozers to demolish their

‘illegal’ construction. It also contributes to less jobs for

Palestinians in the construction sector and more generally

from lack of development. As such, Palestinians are locked

in ‘extended transitions’, struggling to live independently

as adults due to difficulty finding and accessing work

because of checkpoints, permits and economic stagnation,

contributing to a mode of temporality defined by slowness.

LAITH OBSERVES HOW AT THE ADJACENT SETTLEMENTS:

‘People living there don’t have tanks on their roofs

or anything, they get enough from the pipes. The

settlements look like heaven to us. They even have

swimming pools there.’

Similarly, in the summer months, his access to clean

water is cut off by the endeavours of a state widely

considered to be the global leader in water irrigation

and sanitation technology. This exposes not only a

violent attempt to enforce life threatening conditions

of waiting, but also a flagrant and deliberate abuse

of human rights, where the right to clean water is

fundamental.

From 1967 to 2016 over 200 Israeli settlement were

established in the West Bank, despite being in violation

of international law, where the settler population

exceeds 600,000. In addition, it is estimated that

14,454 settlement units were approved by the Israeli

government since January 2017. Not only does the rapid

approval and construction of settlements expose the

artificial delay in approving Palestinian applications, the

swimming pools, pristine roads and high speed wi-fi

connections expose how time is weaponised against

Palestinians; Israeli Jews may access desired norms

of comfort, hyper-speed and hyper-mobility under

neoliberal capitalism in the settlements, whereas

Palestinians are forcibly excluded from their reach.

The extent of the violence through which time is

weaponised via this process is evident in that from 2010

to 2014, the Civil Administration (CA - branch of Israeli

military responsible for civil matters in area C) approved

merely 33 out of 2,020 Palestinian building permits, only

1.5% of the total applications. Furthermore, given that

the Palestinian population in the West Bank has nearly

doubled since 1995 and areas A and B cannot facilitate

more construction due to spatial limitations, the violent

effects are increasingly felt by Palestinians within all

areas of the West Bank.

Laith describes how through the exertion of violence

on him and other Palestinians, the colonial regime has

been successful in creating unbearable conditions for

Palestinians life,

‘Many people in the village have gone elsewhere.

Some of my uncle’s family members who used to live

on the property have gone to live abroad. The Israelis,

the settlers, it seems like they want us to go away. If

we didn’t have this land, we’d go back to Bethlehem.

It’s a better place—it’s easier to live there. But if we

leave, we won’t be able to protect the land, which has

been in our family for generations… I’d like to move,

but I can’t leave my land here.’

The weaponisation of time against Palestinians forces

them to make an impossible choice: either resist

colonial violence by remaining on their land in the hope

their suffering is temporary, or permanently abandon

their material wealth and identity. Checkpoints and

building permits are just two of many methods whereby

Palestinian time is artificially manipulated under a

regime of hyperregulated-colonial violence. It forces

Palestinians into apparent ‘voluntary transfer’, where

life was in fact unliveable.

Palestinians valiantly resist this artificial imposition

of slowness and waiting upon their lives by finding

alternative routes for travel, circumnavigating the

myriad of barriers on dilapidated roads, through

celebration and festival, disrupting the temporal

stagnation created by the weaponisation of time and

even by encouraging children to play games queuing

at checkpoints. But these efforts are the not answer.

Only by lifting the illegal occupation may Palestinians

rebuild their lives, free from the restrictions of

checkpoints, permits, unjust incarceration and

everyday suffering. Only by lifting the occupation can

all forms of the direct, structural and cultural violence

inflicted on Palestinians begin to be dismantled.

By listening to the voices of the oppressed, we realise

there is no peace found in the status quo in the occupied

territories, only sustained and uninterrupted violence.

Israel is right to value time as a precious and finite

resource for its own citizens, and must do so for

Palestinians by lifting this illegal and violent occupation.

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

23


CHRISTMAS SONG

On the first day

of Christmas

My true love

sent to me...

A

sunbird

in an

olive tree

and

Two holy domes

Three dabke dancers

Four falafels frying

Five kuf-fiy-yehs, Six mint and lemon

Seven sheep a flocking, Eight fallahi ploughing

Nine camels spitting, Ten thobes a flowing

Eleven poets versing, Twelve stars are shining

24

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


CROSSWORD

1

2

3

4

5

6

7

8

9

10

11

12

13

ACROSS

2 The name given to the events of 1948

5 A Palestinian poet who spent much

of his life in exile

8 The setting of the Nativity story, where

Jesus is said to have been born

12 The name of the busy gate in the centre

of the north wall of Jerusalem’s Old City

13 Palestinian national dish, translates

as “upside down”

Find the answers to the crossword by

heading to Resources on our website,

palestinefoundation.org.uk

DOWN

1 This plant is a symbol of Palestinian resistance, it is used

to designate borders in villages

3 A term meaning “steadfastness”, expressing the

Palestinian resistance ideology

4 The name of the mosque on Manger Square in Bethlehem

6 She gained worldwide attention this year after spending

eight months in an Israeli prison

7 The lowest place on Earth

9 Popular herb mix made from thyme and sesame

seeds, eaten on bread

10 The Arabic name for Palestine’s most famous handicraft,

especially seen on traditional women’s clothing

11 This town is the birthplace of the dessert knaffeh

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

25


COLOURING IN -

THE DOME OF THE CHAIN

Thanks to Friends of Al Aqsa for the colouring page, available in their Palestine Colouring Book

26

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19


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invite you to our events, from music and club nights to Ramadan

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Follow us on social media to join the discussion on Palestine related

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Submit a piece for our online blog or quarterly print magazine, send

us a pitch to info@palestinefoundation.org.uk.

We will compensate any pieces used.

If you’re a budding photographer and want to be featured on

Photographers of Palestine, send a sample of your work for

consideration to info@palestinefoundation.org.uk.

If you or someone you know makes Palestinian embroidery and is

interested in selling items through our shop Tatreez, get in touch.

Saddle up with us for the Just Cycle, request an info pack from

info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

MAY

18

Keep an eye on our emails and social media for announcements to

come… but save this date!

We are open to collaboration with existing organisations, so if you would

like to work together on a project or resource, please get in touch!

info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

PALESTINE VOICE Issue 1 Winter 2018/19

27


0300 777 1 777

info@palestinefoundation.org.uk

palestinefoundation.org.uk

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