so rich in trees

Gaza, a city so rich in trees as to be like a cloth of brocade spread out on the sand.

The other night I was flipping through Mahfouz’s Palestine: A Guide, by Mariam Shahin. In my browsing, I came across two different references to Gaza’s former fertility, so lavish that I had to note them, as one would today believe these were lies.

The second:

Beit Lahiya (in Roman times): Then its sweet water nourished delicious fruits and beautiful gardens. It once looked like a forest, with many apple, fig, peach and orange trees.

I try to imagine the flourish of green with flowering buds… but can’t.

There are trees in Gaza, sparsely pitched and stunted by water shortages or re-planting after Israeli bulldozing.

But since I first came here in November 2008, every time I’ve gone to border regions, I’ve been told by proud locals: this was the most beautiful area of Gaza, people used to come from all over with picnics, to enjoy the trees, the birds, the flowers…

Beit Hanoun and Faraheen locals rival with their memories, and surely all along the Green-Line border separating Gaza and Israel there were such bounties of green.

*destroyed agricultural land, Wadi Salqa, eastern central Gaza.

I photographed Wadi Salqa in late 2009, after much of its farm homes and crops had been destroyed, bulldozed, churned into useless, difficult to plow land.

*Abu Ahmed walks through Beit Hanoun farmland which once flourished with a variety of trees (looking for his dead son, left 54 days in the border region because no one could retrieve the body)

*a roughly 15 metre wide track clawed into the land by Israeli military bulldozers and tanks. Photographed in May 2010, while accompanying farmers onto their near-barren land.

*local Palestinians pray during demonstration against lethal Israeli imposition of a “buffer zone” and continual destruction of water sources and Palestinian farmland.

*east Beit Hanoun farmland, well, motor destroyed by Israeli soldiers. The re-planted (formerly bulldozed) lemon trees were stunted due to dehydration for want of a water source.

*Palestinian youths on formerly lush Beit Hanoun farmland during Land Day

Long Before the “Arab Spring”, Palestinians Protest Non-Violently

What threat did I pose the Israeli soldiers?

endless casualties of Israel’s “buffer zone” [Nahal Oz shooting April 14]

IOF assaults on Land Day demos: 4 youths shot at close range [March 30 shootings]

Palestinian demos continue non-violent against a violent Israeli army

Israeli invasion into southeastern Gaza kills 4, injures 8, destroys a home and ravages farmland

Israeli soldiers target Gaza’s poorest, including children

psst… voices calling loud

popular resistance lives on in Gaza

Homes and livelihoods gone in an instant

how Israeli policies and attacks have ravaged Gaza’s agricultural sector

where is the buffer zone?

Israel destroying Gaza’s farmlands: arson in Johr ad Dik

reclaiming Gaza’s land

the young bird keeper

lost livelihoods

dignified beyond losses

The Israeli shooting left me paralyzed

still bleeding after all these days

harvest challenges

Lost in the Buffer Zone

some days you get shot at

farmers under fire

54 days

rising casualties in the buffer zone

buffer zone widow

Dirty Tricks: Israeli Soldiers Shoot Deaf Palestinian Farmer, 4th Farmer Shot in 3 weeks

the third hit her in the kneecap

Abu Taima’s land


  1. The story given out always by Zionists is of a barren land when they first arrived
    The most moving testimonies from Palestinian writers are imbued with a deep lying love of the land its smells, its landscape. Palestinian Walks by Rajah Shehadeh tells of the irreparable loss suffered by the excommunication of so many people from their ancestral lands.
    Meron Benvenisti in Sacred Landscape delineates how the rape happened.
    ” We are a generation of settlers and without the steel helmets and the cannon we cannot plant a tree or build a house” Moshe Dayan
    Sometimes before I sleep I read a poem by Mahmoud Darwish, what a master!
    I am an armchair activist doing my little bit and wish you young people all the strength in mind and muscle to bring the evil entity of Zionism to an end
    Richard Morris Breaking The Israel/Palestine Silence http://wallsofdespair.blogspot .com
    Writer and Performer of Bitter Fruit Of Palestine on YouTube and

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