Khirbat Tuqu’ & the Silent World

It must have been late at night when this rare, short, late-night segment on Channel 10 sneaked by the editors:

Between Judea and Samaria & the West Bank

While I’m astonished that an Israeli mainstream news service would even address this story at all, let alone report in a considerably balanced manner; There are many very basic questions that this 2-and-a-half minute segment whizzes through, that I’d like to comment on.
The most basic of these issues is the cultural-geographical identity erasure which the Zionist occupation of Palestine has wreaked on the Palestinian people. Names serve a significant role in the annexation of Palestinian land. A historical Jewish identity of a certain geographical area, theoretically creates historical claim to the land, while obscuring its Palestinian identity and claim. (This explains the Israeli claim that silly notion that all we’re doing is returning home after generations of exile).

One of this method’s most well known result is the renaming of the West Bank- Judea and Samaria, as the journalist repeatedly called it:

Since 1967, most of the West Bank has been under Israeli military occupation and is referred to as Judea and Samaria Area by the Israeli military and civilian administration…. The name “West Bank” was proposed by the Jordanian authorities to describe the area west of Jordan River.

The etymology of “Judea and Samaria” goes all the way back to the bible, when Samaria was the capital of the Kingdom of Israel and Jerusalem was the capital of the Kingdom of Judah. Between then and now a few hundred years have passed and a few occupying armies. You can read all about it in the above link.

Between Tekoa & Tuqu’ Through Kfar Eldad and All the Way to Nokdim

The micro results of this method are settlement names, also well illustrated by the journalist. As I was translating this segment, I was looking up the correct spelling for the Palestinian village of “Tekoa” (pronounced by the journalist as “Tko-a”, also spelled “Tko’a” and “Teqoa”). That proved pretty damn useless, seeing as the village’s name is Tuqu’ (pronounced Tou-ku-a, full name “Khirbat Tuqu’”, additional possible spelling “Tuqu’a” or “Tekoa”), and the only results I got were the Tekoa settlement homepage:

…come live in Tekoa–and help build a nation

  • rural life, urban access
  • ideals.  Zionism.
  • paradise for raising a family and for children
  • join the heroes, pioneering an ancient dream

Naming settlements similarly to Palestinian villages is the norm, especially if the Palestinian name originates from a Jewish name from the biblical era. But Tekoa settlement, like many other settlements, is actually much more complex than just a place with a name, that could be spelled at a whim, that’s sitting on someone else’s place. And this is where Nokdim comes in. In the process of researching this article, I tried to use maps and Google and Wikipedia and any other available resource, to try and visualize what I’m talking about. What dumbfounded me about this whole segment is that according to Google Earth Nokdim is nowhere near Khirbat Tuqu’:

Map #1: Tekoa? Tuqu'? T'Koa? Teqoa?

The reporter couldn’t have got it so wrong. Does Tekoa settlement have another name, like Nokdim (a.k.a “El-David”)? Or maybe the Google map doesn’t tell the complete story? Or maybe it’s just the spelling that’s throwing me off?

Fortunately for me, Dror Etkes was kind enough to send me his maps. And with the cross-referencing of other maps the situation comes together:

Map #2: Scandal deep in the West Bank.

The first thing to remember is that all of this “land dispute” is happening inside of occupied territory, where The State of Israel has no claim to the land. As such, the claim of state lands is, legally speaking, both theft and a war crime. [Art. 49]

The second thing to remember is that Map #1 is a bit jumbled, what looks like two different villages- Tekoa and Khirbat Tuqu’a- are actually both Khirbat Tuqu’, the Palestinian village.

Looking at Etkes’ map, we find that the state may have trouble understanding the difference between Tekoa settlement and Nokdim settlement, or whatever is in between:

Map #3: Borders of the Tekoa settlement bloc.

When looking up the history of these settlements, I suggest you look at Maps #1, #3 and #4. Tekoa settlement was the first; Founded  in 1975 as an “outpost” (there’s a confusion in Israel about the illegality of all construction in the occupied territories, as illustrated by this Wikipedia article). In 1977 Tekoa became an official settlement. In 1982 Tekoa residents up and created another outpost to the east and deeper into the West Bank, courtesy of the Jewish Agency. It was named El-David and it stood where now Kfar Eldad (#1) stands. After 10 years, the outposters moved less than a mile south and became the settlers of Nokdim. Kfar Eldad still stands today and the Hebrew Wikipedia article for the tiny settlement is very clear about the settlement’s city planning [limited by my translation]:

The future construction plan of the village includes its connection with the nearby town, Nokdim, while building 2,000 housing units, however the implementation of the plan is being delayed for the past few years.

Map #4: From Haaretz- Tekoa D

In 2001 the megalomaniac settlers of Tekoa did it again. Moving southward of both mother-settlement Tekoa and Nokdim, towards Khirbat Tuqu’.

This Ha’aretz article illustrates the governmental hands in the new project, stating that Tekoa D was erected with no less than the help of the Jewish National Fund, who leveled the dirt road leading to the new outpost; The Housing Ministry and the Zionist Histadrut, who invested funds; And head of Central Command, Moshe Ya’alon, who took care of the paper work and declared the settlement “state lands”.

Only 5 years ago, resident settler, Moti Klein, stated in a 2006 Ma’ariv article [limited by my translation]:

The reason this neighborhood was erected is the strengthening of the eastern Gush Etzion area, while basing a hold on the territory between the towns of Nokdim and Tekoa [settlement] and creating a base for future development of Tekoa, because of the fear that the town will be surrounded from all directions and slowly strangulate.

It’s an interesting way to frame the story of the strangulation of the Palestinian rural populations. Definitely not a new, or a one-of-a-kind story. Just looking at the B’tselem map, we can find this story systematically repeating itself all over the West Bank. On a Macro level, for example, we can see how Ariel through Kfar Tapuah, Itamar, Eli and Megadim, to the Jordan Vally  create a physical border that cuts through the northern and central thirds of the West Bank. A similar physical border was created, between the center and southern thirds of the West Bank, by the enclaves of Adummim in the Jerusalem area, enhanced, of course by the physical barrier we all know as the apartheid wall.

Map #5: Cutting the West Bank into thirds

The rest of the shattering of the West Bank can be clearly seen on this above map (and I highly recommend this artistic endeavor, in case you missed it). The Tekoa settlement bloc is without a doubt a connection between the Efrat and Migdal Oz settlements and the Jordan Vally strip and with the help of Ma’ale Amos it will finish off Khirbat Tuqu‘ and the neighboring Palestinian villages, from the east, while the wall does it from the west.

A Circular 400 Square Ft. of Scandal

After all this geography, it still isn’t clear exactly where the Nokdim central park is. Thanks to Dror Etkes, this is finally clear. Yes, folks, it’s that 400-ft.-in-diameter circle in that center:

Map #6: Nokdim Central Park- the circular part of the enclave.

Nothing Civil about the Israeli Civil Administration

Our friends at Who Profits, referring to the endless amount of information leading to information, often say that “the occupation is endless”. I can’t agree more, when after over two years of studying it- both through books and personal experience- this is the first time I’ve noticed and looked up the Israeli Civil Administration:

The Civil Administration… is the Israeli governing body that operates in Judea and Samaria. It was established by the government of Israel in 1981, in order to carry out practical bureaucratic functions within the territories conquered in 1967. The Civil Administration is a part of a larger entity known as Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), which is a unit in the Defense Ministry of Israel.

It seems that the Civil Administration is as endless as it gets, leading us right back to the military regime’s head office- the Ministry of Defense. Here’s a bit about the Defense Ministry’s COGAT unite [limited by my translation]:

The unit coordinates between the Government of Israel, the IDF, international organizations, human rights organizations and the Palestinian Authority… The unit was founded in 1967, consequent upon the Six Day War [1967 Arab-Israeli War], in order to implement the 4th Jeneva Convention treaty. The treaty, which discusses laws of military occupation, determines the occupying state’s obligation to protect the citizens of the areas it has occupied, in order not to harm innocents and people who aren’t combatants.

Indeed an epic fail and as Khirbat Tuqu’ resident, Mohammed Mustafa Taamra, said so well in his short interview:

The entire government knows.

What’s BDS Got to Do With It?

How many colonialists and war profiteers does it take to build a 400 feet diameter park? Well, we’ve already established the complicity of the JNF, Jewish Agency, Histadrut and the Housing Ministry in the Nokdim Central Park fiasco. Back to our friends at Who Profits, who know first hand that the endlessness of the occupation isn’t just a governmental enterprise, but an intricate web of private corporations. Since Nokdim and Tekoa are two of the settlements to be supplied with Motorola’s MotoEagle peripheral radar systems, this is a perfect example of how Motorola enables the strangulation of Palestinian villages:

In some cases, the radar stations were erected on private Palestinian land, preventing Palestinian movement near the Israeli settlements…The system is also used in the Separation Wall complex, in the wall around Gaza, and in military bases. The company provides continuous service to these systems and continues to offer them for use in Israeli installations in the occupied territories.

With the help of the Who Profits website, the endlessness of complicity of corporations and share holders can be easily mapped out: The Motorola page links to other companies involved, like Aeronautics (a completely Israeli endeavor, making up to $50M a year, while supplying unmanned war crafts to NATO countries) and And ICx (that provides the sensors for the MotoEagle systems), in turn linking us to huge corporations, like Boeing and General Electric, who lead us to the US Department of Homeland Security, US Customs and Border Protection and Transportation Security Administration, US Department of Defense, US Air Force, US Marines, US Army and straight back to- yup, you guessed it-
the Israeli Defence Forces.

Under close scrutiny, that myth of the world standing by in silence breaks apart.
Khirbat Tuqu’ never really had a chance against the US military arm in the Palestinian occupied territories.

4 thoughts on “Khirbat Tuqu’ & the Silent World”

  1. This excellent article underlines the simple fact that Israel simply does not want peace, as peace between two nations. It wants peace as parents exclaim to noisy children “Can’t we have some peace and quiet around here!”
    Israel has everything that it wants; it controls the West Bank and can do what it wants with it. End of story. Unfortunately. Because, much as I hate the idea, only force will effect change in under a centruy or so.

  2. very surprised that such report got aired in the first place. must be an exception i suppose. even if it was aired, i believe no action will be taken as the government, executive and the judiciary are all complicit in crimes against the oppressed Palestinians.

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