The Gharqad Tree
Come, said the stone,
O Muslim, servant of Allah,
come, there is a Jew hiding behind me,
come and kill him.
Come, said the tree,
O Abdullah, servant of the Lord,
come, there is a Jew crouching behind me,
come and strike off his head.
But the gharqad tree says nothing—
it is not given to hyperbole,
it does not betray those who planted it
and whom it shelters,
it grows thick,
it spreads its thorns and bristles,
it turns on its slender stem in every direction,
it lets loose its power.
It is a fine, noble, unpretentious tree,
more of a shrub than a tree, but no matter.
It flourishes everywhere in the Holy Land.
Come, come, Abdullah,
leave your stones to be stones,
your trees, trees.
Let them live in peace with the gharqad.
Note: According to a hadith attributed to Mohammed (Sahih Muslim, Book 41, Number 6985), Judgment Day will see Jews hiding behind stones and trees which will betray them to their Muslim attackers. Only behind the gharqad tree, which we know as the boxthorn, will Jews be safe. (Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu was once photographed planting a boxthorn.)