[End Page 71]
Then we didn't yet know
that the Occupation would be forever,
and even when it would be forcibly extricated like a tooth
from behind electric fences
cement and petrol trucks
traveling from Ramallah to Gaza—
even then it would be remembered longingly—
how young it was, the Occupation,
composed only of Arab women bent over their tomatoes
for sale in Jewish towns, men with nylon bags
at the Ashkelon junction, jumping on a grey service Peugot,
and the Secret Service men who lived three in a villa in Afridar
actually changing their license plates to army license plates before
going off to work, so they wouldn't be identified. [End Page 70]
It was young. In the restaurants they peeled vegetables into large tins, they fried,
built on scaffolds. There were many organizations.
And they too were young:
volunteers with Chinese weapons, poets,
but the Occupation didn't recognize them,
because it was arguing in the classrooms whether to return territories or not,
and Ofer P., whose father was wounded in the Battle of Jenin,
and had shrapnel stuck in his back,
said: "In any case there will be another war."
That's what his father taught him.
That's how young the Occupation was,
and look at it now. [End Page 72]
Dahlia Falah is a pen name, and the facts of her life are closely guarded by her publisher. Her first poems appeared in the late 1970s, her first book was published in 1997, and her second and most recent book (entitled 2003) was published by Am Oved Press in 2003.
Lines 12 & 13: Ashkelon and Afridar are Israeli towns just north of the Gaza strip.