Unlocking the Eruv: Asfar, 12 March 2016

20160312-IMG_0183lvlcrvcrp

Photographs tend to personalize, not to visualize, as is the nature of microcosms. It is hard to avoid the temptation to focus a camera on the lone child standing beside one ruined house rather than on the systematic character of land appropriation as seen in borders and structures and other visual signs that articulate land through materials and shapes.

On this day the microcosm is a micro victory: The members of a Palestinian family were too afraid for years to enter their land next to the Israeli settlement Metzad (Asfar). But they realized that visual signs of neglect on the land could eventually lead to a declaration of abandonment followed by confiscation. They decided to risk returning. Continue reading

Ezra Nawi, Ta’ayush, and 30 seconds of video

Ezra

Ezra Nawi, May 31, 2014

“Just as they film, so we film as well”

How powerful is a photographic medium? In Israel, thirty seconds of it is enough to arrest a man and keep him incommunicado for days without access to his lawyer. Enough to prompt from the Prime Minister a vicious condemnation of those who would hide behind the hypocrisy of “caring for human rights,” and, from the Defense Minister and the Education Minister, even more extreme attacks against human rights organizations. At best, there are calls for the “moral left” to repudiate the man who is under arrest, to condemn him without a trial, as well as “to thank the two journalists for their courageous, professional work.” You can read this piece by Ari Shavit here. The officials posted their remarks on their respective Facebook pages. Continue reading

you must photograph, asfar, 30 may, 2015

20150530-IMG_5662-crvcrpshadow

Question: How many Palestinian farmers does it take to plant an olive tree?

Answer: Just one. But only if ten volunteers will watch

This is not a joke. And in fact the farmer had several members of his family at his side. But the farmer and his family can only plant if non-Palestinian activists accompany them. When they plant alone settlers from the illegal settlement above the orchard drive them off. The settlement stands on land belonging to the same group of Palestinian farmers. Continue reading

Susya Demolition Order: Please read and share

2015-03-21 13.17.12Crp

Some of you may recognize Susya (also spelled Susiya) as the name of the tiny village I mentioned in my last post, where two of us visited Nasser, a Palestinian activist, at his home. This town is now threatened with demolition – again. Please read and circulate David Shulman’s letter, which I received early this morning, April 1, 2015 Continue reading

March 14, 2015: Zanuta and Rahwah. David Shulman (text), and Margaret Olin (photography)

20150314-IMG_5103-plaincrpsmlcrp

Four happy months in India, and today I’m back in south Hebron. Before leaving I asked my friends to finish off the Occupation before I returned, but somehow they haven’t managed this. Yesterday I meet my neighbor Rama in the street, and she asks how it is to be home. It’s good, I say, at first I was even high, but little by little despair seeps in. “That’s right,” she says, “here everything is really fine except for the despair.” Continue reading

A Lovely Day in South Hebron: Second Story

Project_20140607_0177

It turned out not to be a story, but it is and is not what it seems – a group of lethargic people on a lazy day. Technical aspects of photography come up in conversation. For a court case, someone explains, there is no need for high-resolution video. Better to use low resolution and save storage space.

Feeling self-indulgent, I distract myself with my camera, set at high resolution. Continue reading

An Eruv in South Hebron

Project20140531_0587-lvlbrnfltAn eruv is a symbolic courtyard used by orthodox Jews.   For one day each week, Shabbat, it turns a group of private dwellings into one shared home for anyone who lives there and wishes to take part.  The transformation allows its inhabitants to carry things (a prayer book, a meal, a child) from their private homes into the public space and throughout the eruv, an activity otherwise forbidden on that day.  For some people, Shabbat would be a somber affair without one.  Others may never even know that this subtle border is there. Here the boundary is designated by a series of poles linked with string to stand for the posts and lintels of interconnecting gateways. Continue reading