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Summer 2007 29 Summer 2007 29 Winter 2011 Issue 48 formerly the Jerusalem Quarterly File formerly the Jerusalem

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Table of Contents
Editorial ................................................................................................................3 Franois Abu Salem and Theater in Palestine

Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine .............................................................6 Part 2: Ethnography and Cartography Salim Tamari Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem .................................................17 Abdul Karim Abu Khashan The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness: ............................31 The Artas-Jerusalem Water Conflict of 1925 Vincent Lemire In Colonial Shoes: ...................................................................................................54 Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins Staging the Sublimation of Clich: .........................................................................78 Elia Suleimans Silences in The Time That Remains (2009) Tom Hill Ethnic Cleansing Continues:...................................................................................91 Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted Marian Houk

Cover: Sixteenth-century Ottoman map of the Holy Land, showing the coast of Jaffa, Ramleh, Gaza and Asqalan; from Kitab al Bahriyyah, Istanbul, 1521, by Hadji Ahmed Muhiddin Piri, known as Peri Reissi. Back cover: Pierre Loti's Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem.

Editorial

Franois Abu Salem and Theater in Palestine

This issue of Jerusalem Quarterly is dedicated to the memory of Franois Abu Salem (1951-2011), a pioneer of Palestinian theater and a true Jerusalemite. The performing arts began to develop in the Middle East in the early twentieth century, when Syrian and Lebanese pioneers made their mark, mostly in Egypt. Theatrical troupes like that of Abu Khalil al-Qabbani, actors such as George Abyad, Mary Muneeb, and Najeeb al-Rihani, and dancer Badia Massabny, among others, were the rising theater celebrities of the time. Although some of the plays from Egypt and Lebanon were performed in Palestine as early as the 1920s, theater as a Palestinian practice took longer to emerge. Still, theatrical shows of one form or another were part of everyday Palestinian culture, whether with puppeteers or Sandouq al-Ajab (musical stereoscopic box viewer, or
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 3 ]

wonder box). Characters such as Awaz and the clown, Karagoz, featured prominently in the genre of political satire. As Wasif Jawhariyyeh informs us, theatrical sketches with Awaz and the clown were a fixed feature in the spacious Jerusalem coffeehouse owned by Ali Izhiman in the late Ottoman period. Al-Hakawati, or the storyteller, was another theatrical figure who used to give dramatic recitations of folkloric Arab tales such as that of Abu Zayd al-Hilali. During the British Mandate period theatrical productions became quite common in schools and continued to be staged for the next several decades. The Ramallah Festival held at al-Tira UNRWA college was an important national event in the short-lived Jordanian period in eastern Palestine. But professional theater was not born until the early 1970s, and the name Franois Abu Salem was closely associated with it. On Saturday, 1 October 2011, the life of Franois came to an abrupt end as a result of his fall from a building near his home in Ramallah. Many believe he committed suicide. He was 60 years old. He was among the founders of a number of theatrical groups, including the very first experimental group in Palestine, Balalin (balloons), which staged its daring play al-Atmeh The Darkness in 1972. He also directed lama injanena, (When We Went Crazy) in 1976 and moved on to establish alHakawati theater group in the late 1970s which in the early 1980s established the first Palestinian theater in the old cinema-house al-Nuzha, which for a while was used to screen porn films and was renamed Raghdan. The theater has since once again changed it name to the Palestinian National Theater and is still open in East Jerusalem to this day. His training in Paris with Ariane Mnouchkines Thtre du Soleil, widely acclaimed for the innovative and collaborative nature of their productions, influenced the theatrical style of Franois. This style was apparent in the play al-Atmeh, where actors emerged from the audience and non-actors participated in the dialogue. The same could be said of lama injanena, with the two actors on stage playing homeless madmen reflecting freely on their plight and the political situation. The actors wrote their own individual scripts and the director was able to weave them together through collective writing and experimentation. The stage itself was bare and the actors were the only focus for the audiences attention. But in alf-Lilah fi Souq al-Lahameen, one thousand nights in the meat market, the dcor and stage props were elaborate, with powerful music and songs composed by the then exiled musician Mustafa al-Kurd. Although more professional, the sense that the play was collectively written was there. That play was a mix of dream-like early orientalist takes on the Arabian Nights with contemporary street settings from the Old City of Jerusalem at the time. Franois Abu Salem was a Palestinian pioneer, a Jerusalemite in taste, sensibilities and manners. Yet his Palestinian-ness was not inherited, as he was born to European parents living in the region, but was an identity he freely chose. His name will always be at the forefront of the history of Palestinian theater. His most untimely death came only months after the loss of another Palestinian-by-choice theatrical personality, Juliano mer Khamis who was criminally and stupidly murdered in Jenin refugee camp. They will both be sorely missed.
[ 4 ] EDITORIAL

In the early 1980s, Abu Salem directed one of the first Palestinian films to be produced in the West Bank. Unfortunately, the film was lost and never made it beyond the first local screenings. It took many years before Palestinian cinema productions became professional and widely watched. Among the pioneers of the new cinema, from the late 1980s on, is Elia Suleiman, whose latest film, The Time that Remains, is reviewed in this issue by Tom Hill. Suleimans film deals, in part, with the war of 1948, the period when Zionist forces and the nascent Israeli army ethnically cleansed the part of Palestine that became Israel later on. In the contribution by Marian Houk, evidence is presented that shows beyond doubt that the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians continues to this day. Her essay deals with the continuous effort by Israeli authorities to displace Jerusalemite Palestinians. A number of essays in this issue deal with the general theme of material culture. Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins examines what she calls the afterlife of the Oslo agreement through the material waste gathering and commercial recycling in the occupied territories. She argues that the rise of the baleh or previously used markets and the accumulation of garbage are all but signs of the Palestinian dependency on foreign aid and the politics of the peace process. In his essay on water works in the Artas area in the 1920s, and the dispute over diverting the agricultural water of the area to serve new Jewish immigrant homes in Jerusalem, Vincent Lemire also offers a valuable analysis of material culture and makes a significant contribution to the supremely important new discipline of hydro-politics. In addition, two essays by Salim Tamari and Abdel Karim Abu Khashan complete studies the first parts of which appeared in Jerusalem Quarterly 47 and 43 respectively. While Tamari furthers his revealing explorations of the shifting boundaries and conceptions of Palestine in Ottoman maps and military manuals, Abu Khashan summarizes and interpretively comments on the French writer Pierre Lotis account of his journey from Gaza to Jerusalem.

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 5 ]

Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine


Part 2: Ethnography and Cartography
Salim Tamari
The first part of this essay, which appeared in the preceding issue of Jerusalem Quarterly (Autumn 2011 Issue 47) discussed the context in which the military manual, Filastin Risalesi, was compiled and published in 1915, and how it reflected a changing conception of Palestine and Syria during the administrations of the two JamalsAhmet Cemal Pasha, Governor of Syria, and Mersinli Cemal Pasha, Commander of the Eighth Army.
Ard Filistin, Iqlim Jazirat al Arab, Katip Celebi, Tuhfat al Kibar fi Esfar al Bihar, 1729, Istanbul (Detail).

Besides its military logistic objective as a country survey, Filastin Risalesi is distinguished by its rich cartographic content, which includes separate political, topographical, and very exceptionally ethnographic charts. Most official maps of the Syrian provinces used the term Palestine as a designation for an amorphous region within the mutasariflik of Jerusalem, that is, for the area bounded to the north by Vilayat Beirut and to the East by Vilayat Surya, and to south by Sinai (Tih Sahrasi).1 Filistin Risalesi identified Palestine as including the sanjaqs of Akka (the Galilee), the Sanjaq of Nablus, and the Sanjaq of Jerusalem (Kudus Sherif).2 Thus it clearly extends the borders of Ottoman Palestine to include a substantial section of the Beirut province, bounded by the Litani river. This resonates with European designations of the holy land, and to a lesser extent, with Jewish and biblical conceptions of Eretz Yisrael, which tended to cover a substantially larger area. Ottoman cartography of Palestine and Syria has a rich history and resonance with both Islamic and European origins. The earliest sources showing detailed mapping

[ 6 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

of the Syrian coast were based on actual navigational drawings by wellknown geographer-travelers. The most important being Piri Reis (1465-1554) whose Mediterranean map in Kitab al Bahriyyah (1528), continues to be regarded as an artistic masterpiece; and Katip Celebi (1609-1657), whose Tuhfat al Kibar fi Asfar al Bihar (published 1729) constitutes the first detailed mapping of the Anatolian and Syrian provinces.3 Celebis Ard Falastan in Bar al Sham; Atlas Cedid, Istanbul, work, moreover, contains elaborate 1803. descriptive and ethnographic material about these regions, drawn partly from his own travels. His work confirms the restoration in administrative boundaries those used in the early Islamic (Umayyad) administrative units of Jund Filistin, which in turn was based on Roman-Byzantine practices.4 Two Celebi maps from Tuhfat al Kibar are of relevance here: the first is the map of the Mediterranean which contains Iyalat al Sham and Ard Filistin, most likely the first such reference in an Ottoman map. The second is titled Iqlim Jazirat al Arab, and contains a more clearly marked Arz Filisitin extending northward for about half the Syrian coast. The text accompanying these maps describes the boundaries of Palestine, made up of the two sanjaqs of Gaza and Jerusalem: In the southwest the border goes from the Mediterranean and al Arish to the Wilderness of the Israelites [Sinai]. In the southeast it is the Dead Sea [Bahar Lut] and the Jordan River. In the north it goes from the Jordan River to the borders of Urdun as far as Caesarea. Celebi describes Palestine as the noblest of the administrative divisions of Syria. He devotes much of his commentary on the region, which he visited during his pilgrimage to Jerusalem and Mecca in the years 1633-1634, to a detailed description of the main urban centers, their populations, and their rituals. Gaza, Jerusalem and Hebron receive the greater part of his observations in Palestine. In Hebron he notes that the people are divided into two hostile factions the Yemenis or Whites (Aklu) and the Qaysis or Reds (Kizillu). When they clash, the Reds shout ya lahu birr while the Whites cry ya al-maruf. These parties have survived from pre-Islamic times and retain the bigotry of ignorance (al-Jahiliyya).6 Commercial and military needs brought about new standards in nineteenth-century Ottoman mapping. This can already be seen in Mahmud Raif Efendis 1803 Cedid Atlas, published by the Istanbul College of Military Engineering.7 This atlas became a landmark document in the new Ottoman reforms instituted by Selim III in the Nizam-I
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 7 ]

Last Ottoman Map of Palestine, Quds Sherif Mutassarfligi, Filistin, 1914, Istanbul.

Cedid aimed at modernizing the Ottoman administration. Although based on European sources (mainly William Fadens General Atlas), Cedid Atlas contains important Ottoman adaptations of geographic readings in the provinces, as well as a substantial introduction by Mahmud Efendi.8 Two maps of the Syrian districts contained detailed subsections of Filastin and Ard Filastan [sic] as part of Bar al-Sham. Interestingly, in one of these maps (p. 18) Palestine is drawn to demarcate the region separating Ottoman Asia from Ottoman Africa. (This was, of course, before Muhammad Alis campaign in Syria). With the close of the nineteenth century and the start of the twentieth, Ottoman maps become more functional with the objective of making them useful for troop movements and commercial activities. A good example is Anton Lutfi Beyks 1891 map, published by the Khedival Geographic Society in Cairo, which is a specialized map indicating railroads in Syria and Palesitne.9 After 1903 (1327 Rumi) the Dairesi Matbaasinda (government mapping department) began issuing their own specialized maps, among which was a 1904 highly stylized map of the Jerusalem sanjaq.10 By 1912 they had issued a series of

[ 8 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

such maps of the Syrian provinces at a scale of 1:200,000. These included two high quality maps of the Jerusalem and Nablus districts.11 Two years later, just before the Great War, the same department issued a separate map of the Jerusalem Governorate.12 In all of these maps, as noted above, the administrative boundaries of the Jerusalem sanjaq, and later governorate (mutasarifligi), are not the same as the boundaries of the region of Filistin. The former were precisely delineated, the latter were fluid and undefined. The new expanded use of the designation Filistin by the Ottoman military authorities in Risalesi therefore, is novel, but not arbitrary. Ottoman official correspondence makes frequent use of the term Artz-i Filistin to designate the areas west of the River Jordan without confining it to the Sanjaq of Jerusalem.13 The Ottoman definition of the holy land to include the Galilee in fact originates in an earlier period that of the Egyptian military campaign in Syria. In order to establish a unified command against the armies of Ibrahim Pasha in 1830 the Ottoman Porte had taken the unprecedented step of unifying the three Sanjaqs of Jeruslaem, Nablus and Akka (i.e. modern Palestine) under the Governor of Akka, Abdallah Pasha (18181832).14 Both Butrus Abu Manneh and Alexander Scholch retrace to this seminal union the historical basis for the proposal made by the Sultan a decade later, in 1840, with European blessing, of naming Muhammad Ali governor for life of Akka and ruler of the southern Sanjaqs of Syria. This is seen as a preemptive measure most likely taken to ensure his reintegration into the imperial domain. Since the southern Syrian Sanjaqs stretched from Ras al-Naqura in the north to Rafah in the south, this would have effectively made Muhammad Ali khedive of Egypt and Palestine The European Powers pursued this plan for a separate Palestinian entity, and in 1872 succeeded briefly in gaining Ottoman consent to declare that the sanjaqs of Jerusalem, Nablus, and Acre had been united to formthe province of Palestine.15 Thuraya Pasha, then governor of Aleppo, assumed the governorship of the new province. But this plan was short-lived and was revoked by a firman from Istanbul, which cancelled the proposed changes and dissolved the new province of Jerusalem in July 1872, barely a month after Thurayas appointment.16 Both the new Grand Vizier and the government were afraid that the new formation would irresistibly tempt the European powers to intervene in order to control the holy land and place it under their protection. The Ottomans believed that dividing Palestine into two zones (Vilayat Beirut and the Sanjaq of Jerusalem) would diffuse European influence.17 Abu Manneh provides a different interpretation. His view is that Istanbul was still reeling from the shadow of Egyptian annexationist designs. Only three decades had passed since Ibrahim Pasha and his armies withdrew from Syria, and the High Porte believed that placing the province of Jerusalem under the direct rule of Istanbul would create a barrier against another attempt by the Egyptians.18 Whatever the reasons this division of Palestine remained in place until the beginning of WWI.

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 9 ]

Celebi, Arabian Peninsula, Tuhfat al Kibar, Istanbul, 1732.

Ottoman Ethnographic Mapping


The Ottoman Imperial regime viewed Palestine, in ethnic terms, as part of the Shami (Syrian) territories, which at the turn of the century included the provinces of Beirut, Syria and the Mutasariflik of Jerusalem. In administrative terms the name Palestine as used on Ottoman maps of the period was equivalent to Kudus-u Serif mutasarriflik.19 In narrative reports however Filistin was a rather amorphous term synonymous with the holy land, and often extended beyond the boundaries of the governorship, especially in its northern reach. Being the land of Haram al-Sharif, as well as Christian and Jewish holy sites, however, imparted special status to Palestine, which was augmented by the increasing presence of pilgrims from Europe (mostly Christians and Jews) as well as from North Africa and India (mostly Muslims). In Filistin Risalesi the total number of Palestinians in 1915 (1331 Rumi) is assessed at around 700,000, which indicates that the anonymous authors of the treatise added the districts of Akka and Nablus to the Governorate of Jerusalem in their calculation.20 Here we encounter two striking conceptions of native ethnicities. In the narrative descriptions of the people(s) of the holy land, under the term Population (ehalisi), the natives are presented as a mixture of Muslims, Christians, and Jews, with various sects and denominations of each. In the ethnographic map
[ 10 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

that accompanies the text however, the population becomes a an amalgamation of broad nationalities that dominate the scene, with pockets of overlapping sects, as well as ethno-religious groupings that overlap with the nationalities. The map covers the bulk of the Syrian coast and southern Anatolia. The national divisions include Turks, Turkmen, Arabs, and Syrians. The Syrian population covers all of the of Palestinian highlands, Mount Lebanon, the settled population of Tranjordan, and all the Syrian coast up to and including Iskandarun. The Ethnographic Map of Syria and Palestine in Filistin Arabs are the population east of Homs, Risalesi, Military Press, Jerusalem 1915. Hamat, Damascus and the area south of Gaza. Equally intriguing in this map is the distinction between Turks and Turkmen. Turks are the settled population of western Anatolia, Turkmen is the term used for roughly Siwas and areas eastward. These major divisions of the Ottoman Levant into Turks, Turkmen, Arabs, and Syrians are then interspersed with pockets of Druze, Ismailis, Jews, Maronites, Nusseiris, Matawleh, and Rum (Greek Orthodox). How should we interpret these divisions? Contrary to common perception the new Ottoman leadership did not divide Anatolia and the Syrian coast into Turks and Arabs. Rather it assumed that all the subject population belonged to the category of Ottoman citizens. The ethnic division was most likely made according to a perception of ethnicity that distinguished between settled people (Syrians and Turks) on the one hand, and tribal and semi-tribal ones (Turkmen, and other Turks (yakhoud Turki), who require a different military strategy. Nationalism and ethnicity had come to dominate Ottoman discourse, sparking numerous debates in the Ottoman press both in Istanbul and in the Arab provinces after the constitutional revolution. Within Syria and Palestine the rising tide of nationalism focused on the issue of language and the use of Arabic in school curricula as well as in official correspondence (cf. Darwazah, Qadri, and Husari)21. Unpublished war diaries indicate that soldiers and civilians were acutely aware of the identity of local governors and military commanders. Arnauti (Albanian), Suri, Hijazi, Bulghari (Bulgarian), Turki, and Bushnaqi (Bosnian) were commonly made distinctions, although they did not necessarily carry any negative connotation.22 As the war progressed however, complaints against oppressive Turks and the Ottoman yoke were increasingly heard, even though they did not always mean exactly the same thing, since many protestors thought of themselves as Ottoman citizens. The view from the imperial center, however, was different. In her review of the Ottoman revolutionary press Palmira Brummet throws significant light on ethnic stereotyping in the waning years of Ottoman rule. Only the Greeks, Bulgarians, and
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 11 ]

Northern Palestine in Eighth Army Corps Map. Note that in this 1915 map the Northern boundaries of Palestine are the Litani River. Sur is in included in Filistin. Source: Filistin Risalesi, Military Press Jerusalem, 1915.

Albanians were ethnically cast in political caricatures (mostly through dress).23 Arabs were cast negatively only when the circle around Abdul Hamids corrupt advisors (depicted as monkeys in political caricatures), were associated with the old reactionary order. Otherwise the Arabs were often seen as the victims of Italian and British imperialism (in Libya and Egypt), struggling to free themselves and (presumably) to restore Ottoman rule.24 This situation changed drastically after the 1916 Arab rebellion of Sherif Hussein in Hijaz when Ahmad Cemal Pasha and his publicist Falih Rifqi (Atay) began to talk about the Arab betrayal and the stab in the back.25 A distinction continued to be made however between Syrians and Arabs, especially when Syrian soldiers had fought valiantly in the defense of Anatolia in Janaq Qala and Gallipoli. Brummett, as well as Kayali, notes that distinctions in the press were made on the basis of regional, rather than ethnic affinities. In examining satirical cartoons Brummett notes that other than in [the] anti-imperialist form, the Arab is a bit hard to find in these Ottoman
[ 12 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

cartoons. He does not appear as a rabid separatist, demanding an Arab nation from the new regime. He does not appear, as he will in a later era in the West, as a catchall symbol of terrorism and trouble. Indeed, one can scan hundreds of Ottoman cartoons without finding a figure who can be irrevocably tagged as Arab. For that matter, one can scan hundreds of cartoons without finding a figure tagged as a Turk, except where Turk stands as a synonym for Ottoman in general and particularly for an Ottoman as distinct from European.26 But within a few years, during the war, the identification of the Ottoman with the Turk began to be made, starting a process of differentiation and exclusion that led to undermining the legitimacy of the term Ottoman as an all-inclusive concept.

Conclusion: Too Little, Too Late?


The publication of Filistin Risalesi (1915), as a country survey by the Eighth Army Corps almost one hundred years ago, calls for reflection and evaluation. This almanac is unique since it focuses on a region, Filistin, that did not constitute an administrative unit in the Empire. Palestine at that time encompassed the province of Jerusalem (which was a formal province) and substantial areas to the north (which were parts of another province, Beirut). The most significant aspect of this document is that it expanded the boundaries of Palestine to include the Galilee and parts of southern Lebanon, up to the Litani river. The Ottomans were cognizant of the ideologically alluring aspect of the holy land in the eyes of the Allied forces. They were also aware, through their German and Austrian allies, of Western imperial interests even before the release of the terms of the Sykes-Picot agreement, in October of 1917. They certainly became alarmed, above all, by the Allied designs to turn the Arab provinces of the Empire into French, Italian, Russian, and British zones. Thus the redefinition of Palestines boundaries was aimed in part at pre-empting this segmentation. The fact that Filistin Risalesi draws on, in much of its topographic and demographic data, on French and British military country books of the holy land, as well as other Levantine regions, does not make it less Ottoman. The strategic planners in the Eighth Army Corps command used this information in order to create a manual that was meant to serve specifically Ottoman objectives both military and civilian. This can be gleaned from the survey of water, agricultural and road system networks; but more importantly from the manner in which the local population, its religious and social composition, as well as their traditions, were described and classified. Risalesi suffers from a degree of orientalist imagery in its conception of religious and ethnic minorities, and in the way ethnicity and religion are overlapped. Beyond these conceptions, there is an assumption of Ottoman citizenship that sets apart this manual, and other similar salnameh type almanacs, from British and French army manuals of enemy territories discussed in the first part of this essay. The discussion of the ethnic composition of the native population in Palestine, therefore, is treated
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 13 ]

here as an extension of social categories of Ottoman groups, one that existed also in Anatolia and Syria, though in a different population mix. A good example of this distinction is when the anonymous author of Risalesi refers to the Jews of Syria as being composed of local Israelites who were Arabic speaking, in contrast to Jews who were non-Ottoman pilgrims and migrants who spoke Yiddish and Russian. As far as the Arab population is concerned the most important distinction made by the treatise is between Syrian (Suri) and Arab (Arep), with the former constituting the bulk of the coastal population including both urban Syrians and peasants. The term Arab was reserved for the tribal formations east of Salt and Hawran, and extending to the periphery of major urban centers in Iraq. Thus we have three categories of Arabs in Ottoman thinking during the war period: The Arabs of Hijaz and Iraqi tribesmen who betrayed the Ottoman state by allying themselves with the English; the Arabs of Libya, Egypt and Morocco, who were seen as heroically resisting the Italians, French and British imperialists in order to join their Ottoman motherland; and the tribal Arabs, urban who lived east of Syria. An amorphous distinction was made between the Syrians (whose forces fought with the Ottomans in Gallipoli and Suez) on the one hand, and what might be called generic Arabs on the other, who were seen as savage and unreliable. Clearly this distinction was very largely an ideological category and did not always have conceptual coherence, since after the great Arab Revolt many Syrians joined the Arab rebellion under the banner of Arab nationalism. Enough Syrians (including Lebanese, Palestinians, and Trans-Jordanians) however remained within the ranks of the imperial order to lend some legitimacy to this distinction. It should be added here that this ambiguity about who is an Arab was not peculiar to the Turkish political and military elite. The word Arab, indicating Bedouins and tribal formations was common to many, if not most intellectuals in Egypt and Bilad ash-Sham for much of the nineteenth century and the first decades of the twentieth. From the perspective of the imperial capital (one hesitates to say the Turkish side since the Istanbuli intelligentsia were not entirely Turkish) the situation was equally complex. Despite Arab (as well as Greek and Armenian) nationalist attacks on the Turanic tendencies emerging within the ranks of the Committee of Union and Progress (CUP), the idea of Turkishness, for much of the earlier period, was problematic to the new Ottomans. As Sukru Hanioglu states the young Turks refrained from formulating a nationalist theory involving race during the formative years of their movement[t]here is little doubt that this was because, in the Darwinist racial hierarchy, Turks were always assigned to the lowest ranks.27 References to Anatolian peasants were infused by indications of backwardness in both the Arabic and Turkish lexicons. The contingencies of WWI changed all of this since the Ottoman state, under CUP control, began to use Islam as a mobilizing factor against the allies, as well as a motif to undermine the legitimacy of Hijazi challenges against the secularism of the Young Turks and the new constitution. It was in this period that Muslim identity became paramount in Ottoman public discourse as a marker of citizenship, and the ethnicity of minorities became recognized as an indicator of separateness.28 This was the prelude to the Republican construction of the
[ 14 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

new secular Ottoman-Turkish citizenship having an Islamic core. The political context of Filistin Risalesi was the attempt by the new Ottoman leadership to redefine its relationship to the Arab provinces, and to Palestine in particular. The failure of the Suez campaign, and the hardships inflicted by the war on the local population after 1915, including the impact of the coastal blockade against the Syrian provinces by the Allied forces, produced a backlash among Ottoman Arabs. This galvanized the forces that sought autonomy within the empire, and encouraged secessionist forces to flaunt the idea of independence with considerable French and British support. The ruthless behavior of the Fourth Army under Ahmad Cemal Pasha, as well as the brutal activities of Envers Special Forces (Teskilat Mahsusa) among Arab nationalists, who were a minority at the beginning of the war, were decisive factors in the slide towards separatism. We have witnessed here how the Ottoman leadership sought a reconciliation with the Arab population after 1916, first by appeasing the Hijazi rebellion under Sherif Hussein, and later by removing Ahmad Cemal and appointing Mersinli Mehmet Cemal in his place. The style and content of Risalesi, which was drafted under the command of the Lesser Cemal (kuchuk), indicate that Palestine was a paramount territory in Ottoman civilian and military strategy, and that the Ottoman leadership saw the province and its population as a core region in the empire. Contemporary writings by Arab writers in Beirut, Damascus and Jerusalem (soon to be forgotten and expunged) show that the appointment of Mersinli Cemal reflected a welcome shift in their attitudes towards Istanbul and Ottomanism, signaling the beginning of reconciliation, and a new era of Arab-Turkish relations. But, as already noted in the conclusion of the first part of this essay, Muhammad Izzat Darwazah himself a veteran supporter and member of the CUP astutely remarked, it was the correct shift, executed too late.29

Salim Tamari is editor of the Jerusalem Quarterly. His Year of the Locust: The Erasure of Paletines Ottoman Past, was published recently by University of California Press.
List of Maps Consulted 1. Kuds al Sharif and the Syrian Coast (Detail) in Piri Reis, Kitab al Bahriyya, Istanbul, 1513. 2. Katip Celebi, Ard Filistin (Detail) 1732 Tuhfat al Kibar fi Asfar al Bihar, Istanbul. 3. Ard Falastan, Afriqyia (detail) Atlas Cedid, Istanbul, 1802. 4. Anton Yusif Lutfi Beyk, Kharitat al Sikak al Hadidiyyah Bil Mamlakah al Uthmaniyyah, 1891 (Khedival Society of Geography), Cairo. 5. Boundaries of Northeren Filistin, Filistin Risalesi 1915. 6. Ethnographic Map in Filistin Risalesi, 1915. Research for this paper was supported by a grant from the Friends of the Institute Palestine Studies, spring 2010. The author wishes to thank Irvin Schick, Edhem Eldem, Hasan Kayali, and Sibel Sayek for their comments on Filistin Risalesi; and Muhammad Safadi for his expert translations from the Ottoman Turkish. My gratitude also to Alex Baramki who accompanied me through the mazes of the Library of Congress, to the Cartography Department of Cambridge University, and the Geography and Map Division of the Library of Congress, and to Professor Ertugrul Okten and Bahcesheir University in Istanbul for providing me with facsimiles of Katip Celebi Maps of Anatolia and Syria.

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 15 ]

Endnotes 1 See especially Kharita Dairatsi Matbaasinda Tabaa Idilishder, 1328 (1912), Kudus; Kudus Sherif Sinjaghink Haritah, no date; Ottoman Map of Palestine, 1917 the Boundaries of the Jerusalem Governorate; source: R. Tekin, Y. Bas, Osmanli Atlasi, Ekim, Istanbul, 2001. 2 Filisitin Risalesi, 1-2. 3 Hakan Anameric, History of Maps and Important Map Collections in Turkey; http:// www.worldcat.org/title/history-of-mapsand-important-map-collections-in-turkey/ oclc/560648187&referer; p. 4. 4 Ktip elebi, and Idris Bostan. 2008. Tuhfetl-kibr f esfril-bihr: deniz seferleri hakknda byklere armagan. Ankara: T.C. Basbakanlk Denizcilik Mstesarlg. 5 Bekir Karliga and Mustafa Kacar, Seventeenth Century Syria and Palestine in the Book of Jihannuma, Bahcesir University, Istanbul, 2010, p. 37. 6 Celibi, quoted in Bekir Karliga, p. 41. 7 Cedid Atlas, Tabhane-yi Hmayunda (Istanbul, Turkey), William Faden, and Mahmud Raif Efendi. 1803. Cedid atlas tercmesi. [Istanbul]. 8 Cedid Atlas, pp. 18 and 24. 9 Anton Yusif Lutfi Beyk, Kharitat al Sikak al Hadidiyyah Bil Mamlakah al Uthmaniyyah, 1891 (Khedival Society of Geography), Cairo. 10 Kudus Sancagi Haritasi [1904]; available in Sarnay, Yusuf. 2009. Osmanl belgelerinde Filistin. Istanbul: T.C. Basbakanlk Devlet Arsivleri Genel Mdrlg, p. 73. 11 Kudus, and Nablus, Harita dairesi matbaasnda tab edilmistir. Sene-i s. m. 1328. 12 Reprinted by R. Tekin and Y. Bas in Osmanli Atlasi, Ekim, Istanbul, 2001. 13 Salhi, Muhannad. 2008. Palestine in the evolution of Syrian nationalism (1918-1920). Chicago studies on the Middle East. Chicago: Middle East Documentation Center, 28-29. 14 Schlch, Alexander. 2006. Palestine in transformation, 1856-1882: studies in social, economic and political development. Washington, D.C.: Institute for Palestine Studies. 15 Scholch, 13-14. 16 Scholch, 14. 17 Scholch, ibid.

18 Butrus Abu Manneh, The Rise of the Sanjaq of Jerusalem, in Ben-Dor, Gabriel. 1978. The Palestinians and the Middle East conflict. Ramat Gan: Turtledove Publishing, p. 24-26. 19 R. Tekin, Y. Bas, Osmanli Atlasi, Ekim, Istanbul, 2001. 20 This is close to the number arrived at by Justin McCarthy in his Ottoman Palestine. This is the number of Ottoman nationals, which excludes foreigners residing in the holy land at the time. 21 Darwazah, Muhammad Izzat, 1971. Nashat al-harakah al-Arab yah al-had thah: inbiathuha wa-mazahiruha wa-sayruha f zaman al-Dawlah al-Uthman yah ila awail al-Harb al-Alam yah al-Ul : tar kh wamudhakkirat wa-dhikrayat wa-tal qat, Sa da: al-Maktabah al-Asr yah; , Qadri, Ahmad, 1993. Mudhakkirati an al-thawrah al Arabiyah al-kubra: 1375 H/1956 M. Damascus, Ministry of Culture; Husri, Abu Khaldun Sati ,1957. al-Bilad al-Arab yah waal-dawlah al-Uthman yah: muhadarat. [Cairo]: Jamiat al-Duwal al-Arab yah. 22 See for example the diary of Ihsan al Turjman, a soldier in the Fourth Army, in Tarjuman, Ihsan Hasan, Salim Tamari. 2008. Am aljarad: al-Harb al-Uzm wa-mahw al-madi al-Uthmani min Filastin. Bayrut: Muassasat al-Dirasat al-Filastiniyah. 23 Brummett, Palmira Johnson. 2000. Image and imperialism in the Ottoman revolutionary press, 1908-1911. SUNY series in the social and economic history of the Middle East. Albany, N.Y.: State University of New York Press. Pages 69, 322. 24 Brummett, 70, 322-32. 25 See for example, Atay, Falih Rfk. Ates ve gnes. [Istanbul]: Halk Kitaphanesi, 1918; and Cemal Pasha. 2000. Memories of a Turkish statesman, 1913-1919 (1922). Kessinger Publishings rare reprints. Whitefish, MT: Kessinger Pub. 26 Brummett, 323. 27 Hanioglu, M. Sukru. 1995. "The Political Ideas of the Young Turks," in The Young Turks in Opposition, Oxford: Oxford Univ. Press, pp. 200-212. 28 Brummett, 324-325. 29 Altay Atli, Turkey in WWI, Order of Battle, http://www.turkeyswar.com/oob.htm.

[ 16 ] Shifting Ottoman Conceptions of Palestine

Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem


Abdul Karim Abu Khashan
This is the second part of Abu Khashans exploration of the French writer and traveler Pierre Lotis journey to Palestine in 1894. The first installment, Pierre Lotis Journey Across Sinai to Jerusalem, 1894, appeared in the Autumn 2010Issue 43 of Jerusalem Quarterly.

Glorifying Jerusalem while lamenting its lost splendor, Loti commences this volume1 with an epigraphic first chapter: Jerusalem! What dying splendour clings about the name! How it radiates still, out of the depths of time and dust! Almost I feel that I am guilty of profanation in daring to place it thus, at the head of this record of my unbelieving pilgrimage. Jerusalem! Those that have walked the earth before me have already found in it the inspiration of many books, books profound and books magnificent. All that I am going to try to do is to describe the actual aspect of its desolation and its ruins; to tell what, in our transitory epoch, is the degree of effacement suffered by its great and holy shade, which a generation soon to come will no
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 17 ]

Portrait of Monsieur X (Pierre Loti) by Henri Rousseau (1844-1910), kept at Kunsthaus Zurich, source: wikimedian Xommons.

longer be able even to discern. Perhaps I shall tell also of the impression of a soul my own which was amongst the tormented spirits of this closing century. But other souls are in like case and will be able to follow me; we are of those whose lot it is to suffer the gloomy anguish of the present day, who stand on the brink of the dark chasm into which everything seems destined to fall, there to perish utterly; who nevertheless can still descry, in the scarce distinguishable distance, rising out of all the outworn trappings of human religions, the promise of pardon which Jesus brought, the consolation and the hope of heavenly reunion. Oh! Surely nothing else had ever any reality. All the rest is void and negligible, alike in the theorisings of the great modern philosophers as in the arcana of millenary India and in the visions of the inspired and marvelous seers of the early ages. And thus, out of the depths of our despond, there continues to ascend towards Him who once was called the Redeemer a vague, desolate adoration. Verily my book will not be able to be read and endured save by those whose great grief it is that they once possessed and now have lost the Only Hope; by those who, doomed as I to unbelief, come yet to the Holy Sepulchre with a heart full of prayer, with eyes filled with tears, and, for a little while, would linger, kneeling, there2 Lotis opening chapter of his book Jerusalem is more than just a literary introduction to an ordinary journey. Instead, he contemplates a journey delving deep into that place for which so many people yearn and to which so many pilgrims flock, hoping to gain redemption. Yet Loti sets himself apart from these faithful pilgrims in his unbelieving pilgrimage while retaining the sense of a quest, perhaps hopeless, for a spiritual peace in Jerusalems great and holy shade a shadow that may be effaced in the coming generation. Jerusalems mountains, valleys and plains, and even dwellings, are, for Loti, all part of a scene sunk deep in time, but a time that is passing. Born in 1850 and dying in 1923, Loti sees himself as amongst the tormented souls of this closing century, a figure staring into a dark chasm. Pierre Loti experienced acute internal bouts of spiritual and psychological conflict, even while making this pilgrimage. He constantly expresses his lack of belief and weakened religious convictions, particularly when contemplating the simple believers around him as they perform their religious rites with unshaken faith and piety, untinged with doubt. Loti regards such people whether Christian, Muslim, or Jew with some misgiving, even derision. When he compares his behavior with theirs he feels that his spirit has forsaken him, and his faith abandoned him, leaving his soul to disintegrate into dust and be blown away by the wind. As Loti narrates his account of the journey, always recording the exact day in 1894 at the top of each entry, he aims not only to provide chronological progression and continuity though this is extremely important but also to express his vision, to epitomize the attitude of his contemporaries as well as those who will come after
[ 18 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

him. He seeks to cast all that within the framework of the dialectic between life and death, faith and unbelief, and the linking and disjoining of heaven and earth. As we travel with him, we can discern, through Lotis almost photographic lens, particulars of human behavior and manner of living, including what people eat and drink, and what they wear. We enter with him into the mirror of ourselves, though we know beforehand that Loti does not tell the whole truth.

From Gaza to Bayt Jibrin


Loti offers some interesting details of his journey from Gaza to Jerusalem. The Kurdish Ottoman governor of Gaza had helped him, assigning two men from the military garrison to accompany him through the vineyards and groves of Gaza. He describes the water sellers (saqqa) he saw crowding around the wells and loading their donkeys with full sheepskin water bottles. He then heads northeast of Gaza city in the direction of Hebron, making a small detour from the road to Jerusalem in order to visit the tomb of Abraham. Given Lotis unbelieving pilgrimage, it is notable that he was extremely assiduous in setting all his observations and remarks against a Biblical background, particularly the narratives of Jesus. Perhaps this is only to be expected of one writing for a French audience intimately linked to a Biblical vision. Yet Lotis description does not stop at presenting scenes of the Holy Land and recalling relevant verses from both the Old and New Testaments. He goes beyond that to see those locations as lands stolen from him and his crusader forefathers. He regards every stone in a house, every dome atop a mosque, every rock set in a wall, as witnesses to that loss. Edward Said remarks on this same phenomenon in Orientalism: In contrast [with his British counterpart] the French pilgrim was imbued with a sense of acute loss in the Orient. He came there to a place in which France, unlike Britain, had no sovereign presence. The Mediterranean echoed with the sounds of French defeats, from the Crusades to Napoleon.3 Loti was clearly aware that the Holy Land belonged to all its inhabitants, the adherents of all three monotheisms. He also knew that the majority of the inhabitants were Muslims. Yet, like so many of his predecessors, he continuously expresses unease at the Muslim presence in this land, while apparently not realizing that many of the local inhabitants are Christian. It is telling to consider Lotis mixed reaction to the muezzins call to prayer, where he expresses irritation and perhaps loss, but also calls it exalted. Even when he feels in harmony with the people (the Palestinians) whom he encounters, whose generous hospitality and warm welcome he constantly acknowledges, there is an undercurrent of deep-seated unease that mars his spiritual journey, making him aware that there is another vision, a different culture, that occupies this place and shapes its identity. At the end of the first day, 26 March 1894, Loti arrives at the heights overlooking a Palestinian village, Bayt Jibrin. He halts before the beautiful verdure of the plants, blossoms and trees that fill the valley of Bayt Jibrin, to exclaim,
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Truly a valley of the Promised Land, flowing with milk and honey. Green it is, with the exquisite green of springtime, of a meadow in May, amid its hills, which olive-trees, vigorous and superb, cover with another green, magnificently somber. On one of the hills stands the little old Arab village to which the innumerable herds are brought for the night. While our camp is being set up, on the tall flowered grass, there passes before us an endless procession of cattle and sheep, which climb to the enclosure of its earthen walls, conducted by long-robed, turbaned shepherds, like saints or prophets. A number of children follow, carrying tenderly in their arms the new-born lambs. The last that come to plunge themselves into the narrow streets of dried mud are many hundreds of black goats, which make their way in a compact mass, like a long unbroken trail, of the colour and sheen of a raven. Truly it is amazing what this hamlet of Bayt Jibrin is able to hold! And as all these beasts pass, a wholesome odour of the stable mingles with the perfume of the peaceful countryside. The pastoral life in olden times is still to be found here the life of the Bible, in all its grandeur and simplicity.4 This pure, spiritual occasion could have inspired Loti with all the positive significations of the Holy Land. Here is a little hamlet, a visual manifestation of the Promised Land imbued with the imagery of grace and repose. Yet very soon afterwards Loti transforms the moment, as the mood degenerates into an opposite one of estrangement and gloom following the muezzins call to dawn prayer: At about two oclock in the morning, when the night casts its darkest shadow over this country of trees and herbage, the sound of voices singing, very plaintively, very softly, issues from Bayt Jibrin, passes over us, and dies away in the distance of the sleeping and fragrant fields: an exalted call to prayer, reminding men of their nothingness and their death. The muezzins are shepherds standing on their earthen roofs, and they sing all together in a kind of perpetual fugue; and always it is the name of Allah, the name of Mahomet, surprising and gloomy, here, in this land of the Bible and of Christ5 One might say that Lotis personality appears enigmatic and contradictory to the careful reader. In his writing Loti appears to be divided against himself. At one instant he describes a moment of spiritual illumination and emotional serenity, then he suddenly reverses himself to reveal the other side of the occasion, a most pessimistic and nihilistic side. One might call this the Adamic syndrome, after Adams dissatisfaction with the felicity of Eden that drove him to disobedience and the loss of the garden, leaving him grieving and yearning for his lost paradise. One scholar notes the turmoil in Lotis personality as a writer, explaining it by what he called the aesthetics of ruins.6 It is an interpretation of what Loti senses is the
[ 20 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

collapse of the visible world into nothingness and chaos. He had treated this theme in his prayer-like address to Jerusalem at the beginning of the book, surveying history through present circumstances to arrive at one and only one certainty: death, and the void, terms that for him always destroy the beauty of the occasion, plunging him into endless existential anguish.

Bethlehem, Town of Dreams, Town of the Old East


Loti describes a moment where dream and reality intermingle when he first sights Bethlehem on the distant horizon: And all at once, very high in front of us, on the summit of one of the most distant of the pearl-grey mountains, appears a little pinkish-grey town, vague of colour and outline, like a town of dreams, seeming to be almost too high up above the low regions in which we are; cubes of rose-coloured stone, with minarets of mosques and steeples of churches and our guide with his indolent Arab gesture points to it and says: Bethlehem! Bethlehem! There is still such magic in the name as to blur our vision. I rein in my horse so as to drop behind, for tears come into my eyes as I contemplate the sudden apparition; seen from the depth of our ravine of shadow, raised high amid those cloud-like mountains, it calls to us like a supreme fatherland. One would not have imagined these tears, which yet are sovereign and not to be denied, infinitely desolate and yet strangely soothing too, a last prayer, beyond all utterance, a last homage of remembrance, at the feet of the Comforter we have lost.7 Upon entering Bethlehem this poetic depiction gives way to a realistic and more immediate visual scene, an instance of what may be called description from within: . But Bethlehem is still, at least in certain quarters, a town of the old East in which there is much that is interesting to be seen. As at Hebron, cubes of stones, vaulted with stones, and looking as if they had no roof. Passages, narrow and dark, where our horses slip on the large, shining paving stones. High blunt walls that seem to be as old as Herod. In these walls a few, a very few, little arched windows.8 Lotis rapturous devotion to Bethlehem in the earlier passage clearly represents the encounter in his mind between the real and imaginary town of dreams, a site of pilgrimage. The panoramic beauty of this pinkish-gray town set in pearl-grey mountains, is vividly evoked, but it is the beauty of history and scripture that bring tears. Thus, when Loti experiences the city at close range as a town of the Old East, his reaction is close to shock, or let us say the uniting of the self with its object. The concrete
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 21 ]

Loti on the day of his reception at the Acadmie franaise on 7 April 1892. Photographer unknown, photo in public domain.

details of a living town pull the picture out of its imaginary framework and into actual visual and sensory perception. When this happens the scene loses much of its visionary radiance and degenerates into physical sight that looks closely at commonplace details under roofs and between walls. As the poet Mahmoud Darwish put it, the way home is more lovely than home. The culture of the traveler or tourist, even of the pilgrim, has its own standards against which it measures experience. These models and norms usually belong to a foreign culture, that of the traveler, and anything that does not conform to or approximate them can be perceived as alien or even condemnable. In all cases it becomes a matter of perplexity or wariness. Here is Loti describing the apparel of women in Bethlehem at that time:

The beauty and costume of the women constitute the special charm of Bethlehem. Pink and white, with regular features and eyes of black velvet, they wear a tall rigid headdress, spangled with silver or gold, which is something like the hennin of our Middle Ages, and covering this a veil la vierge of white muslin, which falls in ample religious folds. The sleeves of their jackets, which are usually of some striking colour and covered with old-fashioned embroideries, are cut short above the elbow so as to display the very long pagoda sleeves, tapering to the wrist after the fashion of our fifteenth century, of the under robe, which falls straight to the feet and is generally of a dark green. In these costumes of past ages they move about, slow, upright, noble - and, with it all, very simply pretty all of them, under the whiteness of these veils which accentuate a strange resemblance, especially when they carry in their arms a little child: one might imagine, at each turning of the dark old streets, that he saw appearing the Virgin Mary, such as she is shown to us in the pictures of our Primitives.9 This view of the women of Bethlehem undoubtedly has a religious frame of reference, corresponding to the widely-known depictions of the Virgin Mary in Western art, including from Lotis contemporary Renoir in his Assumption of the Virgin. Yet Loti indirectly alludes to the archaism of such dress. By calling the women simple Loti
[ 22 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

seems to imply backwardness. While linking the special charm of Bethlehem to the beauty and costume of the women, he does not discern that the charm of Bethlehem and the elaboration of womens dress emerge from a living culture with distinct features. As Jacques Berque, a twentieth-century French scholar on the Arab world and Islam, observed, the culture of the masses, or what is called folklore, is a nations true culture. This is because such a culture finds its expression in people who might not know how to read and write, so that we can find people who are cultured to the core, yet are illiterate. This was prevalent in various Islamic countries. Conversely, it is possible to find many countries where there is no illiteracy whatever, yet the people are without any culture either.10

Arrival in Jerusalem: the Debris of Every Epoch


Loti leaves Bethlehem for Jerusalem on 29 March 1894. The weather was stormy and very cold, with heavy rain and strong winds. His first impressions of Jerusalem were thus hardly joyous. Even when the rain temporarily ceased, clouds would engulf the surrounding hills in a thick and blinding fog that kept him from viewing the distinctive panorama of the city. As Loti draws closer the general outlines of the city begin to appear. To the left is a desolate view of humble, plain dwellings. To the right the main features of the city and its numerous arches become visible through the famous wall that has distinguished the city in various forms across the ages. To make things worse, in addition to the heavy rain, which prevented Loti and his companions from fully experiencing their approach to the holy city, they are met at the entrance by a loud train whistle that startles his mount and breaks the flow of his thoughts. Then, We reach at length a deep hollow, at the foot of an ascending road, between the commonplace and pitiful mass of buildings which cover the hill on the left hotels, a station, factories and the tenebrous embattled walls which cover the hill on the right. People of all nationalities encumber the approaches: Arabs, Turks, Bedouins; but most numerous of all are white faces from the north, which we had not expected to see, long blond beards under fur caps, Russian pilgrims, poor moujiks clothed in rags.11 Clearly Loti was discomposed and in no mood to accept the place for what it is. He continuously compares the actual scene with the deeply imbedded image he had formed through reading and the exercise of his imagination. Loti looks for the vision he had previously formed from a wealth of verbal descriptions, visual representations, and tales: stiff and formalized images that bear little relation to the city teeming with humanity. Despite, or perhaps because of his crisis of faith, Loti made sure his arrival coincided with a religious season, that of Easter. Yet this compulsion was not the
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 23 ]

only one that drove him to endure so much suffering and expose himself to the many dangers that beset this journey. We must also recognize a literary compulsion that is not often taken into account: Lotis skill at description, particularly of exotic sites, and his love of travel literature, generated in him a powerful incentive to write. His writing is not merely a record of the visual scene before him, however significant that might be. He goes beyond that to infuse his description with personal feelings, and to express his vision and philosophy through that admixture. Most important of all is his talent for employing a truly remarkable vocabulary, through which he is able to arrest his readers attention in outstanding descriptive passages. Add to this the exotic and unfamiliar nature of the scenes he contemplates, chords he often strikes, using them intelligently, albeit with more than a bow towards the stereotypical image of the Middle East precipitated through the ages since the Crusades. Entering Jerusalem was potentially an occasion for a profound exploration of the physical setting and for a historical and spiritual contemplation of its significance. Yet Loti preoccupies himself and his readers with what he sees as the desolate faith of the local inhabitants, with denigrating their religious symbols, and with the Arab and Muslim tendency to steal the property of others, including religious symbols. Perhaps this would not surprise us if we recall that Lotis first audience was intent to preserve and perpetuate their stereotypical views of Arabs and Muslims. Thus, when he and his companions visit the al-Aqsa mosque and the Dome of the Rock, he finds desolation, indeed a melancholy desert, even while standing awestruck in front of the Mosque of Omar. We make our way through narrow streets, dismal in spite of the sun, between old window-less walls, made of the debris of every epoch of history, with here a Hebraic stone, there a Roman marble. As we proceed the character of the place becomes more ruinous, more empty and more dead, until we reach the sacred quarter, infinite in its desolation, which encloses the Mosque itself. All its approaches are guarded by Turkish sentries, who bar the way to Christians. Thanks to the janissary we pass through this fanatical ring, and then, by a series of dilapidated little gateways, reach a gigantic platform, a kind of melancholy desert, with grass growing between the flagstones, in which no human being is to be seen. It is the Haram-esh-Sherif (the sacred enclosure).12 But then Loti concludes his description of the Haram-al-Sharif both with the enchanted palace of the Mosque of Omar and with a tendentious allegation that the surrounding buildings have been constructed from the ruin of Christian churches: In the centre and at a considerable distance from us, who have entered at one of the corners of the enormous square, stands, solitarily, a surprising building, entirely blue, of a blue exquisite and rare, which look like some old enchanted palace covered with turquoises. It is the Mosque of Omar,
[ 24 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

the marvel of Islam. With what a grand and austere solitude the Arabs have contrived to surround their blue Mosque! . As we advance into this solitude, paved with large white flagstones and yet overgrown with grass like some cemetery, the covering of the blue Mosque becomes more distinct: it seems as if the walls were overspread with variegated jewellery in open-work, half of pale turquoise and half of vivid lapis, with a little yellow, a little white, a little green, a little black, soberly employed in very fine arabesques. Among some withered cypresses, some very old, dying olives, a row of secondary kiosks, scattered about the centre of the esplanade, make a sort of retinue to the marvellous Mosque in their midst: little marble mihrabs, slender archways, little triumphal arches, a colonnaded kiosk, which also is coated with blue jewellery. And all this, so broken down by the centuries, so melancholy, with such an air of abandon, on this immense square where the spring now has placed around all the flagstones garlands of daisies, buttercups and wild oats! On a close view, one perceives that these elegant and frail little Saracen buildings have been made out of the ruins of Christian churches and ancient temples; the columns, the marble friezes are all incongruous, taken here from a chapel of the Crusades, there from a basilica of the Greek emperors, from a Temple of Venus, or perhaps from a synagogue.13 One may say that Lotis contradictory view is focused on the external aspects of the place. He does not linger for long before the spiritual and symbolic significance of places or people, ignoring, perhaps deliberately, the asceticism and stark simplicity of Muslims, and of Islam generally, in matters relating to external ornamentation, even though these are matters to which Loti attaches great importance in other works, as we have shown earlier. Perhaps what attracts Lotis attention as a literary figure and a writer of travel literature, and also as the interpreter of one of the pillars of French culture, the fine arts are the scenes aesthetic qualities of order and harmony. He pauses lengthily before the fine miniatures in the Dome of the Rock, describing the intricate artisanship that had gone into the intermingling of colors and materials, and going into detail about the use of gold, marble and precious stones, as well as the tapestries and Persian and Turkish carpets that cover the interior halls of the mosque. Yet the human element is almost entirely absent. The actual worshippers, their rituals and prayers, remain for him accessories, secondary and insignificant intrusions in relation to his focus of interest. This is not to say that Loti totally neglected the cultural values of Islam and the Islamic concepts that inform local social traditions. In the first part of this study, (see JQ 43) we noted how he contrasted his observations of social justice and fraternity among the Muslims of Turkey against the slogans current in France, preferring the actual application of these principles in Turkey to the lip service they receive in France. But what interests us here is the absence of such considerations in Lotis
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 25 ]

writing about the Arabs of Palestine, a matter which will be investigated in a study of Lotis La Galile (1896) that we hope to undertake at a future date. Meanwhile, in Jerusalem, our attention is drawn to Loti as he tours the old city in the evening, experiencing varied emotions as his ears are beset by church hymns closely followed by the voice of the muezzin in the holy month of Ramadan: The canticles of the Sisters of Zion can no longer be heard, but other religious cries, excited and strident, ascend together from different points of the town, traversing the air like far-flung rockets: the muezzins, singing the Moghreb! Oh, Jerusalem, holy for the Christians, holy for the Mussulmans, holy for the Jews, a sound of lamentation and of prayer goes up from thee unceasingly!... 14 At another point, when Loti and his companions enter the church of the Tomb of the Virgin Mary, he provides a detailed description, remarking on the stairwells antiquity and acrid smell of damp, but more astonished to find a corner next to the tomb set aside for Mahometans, as he calls Muslims: . And in a corner near the tomb, among the so many Christian symbols, there is even a little mihrab for Mohammedans, who cultivate, as we know, a special devotion to the Lady Mary, Mother of the Prophet Jesus.15 Rather than noting the symbiosis of Muslim and Christian worship, here, he seems to disapprove of the Babel that is Jerusalem in his description of the funeral of a Russian archimandrite taking place there that evening: Near us who are watching him, standing against the old iron gates are some Mussulmans, on their knees, their backs turned disdainfully on the procession, praying to the Lady Mary before descending to her tomb. They wear the green turbans of pilgrims who have been to Mecca; their grouping and their prayers constitute an element of purest Islam, which mingles quaintly with the old Russian orthodox rites of this procession. The whole thing is characteristic of this Babel that is Jerusalem.16

At Gethsemane
Loti is most deeply moved when he arrives at the church of Gethsemane. He recalls the story of the Passion that he had heard and read hundreds of times before finally reaching its setting. He pauses long moments in reflection, attempting to absorb the mix of imagination and reality:

[ 26 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

I would have preferred silence. For the first time in my life, with feelings strangely stirred, I am about to visit that place the mere name of which, even at a distance, exerted a deep and moving spell; and I did not look to see all these people.17 Loti proceeds with his account of the visit to Gethsemane, surprising us with a condemning reference to its guardian monks, and a characteristic expression of disillusionment: To gain admittance to the Garden of Gethsemane, which is situated some yards farther on, at the side of the Mount of Olives, we have to knock at the door of a convent of Franciscan monks who are its jealous guardians .[The garden] contains eight olive-trees which must be at least a thousand years old, if indeed they were not contemporary with Christ but they are enclosed within rails lest the pilgrims should pluck their branches. decked with the common flowers of spring, yellow gilliflowers and anemones. But there is now nothing in this little enclosure to remind us of the great past. The monks have done this wonderful thing: they have made of Gethsemane a mean and trivial thing. And one leaves it with a disillusion the more and a heart of stone.18 Obviously Loti's pilgrimage to Jerusalem was a quest for some glimmer of faith. He attempts to hearken to the inner call that spurs him to seek certain sites, under the guidance of scripture and certain exegeses and commentaries. Thus he relays some detailed historical explanations and analyses by a priest in a white robe who resides in Jerusalem (le Pre Blanc), whose elucidations go beyond an individual interpretation of scripture to an analytically historical view that does not fit in well with the more literary account of this pilgrimage. Here he is discussing certain sites, historical periods, and how the Church of Gethsemane and its environs changed over time: On an evening of this same season of spring, at the end of a day such as this, Jesus must have passed this very spot! Evoked by the identity of place and season and hour, there comes suddenly into our minds a vision of this ascent of Christ to Gethsemane. The wall of the Temple which has now become the wall of the Haram-esh-Sherif stretched above there then as it does now, outlined perhaps against similar clouds. Its lower courses, composed of the great stones of Solomon, were those that we still see; and its southern corner, which overhangs the abysm so superbly, rose into the sky at the same place. Only all this was then larger, grander, for these walls of the Temple, buried now some seventy feet in the prodigious accumulation of earth and debris, used to be a hundred and twenty feet high instead of fifty19

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 27 ]

Pierre Loti and the Jews


Pierre Lotis attitude towards the Jews is thoroughly influenced by the Christian religious narrative. Although he occasionally admits pity, he is mocking and derisive. The mainspring of Lotis attitude is the belief that the Jews committed the greatest sin by crucifying Christ, and in what follows we will look at some repercussions of this view: It is Friday evening, the traditional hour at which, every week, the Jews repair to weep, in a place specially conceded to them by the Turks, over the ruins of that Temple of Solomon which shall never be rebuilt. And we want to reach this place of wailing before nightfall. After the empty ground, we arrive now at narrow little streets littered with refuse; and, finally, at a kind of enclosure, filled with the movement of a strange crowd which wails in a low, rhythmic chorus.20 Loti then proceeds to describe the place where the Jews gather on Fridays to make their lamentations. He accepts the view that the Wailing Wall is part of the Temple of Solomon, citing the monstrous uniform blocks as evidence of that. He then depicts the Jews standing against the wall beating their foreheads against the stones and murmuring a kind of tremulous chant.21 Next he describes their garb and features employing typical nineteenth-century European stereotypes: The robes are magnificent. Black velvets, blue velvets, violet and crimson velvets, lined with valuable furs. All the caps are of black velvet trimmed with long-haired fur which throws into shadow the blade-like noses and the sinister eyes. The faces, which half turn to look at us, are almost all of a special, almost an uncanny ugliness; so narrow, so emaciated with eyes so cunning and tearful, under eyelids heavy and dead!22 One passage from this section has Loti bringing together the various elements that constituted the contemporary racist stereotype of the Jew: In penetrating thus into the heart of Jewry my chief impression is one of astonishment, discomfort, almost of fear. Nowhere have I seen such an exaggeration of the type of our sellers of old clothes, rabbit-skins, and odds and ends; nowhere, noses so pointed, so long and so pale. I have a fresh shock of surprise each time one of these old backs, vaulted in velvet and fur, makes a half-turn and a new pair of eyes gives me a furtive, sidelong look from between hanging curls and from under spectacles. Truly the crucifixion of Jesus has left an indelible stigma. Perhaps it is necessary to come here to be fully convinced of it, but it is beyond dispute that that there is some
[ 28 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

particular sign imprinted on these foreheads, a brand of shame with which the whole race is marked.23 Loti continues with his discourse on the Jews, their prayers, invocations, and wailing, even quoting the chant of the rabbi and the congregations responses. He dwells on the aged Jews, who have come here to die, raising their arms and shedding hot tears, yet he remains unmoved by their plight, comparing them unfavorably to the Arabs whom he had so recently denigrated: In issuing from this haunt of the Jews, where one experiences, despite himself, I know not what childish fears of robbery, of the evil eye and witchcraft, it is a pleasure to see once more, instead of bowed heads, the upright and noble carriage of the Arabs, instead of skimped robes, ample and flowing draperies.24

Pierre Loti: An Orientalist with a Difference?


In attempting to answer this question we will need to highlight certain aspects of Lotis experience. All writers, particularly those whom we consider great, have their own style and vision, and will not replicate anothers experience. Yet at the same time a writer may be influenced and build on anothers work. Writing about the orient became a widespread phenomenon in the nineteenth century, and was undoubtedly linked, amongst writers and statesmen, to non-literary spheres such as economics, religion, and politics. Inasmuch as Napoleon had been influenced by the writing of certain orientalists, so his 1798 campaign might have consequently inspired many writers to head eastward and record their views and ideas concerning this orient that is at once so near and yet so mysterious. Lotis account of his journey to Jerusalem was certainly influenced by the huge mass of chronicles and literary works that had been piling up since the time of the Crusades. Furthermore, despite his wide travels and his affection for the region, I do not believe that he held a radically different attitude towards the people, geography, or culture of this orient than his peers. In many respects he failed to escape the superiority complex that taints the work of his orientalist predecessors, and his characterizations of Arabs as savage Bedouins have the arrogant mark of the privileged Frenchman and naval officer that he was. Yet there were differences in a more minor mode. As a writer, he had not only a distinct literary style but also remarkable ability to interact with his subject to the point that he appears self-contradictory, even schizophrenic, in his writing. His contradictory views of Islam suggest its attraction for him, as well as repulsion. Considering that composition for him was a highly emotional state rooted in movement and place, he is often an exceptionally vivid narrator, albeit one that we must sometimes consider unreliable. Nevertheless his ability to strike something of a balance between narration and description does distinguish his style to the point that prompted some to
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 29 ]

compare him to Marcel Proust. In his journey to Jerusalem he was able to present loss and disappointment with a degree of confession and honest self-revelation that makes his account more lasting than the diatribes of many a nineteenth-century European traveler.

Abdul Karim Abu Khashan is an Assistant Professor at the Department of Arabic Language and Literature at Birzeit University. Translated from the Arabic by Alex Baramki.
Endnotes 1 My discussion of the authors preceding work, Le Dsert, Pierre lotis Journey Across Sinai to Jerusalem, 1894, appeared in Jerusalem Quarterly, 43 (Autumn 2010), 18-30. 2 Pierre Loti, Jerusalem, trans. W. P. Baines (New York: Frederick A. Stokes Co., [1930]), 1-2. All subsequent references are to this edition. This undated early 20th century English translation reflects the style and vocabulary of Lotis late 19th-century French. The original spelling has been retained. 3 Edward Said, Orientalism (New York: Vintage Books, 1978), 169. 4 Loti, Jerusalem, 4-5. 5 Loti, Jerusalem, 6. 6 Henri Le Maitre, Dictionnaire Bordas (Paris: Bordas, 1985), 1431. 7 Loti, Jerusalem, 23. 8 Loti, Jerusalem, 26. 9 Loti, Jerusalem, 26-27. 10 Jacques Berque, Il Reste un avenir: entretiens avec Jean Sur (Paris: Arlea, 2002), 127. 11 Loti, Jerusalem, 38-39. 12 Loti, Jerusalem, 59-60. 13 Loti, Jerusalem, 60-62. 14 Loti, Jerusalem, 82. 15 Loti, Jerusalem, 104. 16 Loti, Jerusalem, 106-107. 17 Loti, Jerusalem, 107. 18 Loti, Jerusalem, 109. 19 Loti, Jerusalem, 113-114. 20 Loti, Jerusalem, 115. 21 Loti, Jerusalem, 115-116. 22 Loti, Jerusalem, 116. 23 Loti, Jerusalem, 117-118. 24 Loti, Jerusalem, 120-121.

[ 30 ] Pierre Lotis Perplexed Pilgrimage to Jerusalem

The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness: The ArtasJerusalem Water Conflict of 1925
Vincent Lemire

Jerusalem water works. Peasant watering his donkey. Source Library of Congress.

The drought that afflicted Jerusalem in 1925 was a crucial moment in the history of the holy city and of British Mandate Palestine. The facts may be briefly summarized as follows: on 25 May 1925, after a particularly dry winter, the Mandate government decided to divert almost all the water resources of Artas village to Jerusalem. On 9 June, the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Arab Congress vigorously protested to the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel against what they explicitly called Zionist spoliation. The Artas case, first adjudicated before the Palestine Supreme Court, was sent back in 1926 to the Privy Council of London, Britains highest judicial body.1 This development, though generally ignored by historians, nevertheless allows one to grasp in very concrete terms some of the constituent elements of an emerging Palestinian national consciousness, while
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 31 ]

The country between Solomons Pools and Jerusalem. Source: John Irwine Whitty, Proposed Water Supply and Sewerage for Jerusalem, London, 1863.

[ 32 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

also illustrating some of the sharp differences that split the Palestinian national movement in the mid-1920s. The emergence of a Palestinian national consciousness is one of the most crucial and controversial topics in the history of the Near East. The debate generally revolves around two complementary issues: one is the question of the actual moment when the Palestinian national awakening occurred, while the other is concerned with determining the constituent elements of this national consciousness.2 Nationalist Palestinian historians promote an early appearance of national consciousness resulting from a fundamentally internal formative process. In contrast, Zionist historians defend the notion of a later appearance of the Palestinian national phenomenon, arising from essentially external elements. The former conceive a national consciousness that is early and endogenous, whereas the latter see it as belated and exogenous. The stakes are understandably high if the controversy is viewed within the framework of the current Israeli-Palestinian conflict: at issue is nothing less than determining whether a Palestinian identity existed prior to the sudden appearance of the Zionist utopia in Palestine, or whether, on the contrary, this Palestinian identity was merely an impulsive reaction to the implementation of the Zionist project. In a recent study Rashid Khalidi rises above this simplistic dichotomy by framing the Palestinian national consciousness within a discursive process.3 In doing so, he particularly focuses on the plurality of actors in this construction, emphasizing the inter-relation of discourses and interests between urban elites and rural peasantry.4 His thesis is directly linked to our proposition: the Artas case actually allows one to observe the affirmation of a nationalistic discourse by the Palestinian peasantry, and mostly to question the ability of the urban notables to relay, frame or encourage this peasant nationalistic discourse. Underlying all this is the essential question of the Arab Executives representativeness, constantly asserted by the nationalists but always rejected by the Mandate authority, in the otherwise somber context of a Palestinian national movement undermined by incessant internal conflicts.5 While the Artas case allows one to restate the distinction between the urban elite and rural peasantry, it also allows one to add water resources as a constituent element of Palestinian national consciousness and land defense. It is well known today that the water issue is one of the unavoidable aspects of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.6 This contention was barely acknowledged during the Mandate, when most debates centered on the Zionist organizations various land conquest strategies. From this perspective, the Artas case constitutes a turning point, marking the awakening of a Palestinian hydropolitical consciousness. In the case of Artas village, specialized for centuries in market vegetable production requiring extensive and constant irrigation, the link between land and water goes far beyond merely rhetorical considerations to become an issue of vital significance.7 The Artas case also reveals certain contradictions that split the Palestinian national movement in the 1920s. This case is particularly complex, as it set Arab villagers in opposition to Jerusalems urban authorities. The dispute not only placed Palestinians in opposition to Zionists; it also revived and reinterpreted the old conflicts between the
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 33 ]

The Artas Valley, location map. Source: Conrad Schick, Leipzig, 1870.

capital city and the hinterland, since Artas valley was always one of Jerusalems main sources of water. What is truly novel here is not so much that Artas peasants were complaining about Jerusalems diversion of their water which they had been doing for centuries but rather that the objection was henceforth made in the name of a Palestinian Arab identity fighting Zionist immigration. What added to the complexity of the Artas case is that Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, a leader of Palestines moderate mayors and a staunch opponent of the Husseini family, was the mayor of Jerusalem. The Arab Executive Committee, which orchestrated the Artas peasants protest, had in effect been led since its creation in 1920 by the aged Musa Kazim al-Husseini, who had been ousted that same year from Jerusalems town hall and replaced by Nashashibi. By siding with the Artas peasants against the Jerusalem municipality the Arab Executive thus settled some old scores along the way. The affair of the Artas water diversion affair therefore offers a particularly enlightening perspective on Palestinian political life in the mid-1920s.
[ 34 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

Rainfall and water crises in Jerusalem (1861-1963) - [relative to the annual average of 640mm]. Source: Historical Archives of the Jerusalem Municipality (HAJM), Water Supply Series, carton 614.

The water crisis of 1925: a historic drought


In order to appreciate fully the extremely high tension surrounding the water issue at the end of the 1924-1925 winter it is necessary to understand the extent of the unprecedented drought that Jerusalem suffered that year. As outlined by Andrew Koch, the Water Services director at the Jerusalem municipality, in his annual report of 20 April 1925, the whole public and official attention is concentrated upon the distressing fact of the unexpected, very serious water shortage and the measures urgently required for the relief of the same. However, the reason for this severe shortage may be attributed to the extremely small rainfall of the present season, 269.7 mm. up to 4 April 1925, which amount is unprecedented according to the official records dating back to 1861. The minimum recorded was in 1869-70, a rainfall of 318.7 mm., i.e. 19 percent more than that of the current year. It must be made clear, therefore, that this extraordinary shortage could not be foreseen and consequently the Administration cannot be blamed.8 Thus the drought of the 1924-1925 winter was literally a historic crisis, and Andrew Koch was prescient in anticipating its political implications: once accused, the administration would have to react with urgency and transparency. Public concern was even more clearly expressed in both the local media and the missionary press, as evidenced by the following passage from an article published in Jrusalem magazine of 24 March: In Jerusalem, it is a calamity, and it is no better in the country at the end of March than it normally is at the beginning of February. Cisterns are empty; potable water is being sold in early spring for the same price it
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 35 ]

General Allenbys hydraulic works, location map. Source: Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement, January 1919.

[ 36 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

sells at in November in bad years, at the rate of two to three piasters per an 18-liter tanakeh (one piaster is approximately equal to one franc). Construction works had to be suspended. The municipality, responsible for piped water distribution, not content with rationing, set a whole program of severe restrictions imposed on garden irrigation, washing of floors, etc.9 One cannot help but be disturbed by this account that vividly recalls some of the Ottoman periods most repressive times. The Palestine Bulletin, whose readership was primarily Jewish, in mid-March began publishing calls to prayer and fasts by the Rabbinical authorities. On 26 March, the newspaper published a petition by the Jerusalem Jewish community which clearly signaled the political turn that events were taking: The Council of Jerusalem Jews (Vaad Hair) has forwarded a memorandum on the water supply shortage to the District Governor. The Council demands that the Government take immediate steps to alleviate the situation and subsequently arrange for a final settlement of the water supply question. The Council offers to assist financially in this matter, if necessary. The memorandum also contains a request that the Jerusalem Jews should be given the right to elect two representatives on the Water Commission.10 The pressure exerted by the Jewish community representatives on the Water Supply Department administrators was henceforth unreservedly and bluntly expressed, with the petition authors going as far as proposing themselves as replacements for the Mandate authorities responsible for the financing of waterworks. This could only be interpreted as the surrender of municipal sovereignty, and hence a provocation to the Arab population. Thus politicizing the water crisis reinforced the communalization of water management, as evidenced by the petitioners demand to have two representatives joining the Water Supply Department Advisory Board. The report written by Andrew Koch in the following year suggests that this demand had been granted: The District Commissioner considered this request favourably and accordingly the Memberships of the Board have been increased by two, the one being received by Mr Ch. Solomon as mentioned above, the other by Dr I. Levy.11 The 1925 water crisis thus served as an occasion for Jerusalems Jewish community to bolster their advantage within the Water Supply Department Advisory Board,12 which henceforth became very tightly controlled by the towns Jewish representatives. This may partially explain the Artas conflict, and also the early acts of sabotage of the Ras al-Ayn water pipeline carried out by Arab nationalists in subsequent years. The result was that water resources management at the town level decreased while the influence of the conflicting interests of one or the other of its communities increased. Faced with pressure exerted by Jerusalems Jewish community Water Supply Department officials reacted by taking a number of emergency measures. In the Palestine Bulletin of Wednesday, 1 April 1925, Andrew Koch explicitly addressed concerns regarding the risk of halting work at construction sites: It is the special desire of the authorities not to interrupt the normal activities of the building trade. Sufficient water will therefore be provided for the continuation and completion of existing building operations, and every effort will be made to provide for new buildings.13 The year 1925 set a historical record for Jewish immigration to Palestine,
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 37 ]

with the arrival of close to 35,000. Jewish demographic pressure became extremely strong, particularly in Jerusalem.14 In addition to the construction of housing for new immigrants, the building of the Hebrew University inaugurated on 1 April 1925 at the top of Mount Scopus constituted a huge development, at the very least as important as immigrant dwellings to Zionist leaders.15 Andrew Kochs report for that year confirms the very special attention given to this building site by the Water Supply Department: special provisory pipeline of 1700 metres had to be laid and also a small portable pumping plant to make possible the supply to these far situated point [Scopus].16 It should be noted that building construction in Jerusalem was not a marginal issue in the controversy between Palestinian nationalists and Mandate authorities, as the Arab Executive Committee largely blamed the spike in construction activity for the increased water needs in Jerusalems Jewish quarters. At the beginning of April 1925 officials in charge of Jerusalems potable water distribution network were therefore faced with a literally catastrophic situation: an unprecedented drought, with barely more than 250 mm of precipitation, as opposed to a hundred-year annual average of 650 mm. The surrounding countryside was also seriously affected, while the Jerusalem Jewish community loudly proclaimed its distress and put pressure on the administration to grant it two additional seats in the decision-making body of the Water Supply Department. To deal with the emergency, water was transported by rail from the Sarafand sources near Ramleh, which forced the authorities to raise by one third the cost of an otherwise deficient distribution service. A report written in March 1926 reveals that a bona fide rationing system was finally put in place at the beginning of June 1925: The outstanding feature of the new system was the opening of a special office, the Ticket Bureau, for the sale, collection and control of water tickets []. Calling at the standpipes, the people were then supplied one tin full of water (4 gals) against every ticket.17 This helps to clarify the motivation behind the diversion of the Artas waters. Compared with the wrath of Jerusalems 70,000 inhabitants, the possible risk of a protest by the 400 inhabitants of Artas would not carry a lot of weight.

Diversion of the Artas waters: requisition or spoliation?


The decree ordering the diversion of Artas waters to Jerusalem was promulgated by the High Commissioner Herbert Samuel on 25 May 1925. The text, which was widely circulated in the local press, was unambiguous: The High Commissioner may by order published in the Official Gazette authorise the Municipality of Jerusalem [] to take for a period not exceeding twelve months the water arising from the spring in the village of Urtas and to use the water for augmenting the supply contained in the Reservoirs of the Board situated at Solomons Pools.18 The requisition, presented as exceptional and temporary, emanated from the highest representative of the Mandate government, who then delegated to the Jerusalem municipal authorities the task of ensuring its implementation.
[ 38 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

The Artas decree consists of five articles, each composed of one or two paragraphs.19 After the first article, intended to affirm the decrees legality,20 Article 2 specifies the conditions of application, which actually reveal a twofold delegation: the High Commissioner authorises the Municipality of Jerusalem or such other authority as undertakes the supply of water to Jerusalem (hereinafter called the Board) to apply the measures proposed in the present decree.21 It is then the Water Supply Department Advisory Board (which, as we have seen, was subjected to much pressure from Jerusalems Jewish community during this crisis) that is really in charge of executing the water requisition measures at Artas. Article 2 goes on to specify that the aforementioned authority will need to ensure that village inhabitants are guaranteed sufficient water for daily needs, i.e. for drinking and other domestic purposes and for their animals, as well as for the irrigation of lands belonging to such inhabitants which at the date of such order are irrigated and planted with trees or other permanent plantations.22 Hence the cultivation of any new land is in effect forbidden for a period of one year; and in particular vegetable crops are explicitly excluded from this arrangement, which only addresses trees and permanent plantations. This twofold restriction on the right to cultivate land will become, as we shall see, one of the main causes of the peasants protest in Artas, as a large part of the villages livelihood derives precisely from non permanent vegetable crops.23 In addition to restricting the right to cultivate land, the decree goes on to limit the right to property. Article 3 specifies terms granting the right of access to Artas private properties by employees of the Water Supply Department: the Board shall forthwith be entitled to enter upon land in private ownerships for the purpose of erecting at or near the spring in the village of Urtas a pumping engine and such other machinery and to lay such pipelines from the said spring to the Reservoirs at Solomons Pools.24 Article 3 then adds to the right of access granted to administration employees the prohibition of access by village inhabitants to certain public areas: In order to ensure the purity of the water to be taken from such spring, the Board shall be entitled to prevent access by the public to the existing Birket [Pool], and for this purpose enclose the Birket with a Fence.25 If one bears in mind the symbolic significance and social function of the water spring in Palestinian villages, one can imagine the indignation felt by Artas villagers who are suddenly denied access to what constituted one of the main focal points of the village, now fenced off and moreover beset by noisy hydraulic machinery. The last two articles in the decree focus on specifying the terms of compensation for any damage seen to have occurred on villagers lands, plantations, or buildings (Article 4), and the conditions of arbitration in case of disputes between parties (Article 5): If any dispute shall arise between the Board and any inhabitant of the village of Urtas regarding the amount of water made available for him for any of the purposes provided for in section 2 or as to the amount of compensation payable to him under Sections 3 or 4, such dispute shall be referred to a single arbitrator appointed by the High Commissioner, and the award of such arbitrator shall be final.26 The right of appeal was here deliberately set aside in favor of a rather odd arbitration procedure in which the High Commissioner who himself took the decision to requisition the
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 39 ]

General Allenbys hydraulic mission: Site photographs. Source: Palestine Exploration Fund Quarterly Statement, January 1919.

[ 40 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

Artas spring becomes both judge and jury. In order to deal with the urgent situation, the Mandate authorities thus entrusted the municipal authority, and more precisely the Water Supply Department Advisory Board, with a discretionary power of requisition, which the Palestinian nationalists did not hesitate to denounce as an arbitrary spoliation of their water resources. Andrew Kochs account for the period from 1 April 1925 to 31 March 31 1926 reports on the actual application of the Artas decree and on the decision-making process that led to it.27 In over three pages, the Water Supply Department director tries to justify the aptness of the requisition, pretending to be astonished by the villagers reaction. However, in describing the existing water infrastructure Koch, probably quite unintentionally, confirms its value and impact on the economic and social fabric of the village: The Urtas Spring is situated at the small village of the same name, at a distance of about 1.7 km to the east from Solomons Pools [] the water is flowing out through an ancient aqueduct cut in the hill, into a small open reservoir whence the drinking supply was taken directly by tins, and the supply for irrigation through open masonry channels.28 It is therefore a true hydraulic system that emerges from Andrew Kochs description, which highlights the symbolic and functional centrality of the spring at the heart of a socio-economic organization that is thoroughly conditioned and whose pace is set by water sharing.29 This equilibrium, according to Andrew Koch, must be temporarily disrupted in order to provide for the needs of Jerusalems inhabitants: The yield of the spring, at 1st April 1925, when our investigations were commenced, was 86.400 gals/day []. With the assistance of the Governments Agricultural expert, it was established that from this daily yield the village is requiring only about 20 percent for the purposes of drinking, domestic use, watering of animals, and irrigation of the existing trees (mostly fruit trees), but excluding the irrigation of vegetables, which part, in our opinion and in view of the great need for water in Jerusalem, was to be monetarily compensated.30 This passage yields two essential bits of information. First, the decision-making process leading to the promulgation of the decree on 25 May 1925, is clearly indicated: it is indeed the Water Supply Department Advisory Board that suggested to the Mandate government to resort to diverting Artas waters, upon which the High Commissioner promulgated the decree. In other words the delegation of authority was directly proposed by the administration that would benefit from it. Second, the restriction on the right to cultivate new land, which was implied in the text of the decree, is much more explicitly stated here: while the irrigation of existing trees seems guaranteed, market gardening, which occupies a very large area of Artas land and secures a vital part of the villagers revenues, will need to be completely suspended for an entire year. If one tours the Artas gardens today, or examines photographs which anthropologist Hilma Granqvist (1890-1972) shot on site between 1925 and 1931, one can easily assess the physical extent and socio-economic importance of market gardening, and thus appreciate the impact of the water diversion decision which the inhabitants felt to be a real provocation.31 From this perspective, Andrew Kochs coldly technical description reveals the harmful noise and environmental damage caused by pumping 5 days in every week, the remaining
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 41 ]

2 days yield being completely left for the villagers for the irrigation of the trees.32 In addition to the quantitative appropriation of spring water, the requisition measure therefore also resulted in an appropriation of time-shares, since peasants should henceforth carry out all their irrigation activities in only two days of the week. A detailed analysis of the Artas Decree and its terms of application therefore enables one to comprehend more fully the reasons for the villagers protest. However, in order to understand their argument correctly, it is necessary to set aside administrative sources and examine the memorandum that the Arab Executive wrote in early June 1925.

The Arab Executives protest: legal and political arguments


The memorandum addressed to the Colonial Office by the Palestine Arab Congress Executive Committee in early June 1925 is an exceptionally rich document. It demonstrates both an awareness of the importance of water networks in the Zionist strategy, and the need to develop a political strategy to confront it. The protest over the diversion of Artas waters was widely covered by the local press, and notably in two full columns on the front page of the Tuesday, 9 June 1925 issue of The Palestine Bulletin.33 The text is well-structured and divided into three parts: a preamble introducing the water crisis; a chronological account intended to demonstrate the expedited and arbitrary nature of the decree promulgation procedure; and finally a political interpretation of the case aimed at extending their understanding of this particular act of spoliation, of which the Artas peasants consider themselves the victims, to encompass the entire process of Zionist colonization in Palestine. The Palestinian nationalists view of the water crisis differs drastically from the version Andrew Koch presents in his annual report. The Palestinian description is clearly less alarmist, and their explanation unmistakably more political: Owing to an insufficient rainfall arising last winter, there is in Jerusalem a scarcity of water. But this scarcity does not threaten to cause a water famine owing to the existence of the Arroub and Solomon Pools water supplies. It imposed, however, a complete lull in the building activity carried to a large extent by and for Jewish new immigrants. The 1925 springtime crisis, according to the Arab Executive, is therefore not a natural catastrophe, considering its origin: one should search for its roots in Jewish immigration and in the urban expansion of West Jerusalem. While Koch was attempting to dramatize and at the same time naturalize the water crisis, Palestinian officials were on the contrary seeking to play down and politicize the event. The numbers corroborate the dissidents version: despite the very severe drought of the 1924-1925 winter, the daily water volume distributed in Jerusalem by the Water Supply Department was never less than 450 cubic meters (April 1925) during that entire period; this volume is comparable to the one supplied, for instance, in 1922, a year during which the water shortage was markedly less severe. The memorandum authors in their preamble readily acknowledge the legitimacy of the Water Supply Departments efforts in helping Jerusalems inhabitants; however,
[ 42 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

in their view, the Artas water diversion project is impossible to justify: But these commendable efforts should not by any means be taken as a legitimate excuse for the Government to legalise the illegal and trample down the uncontested and legally verified rights of the Arab owners, in order to stimulate the building activity in favour of Jewish immigration, which, owing to its unsuitability, had been condemned by the Permanent Mandates Commission of the League of Nations in its last report. The conjoining of the legal and political arguments is evident here: the Artas villagers rights are uncontested, so contesting them is intended to encourage Jewish immigration, which the international community condemned. The period between 1924 and 1926 indeed corresponds to an immigration spike, with 34,000 Jewish immigrants arriving in 1925, as compared with, for example, 8,500 in 1922; 3,000 in 1927; or 2,000 in 1928.34 These numbers speak for themselves: over and above the Arab nationalists natural distrust of the Zionist project, the year 1925 offers evidence, in their view, of a particularly acute threat. Following this preamble the dissidents offer an account of the events that demonstrates the arbitrariness of the measure and emphasizes the villagers spontaneous resistance: About two months ago, the Sub-governor of Bethlehem asked the inhabitants of Artas Village (Muslims and Christians), who are the exclusive and uncontested proprietors of the Artas Spring, to sell all or part of these waters to the Municipality of Jerusalem, for a year. But they instantly and absolutely refused to do so, pointing out that every drop of the said waters was indispensable, for it was barely sufficient to meet the needs of the village and its orchards and cattle which are the only means of their livelihood.35 According to the petitions authors, the villagers categorical rejection of the requisition is justified by an estimate of their water needs that is totally different from that of Kochs: Later, their representatives were brought to the Governor of Jerusalem, and they were informed that the Government has decided to take the waters of the Artas Springs and ordered them not to use these waters for planting vegetables under penalty of a fine []. This highhanded resolution led the poor owners of the said spring to bring an action against the Governor of Jerusalem in the Supreme Court of Justice. Given that all available sources concur on this point, the disparity between Andrew Kochs estimate of the villagers water needs 20 percent of the springs total outflow and that provided by the villagers themselves the entire outflow can therefore be explained by the variable of market-gardening which the peasants hotly argued was vital to their survival while Mandate authorities considered it a non-priority. The account goes on to suggest that the promulgation of the decree was done in a particularly expedited manner, one verging on the illegal: But the Government on finding that its lawless action was bound to be condemned by the Supreme Court of Justice, it enacted and promulgated instantly on the 25th of the same month the Artas Spring Ordinance and published it on the same day in a special and extraordinary number of the Official Gazette, contrary to the usual procedure, whereby the confiscation of the water property of Artas village by itself was legalized.36 Reading this one understands better the sense of precipitous action underlying Andrew Kochs
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 43 ]

report: law, in this case, merely followed the fait accompli and ratified it, which led the Arab Executive to assert that the decree only legalized the illegal. Beyond the legal quarrel, this episode gave Palestinian nationalists the ammunition they needed to develop a much more comprehensive political argument: This procedure clearly shows the fearful absurdity of joining in one hand the two powers of Legislation and Execution as is the case in Palestine. This takes us to the heart of one of the controversies that formed the basis for the institutional paralysis of Mandate Palestine. Following the ratification of the Mandate charter in July 1922, Herbert Samuel had proposed the establishment of a constitution and wanted to proceed with legislative elections; however, the Arab Executive boycotted the process, as they considered that their participation would compel them to recognize the Jewish national home as established fact. In May 1923, in the face of the Palestinian nationalists resolve, Herbert Samuel had to suspend the electoral process, give up moving towards self rule, and continue with the practice of government by decree.37 The question of Palestinian representation, far from being merely an institutional controversy between nationalists and Mandate authorities, was in fact the subject of one of the major political debates among the Palestinian national movements various factions. On one side, the Executive Committee of the Palestinian Arab Congress, founded in Haifa in December 1920 and chaired by the ex-mayor of Jerusalem Musa Kazim al-Husseini, was the proponent of an offensive line categorically refusing the political options offered by the Mandate. On the opposite side, proponents of participation in the Mandate political and administrative system were grouped around Ragheb Bey Nashashibi, appointed mayor of Jerusalem following the dismissal of his predecessor Musa Kazim al-Husseini. This so-called moderate camp, which was frustrated in its attempt to participate in the electoral process at the beginning of 1923, drew its strength from the numerous Palestinian municipalities that it led. With this perspective, one can better grasp the full scope of the institutional denunciation included in the Executive Committees memorandum: the attack was aimed as much at British colonial power as it was at Jerusalems mayor, who was accused of having agreed to a culpable collaboration with the Zionists and Mandate authorities during the failed 1923 elections and again two years later at the time of the Artas water diversion. The Artas affair is therefore particularly revealing of the tensions and internal conflicts that split the Palestinian national movement at the time. A letter kept in Jerusalem Councilor David Yellins personal archives illustrates the position, at the very least ambiguous, of the Mayor of Jerusalem, Ragheb Bey Nashashibi. It concerns confidential mail which Colonel Frederick Herman Kisch, leader of the Zionist Executive in Palestine, addressed on 2 April 1924 to Itzhak Ben-Zvi, one of the most active yishouv leaders and future President of Israel (1952-1963). In it Kisch explicitly asks Ben-Zvi to give up organizing a press campaign against Ragheb Bey Nashashibi. Kisch points out that it would be a grave strategic error, because you are well aware that the Group Nashashibi, Assam Beg etc., who hold Municipal chairs, are on the whole the most favourable to us among the Arab notables in public life.38 This correspondence, among many other documents, supports the theory of Ragheb
[ 44 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

Bey Nashashibis collaboration, perhaps even treason, and corruption. Nashashibis activities were indeed financed throughout these years by subsidies discretely paid by Zionist organizations.39 After this lengthy development dedicated to the legal and institutional aspects of the affair, the last part of the memorandum attempts to synthesize the events political significations, first by drawing parallels between the Artas case and a number of precedents, then by presenting water spoliation as one form of territorial spoliation, and finally by presenting the requisition measure as a discriminatory act. This last part permits the emergence of a true hydro-political doctrine from within the nationalist discourse. To this end, the memorandum authors applied their theory to the whole of Palestine, claiming that the requisition of the Artas waters sounded the alarm for the entire Palestinian peasantry: The lawlessness of the Palestine Government manifested in the usurpation of the water property of the inhabitants of Artas terrified all Arab inhabitants. For, there can be no difference in principle, law or sharia between those who usurp the water property of its rightful owners and those who usurp them of their other legitimate properties.40 The Artas affair was therefore presented as a classic cautionary tale regarding Zionist territorial appropriation strategies, and the water dispossession was presented as a means among many others of territorial dispossession. The explicitly formulated parallel between land and water usurpation thus allowed the development of a mobilization call specifically directed at the peasantry. In order to interpret the Artas waters diversion as an act of spoliation rather than requisition the memorandum authors still had to demonstrate that this measure did not aim to serve the public interest, but on the contrary benefited only one segment of the population, in this case Jerusalems Jewish community: It cannot be contended that the said ordinance is of public interest []. The spoliation [of] property, it should be noted, is affected in order to provide mainly Jewish quarters, which were allowed to be built without constructing cisterns therein for the gathering of rain water, as all Arabs have been doing for ages past, for in Jerusalem this is a necessity.41 This ultimate phase of the argument is of critical importance, as far as we are concerned: It shows that an awareness of the water networks strategic dimension henceforth would support, within the Palestinian nationalist discourse, a global denunciation of the process of demographically judaizing Jerusalem. The memorandums final argument is quite solid indeed. All available sources attest to the increasing disparity in water distribution and use between Jerusalems Jewish and Arab neighborhoods. In fact, Jewish quarters were not as well-equipped with private cisterns, had less access to the traditional water storage and distribution infrastructure, and had relatively greater need for water due to their widespread adoption of modern standards (bathrooms, toilets). In contrast, and if only because of their relative age, Jerusalems mainly Arab quarters were much better equipped with private cisterns, were better served by traditional sources of water supply (Haram reservoir, water vendors), and had relatively less need for water, mostly due to the persistent survival of traditional hygienic facilities and practices, such as the use of hammams (public bath-houses).42 Obviously Jewish neighborhoods relied more
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 45 ]

Potable water distribution network in the late 1930s. Source: HAJM, Water Supply Series, carton 619.

heavily on the municipal water supply network than Arab neighborhoods. Moreover, the scarcity of private cisterns in the western part of the city can be partially explained by the municipal authorities distrust of a storage mode that does not meet the highest western hygienic standards. Other sources have also confirmed this marked disparity in water distribution and consumption, such as an article from Jrusalem magazine of 24 March 1925 that states: Such drought took everyone by surprise, especially after a period when building without private cisterns had not only become prevalent but also favored, supposedly to force people to use municipal water. One thought one could do without rainwater, having been able to collect very little of it; but one had not realized that without rain, sources themselves dry up; and here we are, especially with the influx of immigrants and habits imported from Europe, suddenly under the threat of lacking water, even the minimal amount that is vital to ones survival!43 The
[ 46 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

conclusion reached by Jrusalem confirms point by point the one arrived at by the Arab Executive Committee members: although the 1925 water crisis was triggered by a significant drop in rainfall, it nevertheless had much deeper structural causes. These causes were in effect political (in the broader sense of the term), since Jewish immigration largely contributed to an increase in water needs, while during that same time, the evolution of construction practice tended to reduce the newcomers capacity for water self-sufficiency and subsistence. The microcosmic Artas affair thus illustrates and embodies a number of major evolutionary developments pertaining to the Palestinian national movement, the city of Jerusalem, and the Mandate authorities exercise of power as well. Concerning the Palestinian national movement, the Artas affair first highlights the fundamental fact that the mobilization of the peasant masses during the 1920s occurred within the framework of a global expansion of the movements social base. This mobilization did not of course emerge ex nihilo, as other examples before the First World War have been noted by historians;44 however, the Mandate period was undoubtedly the stage at which the Palestinian peasantrys nationalist commitment turned into a mass movement.45 The Artas affair therefore deserves to be considered as one of the seminal conflicts of the period, especially that it added to the traditional discourse on land defense the original variation of defense of water, which was to become one of the main pillars of Palestinian nationalist ideology in subsequent decades. The Artas affair is also indicative of the narrow definition, within the Palestinian nationalist strategy, of the political and legal arguments. This was obviously one of the reasons for the rhetorical effectiveness of the nationalist declaration and its success in inspiring respect, but its narrowness can also be seen as one of the reasons for its successive tactical failures. The Artas affair also offers very many lessons concerning the city of Jerusalem. On a general level, the Arab Executives memorandum focuses attention on the process of demographic judaization of the holy city in the context of a marked surge in Jewish immigration during the fourth aliya. On a more specific level, the Artas affair clearly delineates a true socio-hydraulic border between the citys eastern and western sectors. The history of water in Jerusalem therefore appears to be particularly relevant to the understanding of ongoing global evolution: right before our eyes, and in a concrete and tangible form, the rift between the citys eastern and western halves was transformed into a true fault line.46 Even when one avoids oversimplification, it remains true that the contrast which Palestinian nationalists described here is evidence of a real process of communal polarization of the urban fabric. One should note that this widening gap between the western and eastern parts of Jerusalem cannot be explained only by polarization. During the same period and in numerous other Mediterranean cities one could observe a comparable process of urban split between a town labeled, depending on the case, as new, modern, European, or western, and a town that became, in contrast, the old or ancient town, the medina or eastern town, without resorting to a community-based interpretation to offer an explanation of a phenomenon bound to the course of colonial history and to complex historical processes of evolution.47
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 47 ]

Jerusalem potable water distribution network in 1919. Source: Jerusalem Water Supply, 1:20000, London,1919.

[ 48 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

Finally, the Artas affair shows, in a particularly riveting way, the political and institutional bind in which the Mandate government placed itself in the early 1920s. Its inability to set up truly representative institutions, capable of relaying and framing the political debate, encouraged conflicts to become inter-communal. A cross-analysis of the two petitions pertaining that year to the water dossier is, from this perspective, particularly enlightening. In March 1925, the Council of Jerusalem Jews (Vaad Hair) exerted pressure on the municipality to permit them to strengthen their influence within the Water Supply Department; in June 1925, the Palestine Arab Congress Executive Committee protested against the spoliation of Arab water to the advantage of Jerusalem Jews. The fundamental contradiction in the Mandate is quite obvious here: the two parties, even on an issue of general interest such as the supply of potable water, define themselves in purely communal or nationalistic terms. Finally, we will see that the legal epilogue to the Artas affair, which was played before the Supreme Court in Jerusalem and later before the Privy Council of London, confirms the political and legal bind in which the Mandate government found itself.

Is the Artas Decree discriminatory? The complaint formulated by the Palestine Arab Congress Executive Committee was brought before the Palestine Supreme Court of Justice by the famous lawyer Moghannam Moghannam, an ardent defender of the Palestinian national cause and himself a member of the Executive Committee.48 On 9 June the Palestine Bulletin indicated that the complaint was deemed admissible, and that the Supreme Court had jurisdiction and was, in legal jargon, seized of the case.49 On 25 June the Palestine Bulletin, on its front page, informed its readers that the verdict rendered in the Artas case found the Government at fault.50 Two main arguments justified the invalidation of the decree: first, the Artas water diversion was a discriminatory measure, since all of its victims were Arab and most of its beneficiaries Jews; and second, the limitation on the plaintiffs right of appeal does not guarantee the impartiality of future arbitration decisions in cases of litigation between villagers and the Mandate authority.51 One can see that the two basic arguments of the Arab Executives complaint were adopted word for word by the Palestine Supreme Court judges. Pumping of the Artas waters, as we know, had however started as early as 1 June, and the Supreme Court judges granted that the appeal process that was immediately initiated by the Mandate government provided sufficient grounds for suspending their own decision. So, to put it plainly, pumping could continue until the higher appellate court the Privy Council in this case renders a final decision. On 16 February 1926, more than eight months after the start of the affair and with the pumping of the Artas waters continuing uninterrupted, the Privy Council of London, which had jurisdiction over all territories administered by the British Crown,52 set aside the invalidation adjudicated in the first instance by the Palestine Supreme Court, and ruled definitively in favor of the Mandate authorities: The
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 49 ]

Judicial Committee of the Privy Council today allowed the appeal by the District Governor of the Jerusalem-Jaffa District and the President of the Jerusalem Water Supply Commission from an order of the Supreme Court of Palestine restraining them from taking water from the Springs at Urtas, a village in the neighbourhood of Jerusalem. Their Lordships decreed that the order of the Supreme Court should be set aside and the petition dismissed and that the respondents should pay the costs of the proceedings, including the cost of the appeal.53 This brutal reversal is a perfect illustration of the internal contradictions within the Mandate. The Artas decree, in these circumstances, was the subject of two diametrically opposed readings by the Palestine Supreme Court and the Privy Council: to the former, the Artas decree was clearly discriminatory; according to the Palestine Supreme Court judges, the Artas source requisition deprived its Arab owners of their legitimate rights in order to provide for Jerusalems Jewish community, thereby calling into question the equity that should guide the Mandate authoritys actions. As for the Privy Council judges, they acknowledged the theoretical relevance of the argument but asserted that in this case, the discriminatory aspect of the measure cannot be invoked.54 The judicial epilogue of the Artas affair therefore allows one to get to the heart of the Mandates internal contradiction, which may be summarized as an incongruity between rights and facts. The Supreme Court judges reason in fact, whereas those of the Privy Council reason in law. The former noted that, de facto, the victims of the water diversion were Arab and the beneficiaries Jewish, which led them to believe that the measure was, de facto, discriminatory. The latter, in contrast, remained faithful to the legal fiction of a Palestinian nationality, as stipulated for example in Article 4 of the British governments declaration of 11 January 1923.55 This legal fiction led them to believe that, de jure, the water diversion measure could not be discriminatory. The microcosmic Artas affair demonstrates that the apparent stability of the 1920s cannot conceal the two contradictions intrinsic to the Mandate: on the one hand, the British presence in Palestine stems from a colonial logic which remains within the framework of international law; on the other, the promise of a Jewish national home appears to be utterly incompatible with the official position on the defense of the general interest in Palestine.56 This twofold contradiction forced Mandate authorities to resort to multiple contortions in order to make successive pledges to one or the other of the concerned parties. In his annual report for 1926-1927 Andrew Koch attempted to present a pacified version of the Artas events. As expected, pumping had ceased at the end of May 1926 so as not to exceed the twelve-month limit set by the decree, and the authorities were eager to appear magnanimous in the final settlement of the dispute: On the 26th May, 1926, the pumping was definitely stopped, and very soon afterwards the whole pumping plant removed and disposed of. Concerning the controversies, which were caused by the stiff resistance of the villagers of Urtas, against the use of a part of the water by us, and which resulted in a lawsuit entered by the villagers against the Government, it is now gratifying to state that by the very generous and tactful action of the Government, the whole matter was settled in a friendly way and the villagers were released from heavy expenditures
[ 50 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

which otherwise, by the terms of the juridical decision, should have been borne by themselves.57 The Artas affair, all the way to the terms of its final settlement, is a prime example of the contradictions within Mandate politics: a messy and confusing alternation between vexing measures and appeasing gestures, between intimidation maneuvers and attempts at conciliation. In subsequent years, and until 1936 and the inauguration of the Ras al-Ayn water supply network serving Jerusalem, the same culpable ambiguous acts would recur in the hydro-history of Jerusalem, an excellent lens through which to view its global political history.

Vincent Lemire is matre de confrences in contemporary history at luniversit ParisEst/Marne-la-Valle. His current research interests include the 19th and 20th century archives of Jerusalem, the contemporary Near East, and environmental history. His latest book, La soif de Jrusalem. Essai dhydrohistoire, 1840-1948, (Publications de la Sorbonne, 2011) was reviewed in Jerusalem Quarterly 46 (Summer 2011). Translated from the French by Maya Yared.
Endnotes 1 Artas village is located just below the three Solomons Pools, on the road between Bethlehem and Hebron, approximately twelve kilometers south of Jerusalem. This is where biblical tradition locates the famous Hortus Conclusus, King Solomons Closed Garden. Sources use different transliterations for this same toponym, variously rendering it as Ortas, Artas, and Urtas. 2 Rashid Khalidi, Palestinian Identity: The Construction of Modern National Consciousness (New York: Columbia University Press, 2010). 3 Eric Hobsbawm, Nations and Nationalism since 1780: Programme, Myth, Reality (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1990); Ernest Gellner, Nations and Nationalism (Ithaca: Cornell University Press, 1983); Benedict Anderson, Imagined Communities: Reflections on the Origin and Spread of Nationalism (London: Verso, 1991). 4 Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, 89-90. 5 Henry Laurens, La question de Palestine, tome 2, Une mission sacre de civilisation (19221947) (Paris: Fayard, 2002), 67. 6 Julie Trottier, Hydropolitics in the West Bank and Gaza Strip (Jerusalem : PASSIA, Palestinian Academic Society for the Study of International Affairs, 1999). 7 Artas village was the subject of numerous monographs, due to the biblical tradition of Hortus Conclusus, to the proximity of Solomons Pools and to its special soil. The 1925 conflict between the villagers and the Jerusalem municipality was not covered however in the scholarly literature on the subject which was mostly dedicated to the anthropological and cultural aspects of the village. Worthy of note in this bibliography are: Philippe James Baldensberger and Frederic Lees, The Immovable East: Studies of the People and Customs of Palestine, (London: Sir I. Pitman & sons, ltd., 1913); Hilma Granqvist, Marriage Conditions in a Palestinian Village, Helsinki: Akademische buchhandlung, 19311935); Jamal Bargouth, Muhammad Jaradat, and Nazmi Jubah, The Cultural Landscape of Artas, Solomons Pools and the water supply of Jerusalem from the Roman period till today [in Arabic] (Ramallah: Ruwaq, Markaz alMimar al-Shabi, 2002). Also worthy of note is the very important work by Ida Falestin Sheikh-Shehadeh-Nali, La mmoire et loubli Artas: un lment de lhistoire rurale de la Palestine, 1848-1948, (PhD diss., University of Provence Aix-Marseille I, 2007). 8 Historical Archives of the Jerusalem Municipality (HAJM), Water Supply series (WS), c. 615, report no. 3 (March 1 1924 March 31 1925), 1 9 La scheresse en Terre Sainte, Jrusalem, May-June 1925, 348. 10 The Palestine Bulletin, March 26, 1925, 3. 11 HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 35-36. 12 Of the eight Water Supply Department Advisory Board members, four were Jewish,

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 51 ]

13 14 15

16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29

30 31

32 33

34 35

three British, and only one was Arab, none other than the citys mayor Ragheb Bey Nashashibi. The Palestine Bulletin, April 1, 1925, 3. Laurens, La question de la Palestine, 7476 (Le foyer national juif au temps de la quatrime aliya). There are numerous accounts of Jerusalems Hebrew University inauguration. All official speeches are published in The Palestine Bulletin special edition of April 2, 1925. HAJM, WS, c. 615, report no. 3 (March 1, 1924 March 31, 1925), 22. HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 26 (Standpipes and ticket bureau). The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. The text of the decree is reproduced in its entirety on a full page in The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Article 1: This Ordinance may be cited as the Urtas Springs Ordinance, 1925, The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Article 2, The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Article 2, The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Bargouth, Jaradat, and Jubah, The Cultural Landscape of Artas, 72-85. Article 3 (1), The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Article 3 (2), The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. Article 5 (1), The Palestine Bulletin, May 31, 1925, 3. HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 14-16 (Urtas pumping station). HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 14-16 (Urtas pumping station).. Fabienne Wateau, Partager leau. Irrigation et conflits au nord-ouest du Portugal (Paris: CNRS ditions: ditions de la Maison des sciences de lhomme, 2002), 39-43 (Les infrastructures dirrigation). HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 15. Hilma Granqvist and Karen Seger, Portrait of a Palestinian village: Photographs of Hilma Granqvist (London: Third World Centre for Research and Publ., 1981). HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 4 (April 1, 1925 March 31, 1926), 15. The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1 (Arab Executive Protests against Water Ordinance). All subsequent quotations are taken from this page. Laurens, La question de la Palestine, 74. The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1.

36 The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1. 37 Laurens, La question de la Palestine, 31, 4246. 38 C.Z.A., A.153/143/2 (David Yellins personal archives), Frederick Herman Kisch to Itzhak Ben-Zvi, April 2, 1924 (confidential copy addressed to David Yellin). 39 Laurens, La question de la Palestine, 62-67 (Husseini et Nashashibi). Nashashibis defense was specifically presented in a biography written by Raghebs nephew: Nasser Eddin Nashashibi, Jerusalems Other Voice: Ragheb Nashashibi and Moderation in Palestinian Politics, 1920-1948 (Exeter: Ithaca Press, 1990). I would like to thank Nasser Eddin Nashashibi for the interviews he was kind enough to grant me at his Jerusalem home in May 2003. 40 The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1. 41 The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1 42 In particular the Hammam al-Shifa, located at the core of the old city, in close proximity to the Suq al-Qattanin (Lucien Golvin, Quelques notes sur le Sq al-Qattnn et ses annexes Jrusalem, Bulletin dtudes Orientales (Institut Franais de Damas), 20, (1967): 101-117. 43 La scheresse en Terre Sainte , Jrusalem, May-June 1925, 348 . 44 Khalidi, Palestinian Identity, 116-117. 45 It is well known that the keffiah, symbol of Palestinian resistance since 1938, was borrowed from peasant dress between the two world wars. (See Laurens, La question de Palestine, 396.) 46 See the two diagrams of Jerusalems potable water distribution systems for 1919 and 1930. 47 Odile Goerg and Xavier Huetz de Lemps, La ville europenne outre-mer, in Histoire de lEurope urbaine, t.2, ed. Jean-Luc Pinol et al. (Paris: Seuil, 2003), 277-551. 48 The Palestine Post, February 26, 1933, 3, indicates for example that Moghannam Moghannam was received the day before by the High Commissioner as a member of the Arab Executive, and that he pleaded the cause of the Danoum villagers who, according to him, were burdened by excessively high taxes. Moghannam Moghannam is also the spouse of the famous feminist activist Matiel Moghannam, author of The Arab Women and the Palestinian Problem (London: Herbert Joseph, 1937), who organized the first womens protest in Jerusalem, which took place on 26 October 1929. At the creation of the National Defense Party in December 1934, Moghannam Moghannam would join Raghib Bey Nashashibis partisans (New Arab Party. Ragheb Bey as a Leader, The Palestine Post, December 3, 1934, 1.)

[ 52 ] The Awakening of Palestinian Hydropolitical Consciousness

The Palestine Bulletin, June 9, 1925, 1. The Palestine Bulletin, June 25 1925, 1. The Palestine Bulletin, June 25 1925, 1. F.S. Perles, British Crowns Judicial Powers: The King as a Supreme Court, The Palestine Post, June 14, 1945, 4. 53 C.Z.A., S.22 / 229, February 17 1926 (Jerusalem Water Supply: Palestine Supreme Courts Decision against Urtas Ordinance set aside: Privy Councils Decision). 54 C.Z.A., S.22 / 229, February 17 1926 (Jerusalem Water Supply: Palestine Supreme Courts Decision against Urtas Ordinance set aside: Privy Councils Decision). 49 50 51 52

55 Cited by Laurens, La question de la Palestine, 25. 56 Roger Heacock, Le systme international aux prises avec le colonialisme: les dlibrations sur la Palestine dans la Commission permanente des Mandats la Socit des Nations, in The British and the French Mandates in Comparative Perspectives ed.Nadine Mouchy and Peter Sluglett (Leiden; Boston: Brill, 2004), 129-142. 57 HAJM, WS, c. 619, report no. 5 (April 1, 1926 March 31, 1927), 20 (The Urtas station).

Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 53 ]

In Colonial Shoes:
Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo 1 Palestine
Sophia StamatopoulouRobbins

Introduction: The Toilet Bowl Graveyard


A strange and unexpected kind of waste fell across my path as I set out to research what I had neatly packaged for myself as the politics of waste management in the West Bank. It was late 2009 when an American friend introduced me to it on one of my first days in Jenin. Oh, youre interested in trash? Youll love this place, its full of it! And we were off. What struck me most when we finally made our way through an orgy of fresh fruits and vegetables, sold off stands and carts in Jenins hisba market, was the scene of what my friend called the toilet bowl graveyard: rows and rows of porcelain bowls, no seats, out on the open concrete. Most were white, a couple pastel blue and pink. Down an alley below a building with a bombed-out second floor we passed a mismatched set of electric hospital beds and lightweight metal room separators. They

Close-up of used goods in Jaffa's pishpushim market. All pictures in this article were taken by the author.

[ 54 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

were lined up next to TVs and worn-out shoes laid out on sheets. Piles of clothes, also on sheets, punctuated every block or so of this central, if evidently separate, market. I had thought that by investigating the everyday workings of waste (qua sanitation) I might be able to understand better the reshuffling of individual, community and government ethics, rights and responsibilities, that has characterized the political landscape in post-Oslo Palestine. Upon arrival, it hit me fairly quickly that before deciding whom to interview, what archives to delve into and in what practices to become included as a good anthropologist-in-training I first had to decide what I meant by waste (another anthropology must). Peoples suggestions provoked me: What about the way the occupation is designed to waste our time? And the waste of international aid when the army stops projects or the donor hires German experts instead of local ones? I tried to keep my focus on sanitation. Sewage, of course, was sewage. Few would refute its trans-historical, universal demand to be managed, whatever the technologies of time and place. With the right access to archives, municipal councils, engineers and talkative friends, tracing the genealogy of its management could be fairly straightforward. But why garbage (what today is called solid waste)? And how does the toilet bowl graveyard, each used bowl exchangeable for a few dozen shekels, fit into the story? This essay aims to unravel elements of the dense mix of anxieties, assumptions, and social and material relations to which the circulation of used goods in Jenin has given rise over the past half-century. In doing so, it asks what it means for the politics of everyday life today that many Jenin residents went from receiving humanitarian hand-outs to buying colonial hand-me-downs. It also explores the particular forms of ambivalence with which each type of used goods is spoken about today. Finally, it proposes some initial thoughts on how the post-Oslo amputation of the West Bank from Israel which occurred in the decade of transition from hand-outs to hand-medowns has made it possible for Israeli discards to develop an afterlife in places like Jenin. It asks: what impacts, from Jenins perspective, has this massive transformation had on everyday rhythms, priorities and expectations in peoples lives?

I. Souq Al-Baleh
Circulations: Passover in Jenin That first visit to the toilet bowl graveyard became one of dozens of hours I spent in Jenins souq al-baleh over the next two years. One of the shops I would sit in is Mustafas. Mustafa sells tea sets, salad bowls, blenders, flat screen TVs, crystal balls and even menorahs. One hundred percent of what he sells comes from across the Green Line mainly from the two equivalent baleh markets in Jaffa and Haifa.2 Theres no polite way to say this the stuff is garbage. On the shelves in Jenin, of course, its spotless. But its source is unmistakable. Half an hour away in Haifa, or two hours away in Tel Aviv, Israeli Jews3 throw the unwanted material foundations of their
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lives away on what seems, to Mustafa, like a daily basis. Some days are better than others. Passover is the best time of year for baleh markets across the West Bank. Jewish traditions of renewal, along with encouragement from the Israeli loan industry, mean that many throw out the contents of their homes couches, computers, paintings everything, Mustafa tells me, in order to buy new ones. It works just as well when someone dies or moves. A Tel Aviv, or Jerusalem, or Haifa municipal truck comes around and collects the discards from beside dumpsters. When I mentioned this to Israelis, I would get a shrug of confirmation. A quick personal anecdote usually followed. Everyone seemed to be participating in the system: Yael4: Like the rest of the world, we clean in the Spring. And now, a couple of weeks before Passover, there are specific rules about how we have to clean. Its all written downSo people go around cleaningthey even clean the corners of the house with a toothbrush. SSR: And things like furniture? She nods. Yael: They take everything out of the house and repaint the whole house inside. And then buy new furniture. SSR: Isnt that expensive? Getting new furniture every year? Yael: Well, maybe not every single yearBut also thats when the big sales are. Her daughters partner chimes in: Shoni: Its the magic of credit my dad totally believes in it! He thinks that instead of paying, hes just doing this action. (She moves her hand in a side to side swiping gesture). Its not real money for him.5 Local sanitation workers sell what they collect, wholesale, to someone who rents a square of ground marked by a grid of four yellow lines of paint on the cobblestones of Old Jaffa to whats called souq al-bashboushim (from the Hebrew shuk alpishpishim, or flea market). A box of things off the street might go for something like one or two hundred shekels. Maybe less. From a fold-out table in the square, what they call in Yiddish altesachen (old things) are then sold to Israeli hipsters, recent immigrants, Orthodox families and a handful of men from the West Bank. Friday is the bashboushims big day. So Mustafas middlemen, Ahmad and Yousef, leave Jenin on Thursday night around 2 am. Nilin checkpoint near Ramallah opens around 4 am,

[ 56 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

A corner of Jenin's baleh market.

so that gives them just enough time to drive down, get through the checkpoint, and start work in Jaffa around 6 am.6 Mustafa cant go himself to the bashboushim, though hes become a connoisseur of used goods and speaks with pride of his selectiveness. Hes unmarried and thirty-three, so hes stopped even trying to get a permit. Instead, Ahmad another Jenin resident and baleh merchant who is married with eight children, has never been arrested and can (sometimes) get a three-month traders permit is Mustafas eyes and ears in Jaffa. But because Ahmad is a West Bank ID holder, driving a yellow-plated car is out of the question. So Ahmads wheels, so to speak, come in the form of Yousef. Yousef is a Nazareth-born Israeli citizen living in Jenin. Like thousands with this status, he is breaking Israeli law by living with a wife and children who hold West Bank IDs.7 All three men Mustafa, Ahmad and Yousef found work in Jenins baleh in the past ten years after thousands in the city lost their jobs across the Green Line. Within less than a decade, the market grew from four stalls outside Jenins main mosque to over two hundred baleh stores and stalls below the hisba. Almost every city, town and village in the West Bank now has a baleh market. The largest are in the border cities of Jenin, Hebron and Qalqilya. But even villages now have at least four or five shops. The market has become an anwan, or location with an address of its own, and bears the names souq al-baleh (not from zbaleh but from balat, as in bales) and souq alrabish (market of rubbish), depending on the speakers feelings about it.

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Baleh Ambivalence Tellingly, no one in Jenin pointed me to the baleh throughout my two years of asking about the management of waste (idarat al-nifayat, or al-zbaleh) there. This, I realized, was because the fact that almost everything in the baleh had been used and tossed out by Israelis something everyone in Jenin was quick to tell me does not necessarily make it garbage. Not in Jenin. To my American friend, it was the obvious fun of a quirky flea market (the term itself connoting the filth of second-hand merchandise).8 To those in the media who picked up on the emergence of this trade, it represented the sad crumbling of Palestinian autonomy. It was the acceptance of Third A corner of Jaffa's pishpushim market, where Jenin baleh traders come for weekly pickups. World standards.9 Seeing the important, by now even self-evident, role the baleh has come to play in the lives of so many in places like Jenin, its not surprising that my framing of the market as the commodification of Israeli garbage within Palestinian communities falls somewhere between puzzling and offensive. In Jenin, I came to realize, the baleh is an ambivalent space. On the one hand, it offers good prices for hard-to-find, high quality, long-lasting items in the context of a free market siege. On the other, it is a space in which many would prefer that neither they nor their relatives be seen. Most would never admit to shopping there. It was precisely this ambivalence toward what people heard me saying and toward the market itself that compelled me to investigate it further. It also brought me back full circle to my original question: if this wasnt garbage, why not? And what is considered garbage? When and why does the distinction between garbage and commodity matter? The Politics of Consumption As the small but robust group of scholars who have written about garbage always remind us, garbage is that which is meant to be forgotten, made invisible. Especially in the context of systematic, spectacular battles and bloodshed under occupation, the mundane tossing and collection (or not) of garbage seems not only insignificant but also too common and universal an experience to help us understand anything about the Palestinian experience per se. Nor does it seem to speak to political or other forms of consciousness, about which much ink has been spilled over the past few decades. The same may be said for something like shopping, all the more so in a flea
[ 58 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

Interior of a Jenin baleh shop.

market. Friends both in Palestine and abroad have been quick to remind me that there are much bigger, more impressive and older used goods markets in Jordan and Egypt. Whats so special about finding a small one in Palestine? I would argue that practices like waste management and shopping do have political significance, and further, that they are indicative of changing material realities, shifts in techniques of colonial management and, most significantly for the last half-decade, of the occupations perceived (to some) recession and replacement by self-rule. To describe and to historicize such everyday practices and their current meanings is, furthermore, to foreground the ways in which Palestine is linked to global processes. It is also a step towards understanding where colonialism and emerging modes of self-governance in the West Bank fit into such processes as much at the level of changes in international trade as in the micropractices of how people choose to spend a months salary. With what some have called the globalization of the Palestinian elite and the transformation of urban spaces like Ramallah and its up-and-coming rival, Rawabi, there has been an increasing interest in what most agree is a new prevailing social imaginary. Some call it the new middle-class affect and link it to changed articulations of capital and the state.10 Others, like Lisa Taraki, call it the normalization of a new individualistic ethos embracing leisure, self-enhancement, and social mobility.11 In light of Ramallahs construction, retail and restaurant boom over the past few years, few would disagree with Taraki that consumption is the
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overarching medium through which this new consciousness is expressed, whether it is of material or of symbolic commodities.12 If consumption is a key medium of expressing this emergent consciousness, then shopping is its most oft-repeated practice. And if that is the case, then commodities are the material foundations upon which this consciousness is daily reproduced. To follow this argument to its logical end calls not only for an examination of the spaces in which that consciousness is expressed, but also of the commodities themselves. How do they become commodities in the first place, what are the networks through which they move, are blocked and rerouted? What do we learn when we look at this new social imaginary in its concrete, practical moments of production? The baleh is a system of trade and consumption that emerged across the West Bank during exactly the period in which Ramallahs social imaginary was being born. Jenins baleh can thus be seen as indicative, I think, of some of the transformations and stagnancies that came to shape social imaginaries among those on the West Banks political and economic peripheries in this same period. That among them we find the commodification of Israeli waste, I hope to show, is not incidental to their political significance. Closure: Textures and Temporalities of a Free Market Siege One of the signs to which commentators often point to argue that there have been improvements to life in the West Bank since around 2007 is the activity of urban markets. The optimism manifest in this kind of argument is the doppleganger, one might say, to Tarakis lament about the growing individualist, middle-class ethic. Downtown Jenin, Nablus and Hebron were among the hardest-hit cities of the intifada. Today it seems there isnt anything money cant buy there. Since the end of 2009, even Palestinians with Israeli IDs effectively banished from the West Bank for nearly ten years also fill markets like Jenins, coming in by the busloads to shop for fresh produce and cheaper goods.13 But while bustling markets are a welcome (if ever ephemeral) change from bombings, the word on the street and in homes is that theres little thats actually good for sale in Jenin. Theres nothing unique to Palestine in the flooding of markets with Chinese goods. What is unique, however, is that this particular flooding is symptomatic of a specific breed of autonomy politics that mixed, in the late 1990s, with what turned out to be a small but important makeover to the experience of occupation. Both scholarship and popular narratives about the post-Oslo period tend to focus on social and economic effects of violence in the second intifada and on the politics of aid and NGOs. But few outside the field of economics have touched on another massive transformation that took place in the same period. This combined three elements. First, the signing of the Paris Protocol between Israel and the PLO in 1994.14 Second, the PA-sponsored policy of opening up the occupied Palestinian market so that any individual in the West Bank could import goods directly, something heretofore illegal.15 I put directly in quotation marks because, according to the Protocol, which birthed what many call a quasi-customs union between the PA and Israel, Palestinian customs officials are still not allowed at ports of entry (like Ashdod), all Palestinian
[ 60 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

imports those destined exclusively for the West Bank must meet a list of Israeli standards,16 and can only be imported by way of Israeli middlemen. All Palestinian imports are taxed in a number of ways by Israel as well. Both implementation of the quasi-customs union and the opening up of the occupied market to direct imports were made possible by the spatial reorganization of the West Bank. The third element in the transformation I am describing is thus the well-known amputation of the lives of West Bank-ID holding residents from everything on the other side of the Green Line. Thus the consolidation of the idea of Palestinian autonomy in trade relied on agreement to a much less porous border. It was agreed, in other words, that people and goods could not leave the West Bank and enter Israel (without permission) and goods could not enter it except under Israeli control. Closure and heavily-taxed direct imports, in turn, raised the cost of importing. Closure also meant that thousands lost jobs and an estimated one million people lost their main source of income. With an impoverished consumer base and shrinking spaces for employment locally, small businesses proliferated selling ever cheaper goods. Almost two decades have passed since this transformation was set in motion. While the effects have been multiple, one in particular is crucial to an understanding of the politics of consumption and waste in the West Bank: the increased disposability of the material foundations of everyday life.

II. Genealogies of Reuse: Bukji, Baleh, Zbaleh


The Politics of Waste: The Birth of Zbaleh Until about sixty years ago, garbage basically didnt exist in Jenin. We all have certain notions of what trash is. We imagine plastic bags caked in dust, stuck in Qalandias barbed wire. We imagine grey construction debris peppered with colorful soda cans and candy wrappers; car carcasses on the way through Wadi Nar; the unmistakable smell of burning dumpsters. As someone focusing on Jenin in particular, I think of the West Banks very first Palestinian-run sanitary landfill, called Zahrat al-Finjan (flower cup) built in 2007 on a $10 million World Bank loan that just came due. I also think of my twenty-year-old friend Amer, in Jenin camp, who last year left acting school for a job as an UNRWA garbage collector. He had to, since his father lost his permit and hence his job, inside Israel. But had we all lived in Jenin sixty years ago, things would have looked, and smelled, very different.17 Seventy percent of us would have kept animals to which we would have fed food scraps. The thirty percent of us without animals would have given our household zibil to one of a handful of municipal workers who came around with a donkey-cart every few weeks. He, in turn, would have given it to farmers to use as fertilizer in Marj Ibn Amer, now the location of Jenins used goods market. Farmers wouldnt have worried about separating organics from plastics when using zibil instead of the chemical fertilizers that were just beginning to circulate. Plastic bags, or most kinds of plastic, wouldnt yet have existed. Refrigerators,
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plastic containers, cellophane and the like would have been rare at best. When shopping for what we didnt grow or raise at home, we wouldve carried goods in baskets or in folded sheets or blankets. We would have called the latter bukaj (sing. bukji). We wouldve poured milk from glass bottles or from our animals directly. Amer might not have found a job as a garbage collector in the camp. This is partly because women working at home would have been responsible not only for the spaces inside homes, but also for the hara as a whole.18 What is more, sixty years ago Jenin municipality wouldnt have been paying hundreds of thousands of shekels per month to dump trash at Zahrat al-Finjan to help pay back the $10 million. That also means it wouldnt have linked a monthly waste management fee (daribet al-nifayat) to the prepaid electricity cards that are today a major source of public resentment not just in Palestine, but also across swaths of austerity-plagued countries in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.19 With the closure of the West Bank, local industries continued to decline and cheaply made goods proliferated. Buying more cheaply but from further afield, people came to feel change in the rhythms and quantities of purchases.20 The shelf lives of the everyday objects for which people were exchanging hard-earned cash were cut short. This is where the birth of zbaleh occurs. A material history of the relatively small new market called the baleh helps us see, I think, that through the post-Oslo transformations in spatial, trade and governance regimes other transformations were catalyzed as well. Separation of the West Bank from but with continued control by Israel over the past two decades has had impacts of all kinds. Some are material, like unemployment, the destruction of infrastructure and land theft. Others are less visible, like the defeatism that leads some, like Mustafa, to stop themselves from applying for permits to visit Jerusalem after countless rejections. To these well-documented impacts I want to add one more. This one is visible. Its tangible, yet somehow still hard to articulate. It can be found in the conditions that have come to allow some materials Israeli garbage, in this case to have an afterlife, and others Palestinian garbage to become dead-end objects. Because, as my numerous hours at Jenins new landfill taught me, the deterioration of the material make-up of everyday goods in Jenin has coincided with a spike in the tons of garbage Jenin produces. As in the rest of the West Bank, this is linked to population growth. It is also linked to the fact that, with more women working outside the home, there is less time to repair things like clothes and household goods. But thats a different story.21 Suffice it to say here that what we know today as garbage or al-nifayat al-salbeh, among those who work with it has a very short history in this part of Palestine.22 The significance of Jenins new market transformation thus lies in the fact that zbaleh is now not just a metaphor for low quality merchandise on sale in Palestinian markets. It is a prescient descriptor. With this in mind, I decided that if garbage as a category was in motion, the story of its management had to be flexible as well. It had to mimic the movements of the material itself between statuses as useful, valueless and reusable. It also had to understand how those moves were being made, why and when that mattered.
[ 62 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

People in Jenin were certainly reusing materials sixty years ago; just without terms like recycling or environment as correlates to their practices. The thirty percent without animals, for example, had been expelling unwanted substances from within the walls of their homes or gardens, through the hands of municipal workers, as they do today. But that which was discarded had continued to circulate. That is, until it vanished, becoming a useful and quickly invisible part of something new. It mightve become soil in a wheat field, for instance, or fuel to heat the water at a public bath house.23 Not only has garbage been a changing category over time, it has also, necessarily, meant different sorts of materials at different moments. In this sense it is not hard to imagine Jenins post-2000 baleh emergence as a continuation of these very same practices of reuse. But I wondered: had there ever before been another trade involving a cash exchange in used goods from further away? Or the practice of wearing the clothes and shoes of people to whom one couldnt trace a face-to-face relation, in living memory? In conversations with generations over the age of fifty in Jenin, this question soon brought me to the bukji. Al-bukji We remember from our short genealogy of garbage that in the first half of the twentieth century and in the absence of plastic, transporting goods from place to place meant stuffing them in baskets, wheeling them on carts or, as we see in old photographs of Palestine, carrying them on ones head wrapped in a sheet. The composite bundle created by the sheet and goods was called a bukji. After the Nakba, the bukji acquired a new and painful meaning. The following lines from an al-Quds article by PA Minister of Prisoners Affairs Issa Qaraqi offer one narrative from this year: We have been waiting for the bukji for 63 years, wrapped in a blanket and offered to us by UNRWA from time to timewe are the small children around it, we open it, we search in it for a decent pair of shoes or one wool sweater even if it is worn out, and we wear our pants even if they are not our size. The smell of the clothes makes clear that they are from beyond the ocean, donated to us after others wore them for many, many years. They threw them at us. We wore them and we thanked the countries that colonized us and fed us and gave us fish oil to drink.24 After the Nakba, bukji thus became the name given to the bundles of used clothes and shoes delivered to refugees throughout the Middle East. It was distributed, by the ton, according to the number of members in each family. It was folded into sheets tied together by their four corners or, in winter, oversized coats with tied arms. It was distributed twice annually (once in winter once in summer) beginning around 1952, after the UN took over from the Red Cross.25 Abu Ahmad, one of the first local West Bank UNRWA employees responsible for bukji distribution, remembers that rubber rain boots were a top priority in the first couple of years. These years were characterized by especially brutal winters, an added
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hardship for UNRWAs sanitation workers (who were also refugees) responsible for cleaning the camps makeshift public bathrooms. Over the phone from his retirement home in London, he speculated that the word bukji came from the English word package.26 Another local UNRWA employee in Ramallah, who oversaw the end of the bukji era in the early 1990s, wasnt sure of the words etymology. He did however know it was chosen for a reason. UN staff chose it, he remembered hearing, because the bukji was already culturally legible. They assumed it would be more palatable as a conduit for aid.27 The exact origin of the shoes and clothes remains a mystery. Everyone I interviewed did agree, however, on two things: One, that the garments were always used. And two, that they must have originated in America or Europe.28 They came neither from the Arab states nor from the Israelis. There were other forms of aid, of course, whose origins were much closer to home in Palestinian community organizations and neighborliness. These too yielded assistance in the form of used garments, food, shelter and even employment. But none of these was quite so pervasive or left quite the powerful symbolic legacy as did the bukji.

III. A Gift from the American People to the Palestinian People


The baleh and the bukji are the same thing, Sophia! Theyre both industries!29 Bukji Talk In Jenin, a city with a large refugee population, this is especially true. I learned that bukji is today a keyword for understanding how the material grit of exile is both remembered and produced. I started asking about it. Stories poured out. Often with a mix of humor, pride and tragedy. Abu Sami: I could not have gone to school without [the clothes I got from] the bukji. Once I ended up with a jacket from the bukji. It was just my size, it was good. And clean. I wore it and went to school. My English teacher came over to me and asked me about the inside of my jacket. Whats written here in English? Made where? If its written here that your father is a donkey, would you even know? So I hit him. I hit the teacher. SSR: (gasp!) Abu Sami: The guy was telling me my father is a donkey! He was from the city (madani)a property owner. And Im a refugee. Hes a snob (shayif halo). Hes sitting in his chair wearing a suit and tie, he sees me wearing a bukji jacket I said to him Your father is a donkey, not mine. And I slapped him in the face.30

[ 64 ] In Colonial Shoes: Notes on the Material Afterlife in Post-Oslo Palestine

Some of the more tragic bukji stories have also become commemorative practices. This one, recounted to me by an older member of El-Funoun Popular Dance Troupe in al-Bireh, tells of the moment in which the bukji was transformed from a way of carrying things into a symbol of exile: Once the village nearby was attacked, people in your village would start leavingSo what would they take with them? Everything they had, they would throw it in a blanket, tie it up, put it on their heads and run. So if you notice in the photos of the hijra, most of the people have bukaj on their heads and theyre walking. They carried what they could carry. To the extent that its really entered our culture. For example there are some women who carried the bukji and left their homes, and one was so scared that she grabbed her son, for example, and put him in the bukji as she was fleeing. So they wouldnt kill him. And when she arrived to a place where she felt kind of secure, she opened the bukji and found a doll instead of her son. Her sons doll. She had left her son behind. She lost her mind and become the crazy woman of the camp (majnoonet al-mukheyam). Khalas, she went madIve heard these kinds of stories from people. Some people have taken this story and used it in films and TV series. And even we, El-Funoun, we put it into some of our performances about Haifa and Beirut. We had a woman with a bukji on her head, and then she went crazy and started dancing a mad dance (raqsa majnooneh). Its present in our culture.31 As a narrative trope, the bukji opens conversations the baleh doesnt. Nevertheless, I found that bukji and baleh talk today can be understood as lenses through which particular sets of priorities and of changing affective approaches to Palestines colonial condition are made visible. That it was many of the same people who remembered the bukji in their lives often as children in Jenin who also offered incisive commentary on the baleh, a phenomenon in their present milieu, gave even further significance to their comparison. The bukji was part of an international trade that reached much further back and farther afield than the Nakba or Palestine. What one UNRWA employee said to me (quoted at the beginning of this section) points to the fact that while the bukji was distributed to families free of charge, it was the World Lutheran Federation that, for much of the bukjis existence, sold used garments to UNRWA. This would seem to make the bukji a refugee version of the more democratically distributed post2000 baleh. But I think that a comparison between the kinds of talk around these two different sets of imported used goods is key to understanding important differences about the political, ethical and aspirational climates in which these materials circulate. Dependence, Choice and ayb Aversion One of the starkest differences between talk about the two types of used goods is the absence of an affect of ayb (rudeness, shame or embarrassment) in bukji talk, on the one
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hand, and its palpable presence in baleh talk, on the other. I should clarify. It is not so much that baleh talk necessarily or always provokes actual embarrassment in the speaker; rather, it is that even if shame is not felt, an effort not to be associated with the baleh is consciously and deliberately made (implying an aversion to the shame of association with it more than to the baleh itself). There is also a third degree of separation from, but association with, this ayb affect. It comes from the speaker who claims not to be embarrassed or ashamed at shopping in the baleh. This speaker points out that, in shopping there, he or she is unlike most other people for whom it is ayb to do so. Stories like Abu Samis about hitting his teacher after being mocked in his bukji jacket manifest a latent sort of pride I found in most casual talk about the bukji. We can imagine that this is in part due to the sense that the bukji was a universal experience, one binding refugees together in common exile. The bukji existed within the broader framework of aid. And, for the first two or three decades, peoples dependence upon it seems to have been taken for granted. Another childhood story about being aid dependent from Abu Rania, who grew up in Jenin camp, is telling: Abu Rania: Let me tell you a little anecdote. A bag of flour would come to us, and it would have written on it Gift from the American people to the Palestinian people. Written right on it. So our schools would ask us to wear sports shorts. But there were no such shorts to buy. And even if there had been, there was no money. So my mother would come, cut the bag [of flour] and sew a pair of shorts out of it. And on the back [he gives his behind a dramatic pat] it would be written: Gift from the American people to the Palestinian people. I wore this! SSR: (laughing) Were there jokes at school? Abu Rania: No! We were all wearing this kind of thing! It was a bag for flour, a white cloth bag. Ask anyone, theyll know what Im talking about.32 Unlike the baleh, the bukji wasnt seen as a matter of choice. At least not for the first few decades. As Abu Rania does above with the flour, people speak of it as having literally come down or come out to them (kan btitlalak bukji). What you did with it from that point on was your business. Attesting to the visibility with which peoples relationship to the bukji was lived, almost everyone also described getting together with neighbors or extended family when UNRWA would distribute them. Rounds of exchange and trade ensured that, when possible, families with more boys got more male clothes, small children got smaller shoes, and people wore the colors they preferred within the limits of what Europeans and Americans were discarding at the time.33 Recountings of the bukjis time are told with an ambivalent pride in refugeehood, the ambivalence arising from the fact that bukji stories are often inflected with a sense of nostalgia for a lost time in which people, together, embraced a common politics of exile as well.34
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Talk about the baleh, conversely, mainly provoked uncomfortable laughter and hand-over-the-mouth hushed tones in urban Jenin. Younger women who admitted shopping there, for example, told me to lower my voice and took me aside. Some cut the conversation short. My baleh talk provoked downright disdain, disgust or performative dissociation among other reactions, especially older people responsible for providing for their families. Abu Rania, for instance, so funny in his retelling of being an aiddependent child in flour-sack shorts in the 1960s, spoke with revulsion when I implied that he could buy clothes for his wife and daughters from the baleh.35 Imm Nidal, sixtyfive and also a refugee, at first feigned not hearing me when I mentioned the baleh. Next she claimed not to know of it at all. Finally, when I pressed her (her daughters store was a five minute walk from it, after all), she shut me up with a stern look in the eye: I never shop there. Nor do my relatives. Nor would we ever. Khalas.36 Rude Luxuries, Clean Garbage According to most shopkeepers in the baleh, this kind of dissociation from it seems to work a bit the way Victorian prohibitions on sex talk do in Michel Foucaults writings.37 The more talk about it was prohibited, the more that which was the object of prohibited talk was probably going on. Shopkeepers, shoppers and rejecters of the baleh alike were constantly telling me two apparently contradictory things. The first is that the baleh was for the poor. That was why I shouldnt ask about it too loudly, ayb! That was why people from surrounding villages were not embarrassed to be seen there no one would know them. Hadnt I seen the prices? Ten shekels for a pair of shoes that in the regular market would cost seventy. We Arabs have lots of children, not like you in Europe. What do you have, one brother? How do you think were going to buy eight new pairs of shoes for all eight of our children at seventy shekels a pair? Jenins unemployment rate, hovering between 22 and 45 percent38 over the past decade, put that argument beyond doubt. But what I also heard and came to understand over two years was that, in fact, people from Jenins entire socio-economic spectrum actually shop in the baleh. I discovered that the baleh is a place of rare, otherwise inaccessible finds. Not just cheap ones. Mustafa sells Korean DVD players, thick oak grandfather clocks and tea sets made in England. His blenders are Moulinex, from France. Abu Mahmoud sells real Nike sneakers and Italian leather boots. Used, of course. But long-lasting enough for that not to matter. I also heard the story of a man who, I was told by the Fatah-supporting shopkeepers who introduced me to him, was a member of Hamas. His leg had been destroyed by an Israeli missile that hit his house during the 2002 incursion into the camp. After undergoing twenty-four hours of torture, a hurried amputation (to which he had not agreed) at Afula hospital and then a year of administrative detention, he had been released back into Jenin. One of the first things he did there was visit the baleh. He was looking for a prosthetic leg. He found one. He tapped on it with a long pinkyfinger nail to show me it was plastic. The color was a remarkably good match for his dark skin. I guessed it had been made, or imported, for African immigrants to Israel.39
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As I sat for hours in this corner of the market, I was introduced to so-and-so min al-sulta (a Palestinian National Authority, or PA employee), so-and-so who was a wellknown doctor trained in Russia, and so-and-so who had just come back from Holland and had built a villa in Kharoubeh. Ilham, who first introduced me to one of the founders of the baleh (Abu Mahmoud), explained the combined poverty and luxury of the market as follows: Its not that its ayb (shameful), but that they want to say I dont buy from the baleh, I dont go there, I wouldnt buy anything used. But they do think that its ayb. They want to say, Its not like I dont have money, I dont have that kind of need. Im not so poor that I have to go to the baleh.But then you find that they all know the baleh, and they go, but they go stealthily (tahreeb, secretly). But when I go to the baleh I dont have a problem, Im not ashamed (ma basthi). People from all socio-economic levels (min kul altabaqat) go to the baleh. In fact, especially the richest people in the city go to the baleh. Why? Because theyre looking to buy fine things (shaghlat tileh) to put in their house. Things whose quality is really good. Not that they dont have money, but they want to bring strange, rare things. If you come down to the regular market, you will probably see that all the stores have pretty much the same things. Exactly the same, all Chinese. But there are people who want to put special (mumayazeh) things in their houses. And that you wont find except in the baleh.40 The dissociation that at first glance might have seemed like an old-school anthropologists dream reaction to the fear of social stigma or like the aversion to dirt Mary Douglas describes in Purity and Danger 41 was thus slightly more complicated. The danger side of purity and danger had something else, something pure, up its sleeve.

IV. In Colonial Shoes: al-Asli, al-Ndif and Patina Trust


The Purity of (Colonial) Patina Patina is a mark of time. It is times toll on an object. In Mustafas shop as in any other shop in the baleh, there is an unspoken assumption that signs of use should be erased, cleaned off. He stays in the shop for hours after the market has closed to make sure every object is spotless and in place. The fact of the objects having been used, however, and specifically by Israelis, is not concealed. Nor can it be concealed. The histories of the objects remain visible on them. Sometimes, this is in the form of classic patina. Shoes are scuffed and shirts are stretched-out. In other cases, once wiped down, the objects histories are visible in characteristics that betray colonial and particularly Israeli metropolitan origins. Along with the Native American dream catchers hanging from Mustafas ceiling, his
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shelves are spread with upright plates picturing miniature paintings of tourist sites in Spain and Poland; wooden African figurines with elongated necks and sitting Asian Buddhas. These objects tell the story of post-military service travel among Israeli twenty-somethings and of salaries and sensibilities that encourage vacations in the West and its former colonies. Their afterlife in shops built on Marj Ibn Amers fertile lands correlates to and tells the continuation of these stories: that many of the shopkeepers who dust and arrange them havent left the West Bank in ten years. Or, in one case I encountered, have never left Jenin. They also tell that it has become more profitable for the families who own these lands to grow one-storey shop-fronts than it is to grow watermelons. Even on the objects successfully freed of grime, chippings and other marks of use, a kind of immaterial, spectral patina lingers. A patina that sticks in ones mind. Or not. I asked how Ilham felt about Israelis having previously carried the bag she had just bought in the baleh. Her answer reminded me of what Lori Allen calls getting by in the context of routinized violence42: What, war and killing are one thing. And your normal life is another thing. If I wore her bag, it doesnt mean I killed someone, right? I didnt kill a Palestinian! Or even if it was something that belonged to a person who came into Jenin in a tank, thats got nothing to do with anything. We have to live our normal life. If were going to sit and think about that kind of thing (tsk!) well never be able to live!43 Ilhams mode of shrugging off the Israeli origins of her bag was prevalent in baleh talk among those who admitted to shopping there. But what I also found was that baleh goods dont only gain their value from being nearly impossible to find outside the baleh. Paradoxically, one might think, it is the fact of their having been discarded, by Israelis and in areas no longer accessible to West Bank Palestinians, that most made the baleh a reliable source of high quality merchandise. The fact that the objects were discarded by Israelis, that is, made them worth spending cash on. Worth risking reputations for. Still more remarkable is the fact that, discursively, baleh goods greater value (compared with new goods) was often expressed in terms of their nadafeh, or cleanness. But what could possibly make colonial patina clean? In Colonial Shoes: Searching for the asli Post-Oslo I found the first answer in one of the most widely used words for describing the value of baleh merchandise: asli, or original. The term is a kaleidoscope of meanings. At one level, it refers to the objects being brand name, or made by companies known for their high quality. It means theyre not counterfeits. Not made in China to imitate real brand names. Some of them are made in China. But thats precisely not the full story. Because another piece in the kaleidoscope is that their status as originals also means they have an origin that arrives with them. Each original, once in Jenin, is a visibly reborn thing. Something with a past.
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One of the things that first struck me when I got to Palestine was how much energy Palestinians spend thinking about indeed are forced to think about what Israelis think and do. Even when it comes to Israeli thoughts and ways of being that do not directly relate to Palestinians or to occupation. Israelis, literally, occupy peoples minds. The baleh lends itself particularly well to this practice. In it I found something like an identification, among shopkeepers, with the unknown previous owner of the objects. Putting himself in the shoes (first literally then metaphorically) of the previous Israeli owner, the speaker would try to imagine why it was discarded. In the Jewish faith, several explained to me, there is a holiday called pesach. Like our eid. Thats when their sheikhs tell them to renew. But other times maybe theyre just tired of them, someone else would speculate. Or maybe they were foreigners who moved after three or four months living here and had to get rid of the stuff. The bottom line often was: Israelis have taste (andhum zoq). And sure, if you have money, why not throw away!? I would too. This identification is twinned with the radical alterity of knowing oneself to be the colonized recipient of the colonizers discarded personal effects. Several shopkeepers thus also expressed having been impressed by the care with which Israelis cleaned, folded, ironed and left out their discards to be taken away. As if to express surprise that they could take such care with objects they knew were destined for the hands, feet and houses of those they are occupying.44 Baleh objects are thought of as having originally been intended for Israelis. Thats important. In having been used, the assumption is, they were first accepted vetted before being discarded. This gives them the authenticity they exude once they reach the baleh. Among shoppers, baleh goods are also known to have come through networks of people delicately working around permits, checkpoints, illegality and trust. People like Ahmad and Yousef, Mustafas intermediaries, thus gain a certain kind of social capital themselves by being known to gain entry into Israel two, three and sometimes four times weekly. In some ways, this too is a kind of vetting process. This kind of social capital extends back in time as well. It is thus common to hear stories in the baleh of an individual having been friendly with having known and been known by Israeli Jews. Even if an experience of the distant past, in the context of rampant immobility among refugee men working in the baleh, it confers on that individual a similar authenticity. An aura of really knowing, if not being able to currently access, what has come to be called the inside (al-dakhil). Baleh work is almost impossible, I discovered, without knowledge of basic Hebrew, an eye for Israeli tastes and the right Israeli contacts. Abu Mahmoud, a refugee who can see his demolished village (al-Mazar) from the roof of his house in Jenin, hasnt gone inside since 1999. In almost every conversation I had with him over the course of two years, he would mention the fact that when he worked inside Israel, he had Jewish friends. I used to sleep at their houses in Tel Aviv! he would repeat. And Isaac, a Russian Jew, once even invited me to have lunch in Tiberias with his wife and children. Ahmad took me on one of his Jenin-to-Jaffa runs one Friday morning at 2 am. He spent much of the three-hour drive listing the names of the
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Israelis he knew. Two of them called him on his cell phone as we spoke. Shlomo and Beni would be safeguarding the days best finds for him so he could have first dibs at 6 am in Jaffa.45 The difference between Abu Mahmoud and Ahmad is that Abu Mahmoud has sons whove spent time in Israeli prisons. Ahmad, who is younger and open about being careful not to get mixed up in politics, does not. It is because Ahmad kept his head down, so to speak, and kept good contacts inside Israel, that he is able to keep getting permits to enter.46 But both men, like most of the men working in the baleh trade, either have connections with Israelis today or had them in the past. Separation Anxiety: The Local Inauthentic and the Reliable Colonizer Baleh objects thus index not only histories of Israeli consumption and rare networks of trust and movement. They also index the life histories of the people who buy and sell them. As a source of authentic asli goods the baleh market presupposes, moreover, the presence of inauthentic goods in close proximity. In 1968, Walter Benjamin wrote that the authenticity of a thing is the essence of all that is transmissible from its beginning, ranging from its substantive duration to its testimony to the history which it has experienced.47 Extending his argument beyond the work of art, that seems like a good description of the asli origin that accompanies baleh objects to Jenin. But Benjamin goes on to say that reproduction jeopardizes the historical testimony of the authentic object. What seems to be happening in the baleh is the opposite: the presence of reproduction in the form of endless new, cheaply-made, couterfeit Chinese goods in Jenins new market enhances rather than diminishes the aura of authenticity around Israeli used goods. I thus found the second answer to why the baleh is considered ndif in what everyone had to tell me about what wasnt available in Jenin or in the rest of the West Bank for that matter. Consumer critiques are as much about those responsible for the state of the markets as they are about the materials themselves. In Jenin, for instance, daily talk circulates about how the PA fails to monitor the goods people import. This despite the PA Customs Police cars usually stationed on Nablus Road at the entrance to the city, where Area B meets Area A. The stuff we get is often expired, it has all kinds of chemicals. It could be dangerous! I heard repeatedly. Its all Chinese, cheaply made. What are we supposed to do? Talk about China would confirm that peoples main qualms were with PA monitoring, not with China itself: In China, went the explanation, you can have something made either cheaply or high quality. The problem with our importers is that they go for the cheapest thing possible. And then the PA does nothing about it! Finding documentary or statistical information on any of the baleh markets in the West Bank is pretty much impossible, whether in Israeli or in Palestinian sources. Most goods that cross the Green Line have already been imported or manufactured, taxed, and paid for.48 Theres almost no paper trail except that which remains in the hands of individual merchants for personal records. Aside from a few newsworthy incidents about bulk deliveries,49 the baleh is thus invisible to the PA. (It is, however,
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visible to institutions with deeper histories in Palestine including mukhtars, Chambers of Commerce, local municipalities and the Israeli army.) The PA Customs Police doesnt bother baleh merchants and the Ministries dont collect information. One would think this lack of PA monitoring would detract from the markets reliability. But the effect is the opposite: That health and safety inspections are assumed to have already taken place by Israelis, for Israelis is precisely where baleh goods cleanness can be found. It is thus a double reliability imagined through the baleh: one, Israels reliability towards its own citizens. And two, the PAs reliable neglect of Palestinians. In more arenas than just the monitoring of markets, I found the assumption that Israel takes care of its citizens prevalent among interviewees and friends. In the imagination of many, and failing the ability to actually go there, Israel is a country of laws (fi qanun honak). You cant litter there, you cant jaywalk there, and you have to wear your seat belt. This is tangible even for those unable to cross the Green Line. It has become possible to tell when a road in the West Bank has turned into a bypass and/or a shared road from watching the Palestinian driver fasten his seat belt, for example. This works both ways. Back on PA-monitored roads, the seatbelt comes right off again. The fact that the goods in the baleh were originally imported for Israelis, then, has come to signify that the goods are guaranteed to be higher in quality. It means they were reliably checked for health hazards. Food and toys are safe. Clothes will last. Like a fifty-year old divorcee entering the New York dating scene, the goods have already been vetted. In the shadow of this assumption, of course, we find not only the parallel assumption that the PA doesnt monitor or punish with the same severity. We also find a resigned confidence that where the Israelis do have a hand in monitoring Palestinian-imported goods (at ports like Ashdod prohibited to Palestinians), theyll do so minimally at best. It was common to hear a host tell guests the juice is Israeli to mark that it was probably more expensive, of higher quality, and therefore a sign of respect for the occasion and guests. Or, as Imm Yasser, whose son was martyred in 2006, would often announce to me, I only buy my children Israeli clothes. The other stuff? You just dont know where its come from, what diseases it might have! And itll only last you three months anyway, its Chinese. There is a reason that the local BDS campaign has had a hard time gaining grassroots support. Fish badil, low kan fi (theres no alternative, if there only were) is the bleak response one hears from those who continue to buy Israeli. Developed over the past few decades, it is precisely the common sense that Israeli goods are better that the BDS campaign hopes to undo.50 Though the campaign is gaining ground, there remains a sense of disappointment and preference for Israeli goods continues. The complaints: Chinese things dont last, may be health hazards, and are not worth the price asked. What is new and appears to be local cannot be trusted at face value. What comes from the increasingly invisible dakhil, on the other hand, is something to be trusted. It is in this context that Israeli discards can be seen, for some, as cleaner than can goods imported new to the West Bank and sold locally. Such complaints are
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a mark of a broader mistrust both of local (municipal) and of central (PA) government among many in Jenin. They also mark a silent understanding that Israel not as a colonial power but as a state for its citizens is reliable. But what is lost, what is gained, what is foregrounded and what becomes invisible when the baleh replaces zbaleh, or when bukji becomes baleh instead?

Conclusion
The Goods, the Visible and the Vanishing Patina I introduced this essay as a set of notes trying to understand what happens when the taken-for-grantedness of dependence on humanitarian hand-outs mutates into the choice of buying colonial hand-me-downs. Both represent conditions of dependence and both entail submission to colonial control. But as we see in Jenin, each is shaped by and helps produce distinct forms of affect and particular relationships among people and between people and their material surroundings. Most telling from their comparison, I think, is the sense of choice to which the baleh lends itself. The sense of choice whose permutations include fear of the ayb of making that choice is produced in three ways. One, the baleh requires cash to be exchanged for used objects. Two, the baleh is now a physical location to which people choose or dont choose to go. And three, the people who work there have also chosen that profession. They have created it, in fact, learning to become instant bricoleurs, cobbling together loans from family and friends and meticulously maintaining connections with Israelis who may once have employed them. But choice thus produced obscures the relations of control and dependence, I would argue, that have made the market possible even necessary in the first place. Choice obscures the invisible patina that closure is encrusting onto peoples lives. It masks the reasons why Israeli garbage today circulates in Palestinian markets with greater ease than do Palestinian people in Israeli markets. Or the fact that the two areas on either side of the Green Line were once treated as one market, albeit unevenly.51 It elides the fact that post-Oslo separation meant not only that the PA would be answerable to Israel to build a landfill like Zahrat al-Finjan deep inside the West Bank in the mid2000s, but also that the granting of so-called autonomy itself engendered new forms of dependence increasingly difficult to see. The emergence of the baleh market is symptomatic of something happening in Palestine. The bukji is its past but has not disappeared. Debates about Palestinian dependence on international aid abound. This history goes back to at least the aftermath of the Nakba. But the aid that once came in the form of bukji jackets and rain boots is packaged differently today. For one, gifts like roads and salaries dont bear the same material signs, the patina, of the used things that first arrived from across the oceans. Flour sack shorts once did the work of reminding people who wore them, and who saw them worn, of common exile. In their abstract exchangeability for things like four-by-fours and private educations, salaries have the power to erase their
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source. (Unless, of course, they are not paid.) Even roads, like the many recently built and aggressively sign-posted by USAID, have a way of becoming abstract, utilitarian. Once paved, they are quick to give off the sense of having always-already been there. Publicly wearing what were legible in bukji times as the tangible signs of expulsion and liminality, on the other hand, meant that an awareness of aid dependence for individuals but also for entire communities was inescapable. That aid patina did a certain kind of political work. Today, aid is more ubiquitous than ever. Its patina, however, seems to be vanishing. The visible is no longer a reliable source of what is there. Direct imports are not direct. Palestinian police uniforms mean Israeli coordination. And a new Palestinian road probably means more settlers. In light of a growing sense that things here are not exactly what they seem, it is no wonder, then, that the certainty of the bought, the used and the discarded there gives some reprieve.

Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins is a PhD Candidate in Anthropology at Columbia University. Her current research is on the intersections of garbage, sewage and waste markets with the changing nature of occupation in post-Oslo Palestine.
Endnotes 1 This essay is based on twenty-two months of field research I conducted towards the completion of my doctoral thesis in Anthropology at Columbia University. The research was made possible by generous grants from the National Science Foundation, the Social Science Research Council, the Wenner Gren Foundation and Columbia Universitys Graduate School of Arts and Sciences. It would have been impossible without the patient guidance of all those I worked with while in the field. My family and friends near and far turned work into pleasure. Special thanks go to Hadeel Qazzaz and Penny Mitchell at PARC for organizing the seminar in Ramallah at which this essay was originally presented. Thanks too to Salim Tamari and Penny Johnson, without whom I would not have had the chance to expand it in this way. Extended conversations with Lila AbuLughod, Nadia Abu El-Haj, Brinkley Messick, Claudio Lomnitz, Kaet Heupel, Omar and Elizabeth Tesdell, Nisreen Mazzawi, Hussein Amar, Suleiman al-Saadi (Abu Mahmoud) and Raja Shehadah were enormously valuable in helping me think through the story of the baleh. Any oversights are, of course, my own. 2 Jaffas market is called, in an Arabic version of the Hebrew, souq al-bashboushim and is located in old Jaffas square near the Clock Tower where, before the Nakba, animals and produce were sold by Palestinian farmers and traders. Haifas relatively smaller market is in and around Wadi al-Salib. Everyone I spoke to in the network that makes up this market insisted that only Jewish Israelis were likely to discard things that still had some use in them (according to those who salvage them). The assumption was that Palestinians living in Israel or in Jerusalem would either use an item until it was worn, gift it to friends, relatives or neighbors if they had outgrown it, or would buy cheaper goods whose lifespan was shorter than higher quality goods. Baleh merchants in Jenin made particular remarks about two situations: One, that if someone died, Jewish Israeli relatives would have estate sales (putting ads in local papers, which is one way baleh merchants find out about them), whereas Palestinian families would hold onto the relatives belongings or pass them on within the family. And two, that Jewish Israelis could simply afford to renew and would discard things half-used or in nearmint condition, whereas by class comparison Palestinian families would not be able to afford to do so. NOTE: All interviewees names have been changed to protect their identities.

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Interview with Yael, 29 March 2011, Jerusalem. 6 Were Jalameh checkpoint, just north of Jenin, to open earlier, that might be more convenient. But Jalameh opens after the peak work hours for Jenins baleh merchants in Jaffa. 7 He lives illegally in Jenin because his wife and children have West Bank IDs and are denied Israeli citizenship. Israels family unification laws for non-Jews stipulate not only that Israeli citizens who marry West Bank ID holders cannot live with their spouses in Israel or confer their Israeli citizenship onto their children; it also stipulates that they cannot move to the West Bank to live with them there, as Israeli citizens are currently not permitted to enter, let alone live in, areas under the Palestinian Authoritys jurisdiction. I was thus unable to find statistics for this article about the number of Palestinians with Israeli citizenship living in the West Bank, like Yousef, precisely because it is a forced clandestine practice for thousands who have no alternative but to emigrate altogether. For more information on Israels family reunification laws for nonJews, see Hamoked: Center for the Defence of the Individual (http://www.hamoked.org/ home.aspx ); ACRI: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel (http://www.acri.org.il/en/ ); and BTselem: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories (http://www.btselem.org/search/node/ family%20unification ). 8 Oxford English Dictionary: flea market n. [compare French march aux puces, in Paris] colloq. term applied jocularly to a street market. 9 See, for example: Gideon Levy, How they Spent Their Summer Vacation, Haaretz, July 25, 2003; Economy Drives Shoppers to Look into Used Goods, Palestine News Network, April 12, 2008; Mai Yaghi, Strapped Gazans Buy Israeli Cast-Off Clothes, Maan News Agency, March 14, 2011. 10 As in the work of Kareem Rabie, This isnt Bilin, This is Ramallah: Private Development, Class Affect, and Politics in the Contemporary West Bank (paper to be presented at the annual meeting for the American Anthropological Association, Montreal, Canada, 17 November 2011). 11 Lisa Taraki, Urban Modernity on the Periphery: A New Middle Class Reinvents the Palestinian City, Social Text 95, Vol. 26, No. 2 (Summer 2008): 65.

12 Ibid, 64. 13 It is worth noting that there is also a list of items Israeli-ID holders cannot buy in the West Bank and bring back into Israel. The list includes certain meats, birds, chicken and electronics. 14 The protocol, called the Paris Protocol on Economic Relations between the Government of Israel and the PLO Representing the Palestinian People, covers trade, taxes, labor, banking, tourism, insurance, etc. and delineates the spheres of Palestinian autonomous decision making as well as the rules that came to govern the economic relationship emergent between PA-controlled areas and Israel. Sharif S. Elmusa and Mahmud El-Jaafari, Power and Trade: The IsraeliPalestinian Economic Protocol, Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Winter, 1995): 15. 15 Ibid, 16-18. 16 Palestinians importing clothes, for example, are required (before arrival of the merchandise at an Israeli port or crossing) to have a label sewn onto every item detailing the importers name, phone number and the materials makeupin Hebrew as well as Arabic. One of the more puzzling aspects of this kind of regulation is that Palestinian importers in the West Bank are required by Israeli customs authorities to sign a document pledging that nothing they import will be sold in Israeli markets. That their merchandise is often delayed, seized or returned to sender because it fails to meet Israeli standards can thus only be read as a form of collective harassment. As is well known, many categories of materials (like certain fiber optics technologies) are banned from import altogether. 17 For residents of Tel Aviv and Haifa and their rural surrounds, garbage is also a relatively new phenomenon though older, because of rapid industrialization and urbanization, than the history of garbage in a place like Jenin. 18 They swept several times a day, as they do today, and when they did the area outside the doorstep and around the corner was just as important, if not more so, since the hara was also a prime location for cultivating social relationships and family networks. Susan Slymovics has written about how public spaces (especially sources of water) were centers of social life, especially for women, in Nazareth. Susan Slymovics, Edward Saids Nazareth, Framework: The Journal of Cinema and

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19

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Media, Vol. 50, No. 1 & 2 (Spring & Fall 2009): 9-45. Now famous examples of countries in which pre-paid infrastructures like electricity and water are being mainstreamed, often with dire political repercussions, include South Africa and Turkey. Antina Von Schnitzlers article Citizenship Prepaid: Water, Calculability, and Techno-Politics in South Africa offers one very astute analysis of prepayment technologies effects and logics. Antina Von Schnitzler, Citizenship Prepaid: Water, Calculability, and Techno-Politics in South Africa, Journal of South African Studies, 34: 4 (2008). Like South Africans, Greeks did not respond well when austerity measures led the government to talk of linking a property tax to electricity bills: Greece Battles Debt Crisis Amid Fresh Strike, Al-Jazeera English, September 26, 2011 http://english.aljazeera. net/business/2011/09/201192613325929727. html. In Palestine, Bisan Center for Research and Development has been following the growing resentment, especially among camp residents, about the PAs campaign to install prepaid electricity (and soon water) meters in all homes across the West Bank. By virtue of terms like direct imports and neoliberal policies that encourage imports over local industries, the market became free, in other words, even while remaining under siege. Elsewhere I have discussed the role of the emergence of the category of policy intervention we now call the environment in the transformation Im describing. Sophia Stamatopoulou-Robbins, The Environment Must be Defended: Trash, Governance and the Politics of Shopping in Post-Oslo Palestine, (paper presented at PARC Fellows Seminar, Ramallah), 27 June 2011. Here I am referring to rural parts of the West Bank and Gaza, which constitute the greater part of the land there. The rest of Palestine that fell under direct Israeli government has a different, though connected, history of material transformation. Waste management is no exception. In Ottoman times, household garbage was often used to heat water at hammamat throughout the old cities in Palestine. Interviews with A.S, Nablus (8 December 2009; 7 February 2010; 20 February 2010); Interview with A.Q., Jenin (5 February 2010); Conversation with the curator at the Hebron

24

25 26 27 28

29 30 31 32 33 34

35

Rehabilitation Committees newly reopened museum in Hebron Old City (21 April 2011). There may be more information about the history of this particular practice in Martin Dows The Islamic Baths of Palestine (Oxford: British School of Archaeology in Jerusalem, 1996). My translation of Al-Bukjiwa al-Thakira! (transl. The BukjiAnd Memory!) by Issa Qaraqi, Minister of Prisoners Affairs. AlQuds Newspaper (Arabic). 19 May 2011. Along with the distribution of food, tents and other basic necessities, this was one of UNRWAs first emergency relief programs. Interview with Abu Ahmad, 15 May 2011 (by phone). Interview with A.Y., 14 April 2011, UNRWA Offices, Ramallah. A few people said that they remember garments being from Germany. This led me on a dead-end hunt to see whether the garments might have come from among the possessions of German Jews killed or incarcerated in the Holocaust, but I was unable to find any evidence of this. Interview with M.S., 18 April 2011, Ramallah. Interview with Abu Sami, 7 February 2011. Jenin. Interview with A.Y., 14 April 2011, UNRWA Offices, Ramallah. Interview with Abu Rania, 2 April 2011, Jenin. For some, it was even a chance to discover never-before-seen fashions. Interview with Khalto Suha, 4 July 2011, Jenin. This nostalgia is also prevalent in disappointed commentary over the past half-decade or so in the West Bank that the younger generations have become less political. The interest I mention above in Ramallahs new social imaginary and the formation of new middle class affect in the context of neoliberal statebuilding come precisely out of this kind of critique. Though I should also say that he was happy to show me that his own shoes were real leather Martinellis from the baleh. This reveals that a more complex reading of social relations and baleh aversion is necessary. Specifically, I found an enormous difference between how people spoke about providing for themselves from the baleh (with relative ease) versus providing for their families especially daughters, sisters and wives from the baleh. The gendered and generational aspects of this certainly deserve greater attention.

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36 Interview with Imm Nidal, 17 February 2011, Jenin. 37 Michel Foucault, The History of Sexuality: An Introduction, Volume I (New York: Vintage Books, 1978). 38 Unemployment Rate Among Labour Force Participants in the Palestinian Territory by Governorate and Sex 1999-2008. Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics. 39 Interviews in the baleh, 12 May 2011, Jenin. (I also heard that eighteen gold teeth had once been found in the balehthe storytellers guess being that the relatives of the deceased hadnt realized their value.) 40 Interview with Ilham, 23 August 2010, Jenin. 41 Mary Douglas, Purity and Danger (New York: Routledge Classics, 1966). 42 Lori Allen. Getting by the Occupation: How Violence Became Normal during the Second Intifada, Cultural Anthropology Vol. 23, Issue 3 (2008). 43 Interview with Ilham, 23 August 2010, Jenin. 44 Conversations with Israelis confirmed for me that many are aware and even make the assumption that what they discard will end up in the West Bank. When I tried to ask an Israeli economist about what happens west of the Green Line for example in terms of the bank loans Shoni mentioned in moments of Israelis ritual renewal the story came back to the anecdotal, and to garbage. His email to me read: As for the used goods market, indeed this is something that has almost never been addressed by economists, as its mainly based on informal channels. When I evacuated my apartment in Jerusalem, for example, it was clear to me that any item which I give the movers as a gift (and I gave them a lot of furniture which I didnt have a place for), would be sold in the Palestinian market. The amounts may be small per item, but the volume is quite large. I was amazed that some of the items which the movers didnt want, we put outside near the garbage cans for the city workers to pick up and throw away. Before we had time to throw everything out - a truck (also belonging to East Jerusalem Palestinians) stopped and started loading these goods, which were too low quality for the original movers. When we told them that more stuff are [sic] coming, they waited for us. Such trucks patrol the streets (especially on weekends) looking

45 46

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for used furniture to pick up and sell in the OPT (S.H. Personal Correspondence, 22 September 2011). Jenin-to-Jaffa run for baleh goods. 18 February 2011. As part of the paperwork required for applications to the Civil Administration to enter Israel for work (i.e. tasrih tijari), all Palestinians must include a letter of invitation from an Israeli citizen (with a business). These are not easy to acquire and undergo stringent checks by the Israeli army. Following the bureaucratic logics described so well by Kafka, it is thus vital that anyone applying for such a permit have already worked inside Israel and maintained good relations with Israelis. Walter Benjamin, The Work of Art in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction, Illuminations: Essays and Reflections (New York: Schocken Books, 1968), 221. Merchandise in the category called stock has a slightly different trajectory. Stock is the word used to describe goods that a) had some defect or were held at international crossings and thus expired or became dead fashion and therefore never made it to shelves in Israeli stores or b) goods that have been returned for whatever reason. See, for example: PA Police Seize Black Market Cigarettes, Maan News Network, January 3, 2011. According to the article, customs officers seized 29 tons of illegal cigarettes that had been salvaged from a dump inside Israel and were bought by two dealers in Jenin and Hebron. The article continues that The goods were not fit for consumption, but the two planned to sell them on the Palestinian market, according to customs official Ghaleb Diwan. As described on the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement website, In 2005, Palestinian civil society issued a call for a campaign of boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel until it complies with international law and Palestinian rights. For further information, see http://www. bdsmovement.net/. Sharif S. Elmusa and Mahmud El-Jaafari. Power and Trade: The Israeli-Palestinian Economic Protocol in Journal of Palestine Studies, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Winter, 1995): 16.

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Staging the Sublimation of Clich: Elia Suleimans Silences in The Time That Remains (2009)
Tom Hill1

I dont get so close that you think: Oh my God; this is interesting. I worked with a certain amount of [Palestinian] actors; some of them I did not enjoy very much because they come from a very very severely overacting theatrical experience I cannot stand. Sometimes when they start to use their expressions on their faces, Im like, please you know, then Palestine the clich starts: we are victims or we are victors or we always have to put some angry expression to say how our land was lost, which doesnt work for me. As you see I dont use it. A lot of the characters are movements within the frame, and I prefer the choreography, I prefer the musicality that comes from their appearances etc it would be a lie to say that I directed them, so to speak Elia Suleiman2 You gave no instructions save to forbid excessive interpretation [to] beware of those who do not know what weariness is, who interpret too much. Mahmoud Darwish3

An elderly mother and her son sit wordless in a Nazareth living room, facing us. The television screen they are watching, which is never seen, spews the sounds of a raging battle, which neither receives nor seems to require any commentary.

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Twice the son glances at his mother, who gazes fixedly at the screen. Twice, he reaches out a hand, which she bats away, without looking up, before he can clasp hers to comfort her, at least, to register that she is not alone. But she is alone, her experience utterly incommunicable, and beyond comfort. The third time it is she who twitches about to bat away a hand he hasnt yet raised. The scene lasts barely 30 seconds of what seems a long take even in the context of a film awash in them. It is, in some ways, as close as the film gets to the contemporary Palestinian experience in its classical representations, whether by Palestinians or others. Yet if the scene is exquisite it is because of what does not happen in it the son clasping his mothers hand and what does: the batting away of the hand that is twice there but the third time not: its uniquely resonant use of the moving images unique ability to provide this specific brand of mimesis. Word and image are, here, both present-absentees, implied but abstained from. Authorial intent is present, if anywhere, in the staging of the abstention, in the silence of it, and in the silence concerning it. *** The scene comes near the end of the Palestinian-Israeli director Elia Suleimans third feature film, Al-Zaman al-Baqi (The Time That Remains, 2009) which has every claim to be as sophisticated and successful a Palestinian engagement as there is with the core Palestinian notion and idiom of return (awda,) that emerged from the dispossession of the nakba (catastrophe) of 1948. Palestinians have, of course, produced extraordinarily complex and subtle representations of return. Conceived of as ongoing and ever more unresolved as a result of the failure of the Oslo process and an impossibility of acknowledging defeat attendant upon that failure among the central motifs of Mahmoud Darwishs last diwan it is ever more present as the structuring moment of Palestinian lives.4 One might well argue that, since 1948, most of Palestinian art, speech, and, of course, movement indeed, everything constitutive of Palestinian experience since then fundamentally and, since Oslo, increasingly, consists of attempts to capture the idea of return. Kanafanis 1970 novella Aid ila Haifa (A Returnee to Haifa) the subject of both film and theatre adaptations, is only the most celebrated of the earlier canonical manifestations of these.5 Suleimans own two previous features, Sijil Ikhtifa (Chronicle of a Disappearance, 1996) and Divine Intervention, (subtitled A Chronicle of Love and Pain,) with both of which The Time That Remains is in intricate dialogue, are among the most subtle explorations of the particular, metonymic predicaments of Palestinian citizens of Israel. And it is surely something of this quality of the experience of the Palestinian citizens of Israel as metonym of Palestinian experience that could prompt a young friend I showed the film to in Bureij camp in Gaza, whose experience otherwise differs radically from that of the bourgeois Christian Palestinian-Israeli family shown in The Time That Remains, to nonetheless react to it with: Silence is the hardest language.
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Scene from the film.

The Time That Remains, I would like to suggest here, marks a qualitatively new high in more than just Suleimans art and craft. It also pushes back the boundaries of the uses of silence in Palestinian cinema. It may also be the most compelling evidence for films being the medium most apt to conveying the complexity of return in the post-Oslo era. One might, indeed, suggest that The Time That Remains stages the postOslo Palestinian experience more broadly as contained in a certain existential need for some kind of acknowledgement of the possibility of the impossibility of return thus of some understanding of Oslo as a kind of defeat, as it is depicted in the late compositions of Darwish (d.2008). A Palestinian conception of defeat, both national and individual might, then, be more than ever conveyed in the staging of silence in time rather than in articulation even articulation as subtle as Darwishs, whose indirectness approaches the same qualities. This, in turn, makes Suleimans latest work also among the most acute explorations of the relationship between silence as form and content on film or any other medium. *** Edward Said held that a desire for articulation as opposed to silence [is] the functional idiom of the intellectual vocation.6 The preponderance of silence in much contemporary Palestinian cinema, and especially in the films of Suleiman or Kamal Aljafaris Al-Sath (The Roof) 2006, Mina al-Dhakira (Port of Memory) 2009, channels a broader but entirely compatible argument for the staging of elective silences as contemporary language of Palestinian mimesis: elective as opposed to entirely imposed silences, or, say, articulation imposed in political rather than aesthetic terms. It insistently invites, that is, a reading of such elective silences as perhaps the
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most Palestinian form of articulation in the post-Oslo present. It is hardly incidental that Suleiman dubs his films almost silent movies.7 Often ostensibly bereft of a framing narrative, they are expressive precisely in their apparent disengagement from a consensus that narrative or narration should be indispensable to expression in general or, implicitly, to the historicity of Palestinian narrative in particular. There will be no voiceovers here. In Chronicle of a Disappearance scenes are separated by the non-sequitur, silent-film title al-yom al-tali (The next day). In The Time That Remains, as in all his feature films to date, Suleiman again appears but never speaks. (Most famously, he comes close but never quite in a farcical scene in Chronicle of a Disappearance, in which his doomed attempts to deliver a speech are systematically foiled by feedback and other disturbances.) His silences are particularly expressive in his latest film, more explicitly personal, and in which he features more consistently, than in any of his others to date. The Time That Remains, in the simplest terms, chronicles the experience of Suleimans family in Nazareth from 1948 to the present. It is framed by his return to Nazareth as an adult, from a long absence perhaps, it is strongly implied, one enforced by a teenage engagement in politics represented as inevitable. (In two separate 1970s scenes, a Palestinian Israeli policeman instructs young Elias mother that Elia has 24 hours to leave the country, though this seems not to have any effect at the time. The return itself takes up the final third of the film, following a scene that, typically, may or may not suggest at least the metaphorical, fading-away death of his father, as a teenage Suleiman (ES)8 looks on. Explicitly subtitled Chronicles of a Present Absentee, The Time That Remains addresses the peculiarly literal impossibility of return to some Palestinians: that of those fil-dakhil: inside, or 1948, as most Palestinians call Israel in this context: the minority who were never forced to leave then not even, as the family of Mahmoud Darwish was, only to return illegally almost immediately, as present absentees under Israeli legal terminology. Even to one who grew up in Nazareth under Israeli rule, what awaits ES on his return remains disorienting. In a scene shot from the same angle and framing as in an earlier scene and age, he arrives at night, climbs the stairs of the house, and finds the key under the flowerpot. Since, in the 1970s scenes, ESs father has moved out of the 1948 family home, it is not clear whether the earlier house was expropriated as absentee property. If not, this would lend further valence to the films subtitle: present-absentee, a notoriously oxymoronic Israeli legal designation before it is a rich metaphor for the Palestinian experience in Israel more generally. The Suleimans may thus not qualify for even that label, except in abstract terms, to designate Palestinian citizens of Israel more broadly, if not Palestinians in general. Again, however, the fact that we do not know merely underlines the fact that it need not matter: that the Palestinian experience is in some sense ultimately singular and its singularity certainly impervious to how individual groups of Palestinians may be designated by Israel. Once ES is inside, the doorbell rings. Through the peephole he, and the viewer, see an Israeli policeman. ES double-takes, hesitates afraid as much as startled, the
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 81 ]

viewer may surmise, given ESs past experience with policemen. He puts down his briefcase then brusquely opens the door. Are you Elia Suleiman? the policeman asks, in Arabic, before raising a plate to the camera: Tabbouleh. I made it for you. Easy on the burghul, just as you like it. Youll tell me what you think. Ill come back later. Good evening, welcome home. He walks off, leaving ES clutching the plate, wearing his perennial, indescribably baffled expression. (This is, in writing on Suleiman, inevitably compared to that of Buster Keaton which, while a useful referent, sells it somewhat short: it is his very own.) Cut to a dishevelled Suleiman in pyjamas, wearing the same expression, moving his head from side to side to follow the ballet of the apron-clad policeman and a South-East Asian caretaker in gymwear mopping the floor, to the tune of Jingle Bells on the TV screen. Cut to ES and his now aged mother sitting at breakfast in the kitchen as the policeman, his gun in its holster, does the dishes, and the caretaker makes the tea. It quickly becomes apparent that both are caring for ES mother, who now lives alone: the father has indeed died although whether this was in the final 1970s scene sketched earlier or not, we are, typically, never told. The policeman is clearly smitten with the caretaker. She appears unsmitten. Did you hear the shooting last night? the voluble policeman asks ES from the sink, rather rhetorically: A drug war between two big families. You hardly know the place these days. You look at someone, they point a gun at you. Whatever it is that ES has returned to Nazareth, Israel, Palestine, some unclassifiable combination of the above, or something else entirely it has clearly moved on from the immediately preceding 1970s scenes. He spends the evening, not hearing, much less talking, politics, national or local but watching the caretaker perform an especially excruciating karaoke version of Celine Dions My Heart Will Go On (and it does go on) as the policeman gazes at her admiringly; the only movement, his reaching for the sofa cushion to hug it. Perhaps the most explicit undermining of the possibility of ES, and with him, potentially, any Palestinian, returning in any simple sense is, however, a brief clutch of scenes set in Ramallah later in the film. While they ultimately do belong to this film, they also feel somewhat apart from it stylistically, altogether more reminiscent of the sketches of Divine Intervention. They immediately follow a scene in which a fireworks display over Nazareth echoes, perhaps, the televised sounds of the intifada in the scene that this essay began with. Initially off-camera, these sound more sinister still, given that the celebration could be explicitly at the expense of a Palestinian Nazareth audience, a jarring reminder of their constitutive lack of belonging to the state conducting the celebrations. The camera pans away to a distracted ES packing his bag. Arabic music takes over, over a shot the films leitmotif if any is framed by the window to the balcony, where ES mother sips her coffee in profile, the fireworks and view of Nazareth in the background. It then cuts to ES, as ever without explanation, on a Ford Transit service on the road to Ramallah the first time, save for an ethereal opening scene in a taxi at night, that the film has left the Palestinian-worldunto-itself that is Nazareth.
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The Ramallah scenes follow. A beautiful young woman gets on the service, a keffieh around her neck, and sits next to ES. A little further down the road a large young man gets on, pushing them closer together. Ramallah, he tells the driver. Suleiman insistently glances in the young womans direction, glances she fails to return. The vans sunscreen falls open on one of the roads notoriously countless potholes. (The viewer may know that, past Qalandia checkpoint but officially still within Jerusalem, the road is under Israeli administration, thus unrepaired by the Palestinian Authority hence its appalling condition. As ever in Suleiman, such knowledge would both add to the exquisite deliberation that makes his every scene so rich and is entirely unnecessary for the scene to work in full.) The sunscreen reveals a pin-up tucked inside it, which the woman does briefly stare at before the driver, again, and again, with each passing pothole, holds the screen up to hide it, driving onehanded. ES checks into the Royal Court Suites hotel, bourgeois Ramallah central, in front of which a ballet of magic-realist sociability unfolds between a traffic policeman and each passing car. A taxi driver gets out of his car, vigorously embraces the policeman who, of course, is directing traffic as he would an orchestra on both cheeks, and drives on, as ES looks on from the doorstep. For some minutes only the word Ramallah has been heard, bar the policemans background conversations with his friends as Suleiman looks on from the pavement. ES awakes to the sound of an intifada-classic confrontation below his window between Israeli soldiers mounting an incursion into Ramallah and Palestinian shabab (young men). As the camera returns to ES, the sound is replaced by a lone squeak. ES peers out of the window once more; the squeak is of a pram pushed by a young woman nonchalantly passing through the confrontation, which has paused around her. A soldier raises his rifle at her: Go home! Go home? You go home! she replies, and walks on, the kabuki confrontation immediately resuming behind her. ES heads downstairs to watch, from behind a parapet, a tank blocking the small residential street, its turret tracking every move of a blithely unconcerned young man who has come outside to put the garbage out before pacing the street while talking on his phone, discussing new music to share and the nights party at a hip Ramallah bar. When he goes indoors the turret turns until it is aimed directly at ES, and the viewer. Cut. A jeep stops outside the party, insistently announcing a curfew, ignored from the inside. The megaphone warning gradually mingles with the beat of the music, as the soldier ambiguously begins to move to it. Cut. Suleiman stands before Israels West Bank Wall, holding a high-jumpers pole, which he uses to leap the Wall cleanly. (The scene prompted varying degrees of applause each of three times I saw it in theatres: among the Ramallah audience at the premiere Suleiman attended there, at the al-Kasbah cinmathque, and at New Yorks Lincoln Center and Museum of Modern Art. Two shabab I showed the film to in Bureij camp in Gaza were unmoved.) Cut. We are back in the taxi, now stalled, of the films first scene, ES, presumably on his way to Nazareth from the airport, smoking as the driver slumps asleep at the wheel. Cut. Back to Nazareth. The doctor, emerging
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 83 ]

from the hospital room to which Suleimans mother has moved in the short time we have been away, greets him, as the policeman had, with hamdillah as-salaama: Welcome home. The Ramallah episode takes up under ten minutes of the films 109. Yet, like its every other moment, it is a piece of the puzzle without which Suleimans whole, exceptionally elegant edifice might be structurally far weaker. Given the extraordinary narrative, aesthetic and political tapestry of the film as a whole, and the progression that it represents from Divine Intervention in terms of addressing the experience of 1948 more explicitly than Suleiman has done before (in an interview about The Time That Remains he says I had not very much hope that I would ever touch upon it,9) it is, at first viewing, almost disappointing that Suleiman feels the need to take ES and the viewer to Ramallah at all. The Nazareth he presents us with appears and this is surely a great part of the brilliance of the film entirely sufficient unto itself as a metonym of the Palestinian experience, both of 1948 and later. It appears, that is, able to contain the multifariousness of the Palestinian experience like no other. Nazareth is the capital of Palestinians in Israel, and their experience, while not by any means the most physically violent, is arguably that which most closely approaches the limits of representation with this liminality, rather than the mere experience of violence, conceived of as the cornerstone of the Palestinian experience. The Ramallah scenes, by contrast, verge more on metaphor, and what they contain e.g. the shabab-soldiers confrontation in some sense already, inescapably metaphorical. And it is this constitutive foreshortening of the viewers imagination, to some inevitable degree implicit in the use of the classical tropes of Palestinian victimhood and agency that is a great part of the difficulty of Palestinian representation, that Suleimans style in general, and his Ramallah scenes in particular, so deftly both foregrounds and bypasses. Palestinian awda is, then, not here. It is precluded principally by Israeli tanks and soldiers, necessary as those have been for over 60 years to prevent the physical return of Palestinian refugees. It is, as in such chronicles of post-Oslo return as Mourid Barghoutis I Saw Ramallah, precluded by the very texture of what has been lost in 1948 and since and, all-importantly, by how it was lost, incrementally, including by those who never left, a world still within the sight and grasp of those who still live inside, in 1948. Return feels, in fact, all the more foreclosed by the very absence of any physical displacement in the case of Suleimans family, and of many Palestinians in Israel even within the limits of conceiving of return as, first, foremost and fundamentally, an idea: the idea of Palestine. The house, the stairs leading to it, the neighbors, can all remain precisely the same in outward appearance over time. Only the meaning of the lives lived in and around them has changed: is continually changing, to something that, no matter how dispiriting it may seem, can never be acknowledged to have been meaningless given the risk of retrospectively invalidating the meaning of Palestinian life since 1948. One of Darwishs last prose poems is titled Whats It All For? [M]eaningless words, which are not meant to mean anything: Whats it all for?10 The question here, as in Suleiman, is surely whether the question can be asked at all and if so, how if Palestinian lives are to preserve
[ 84 ] Staging the Sublimation of Clich: Elia Suleimans Silences in The Time That Remains (2009)

the equilibrium required to preserve meaning in their experience. The meaning of the question appears to be contingent upon its not being asked or, as in Darwish, on its not being explicitly asked; and, perhaps, in the answers being, as it can be on screen, largely silence. This is, perhaps, what prompts ES to head to Ramallah, in ostensible search of the more familiar visual cues to second-intifada-era Palestinian experience that Nazareth may not provide. If, however, the Ramallah digression and it matters that it should feel like a digression successfully underlines the fact that the shots of ES mother, silent on her balcony, could in and of themselves embody the Palestinian experience, Suleiman may be allowing his viewer to think, so much the better. When ES returns to Nazareth, his mother, in her hospital bed, is clutching a photograph of her dead husband, Fuad, sitting at the same balcony as we have seen her in so many scenes, staring at the view. Any attempt to take anything away from that experience of silent, infinitely profound sadness in every moment, on the grounds that the Nazareth experience is less representative of the national experience than the recent experience of Gaza, for example, would rightly appear indefensible and unwarranted. As an exploration of simultaneous alienation from and relatedness to the experience of occupation, the television-watching scene I sketched at the outset feels, however, altogether more convincing than the later Ramallah ones. (Typical of Suleimanian bathos, the next scene is of the mothers nightly foray to a fridge the upper door-shelf of which is filled exclusively with ice-cream cones, to indulge in her not-so-guilty pleasure, later to be reproached in, ludicrously, Hebrew endearments by the caregiver measuring her blood sugar levels.) The only other intrusion of the West Bank prior to the Ramallah scenes is when a ragamuffin, no more than twelve, comes to the open door of the house, trying to sell the caretaker beans for ten shekels: Please, take them; I dont have the fare for the bus. Didnt you hear? Get out of here, the pointedly demasculinized, apron-clad policeman interjects, emerging from the next room, a duster in one hand and a bottle of detergent in the other. The boy, unconcerned, sizes him up. Where are you from? From Jenin. (The destruction of Jenins refugee camp in 2002 is, of course, as potent a symbol of the second intifada as there is.) Do you have a permit to enter Israel? Wheres your ID? Leave him alone! the caretaker barks, in stilted English. If you dont have it Ill take you to the police station, the policeman warns. I said leave the boy alone. Come inside. Khalas, go away, the boy, apparently (off-camera,) says to the policeman; then, to the caregiver: OK, give me a cigarette. Give him cigarette! she hollers, again in English, at the policeman in the next room who obediently passes the boy one through the window. The boy makes a lighter gesture; the policeman returns to light the cigarette for him. The boy takes a drag and blows the smoke in the policemans direction, daring him to react, before picking up his plastic bags and sauntering off. The policeman, of course, dare not react, apparently shamed by the caregiver with no political stake plausibly one of those laborers, mainly Thais, whom Israel imported during the second intifada to replace Gazan workers, both in the settlements there before 2005, and inside Israel to replace West Bank workers. The
Jerusalem Quarterly 48 [ 85 ]

policeman and the boy are never seen in the same frame: the shot is divided down the middle by the wall, and only the policemans gloved hands extend through the window. The policemans blitheness in uniform around ES and his mother does not extend to the boy nor to an audience less desensitized by repetition to the absurdity and irretrievable shame of his situation: a Palestinian Israeli policing mainly Palestinians, for the benefit of Israelis. All that this scene might be seen to contain is best left unglossed, just as it is left unspoken by Suleiman. *** After displacement, Suleiman might be interpreted as saying that there is only time that remains time, as distinct from anything resembling closure or redemption through physical return, no matter how long-awaited. In an interview about the film he addresses simplistic interpretations with bravado: The Time That Remains is not at all a metaphor of Palestine. Not at all Im not saying anything about the ArabIsraeli conflict. In fact, the phrase the Arab-Israeli conflict does not even belong to my dictionary at all. I only reflect and sponge experience, and that happens to be as a Palestinian Diasporic or everyday reality.11 Inasmuch, however, as Suleiman does gloss the films title, it is as an acknowledgement of the quality of the post-1948 Palestinian experience rather than as a ringing affirmation of its conventionally ascribed meaning. The title contains no more than what it contains; and that the time that remains, not only the time that has passed is everything. This is not an acknowledgement of hopelessness inasmuch as acknowledging the impossibility of return might otherwise be seen, in Palestinian political language at least, as the certificate of inseparable national and personal defeat. Suleiman again: If I was hopeless, I would not have made a film entitled The Time That Remains there is only hope The Time That Remains is a kind of warning about the regression of the status quo, or the regression of the state of things. You warn because there is hope We are not necessarily winning. We are only trying to arrest the regression, unfortunately.12 The exit music is so ostentatiously at odds with the films subtlety that it remains daring, vintage Suleiman an Arabic-tinged version of Staying Alive, by the electro duo Mirwais and Yasmine Hamdan. Whatever regression is at work here, in the post-Oslo Palestinian present, is cast in aesthetic terms as much as, if not more than, political ones, however broadly the political may be understood. Suleiman is thus in implicit dialogue with the late, Trojan Darwish and his casting of hope, in a poem in his last collection entitled A Talent for Hope, not as the opposite of despair but as a talent; of suffering, not as a talent, but a test of that talent; and of a certain indifference including, presumably towards the possibility of any idealized understanding of return as one aspect of hope.13 The sustaining of such hope might best reside, then, in pre-emptive autocritiques of the ideal return, of the kind provided by the likes of Mourid Barghouti, and Suleiman or Darwish, among others. These would be valuable inasmuch as they provide a different language from if not one opposed to the unchanging, sloganeering proto-certainties of Palestinian
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Authority politicians, decried as increasingly hollow representations of lived experience. Since while the legitimacy and validity of historical slogans may remain uncontested and incontestable, they may like all slogans struggle to speak equally to all Palestinian generations quite as intimately as one might hope or as some Palestinians might prefer to be spoken to by others. *** This latter possibility is raised in a recent article by the anthropologist Diana Allan, who, foregrounding the uses of silence among the jeel al-nakba (generation of the disaster) to communicate the ongoing experience of 1948 to one another, raises the possibility that this experience appears to be better expressed (in a necessarily complex sense of better) the less narrative structure, or even narrative characteristics, it has including the structure of the nationalist narrative. One might take this further to suggest that the experience of 1948 may be better expressed the less it is articulated. Such an interpretation requires a willingness to contemplate a possibility radically against the grain of Palestinian discourse: that stories do not seem to be a retentive milieu for memory or communal solidarity, which instead appear to settle into silent practice, gestures, and repetitive rituals meeting for coffee, a lullaby. It suggests that remembering Palestine and the events surrounding the expulsion have come to be unconsciously performed where they may have once been actively relayed. It also seems as if speaking about these events and experiences has come to represent a form of excess.14 One more Ramallah scene from The Time That Remains, mentioned in passing earlier, illuminates what it is that Suleimans style achieves in this respect.15 The scene below may not be the richest one in The Time That Remains - but in its transcending of clich by its staging in silence, it is especially suggestive of how best to represent another, more coded variety of the life of these events and experiences those of 1948 in the present. The scene is a party in second intifada-era Ramallah. (This alone would be an arrow aimed at the clichd representation of that era - were it not, again, that Ramallahs party scene has, in recent years, become such a staple of New York Times pieces on the West Bank, displacing further coverage of, say, Gaza.) The full-glass frontage of a discothque, Stones, reveals Ramallahs beautiful people gyrating to house music, above an empty street at night. An Israeli army jeep pulls up slowly outside, ignored from inside. A soldier announces on his loudspeaker: To the inhabitants of Ramallah: curfew, curfew. The party continues without a beat - rather, with only dance beats to be heard. As the soldier repeats his warning, persistently ignored, his voice seems to blend with the music, the soldier and/or his words moving in rhythm with it - but ambiguously still: this remains the viewers interpretation, not a straight fact on screen open to immediate processing as such. The camera cuts to the scene of Suleiman leaping the Wall. The scene exhibits Suleimans most precious quality precisely because it is the
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one that ostensibly comes most dangerously close to metaphor i.e., in Palestinian context, to the potentially fatal dangers of clich. And yet, by somehow sustaining reticence in interpretation the self-underlining absence of speech in a cacophony of dance music and the threatening blaring of a military loudspeaker, analogous to that of the absent commentary on the Nazareth television screen the danger is averted, even as the perils of appearing precious by ignoring intifada clich altogether merely because it is clich are also circumvented. Anything, everything and, all-importantly, as close to nothing (i.e. to the banal) as is possible in military occupation could be happening in this scene. It could be happening simultaneously; and it could reflect both well and badly, politically and humanly, upon both parties. There is, or could be, both bourgeois/youth resistance and a portentous habituation to violence or, worse, to occupation.16 There is, or could be, both the empathy of the young soldier with his partying Palestinian counterparts and his blindness to the vulgarity of such empathy from his own position as agent of structural violence. At least one general truth is present, and it is the major one: that of military occupation, and, with it, of the nakba. The specific truths are left open, all the richer for the fact that the spectator knows their full potential, no less rich if they do not. The sliding scale of what the audience brings to what is on screen, and how much it matters that they should have something to bring, is near-perfectly calibrated. The political valence is a function of this; the aesthetic valence is immune to it. The balance that has preoccupied Palestinian artists the unfair relation between the cultural question and the political question17 of which jeel al-thawra (the intermediate, revolution-generation) poets may especially complain is, for a moment at least, resolved by the necessity of spectator participation. Suleiman, best left unglossed, on silence: silence itself actually has a site that is so undefined in our life, in our spiritual life, and it has a very political territory. If youre silent so many times its so destabilizing to power structures. They would beat you in order to talk. And silence also does not have a center. Silence is something that the spectator can participate in. You can fill in the space if you want. I take pleasure from the spectator participating in the making of the film18 *** Any overly self-conscious attempt at a faithful artistic or creative rendering of Palestinian experience runs the particular risk of clich, in its broadest sense of failure of mimesis. The means of production of viewer attention in Palestinian film is thus, in The Time that Remains, not the absence of clich, but its subversion; not railing against clich railing against it being itself by now perhaps a clich but sublimating it, and staging its sublimation. To the extent that Palestinian art is to aspire to faithfulness in every moment, every frame, every image the aspiration is to the kinds of truth embodied in painting or photography. What it is that Suleimans best scenes approximate, however, is not
[ 88 ] Landed Property and Elite Conflict in Ottoman Tulkarm

photographs, but postcards, the most potent of which is the recurrent long take of his mother on her Nazareth balcony at various ages, framed through the same window. The slightest didactic excess would shatter this equilibrium. The mark of successful mimesis in this context is, I have suggested, to stage ones abstention from such excess: an art and craft that Suleiman has by now perfected even while engaging the Palestinian story at its core and, unlike in his previous films, through something akin to conventional linear narrative. It is tempting, then, to consider the possibility that perhaps only film, with its unique means of staging silence, can do this showing-without-telling, inasmuch as the moving image necessarily, to some extent contains the widest range to approximate the Palestinian experience in general, and the refugee experience in particular. How far this defies verbal description is captured by the Palestinian writer Adania Shiblis review of Kamal Aljafaris Port of Memory (2010): What it shows is essentially visual, something no written poem could even envision. I too will not commit the crime of trying to write about the film; this is a work that can only be seen, not talked about; all that can be said is that it brings cinema to a place beyond the question of fiction, documentary and video art. Not only that; it does so as if no camera were there, or there were a camera without a man the invisibility here is of film itself.19 One cannot, of course, avoid the crime of trying to write about film, as one cannot avoid the crime of trying to write about silence; notwithstanding Michael Woods gloss, in his Children of Silence, of the notion that silence is what literature longs for but cant reach, not only because its very condition is language but because a complicated fidelity to silence is one of literatures most attractive attainments.20 In Palestinian context, this might best be read into the characteristics of recent Palestinian literature, outlined by the leading Palestinian literary critic Faisal Darraj as consisting in three features: a decision to limit the effort to describing representative lives in stark detail and as they are lived, exposed and bare, and remote from any optimistic or pessimistic ideologies and wishful thinking; a decision to remain rooted in the bleak everyday, day in and day out lives of their characters, almost as in a nightmare and without any referral to a near or distant future; and finally, the extinguishing of any and all certainty, replacing it with doubt, possibility, and expectation-less waiting.21 Suleimans work suggests like no other that the medium for these features may not be writing or speech, but silence. It may be that here, if only here, film can do what literature can only aspire to, nor even perhaps envision: refrain from describing Suleimans mothers hand never quite matching his expectation; letting silence do its work.

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Tom Hill is an affiliate of the Committee on Global Thought at Columbia University, where he was Postdoctoral Fellow 2009-11.
Endnotes 1 I thank Sameen Gauhar for comments on this article; Kamal Aljafari for talking through these themes, often; and Paul Aarons and Wasseem al-Sarraj of the Tida institute in Gaza. 2 Interview with Amanda Palmer, The Fabulous Picture Show, Al-Jazeera English, 14 January 2010, http://www.youtube.com/ watch?v=zH8sEJbatrw&has_verified=1 3 Mahmoud Darwish, Fi Hadrat al-Ghiyab (Beirut: Riad al-Rayyes, 2006), 168; trans. Mohammed Shaheen, Absent Presence (London: Hesperus, 2010), 114. 4 M. Darwish, Athar al-Farasha. Yawmiyyat [The Butterfly Effect. Diaries] (Beirut: Riad al-Rayyes Books, 2008) [in Arabic]. 5 Including the film adaptation by Qasem Hawl (1982), which, although not by a Palestinian, is an early candidate for the first Palestinian fiction feature. The original print fell victim to the storied disappearance of the PLO film archive during the Israeli siege of Beirut in 1982. (The first Palestinian fiction feature is often held to be the Palestinian-Israeli Michel Khleifis Urs al-Jalil [Wedding in Galilee,] (1987)). 6 E.W. Said, The Public Role of Writers and Intellectuals in H. Small, ed., The Public Intellectual (Oxford: Blackwell, 2002), 31 7 L. Butler, A Cinema of Nowhere: an Interview with Elia Suleiman, Journal of Palestine Studies XXIX, 2 (Winter 2000), 68. 8 The character played by Suleiman in the film is henceforth referred to as ES, his name in the credits. 9 Interview from the Time That Remains DVD 10 M. Darwish, Athar al-Farasha. Yawmiyyat, 57 (translation by Catherine Cobham: M. Darwish, A River Dies of Thirst: Journals (New York: Archipelago Books, 2009), 25 (italics mine.). 11 S. Haider, A Different Kind of Occupation: an interview with Elia Suleiman, Electronic Intifada, 1 February 2010. 12 S. Haider (italics mine). 13 M. Darwish, Athar al-farasha, 60. 14 D. Allan, The Politics of Witness: Remembering and Forgetting 1948 in Shateela Camp, in A. H. Sadi and L. Abu-Lughod, eds., Nakba. Palestine, 1948 and the Claims of Memory (New York: Columbia University Press, 2007), 261. 15 The last scene of Chronicle of a Disappearance, in which Suleimans parents are silently asleep in front of the TV playing the Israeli national anthem, has a good claim to be the most touching in the history of Palestinian cinema. 16 The Bureij shabab mentioned earlier were, tellingly, thoroughly unimpressed by the notion that dancing under curfew might be considered a form of resistance by any Palestinian. 17 Interview with a jeel al-thawra poet, Ramallah, 2 February 2006. 18 Interview with Amanda Palmer, Al-Jazeera English, ibid. 19 www.bfi.org.uk/sightandsound/exclusive/ palestine_film_festival_2010.php 20 Michael Wood, Children of Silence (New York: Columbia University Press, 1999), 1 21 F. Darraj, Transformations in Palestinian Literature, Words Without Borders, November 2006 (italics mine).

[ 90 ] Staging the Sublimation of Clich: Elia Suleimans Silences in The Time That Remains (2009)

Ethnic Cleansing Continues: Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted


Marian Houk

Israeli human rights Attorney Michael Sfard abruptly lowered both his voice and his head as he neared the end of his opening remarks at a press conference at the American Colony Hotel on October 31. He appeared to be weighing each word with extra care, perhaps anticipating the potential impact of his words, and the reaction that could come, as he told the journalists there: Through my career, Ive heard but never believed in conspiracy theories, and as a lawyer Ive wanted always to see evidence. He then continued: But now that we have inspected almost every report prepared in the last decade NGO reports, government reports, and the Jerusalem Municipality reports our observations bring us for the first time to the conclusion that, yes, there is a place between the Jordan River and the [Mediterranean] Sea where Israel is trying to chase Palestinian residents away and that place is East Jerusalem. This is a very, very severe allegation.

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This has, potentially, major implications. That same morning, Sfard and his associate, Attorney Emily Schaeffer, acting as Counsel for the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), had forwarded their conclusions to three United Nations Human Rights Special Rapporteurs, via the secretariat of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva, Switzerland. It is the first time an Israeli NGO has developed a legal argument that it submitted as a formal complaint to the UN human rights apparatus about the situation in East Jerusalem. ICAHD and its legal team are proceeding cautiously, starting with the UN human rights thematic Special Rapporteurs (who deal with specific issues in this case, the Right to Adequate Housing, and Internally Displaced Persons) and to the relevant country Special Rapporteur on the Human Rights situation in the occupied Palestinian territory (international law professor Richard Falk). ICAHD and its lawyers said, at their press conference in East Jerusalem, that they hope their findings will generate UN investigations as their report makes its way through the human rights machinery to the UN General Assembly which might, ICAHDs Jeff Halper interjected even decide to refer this matter to the UN Security Council. The report they were presenting, called No Home, No Homeland: A New Normative Framework for Examining the Practice of Administrative Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem, says that Alongside the restrictions placed on Palestinian growth, Jewish population growth is encouraged and enjoys state support, including the continuous expansion of Jewish neighborhoods or settlements in East Jerusalem.1 The argument laid out is the most complete legal consideration to date concerning the situation of Palestinian residents in East Jerusalem. Our analysis gets to the essence of the conflict, Halper said. And, unlike other organizations, we didnt go to the Israeli courts because we dont feel they have jurisdiction except, in some cases, the Supreme Court. He added that he believes there is no legal remedy within the Israeli legal system for the situation they see in East Jerusalem, so the decision was to turn to the UN. Its the first report of its kind, Sfard noted, which, looking from a birds-eye view, sees not just demolitions, not just loss of residency, and not just discrimination between Jewish and Palestinian [inhabitants] but also displacement based on ethnic origins. Emily Schaeffer, who wrote the report under Sfards supervision, believes that at the heart of the problem is a demographic policy which has not been published, though she said evidence of the existence of this policy exists in minutes of Jerusalem municipal meetings, in remarks made by municipal council members in interviews, and in the building and planning commission. This policy aims to keep an overwhelming majority of Jewish residents in the city of Jerusalem, and is called the 70/30 policy, she said though the ratio of Jewish to Palestinian residents, based on rough estimates, is currently about 67/33. In the Jerusalem Master Plan developed by the Municipality the figure given for the desirable ratio is 60/40 which, Schaeffer said, is part of the reason it has been delayed, due to a backlash by Jewish interests and
[ 92 ] Ethnic Cleansing Continues: Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted

groups who prefer the 70/30 proportions. This mirrors a hot dispute among historians in recent decades over the existence of another Israel policy Plan Dalet (D) for the expulsion of large numbers of Palestinians from 1947 to 1949, during the fighting before, during and after the creation of the State of Israel. Palestinians call this expulsion which affected some 700,000 Palestinians, or two-thirds of the Palestinian inhabitants at the time of the British Mandate the Nakba. Most Israeli new historians and Palestinians argue that Plan Dalet was adopted and implemented. Yet one Israeli new historian, Benny Morris, has been taken to task and even scornfully denounced for arguing what colleagues and critics from the left consider a mere technicality: his belief that Plan Dalet was discussed, that people talked about it but were never stupid enough to adopt it formally.2 In any case, there are currently an estimated 300,000 Palestinians squeezed into underserviced East Jerusalem that part of the city which did not become part of the State of Israel at its founding in May 1948, but which only came under Israeli rule after its conquest in the June 1967 war. The extension of Israeli law to East Jerusalem is tantamount to annexation, and has been called null and void in a list of resolutions adopted through the years by the UN Security Council and General Assembly. What makes the matter even more difficult to explain is that, in 1967, the Israeli authorities unilaterally redefined the boundaries of this new Jerusalem, incorporating what had previously been satellite neighborhoods and suburbs of the Old City from areas at the edge of Ramallah in the north, running in a crescent to the east around the Old City, and extending to the edge of Bethlehem in the south. This was then named the Greater Jerusalem Municipal Area -- and this is what the Israeli government now calls Jerusalem. Settlements built in many outlying parts of the Greater Jerusalem Municipality including Gilo, Har Homa, Pisgat Zeev, Ramat Shlomo and Ramot now look more like the suburban neighborhoods that Israel claims they are, as distinct from the gated communities with permanent security presences at their entrances and exit points that can be seen dotting the rest of the West Bank. These settlements in the Greater Jerusalem Municipality have been some of the most internationally provocative issues (while Israelis argue they are consensus areas) since Benyamin Netanyahu became Israels Prime Minister following the February 2009 general elections. In response to strong criticism following the announcement of advancement of plans for new construction in those settlements, which are in areas of the West Bank that were not considered part of [East] Jerusalem before the 1967 war, Netanyahus Government spokesman Mark Regev provoked angry surprise by saying that this criticism was unwarranted because these are neighborhoods in Jerusalem. He stressed that Israel has never agreed not to build in Jerusalem. In 1980, the Israeli Knesset adopted a Basic Law claiming Jerusalem as Israels eternal capital which shall never again be divided a move which the UN Security Council and General Assembly have also called null and void. For the European Union critics of these Jerusalem settlements, who perhaps push the Americans on this issue, these settlements are actually built on occupied Palestinian territory, which was part of the
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West Bank before the Israeli conquest in June 1967. Meanwhile, Israel has been carrying out another unilateral and de facto redefinition of what it wants Jerusalem to be. This is evident in the route of the Wall it has been building since 2002 the construction of which is under the supervision of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. The Wall has cut off areas of high Palestinian density and put them on the West Bank side of the Wall, although the Palestinian inhabitants of some of those areas still have, until now, Jerusalem Permanent Residency permits, even while they no longer have free access to Jerusalem. This extremely hurtful situation has remained officially undefined as the residents Jerusalem IDs have not (yet) been revoked, the Arnona municipality tax for Jerusalem is still being collected, and an Israeli post office was constructed within the Qalandia checkpoint complex for the convenience of such Jerusalemites to pay their tax bills and take care of other similar matters there without having to fully cross through the checkpoint to enter Jerusalem. At the press conference Sfard said that he became convinced that there indeed is a policy of displacement after his study and review confirmed the stark choice that the majority of East Jerusalemite Palestinians face. Either they leave, or stay and build illegally because the chances of getting the permit needed to build a house legally are almost zero and they thus face a future of constant fear of demolition, heavy fines and prosecution. And, if they leave (except to other areas inside Israel3), their Permanent Residency will sooner or later be revoked, making an already stateless population once again refugees. Between 1967 and 2009, some 13,000 Palestinian residence permits were revoked by the Israeli Ministry of Interior and one-half of those occurred in the last three years [of these statistics], Sfard stated. He added: This is considered a serious acceleration of revocation of residency and if something, perhaps some international pressure, does not stop this, we will witness Palestinian de facto deportation from East Jerusalem not with guns and trucks, but by not allowing Palestinians to live decent normal lives in East Jerusalem. Taken together, he said, this policy is an illegal one. In legal terms, he pointed out, it should be called ethnic displacement. Israel is manifestly and severely violating international law, he said. But whats even worse, Sfard lamented, is when you identify a policy that is a violation and then you find a motivation. In legal terms, this is poison, he stated. Then, we find ourselves in the sphere of criminal international law and there is a danger, and a suspicion, that war crimes have occurred. To verify this requires an investigation. Thats what they want the UN to do, starting with the three Human Rights Rapporteurs who were sent this report. Sfard noted, however, that criminal liability is attributable to individuals, not to states. He added that, in this case, the policies involved many people over the course of the 44 years following the June 1967 war and the Israeli conquest of East Jerusalem and the rest of the West Bank, as well as Gaza and the Golan Heights. He indicated that it would of course not be the UN Special Rapporteurs or the other UN bodies in Geneva or New York who could carry out investigations into personal criminal liability. If careful
[ 94 ] Ethnic Cleansing Continues: Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted

examination raises suspicions, Sfard added, then first and foremost it is the role of the State of Israel to do a thorough, rapid and independent investigation. If it [Israel] fails to do so, then the international community will have to act. ICAHD is a Jerusalem-based NGO headed by American-born Israeli human rights advocate Jeff Halper, who has lived in Israel since 1973. Halper founded ICAHD to try to prevent house demolitions the organization estimates there have been some 26,000 Palestinian homes demolished in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) since 1967. He and his volunteer teams have rebuilt a number of demolished Palestinian homes, including some that were serially demolished, and after each demolition he has rebuilt these homes. Halper and the attorneys said at the press conference that house demolitions are, however, only one part of the picture but these demolitions are the teeth of the plan that they want the UN, and also Israel itself, to investigate. Halper noted that the violations of the building code found in West Jerusalem which include things like the unauthorized building of a small fence, or the construction of a watermelon stand with a tin roof, which are then also demolished are given the same statistical weight as the construction a seven-story Palestinian apartment building. In fact, he said, the Jerusalem Municipality has prioritized the demolition of Palestinian homes. The Mayors spokesman, however, claims the mirror opposite, saying this ICAHD study gives misleading information, so, he said, the UN should have fun with it. Given the gravity and severity of the crisis and of the violations ICAHD described, it is telling that the spokesmans response did not include a single respectful remark that such findings would be looked at seriously, and that problems which are confirmed will be investigated. Reuters reported, after the press conference, that There was no immediate comment from Israeli authorities on the report other than a statement from the mayors office which said that while East Jerusalem had suffered from a lack of investment in the past that had now changed.4 Picking up the Reuters report, the privately-owned donor-funded Bethlehembased Maan News Agency published this comment it obtained: Stephan Miller, a spokesman for Israels mayor of Jerusalem, Nir Barkat, dismissed the report. He said in a statement it was based on misleading facts, blatant lies and political spin about Jerusalem, so Im sure the UN will enjoy it.5 Then, Agence France Presse (AFP) reported that Jerusalem municipality spokesman Stephan Miller rebuffed the allegations [and] said the citys mayor was committed to improving the quality of life of Jerusalems Muslim residents6 Halper is also an anthropologist who has taught at Ben-Gurion University, and has written several important analyses of the 44-year-old Israeli occupation of Palestinian land and lives: The Matrix of Control (2000),7 The Palestinians: Warehousing a Surplus People (2008),8 and Dismantling of the Matrix of Control (2009).9 Halper gave a briefing at the Jerusalem Funds Palestine Center in Washington D.C. in early February 2000 some eight months before the outbreak of the Second
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Palestinian Intifada as he was developing his Matrix of Control analysis. According to a summary record of that briefing, prepared by the Center for Policy Analysis on Palestine, Halper said he wanted to call attention to the underbelly of the peace process, the parallel reality created by Israel. In his words, Since 1967, Israel has had a policy, that cuts across Labor and Likud governments, of creating facts on the ground that will foreclose the possibility of any viable Palestinian state.10 In response to a question from journalists, Halper said that the complaint, or appeal, that ICAHD has just made to the three UN Special Rapporteurs had been planned for over a year, not necessarily to coincide with the PLOs UN bid. But, in June, Halper had written an article,11 published by Maan News Agency and others, in which he said: To pull off his September initiative, Abbas must reject the go-it-alone approach that the Palestinian leadership has followed fruitlessly for so long The issue is not whether the initiative succeeds; it is clear that the US will cast a veto. The true struggle is to pull out all the stops to show the world just how strong the Palestinian movement is We, the people who have pursued Palestinian rights over the decades, Palestinians and non-Palestinian alike, are an integral part of the struggle. We have earned the right, all of us, to have our voices heard in September The people can bring the struggle to a certain point; we cannot negotiate or pursue initiatives at the UN. If the leadership fails us then we truly have nowhere to go. All those Palestinians who have suffered, resisted and died over the past decades cannot be let down at this historic moment by a vacillating political leadership. We call on you to mobilize us. Mahmoud Abbas, in his capacity as Chairman of the PLO Executive Committee [which has functioned loosely as the provisional government of the State of Palestine declared in 1988], deposited a formal application for full UN membership (which he also signed as President of the State of Palestine) on 23 September12 . Israel has denounced this move, and the U.S. has vowed to veto, at least until there is bilateral agreement reached through negotiations. As of this writing, it looks as though the European Union members of the Security Council will abstain if the PLO insists on a vote, and a draft resolution will fail to pass because it will not obtain the minimum of nine votes needed for adoption. In this case, it seems that the Palestinians have in effect been told to come back later. Once the Security Council has disposed of the matter, for the time being, if the PLO demands a vote anyway or if the PLO decides to withdraw their request for full membership, a less attractive option, for them the PLO could then turn to the UN General Assembly, where it is assured of a majority to back the move to upgrade its status to non-member observer state (rather than organization, or, as it is listed in the UNs Diplomatic Blue book, entity). Meanwhile, while a Security Council committee was considering the Palestinian request the committee subsequently reported, on 11 November, that the members of the Security Council had not reached agreement on the application, but further Palestinian moves had not yet been taken as of the time of final editing of this article the PLO obtained full membership of the State of Palestine in UNESCO in Paris on 31
[ 96 ] Ethnic Cleansing Continues: Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted

October, an important step in changing the international status of Palestine. Though Israeli immediately and punitively withheld transfer of VAT tax + customs duties it collects on behalf of the Palestinian Authority under the 1994 Paris Protocol of the Oslo Accords this now amounts to some $100 million per month, or some onethird to one-half of the total PA monthly budget the Netanyahu government came under heavy American pressure in late November to turn the money over, with a second month of non-payment looming in December. PA Prime Minister Salaam Fayyad told journalists on 27 November that he could not pay December salaries to PA employees who, he said, support some 1 million Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza. The American argument is that financial sanctions, including some demanded by the U.S. Congress, should not be imposed unless the PA goes further in its UN bid. Israel has explicitly also added the formation of a new government resulting from Hamas-Fatah/PLO reconciliation talks as a trigger for permanent withholding of the tax monies it collects for the PA. (Though a reconciliation summit between Mahmoud Abbas and Hamas Politbureau head Khaled Meshaal was held in Cairo on 25 November, no new government was formed.) On a brief tour after the 31 October press conference, Halper pointed out to astonished journalists a large building in the Sheikh Jarrah area of East Jerusalem, north of the Old City, and next to the mosque just several doors away from the fivestar American Colony hotel. Halper said the building is an empty shell, unfinished inside, without plumbing or sewage disposal, and with pirated electricity, which is now known as Sumoud (Steadfastness) Building, owned by the Waqf (Islamic trust foundation), where he said about twenty-five Palestinian families have been squatting, some for at least a decade, because they cannot afford the high, and sometimes exorbitant rents now being charged in East Jerusalem, the sector of the city where they must reside if they want to keep their permanent residency status in Israel. In a brief visit after the tour, four journalists (including this writer) went to visit the Sumoud building, where a group of women in long coats and tight headscarves, standing outside with their children, said they live there. They pointed to a partitioned shelter inside where we could find someone to talk to. We knocked on the door, and a young man answered and invited us inside. He had been on the computer. He was home alone at that time, but he said that ten people slept in his home, including his father and mother, who did not have work. The space was neat and clean, with benchlike seating (that clearly also serves as beds) arranged against all the walled areas. He did not speak English, and could only write his phone number in the India numerals traditionally used in Arabic. He said he was in trade school, learning cabinet-making. He was thirteen-and-a-half years old. How long had his family lived there? Thirteen years, he said, since he was a small baby. He also said that thirty families now lived in the building. Across the street, in an area just off the busy traffic on Nablus Road next to Road One (which runs along the 1949/1967 Green Line there) are a group of extraordinarily run-down houses. One of them, a run-down small stone building with lovely arches and a garden with fruit trees was taken over in the late summer of
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2009 by a very organized group of settlers, armed with private security guards and an Israeli court order. The houses huddled nearby are some of the poorest dwellings this journalist has seen in East Jerusalem. Residents were eager to tell the media when we arrived that an old woman lived in a small and partly demolished annex connecting two of these homes. She had no family, they said, lived alone, and never, ever, showed herself. We could detect movement inside, but we couldnt see the person who lived there. She had no water, but a garden hose was running from one of the neighbors windows into her shuttered place, and she had no electricity, but an extension cord also running from the neighbors window powered the one lamp that we could see lit. The neighbors gave her a little food. The doorframe was crumbling, and there was little protection from the elements. Despite claims by Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat that there is no discrimination and that he will allow none in the Jerusalem that Israel has administered since its conquest in the June 1967 war and effectively annexed several weeks later, Halper, Sfard, Schaeffer all said that the statistics and the terminology Barkat uses are misleading. To the contrary, they argued, there is disproportionate and discriminatory demolition of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, though Halper noted that the vast majority of violations are in Jewish areas. At the same time, as Schaeffer stated, there is a lack of ability to obtain permits for new housing, which leads to a major housing shortage, while there is an increased demand for Palestinian housing in [East] Jerusalem because Palestinians are subject to residency revocation. This can happen in several ways: (1) if municipal inspectors find they are lying about their residency and living elsewhere (say, in the West Bank, which Schaeffer noted is considered outside of Israel, the same as Bahrain or the U.S., despite the fact that the West Bank is ruled by Israels Ministry of Defense), or (2) if they are absent for an extended period of time, or (3) if they acquire another residency status elsewhere, or another citizenship conditions which are never used against Israelis. This leads to overcrowding and harsh living conditions, lack of community development, and a life of constant fear and uncertainty. And this, Schaeffer said, leads to a violation of international law, including Israels obligations as a State Party to the International Convention on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. (Israel is due to have its periodic report of compliance with the provisions of this Convention heard at the UN Human Rights offices in Geneva in November and December and a large number of Israeli human rights NGOs, including ICAHD, have announced they will be present there to make known their research and findings on their governments policies.) It is also a violation of international humanitarian law, because the laws of occupation apply in East Jerusalem, and because of Israels effective control there, Schaeffer noted. Once Israel revokes residency of East Jerusalem Palestinians, who are technically already stateless, effectively it is deporting them ... It is a violation of the Geneva Conventions, and in these cases, Israel is perhaps committing a war crime, she said.
[ 98 ] Ethnic Cleansing Continues: Israeli Lawyers Tell UN Palestinian Jerusalemites Targeted

And, she added, when Israel deports Palestinians who are already stateless, this is also a violation of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which proclaims every persons right to nationality, and to a home. Moreover, Palestinians are deprived of the right to development (which Schaeffer said derives from the right to self-determination) as they have no say over what happens to them, and Israel has restricted the land available for building in East Jerusalem (where Palestinians own their land, unlike the situation for Israelis in Israel where land is state owned) to only 9 percent of the land area. And, Schaeffer said, in many cases home demolitions can also be considered war crimes, because they violate the prohibition of the destruction of property of protected persons (the only exceptions being to preserve safety and order, or in case of military necessity). As Michael Sfard explained at the press conference, he believes the correct legal term for what he sees is not ethnic cleansing, but ethnic displacement. Halper uses a stronger term but did not use it while sitting beside Sfard in the press conference. He did, however, say it a few days later, in South Africa, when, according to a Tweet from @AlShabaka, Halper told the Russell Tribunal on 6 November that we use the word apartheid, in Hebrew Hafrada to describe what we do to the Palestinians. In his Warehousing the Palestinians analysis, Halper wrote that Boiled down to its essentials, apartheid comprises two elements: the separation of populations, whether on a racial basis or, in the case of Israel, according to religion or nationality, and the subsequent domination of one privileged people over others, institutionalized into a permanent system, supported by law. Not only do these elements accurately describe the system Israel has instituted over the entire country, Israel and the Occupied Territories included, but the Israeli government itself calls its system apartheid: hafrada in Hebrew, separation in English. The wall Israel is constructing is officially named the Separation Barrier (Mikhshol HaHafrada), not the Security Barrier.13 Schaeffer also a witness who travelled to South Africa to gave testimony to the Russell Tribunal said in a phone interview on 9 November, just after her return, that their legal analysis led them to the conclusion that the phenomena described in the ICAHD report she authored does not constitute Apartheid. But, in the current atmosphere in Israel, there is markedly greater official and public intolerance than ever before for criticism or dissent of almost any kind. And the use of the word Apartheid is a red flag. Targeted reprisal measures against Palestinians, including residents of East Jerusalem, are (1) arrest and prolonged detention under pretense of investigation needs, even when no investigation appears to take place (for example, Jamal Juma, a resident of East Jerusalem who heads the Stop the Wall Campaign who was arrested in December 2009 and detained for over a month without charge14 ) and also (2) travel restrictions (the initial six-month travel ban imposed in February 2010 on Khalil Toufakji15 has been extended and is still in effect as of this writing, twenty-one months later. Toufakji, a Permanent Resident of East Jerusalem, is known as the Palestinian Authoritys chief cartographer, and heads the Arab Studies Society now located just
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beside The Wall in Dahiet al-Bariid after being forced out of the Orient House, a street away from the American Colony Hotel, when Israel shut down Palestinian operations and occupancy there in 2001). Reprisal measures against Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza include closure, sanctions, restrictions on movement, deportation, home demolitions, and targeted assassination as well as more spontaneous killings that are not judicially punished. Targeted reprisal measures are used against non-Israelis, including denial of entry, refusal of visas or visa renewal, and deportation. But, while reprisal measures against Israelis have so far been largely limited to shunning by family and society, there is now a revival of discussion within the Knesset on measures to halt, by financial sanctions, the inciting activity undertaken by many organizations, under the cover of human rights work, [which] has the goal of influencing political debates, and the character and the policies of the state of Israel.16 The offices of Peace Now received an anonymous bomb threat in early November, and death threats have twice been spray-painted on Peace Nows Settlement Watch Director Hagit Ofrans home, and car, parked outside and also vandalized.17 In response to the attacks on Peace Now, representatives of eighteen Israeli NGOs met in Tel Aviv and issued a statement saying These acts are intended to intimidate us all and silence our voices. We warn that the threat of violence was already realized in the past, demonstrating that such acts do not stop at mere slogans. Those who uproot olive trees and burn mosques are liable to not refrain from inflicting bodily, even life-threatening harm on Palestinians and Israelis whose views they consider objectionable.18 It remains to be seen what, now, in this fraught atmosphere, will be the reaction at the UN and what will be the response in Israel.

Marian Houk is a journalist based in Jerusalem.


Endnotes 1 No Home, No Homeland: A New Normative Framework for Examining the Practice of Administrative Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem, ICAHD, November 2011, available through a link on the ICAHD.org website: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&pid=expl orer&chrome=true&srcid=0B1AOvsjv8IjdMD NkYWU0MjItNDQ3ZS00NTBlLThkOTgtN2 Y3NjZhODJkY2Fk&hl=en_US 2 Interview with Benny Morris by Marian Houk on 30 August 2000 in Jerusalem, for a UN Radio Perspective two-part program on The Question of the Right of Return in the Failure of the Camp David Talks. 3 It would be impossible for Palestinian residents of East Jerusalem who are not full citizens of Israel to buy or build a home even in West Jerusalem, much less in other areas of Israel they can only rent. And even Palestinians who are full citizens of Israel find it very difficult to find Jewish landlords willing to rent to them, or Jewish communities ready to accept them as neighbors. Israel Forcing Palestinians out of East Jerusalem NGO, Reuters report by Crispian Balmer, 31 October 2011, http://uk.news. yahoo.com/israel-forcing-palestinians-eastjerusalem-ngo-182100426.html Israel demolishes Palestinian homes in Jerusalem, Maan News Agency report, updated on 31 October 2011, http:// www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails. aspx?ID=434090

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Israel forcing Palestinians out of east Jerusalem: NGO, AFP report by Hazel Ward, 1 November 2011, http://en.news.maktoob. com/20090001197136/Israel_forcing_ Palestinians_out_of_east_Jerusalem_NGO/ Article.htm 7 The Matrix of Control by Jeff Halper, originally published under the title The 94 Percent Solution by MERIP, issue 216, Volume 30, Fall 2000, http://www.merip.org/ mer/mer216/94-percent-solution, and now posted [undated] on the ICAHD website, http:// www.icahd.org/?page_id=79. In the original MERIP article, Halper began with these words: Only a decade after the fall of apartheid in South Africa, after we all thought we had seen the end of that hateful system, we are witnessing the emergence of another apartheidstyle regime, that of Israel over the incipient Palestinian state in the West Bank, Gaza and parts of Jerusalem. This, at least, seems the likely outcome of the peace process begun in Oslo and continued, if haltingly, at the July Camp David summit. Whether a Palestinian state actually emerges from the Oslo process or Israels occupation becomes permanent, the essential elements of apartheid -- exclusivity, inequality, separation, control, dependency, violations of human rights and suffering -- are likely to dene the relationship between Israel and the Occupied Territories/Palestine. The Matrix of Control was also published on 29 January 2001 by Media Monitors Network: http://www.mediamonitors.net/halper1.html 8 The Palestinians: Warehousing a Surplus People, by Jeff Halper, September 14th, 2008, http://www.icahd.org/?p=3051 9 Dismantling the Matrix of Control, 7 September 2009 on ZNet http://www. zcommunications.org/dismantling-the-matrixof-control-by-jeff-halper, and 13 September 2009 by MERIP, http://www.merip.org/mero/ mero091109.html 10 Summary record of briefing given by Jeff Halper at at the Jerusalem Funds Palestine Center in Washington D.C. , on 8 February 2000, written by Palestine Center Writer/Editor Samer Badawi, and posted here: http://www. thejerusalemfund.org/www.thejerusalemfund. org/carryover/pubs/20000214ftr.html 11 The PAs Historic Mistake, and opportunity by Jeff Halper, published by Maan News Agency on 19 June 2011, here -- http:// www.maannews.net/eng/ViewDetails. aspx?ID=398021

12 Full package of documents submitted by Mahmoud Abbas to UN Secretary-General BAN Ki-Moon at UN Headquarters in New York on 23 September 2011, via Column Lynch in FP. The Letter of Application for Admission to Membership signed by Mahmoud Abbas stated that: This application for membership is being submitted based on the Palestinian peoples natural, legal and historic rights and based on United Nations General Assembly Resolution 181 (II) of 29 November 1947 as well as of the Declaration of Independence of the State of Palestine of 15 November 1988 and the acknowledgement by the General Assembly in resolution 43/177 of 15 December 1988. http://www.foreignpolicy. com/files/fp_uploaded_documents/110923_ SG%20Letter%20on%20Palestine%20 Membership.pdf UN GA Resolution 43/177, referred to in the Abbas letter, Affirms the need to enable the Palestinian people to exercise their sovereignty over their territory occupied since 1967. 13 The Palestinians: Warehousing a Surplus People , by Jeff Halper. 14 Grassroots activist and human rights defender Jamal Juma arrested, by the Stop the Wall Campaign, published on Electronic Intifada, here: http://electronicintifada.net/content/ grassroots-activist-and-human-rights-defenderjamal-juma-arrested/1012, and Human rights defenders Mohammad Othman and Jamal Juma released, by Addameer and the Stop the Wall Campaign, also published on Electronic Intifada, here: http://electronicintifada.net/ content/human-rights-defenders-mohammadothman-and-jamal-juma-released/1018 15 Astonishing Israeli travel ban on East Jerusalem map expert for security reasons, posted by Marian Houk on February 4th, 2010, here: http://un-truth.com/israel/astonishingisraeli-travel-ban-on-east-jerusalem-mapexpert-for-security-reasons , and Israel slaps six-month travel ban on Palestinian map expert, by Marian Houk, published on Electronic Intifada on 5 February 2010, here: http://electronicintifada.net/content/israelslaps-six-month-travel-ban-palestinian-mapexpert/8666 16 Netanyahu backs laws to limit donations to Israeli human rights organizations by Jonathan Lis and Nir Hasson, published in Haaretz on 8 November 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/ print-edition/news/netanyahu-backs-lawsto-limit-donations-to-israeli-human-rights-

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organizations-1.394256. This article reports that Knesset Member Ofir Akunis (Likud) told Haaretz that this is a just, logical law that eliminates an anomalous situation in which foreign states intervene in Israels political discourse via the conferral of money given in the form of donations to NPOs that pursue political goals. Incidentally, this pertains entirely to NPOs sponsored by the left. 17 Jerusalem offices of Peace Now evacuated after bomb threat, published in Haaretz on 6 November 2011: http://www.haaretz.com/ news/national/jerusalem-offices-of-peace-

now-evacuated-after-bomb-threat-1.394063, and Death threats sprayed on home of Peace Now activist, in apparent price tag attack, by Oz Rosenberg, published in Haaretz on 8 November 2011, here: http://www.haaretz. com/news/diplomacy-defense/death-threatssprayed-on-home-of-peace-now-activist-inapparent-price-tag-attack-1.394344 18 Israeli Civil Society organizations in the wake of attacks against activists and organizations, 8 November 2011, posted here: http://www. btselem.org/press_releases/20111108_joint_ statement.

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