Photostory: Bint Jbeil to Beirut

Here is an amazing picture taken of a home in Bint Jbeil on 21 September 2006 where the front of the room had been removed by an Israeli missile and the living room is open to view from the street. The dust and destruction reminded me of Israeli handiwork done in Palestine - especially parts that I photographed in Beit Jala, Beit Shour, and Gaza.

This picture was taken in Bint Jbeil on 21 September 2006, of one of the thousands of bits of color that is the remains of family life scattered among the ashes and rubble in the heart of the old town center. The town center was full of magnificent old style stone architecture. The shredded fluff once was the clothing of family members, or it was a family home’s curtains, mats, and rugs. The excessive power of the explosions blew them into twirls of fluff scattered here and there.

Here are three members of the D4 delegation examining the Israeli war crime of targeting civilian life in the neighborhoods of the south of Lebanon and southern Beirut.

This is the wasteland created by the Israelis in neighborhoods of Bint Jbeil. All the Bint Jbeil photos were taken on Thursday, 21 September 2006.

Taken on 21 September 2006, I am standing at a lookout point where we could see a huge panorama of historic Palestine, now occupied by Israel. Everyone I talked to agreed that this is occupied Palestine and that it will be liberated. Immediately behind the lookout is the fence that the Israelis built and next to it a road just like they have along the strangulation wall being built in the West Bank. In front of me on the road were house after house that had been hit by missiles and are beyond use. I explained to the local residents my respect of their sumoud (steadfastness) and told them that were it not for their resistance and the heroism of their defenders, they would have been refugees like us. They all agreed.

This was our second visit to Bint Jbeil and we saw more and more life coming back to the town. Here is a kitten sitting on one of the stones thrown about by the bombs, a stone near the doorstep of her home, waiting for the family to return. Note that the rubble here is of old hand-hewn stones fallen from a very old house. Behind the cat is a bit of color from a book or box. We saw many children’s books all through the neighborhood. Inside the windows of the homes still standing was extensive damage. I had asked why the garage doors of the stores were bent in various ballooned shapes. The answer was that the bombs created pressure that blew out all windows and doors and bent the metal garage doors of the store fronts into various ballooning shapes.

This is a building in Dahye, a neighborhood of southern Beirut now turned into a hole in the ground, photographed on 18 September 2006. Maybe it was a bunker buster or maybe just many bombs, one after the other, that managed to grind a multi-storey building into dust and leave it a hole in the ground and nothing more. We will remember all this for many many generations and Israel will have to pay for its crimes. Israel is criminal in the collective popular memory.

Samia Halaby is a Palestinian artist based in the US.

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