Dawn. Several children still asleep in their blankets, on the ground outside the house. Good desert smells. The older girls are beginning their chores: water has to be brought from the tanker; milk is being churned, or perhaps pasteurized, in what could be a repurposed washing-machine. There is a new baby, two months old, sleeping in her crib. Ghazal, maybe a year and a half old, holds a glass of tea in her hand while her eyes, obsidian black, study Yigal and me with unwavering interest. Then a smile. Nadia asks if we’ve been well. Yigal answers with the blessing: “‘aishin min shafek,” “We come alive when we see you.”Continue reading
February 15, 2023. Text: David Shulman; Photographs: Margaret Olin
Harun Abu Aram died on February 14.
October 29, 2022. Umm al-‘Ara’is. Text by David Shulman. Photographs by Margaret Olin
By 8:00 when we arrive at Simri, some twenty soldiers are already waiting for us.Continue reading
Random Stopping: A Day in the South Hebron Hills: Umm Al-‘Ara’is, Sh’ab al-Butam, Ar-Rakiz
Umm Al-‘Ara’is. We must see at least twenty soldiers. The first few are friendly. They say they’d been stationed in the territories for four months. When Zev asks them to describe their duties, one of them answers, “stopping people randomly from going to work.” This sets a pattern for the day.Continue reading
Take our picture! Umm Al-‘Ara’is, October, 2022
“Why are these children so wild?” the soldier asked me.
“Could it be because their father has just been arrested?” I answer.
“And do you know why he was arrested? Because he was in a closed military zone.”
“But he was on his own land.”
“You are making me laugh.”
“So who’s land is it?”
“Have you never heard of Abraham? When he was here thousands of years ago, there weren’t any … Palestinians.” The pause before the word “Palestinian” seemed to express a certain distaste.
I am with the `Awad family again. I wanted to visit beautiful Umm al-Amad, but Guy told me that Sa’id’s worsening situation needs documenting. He was right.Continue reading
February 2, 2022. Twaneh. Text by David Shulman; Photographs by Margaret Olin
I spent part of today wondering which I hated more: sheer stupidity or pure human malevolence. I guess it’s what might be called an academic question. As our friend Guy said, the real killer is when the two come together.Continue reading
January 18, 2022. Umm al-Khair, Hajj Suleiman’s Funeral. Text: David Shulman, Photographs: Margaret Olin
He was like one of those rocky hills in South Hebron, a living, breathing, feeling mass of sunlight, rain, wind, earth, and stone. Though he wasn’t all that tall, he always dwarfed everyone around him. The soldiers and the border police were afraid of him, because he told them the truth and gave no quarter.Continue reading
Return to the Occupation: Al-‘Auja, January 14, 2022. Text and Photographs: Margaret Olin
The women did not think they would ever miss Omer, the notorious settler who apparently commands the occupation forces.Continue reading
June 26 2020. Al-‘Auja. Text by David Shulman, with photographs by Margaret Olin
Four months in quarantine; the virus now raging again in Israel-Palestine; and I’m back where I belong. The hardest part of the lock-down was not seeing our grandchildren face to face; second hardest, not coming to be with the shepherds.Continue reading
Out of sight: Ein ar Rashshash in December, 2018. Post by Margaret Olin
December 12: “If a tree falls in the forest . . . “
There is barely a single tree here, but nearly everyone today voiced some version of the famous philosophical puzzle about the observer and existence. Or coexistence.Continue reading