“It bears fruit 7 times per year,” I was told at least three times by 2 different doctors. I was visiting Gaza’s prosthetic limbs centre, having dropped in without an appointment, and had been toured around by 2 of the senior specialists. They explained in detail the process of manufacturing the limbs, including what materials are needed and how they get them –or as is often the case, don’t get them, thanks to the Israeli veto under the Israeli-led siege.
Something as simple as a specific-weave fabric can be blocked for weeks, or over a month as weave 10 currently is, meaning that manufacture of certain limbs becomes impossible until that fabric arrives. Before that, it was a chemical plastic, held back for over a month, again delaying aid to limbless Palestinians.
The doctors couldn’t have been nicer, nor more generous with their information.
After the formalities of learning about their centre, talk turned to a certain fruit found in Gaza, one I’ve never seen outside of Palestine: the Jumeiza fruit.
I’d first seen the tree, a hearty, tree of life kind of tree, in Ezbet Abed Rabbo, from the balcony of my friends house. At that time, 8 months ago, I’d yet to see the fruit. Fatema explained that the tree had been there for generations, and recounted incidents of injury and martyrdom near the tree by Israeli attacks over the years.
Following the last bout of Israeli attacks on Gaza, when I’d returned to the house (itself turned upside down by Israeli soldiers), the land around the Jumeiza tree had been bulldozed and torn up by tank treads and bombing. The tree, scarred and branches wounded, still stood, though the old cement watern tank had been blown to nothingness.
So when these doctors presented me with small fig-like fruits and explained they were Jumeiza, I was delighted.
Keeping with Palestinian hospitality, Abu Yousef, one of the specialists, raided the tree and insisted I take a bag of the fruit with me as I left from my unannounced visit.