Two weeks in Palestine: A land as oppressed as it is beautiful

A Palestinian man examines a house after it was demolished by the Israeli army in the village of Shweikeh, near the West Bank city of Tulkarem, Dec 17, 2018. (photo: Majdi Mohammed / AP)
The author recounts his travels through occupied Palestine highlighting the stark juxtaposition between the beauty of the land, and the ugliness of its occupation.

By Miko Peled | Mint Press News | Mar 1, 2019

‘We drink camel’s milk, we love it and we always had camels that we used to milk. Now, as part of the ethnic cleansing process, the Israeli authorities confiscated our camels, they give them to nearby Israeli Jewish settlements and we have to buy the milk from them.’
— Aziz from the village of Al-Araqib

The beauty of Palestine in late February and particularly after a few spots of rain is unmatched. Lush green and almond blossoms everywhere, but from Tarshiha near the Lebanese border in the north to Lakia in the Naqab desert in the south, the horrors of a relentless, oppressive regime that shows every sign of becoming more oppressive are everywhere.

Tarshiha

A jewel in the northern Galilee is lush green and beautiful with signs of prosperity all around. In 1948, Tarshiha, which had a minority Christian population, was subjected to a brutal ethnic cleansing campaign but the Christian families were permitted to return. Today, the full name of the town is Ma’alot-Tarshiha because the neighboring Israeli settlement of Ma’alot, which sits on Tarshiha lands, has taken over and the two now comprise a single — yet segregated — town sharing a single municipality. Still, with all the signs of prosperity, families remember the horrors and many are still living in far off refugee camps, unable to return to their homes and their land.

Tarshiha’s son, Palestinian actor Ashraf Barhoum, is now working on a documentary film titled, “Tell me Tarshiha.” In it, he will tell the stories of the survivors of the 1948 Israeli destruction of Palestine, all born in the 1939’s. The movie will document their lives under the British mandate, the Zionist occupation, and their thoughts about the future.

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