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The Olive trees groves, terraces,the mosque remembered.
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Posted by Umar Ilayann on August 22, 2002
As a teenage sheperd in the early 1960's, with our flock of sheep,I was always taking our sheep to graze in the area of Al-Malha. It was almost on a daily basis. In the spring time,the hills and olive groves were filled with the richest green grazing grasses that can be found. The olive groves were so abundant and made it difficult to see anything out of them. Many times I would lose sight of our sheep with the whole flock wondering out of my sight,most of the time was as a result of my playing around or hunting for bird's nests.

The only way that I was able to find the location of my sheep was for me to walk up all the way to the Al-Malha's mosque. I would then climb the narrow dark spiral stairs of the mosque's round minaret & all the way up to the top. I would stand on the wooden platform and hold on to the metal guard which was around the top of the minaret. From that top spot I was able to see clearly all the way down in the valleys and surounding area. I was always able to locate where our sheep have wondered off and many times their location would be in the terraces that were close to the village houses. These houses were occupied by israelis. I would then climb down and walk all the way down the hill to my sheep's location.

I used to always wonder what has happened to all Al-Malha's inhabitants who used to live there before their village was taken. Most of the stone houses were still standing up & in good looking shape. Just about every house had a well built right next to it. I used to water our sheep from these wells that were scattered around on top of al-jabal.

I remember that I used to climb that jabal so many times to drink water from a well that was dug out into the rock. That well's water was so clear and cold. After drinking, I used to go & sit in the west window of one of the houses which was empty and was south of the rest of village center which was on top of the Al-Malha jabal. The house walls where built thick from clay (jamalone). Sitting in that location was the fastest way to cool off after a long climb of the jabal. The cool beeze(during the summer)that was coming from the west side felt colder that any present day air conditioning system.

That whole jabal had terraces & orchards of almonds, pomegranites, figs,grapes.

I still can't comprehend that a whole arab village with all its rich resouces is totally inhabited by israelis. If one were to go close to that village area, one will only think that the houses & their balconies are inhabited by arabs.

It is so sad to see what has happened to all the olive groves of Al-Malha these days; the olive trees and rich soil were uprooted and taken away. Today one can only see a huge shopping mall & a football stadium in the area where I used to go with our sheep to graze. Its hard to believe what has happened to all of our childhood natural scenery. In the Spring time,the fields where the wild red poppies flowers were like red carpets that were spread as far as the eye can see have all but disappeard now.

Oh how I so vividly still remember every terrace ,every narrow alley and all the natural beautiful scenes of Al-Malha's jabal, its olive groves and the mosque's high round minaret which stood out in every beautiful sunset and can seen from way far away.

Where have they all gone???

Allah Maakom


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