Thursday, August 24, 2006

No to Cantons: Palestine Remebers Itself

[ABOVE] - Click to enlarge photos
Palestine Remembers Itself
An awareness-raising action by Palestinians in Ramallah. Their audience - other Palestinians! Participants told me: "Palestine has been cut into Cantons [separate pieces] so that we no longer percieve it as one country, one piece of land. Most of our signs say "I am from Palestine," but we also say, 'I am from Tubas,' 'I am from Jenin,' 'I am from Nablus'" to remind ourselves that this is all Palestine. Some of us in the community are even forgetting the names of other Palestinian cities!"

For more on the "cantonization" of Palestine, see the Israeli Committee Against Home Demolitions' website section on "The Matrix of Control."

Using checkpoints and roadblocks and a system of permits, the Israeli occupation keeps people divided into a few local areas, or "cantons." So people in Ramallah are no longer visiting people in other major cities, etc. It's not total - people still move between these areas, but it's difficlut or extremely difficulut, depending on where you want to go, where you are from, and the arbitrary "mood" of the military authorities. Palestinian travel to and from the Gaza Strip, however, has been prohibited for years, separating families and friends. As the isolation of Gaza has increased, so has Israeli military violence directed against it. Last month over 200 people were killed in Gaza. It seems that the northern section of the West Bank, Nablus, Tulkarem, Jenin, etc., is now being "turned into a Gaza." The largest canton, it is being increasingly cut off, and increasingly attacked by the Israeli military.

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