“The Olive Tree and the Palestinian Struggle Against Settler-Colonialism” by Rehab Nazzal

This essay presents a visual account of the Israeli settler-colonial encroachment into Palestinian land. Based on my experience, and adopting a settler-colonial theoretical framework focused on studies of genocide and the tradition of documentary photography, I provide a participant-based analysis and visual documentation of Israel’s destruction of Palestinian land and uprooting of its ancient olive trees as manifested in the Palestinian district of Bethlehem. The photographs in this essay are linked to a project titled Walking Under Occupation (2005-ongoing), which I began when I visited Palestine in 2005, after
being denied my right of return by the Israel occupying power for over twenty years. I returned to my home and family as a visitor with an Israeli permit. When I entered the country through the Israeli-controlled border crossing between Jordan and the West Bank, I was shocked by the destruction I witnessed in my country in comparison with how it had been before I left in 1980. The suffocation of Palestinian lives, the destruction of the landscape, and the proliferation of illegal settlement colonies, military bases, and surveillance structures have transformed the country into colonized zones that combine European settler colonialism with contemporary methods and technologies of control and oppression. I spent a month walking across Palestinian cities, villages, and refugee camps, and through the battered landscape. The simple act of walking in a colonized land is unlike walking in any other place. It reveals the trauma that the land and its people endure. ….

Nazzal, Rehab (2019). “The Olive Tree and the Palestinian Struggle Against Settler-Colonialism.” Canada and Beyond: A Journal of Canadian Literary and Cultural Studies, [S.l.], v. 8, dec. 2019. ISSN 2254-1179. Available at: <http://www.uhu.es/publicaciones/ojs/index.php/CanadaBeyond/article/view/3679>.