Occupied Pleasures

by Tanya Habjouqa 

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, Za'tara, January 2013, Hayat (left) teaches yoga to the residents of her village, Zataara, on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The women are increasing in number each week.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, Za'tara, January 2013, Hayat (left) teaches yoga to the residents of her village, Zataara, on the outskirts of Bethlehem in the West Bank. The women are increasing in number each week.

Occupied Pleasures presents a nuanced, multi-dimensional portrayal of humanity’s ability to find pleasure in the face of trying circumstances in Occupied West Bank, Jerusalem, and Gaza. Occupied Pleasures straddles passive and active meanings: to be occupied under Israel, and to occupy oneself, joyfully and defiantly, in pastime and simple pleasures.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 26 May 2013, Sabah Abu Ghanem, 14, waits for a wave on a slow surf day.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 26 May 2013, Sabah Abu Ghanem, 14, waits for a wave on a slow surf day.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, August 2013, After grueling traffic at the Qalandia checkpoint, a young man enjoys a cigarette in his car as traffic finally clears on the last evening of Ramadan.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, August 2013, After grueling traffic at the Qalandia checkpoint, a young man enjoys a cigarette in his car as traffic finally clears on the last evening of Ramadan.

 Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, Abu Dis, 01 May 2013

Students from the Al-Quds University javelin team wrap up the last practice before summer vacation in the West Bank city of Abu Dis, next to the Israeli Separation Wall.
 Occupied Palestinian Territories, Gaza, Gaza City, 28 September 2009

Young women, fully dressed in ?jilbab,? exercise in a gym in Gaza. The women say they cover at the gym because they have no privacy in the public sphere due to limited economic options.  They say they cannot afford private gyms and they?re tired of being stuck at home.
 Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, June 2013

Gazan body builders jovially strike poses after a workout.

More than four million Palestinians live in the West Bank, Gaza, and East Jerusalem, where the political situation regularly intrudes upon the most mundane of moments. Movement is circumscribed and threat of violence often hangs overhead. This creates the strongest of desires for the smallest of pleasures, and a sharp sense of humour about the absurdities that a 49 year occupation has produced.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, Ein Farah, April 2013, A Palestinian youth from Hebron enjoys a swim in Ein Farha, considered to be one of the most beautiful nature spots in the entire West Bank. It, like many other nature reserves and heritage sites, is occupied by the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority. Palestinian tourist enterprises are not allowed.

Occupied Palestinian Territories, West Bank, Ein Farah, April 2013, A Palestinian youth from Hebron enjoys a swim in Ein Farha, considered to be one of the most beautiful nature spots in the entire West Bank. It, like many other nature reserves and heritage sites, is occupied by the Israeli Nature and Parks Authority. Palestinian tourist enterprises are not allowed.


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