Friday, August 5, 2011

Could Arab staying power ultimately defeat Zionism?

Abbas's UN appeal, combined with the civil rights fight inside Israel, is changing the nature of the Palestinian struggle
  • Matt Kenyon 05/08/2011
    'Sumud', meaning steadfastness, or staying put, has become a strategy for many Palestinians living inside Israel. Illustration: Matt Kenyon

    There is an Arabic word you come across a lot when Palestinians talk about their future. Sumud means steadfastness, and it has turned into a strategy: when the imbalance of power is so pronounced, the most important thing to do is to stay put.

    Staying put against overwhelming odds is regarded as a victory. But it is more than just a word. It's the look in Rifqua al-Kurd's eyes as she fights eviction in Sheikh Jarrah, East Jerusalem. She lives out of boxes, because when the police throw her out and the settlers move in she doesn't want the clothes thrown into the street. Sumud is the tenacity with which Mohammed Hussein Jibor, a farmer, clings to a rock-strewn patch of land in the South Hebron hills in 38 degrees heat. His water cistern has been destroyed three times this year because he does not have a permit for it, even though the court acknowleges it is his land. Sumud sums up the attitude of the Bedouin struggling to stay in 45 unrecognised villages in the Negev, without a supply of water, electricity or schools. Once the entire Negev was theirs, now only 6% is. Israel wants to put the Bedouin in townships while establishing 130 Jewish villages and agricultural settlements on the land. Talab al-Sana, their MP, says: "They want Jews to be Bedouin and Bedouin to be Ashkenaz [European Jews]."

    Read more


  1. I suppose a Jewish immigrant from outside of Israel could move in and get the permit for a cistern on this farmer's land.

  2. As long as he'e a Jew, yes.