“. . . Hello, good morning, we’re fine . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ After PLO halts ties with US, Arab League steps in to salvage peace process

  • Background: “Edward Said and the Future of Palestine.” Raritan.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian national council says closure of PLO office in US reward to Israel
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Abbas will send Majid Faraj to resolve the crisis with the US
❷ Hundreds cross Rafah as Egypt continues to open crossing for 3rd day
❸ Israeli Occupation prepares to demolish six buildings in Kafr Aqab
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
AFTER  PLO  HALTS  TIES  WITH  US,  ARAB  LEAGUE  STEPS  IN  TO  SALVAGE  PEACE  PROCESS 
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 20, 2017 ― The Arab League has reportedly approached the United States government regarding its recent decision to punitively shut down the office of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) in Washington D.C, over the Palestinian leadership’s efforts to bring Israel before the International Criminal Court (ICC).
___Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported on Sunday, shortly after the US State Department announced its decision, that the Arab League — a regional organization of 22 Arab countries — announced that its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit approached the US President Donald Trump’s administration over the closure.
___The league is reportedly attempting to do damage control and resume US-led peace negotiations following the PLO’s reaction to the closure, in which the group’s secretary general, Saeb Erekat, threatened to “put on hold all our communications with this American administration” if the US did in fact close the PLO Washington office.   MORE . . .

FALK, RICHARD. “EDWARD  SAID  AND  THE  FUTURE  OF  PALESTINE.”
RARITAN,
  vol. 34, no. 3, Winter2015, pp. 1-21.
[. . . .] . . . developments in and after 1967 permanently changed the strategic framework of the entire region and infused the Palestine national movement with a sobering epiphany along these lines: if liberation for the Palestinian people was to be achieved, it could only result from what might be called liberation-from-within, that is, on the basis of a Palestinian resistance movement rather than through reliance on warfare waged by neighboring Arab states. The Palestinian leadership for the first time fully realized that Palestinians must themselves become agents of their own liberation.
[. . . .] Said’s distress with the secular Palestinian leadership reached its climax after the Oslo Framework of Principles was made public in 1993 . . .  seen as a breakthrough at the time in most liberal circles as it acknowledged the Palestinian Liberation Organization as the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people with a status enabling direct negotiations for a peaceful solution to the conflict with Israel within an anticipated time horizon of five years. In retrospect, the Oslo approach was deeply flawed in a number of respects . . .  ENTRUSTING THE UNITED STATES WITH THE ROLE OF “HONEST BROKER” ENSURED THE BIASING OF THE PROCESS; and there was no obligation for Israel to end the expansion of its unlawful settlements. Said prophetically interpreted the Oslo agreement as a humbling defeat for Palestinian diplomacy, a bigger setback than the 1967 War, and the fulfillment of his worst fears as to where the Palestinian movement was headed. . . . What particularly disturbed Said about the Oslo text was its complete failure to reference Palestinian rights, especially the inalienable right of Palestinian self-determination. Beyond this there was no explicit mention of Palestinian statehood. There was also no insistence that Israel suspend any further expansion of the flagrantly unlawful settlements and commit to their eventual dismantling. . .  Said renounced his advocacy of the 1988 conception of a just peace. Instead, he now proposed a single binational state as the correct principled solution for both peoples.    SOURCE . . .

. . . . ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  PALESTINIAN   NATIONAL   COUNCIL   SAYS   CLOSURE   OF   PLO  OFFICE   IN   US   REWARD   TO   ISRAEL  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Nov. 20, 2017 ― The Palestinian National Council (PNC), the parliament in exile, strongly rejected on Monday the US decision not to renew the permit for the operation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) office in Washington, saying this decision rewards Israel for its continued illegal settlement activities.
___PNC president, Salim Zanoon, said in a statement that the US decision is an attempt to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians against pursing Israel for its crimes in the West Bank and Gaza Strip at the International Criminal Court.
___He said this move conflicts with the US role as mediator and sponsor of efforts to revive the deadlocked Palestinian-Israeli peace process.   SOURCE . . .
. . . . . ❶  ―  (ᴃ)  ABBAS  WILL  SEND  MAJID  FARAJ  TO  RESOLVE  THE  CRISIS  WITH  THE  US    
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 20, 2017 ― President Mahmoud Abbas will send the head of the General Intelligence Service, General Manger, Majid Faraj to the United States to resolve the escalating crisis with the US State Department following their decision to close the office of the Representative office of Palestine in Washington within 90 days, according to a senior diplomatic source.    MORE . . .
HUNDREDS  CROSS  RAFAH  AS  EGYPT  CONTINUES  TO  OPEN  CROSSING  FOR  3RD  DAY 
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 20, 2017 ― Egyptian authorities continued to open the Rafah crossing between the besieged Gaza Strip and Egypt on Monday for the third and final day, allowing humanitarian cases, students, and holders of Egyptian residency to pass through.
___Hundreds of Palestinians passed through the crossing over the past two days, as thousands more waited for a chance to travel via the crossing, which had been closed for more than 100 days before it was opened over the weekend.
___The crossing was reopened on Saturday for three days, under the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) control for the first time in 10 years.    MORE . . .
❸ ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  PREPARES  TO  DEMOLISH  SIX  BUILDINGS  IN  KAFR  AQAB
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 20, 2017 ―  Israeli occupation forces with a group of engineers stormed Al-Matar Neighborhood in Kafr Aqab, north of occupied Jerusalem, and took measurements of six buildings in preparation for their demolition.
___Local sources said that the explosive engineers accompanied by Israeli police, surrounded six buildings threatened with demolition, took their measurements, and carried out a reconnaissance in the area before leaving the place.
___The residents were given eviction orders in September and then 10 days ago a decision by the Israeli High Court authorized the Israeli municipality to demolish the buildings within a month starting from mid-November to next month.    MORE . . .

“HOW ARE YOU?” BY MOURID BARGHOUTI
Waiting for the school bus,
watching his breath turn into mist near his nose
in the icy morning,
the schoolboy’s fingers are frozen,
too stiff to make a fist.

On the pillow of regret,
the defeated soldier
lazily tries to get up,
raising his broken toothbrush
to his teeth.

Early or late,
The stranger awakens in his exile, his homeland.
Their clothes, their car number pates, their trees,
their quarrels, their love, their land, their sea
belong to them.
His memories are like rats gathering on his doormat,
new and warm
in front of his closed door.

On a lonely pillow,
the mother throws a quick glance
at the bed of her elder son,
made for the final time
and empty, forever.

A voice from the neighbouring window is heard:
“Hello, good morning, how are you?”
“Hello, good morning, we’re fine,
we’re fine!”

From: Barghouti, Mourid. Midnight and other Poems. Trans. By Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, Lancashire, UK: Arc Books, 2008. Available from B&N.
Mourid Barghouti

“. . . I plant my dreams in the streets . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

❶ Erekat : we will put on hold all our communications with this American administration
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Arab league approaches US over PLO’s Washington office closure
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Dr. Ashrawi: U.S. is disqualifying itself as a peace broker in the region

  • Background: “The Concept of Palestine: The Conception of Palestine from the Late Bronze Age to the Modern Period.” Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies.

❷ Israel to demolish residential structures near Hebron
❸ Dozens of Jewish settlers defile Aqsa Mosque
❹ POETRY by Majid Abu Ghoush

Special notice: Museum of the Palestinian People  (Please make a contribution. Thanks to a generous donor, any gift you make will be matched up to $25,000 by the end of November. This amount will count toward our 2018 budget of $168,000.)
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
EREKAT  :  WE  WILL  PUT  ON  HOLD  ALL  OUR  COMMUNICATIONS  WITH  THIS  AMERICAN  ADMINISTRATION       
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Nov. 19, 2017 ― Saeb Erekat , secretary general of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) Executive Committee, said that if the American administrations close PLO offices in Washington, D.C., we will put on hold all our communications with this American administration.”
___Erekat added that “the US State Department notified us with an official letter that they cannot certify the continuance opening of the PLO office in Washington D.C. due to the fact that we are pursuing and encouraging the ICC (International Criminal Court).”
___“This is very unfortunate and unacceptable. This is the pressure being exerted on this administration from the Netanyahu government.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ARAB  LEAGUE  APPROACHES  US  OVER  PLO’S  WASHINGTON  OFFICE  CLOSURE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 19, 2017 ―The Arab League Sunday announced that its Secretary General Ahmed Aboul Gheit has approached the US administration after the latter announced it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) office in Washington.
___The league said in a press statement that Aboul Gheit and Minister of foreign affairs Riyad al-Malki met and discussed the latest developments on the ground and possible means to resume the peace process between the Palestinian and Israeli sides.
___Al-Malki briefed Aboul Gheit on the official position of the Palestinian Authority regarding the closure of the PLO’s Washington office, saying it will harm the peace process and the role of the US as peace broker.
___Aboul Gheit’s spokesman said the league is working to maintain official communication channels between the Palestinian Authority and the US administration. . .   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) DR.  ASHRAWI:  U.S.  IS  DISQUALIFYING  ITSELF  AS  A  PEACE  BROKER  IN  THE  REGION    
Palestine News Network – PNN    
Nov. 19, 2017 ― In response to media inquiries concerning the U.S. administration’s refusal to extend the waiver of statutory restrictions on the General Delegation of the PLO to the United States in Washington D.C., PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi condemned such a move and said:
___“Instead of holding Israel liable for its persistent violations of international law and conventions, the U.S. administration and Congress are threatening to punish the Palestinian people because of statements made by President Mahmoud Abbas at the United Nations and other leaders pertaining to ICC accountability for Israel and for its war crimes in Palestine.   MORE . . .

Masalha, Nur. “THE  CONCEPT  OF  PALESTINE:  THE  CONCEPTION  OF  PALESTINE  FROM  THE  LATE  BRONZE  AGE  TO  THE  MODERN  PERIOD.”
Journal  of  Holy  Land  &  Palestine  Studies
, vol. 15, no. 2, Nov. 2016, pp. 143-202.
The celebrated English historian Edward Gibbon, writing in 1776, noted that ‘Phoenicia and Palestine will forever live in the [collective] memory of mankind’. . . Palestine is the collective watan (homeland) of the Palestinian people —the indigenous people of historic Palestine. The Palestinian people have a multi-religious and multicultural ancient heritage and a multi-layered identity deeply rooted in ancient history. Palestinians often speak of Biladuna Filastin: ‘Our Country, Palestine’ (colloquially: Bladna Falastin). The country of Palestine as a distinct political geography-with its own distinct and diverse traditions and a mélange of styles —is deeply rooted in the indigenous psyche and consciousness; the toponym (place-name) of Palestine is deeply rooted in the ancient past from the Late Bronze Age onwards. . . . For a millennium and a half of Classical Antiquity and Byzantine Christianity as well as under Islam in the Middle Ages the term Palestine also acquired official administrative status.
[. . . .] For over 1200 years the name Palestine was used most commonly, consistently and continuously throughout Classical Antiquity, from the highlight of classical Athenian civilisation . . . [until] the occupation of Palestine by the Muslim armies in 637 AD.
___To substitute the vague and semi-mythical term Cana’an for the real historical and official toponym Palaestina for a spectacular classical period lasting over one millennium would be tantamount to the elimination of the actual history of this important region . . . [and] eliminate the possibility of any real historical knowledge of one of the most important periods in the ancient history of the region, namely: early Christianity and Byzantine greater Palaestina. Greek-speaking Byzantine Christianity in Palestine began in the reign of the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great (306—337 AD) and lasted until the beginning of Islamic rule in Palestine in 637 AD.
[. . . .] Furthermore, when referring to the ancient history of this region modern European scholarship (and even early Zionist scholarly societies such as the ‘Jewish Palestine Exploration Society’, founded in 1914) universally and unanimously talk about ‘Palestine’, even when referring to Jewish history. [. . . .]  SOURCE . . .

ISRAEL  TO  DEMOLISH  RESIDENTIAL  STRUCTURES  NEAR  HEBRON 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 19, 2017 ― Israeli authorities notified Palestinians about a decision to demolish residential structures and animal barns in Masafer Yatta area, to the south of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, according to local sources.
___Rateb Jabour, who monitors settlement activities in the area, said Israeli forces handed a written notice to locals informing them about their intention to demolish a number of residential structures and a barn used for raising livestock in Kherbet Shaab al-Butum, a village in Masafer Yatta area. The barn was built with funding from the European Union.   MORE . . .
DOZENS  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE  
The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 19, 2017 ― Dozens of Jewish settlers broke into the Aqsa Mosque in Occupied Jerusalem on Sunday morning under Israeli security protection provided by special police forces.     ___The PIC reporter said that 86 settlers entered the holy Islamic site via the Maghareba Gate in six separate groups and roamed its plazas.     ___He added that 35 Israeli students toured the Aqsa Mosque compound along with guides, who explained to the students the history of the alleged Jewish Temple.     MORE . . .

“RESISTANCE,”  MAJID  ABU  GHOUSH
I plant my poetry
in the streets,
in every quarter
and every alley,
a poem…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my fingers
in the streets,
in every hole,
in every flower pot:
a finger…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my blood
in the streets,
on every sidewalk,
on every roadsign:
a drop of blood…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my dreams
in the streets,
in the heads of passers-by:
an infant dream…resisting the conquerors!
I plant the names of my loved ones
in the streets,
on every tree, on every wall:
the name of a martyr resisting the conquerors!
I plant the colors of the flag
in the streets,
on every house,
and every window and door:
a color…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my children’s luggage
in the streets
at every roadblock,
at every checkpoint:
a suitcase…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my hands
in the streets,
on every corner:
a firm hand resisting the conquerors!

Majid Abu Ghoush (b. Amwas) is a prolific poet, a member of the Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers, and a founding member of Poets Without Borders Palestine. Abu Ghoush reading one of his own poems.  See also. 
From: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Middle East Affairs
Special Programs,
Commemorating the Intifada’s Tenth Year, April 10, 1998
Prof. Naseer Aruri

“. . . You may impose a nightmare of your terror . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Tayseer Khaled: The Declaration of Independence Still The Guiding Standard of Our National Struggle

  • Background: Palestinian Statehood: Trapped between Rhetoric and Realpolitik.” International & Comparative Law Quarterly

❷ FM Malki says Palestine will not accept blackmail on PLO mission in US
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) European medical delegation conducts surgeries in Gaza
❸ Opinion/Analysis: The international community should prioritize Palestine’s security
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ TAYSEER  KHALED:  THE  DECLARATION  OF  INDEPENDENCE  STILL  THE  GUIDING  STANDARD  OF  OUR  NATIONAL  STRUGGLE
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 18, 2017 ― In commemorating the 29th anniversary of the Palestinian Declaration of Independence, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee, Head of the Palestinian Expatriate Affairs Department , Tayseer Khaled, said that the Declaration adopted by the Palestinian National Council at its 19th session held in Algiers on Nov. 1988, remains a compass for our national struggle as well as the right to self-determination, the right of return and the right to establish a Palestinian State on all the occupied Palestinian territories of the 1967 aggression, on top of which Jerusalem, the eternal capital of the people and State of Palestine.
___Adding, the Palestinian people’s rights as specified in the Declaration of Independence are inalienable and will not be a negotiating issue.
___The American administration shall not waste time in promoting solutions that deny these rights. . .  the administration intends to provide what it named an “Deal of the Century” [which] has nothing to do with the international legitimacy’s resolutions, and it will be rejected by the Palestinians, stressing the need to return to the Palestinian Central Council and the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s resolutions, and to rebuild the relationship with Israel being an occupying colonial and apartheid state.   MORE . . .

Eden, Paul.
“II.  PALESTINIAN  STATEHOOD:  TRAPPED  BETWEEN  RHETORIC  AND  REALPOLITIK.”
INTERNATIONAL  &  COMPARATIVE  LAW  QUARTERLY, vol. 62, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 225-239.
[. . . .] On 22 November 1974, UNGA Resolution 3237 (XXIX) granted the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) observer status in its capacity as a national liberation movement. Resolution 3237 included the right of the PLO ‘to participate as an observer in the sessions and the work of all international conferences convened under the auspices of other organs of the United Nations’. . . .  On 15 December 1988, the UNGA adopted Resolution 43/177 that acknowledged the proclamation of the State of Palestine by the Palestine National Council on 15 November 1988, affirmed the sovereignty of the Palestinian people over their territory occupied since 1967, and decided that effective as of 15 November 1988, the designation of ‘Palestine’ should be used in place of the designation ‘Palestine Liberation Organization’ in the United Nations system. . .
[. . . .] On 7 July 1998, the UNGA adopted Resolution 52/250, conferring additional rights and privileges on Palestine regarding participation in the work of the UN that had previously been reserved for Member States. . .  [. . . .] One of the key problems with the assertion that the entity under the control of the Palestinian Authority (PA) is a State for the purposes of international law is the fact that both the 1993 Declaration of Principles on Interim Self-Government Arrangements (‘DOP’) and the 1995 Israeli-Palestinian Interim Agreement on the West Bank and the Gaza Strip (‘Interim Agreement’) clearly indicate that the Palestinian Authority lacks the capacity to conduct foreign relations.
[. . . .] There can be little doubt that the Palestinians have a right of self-determination but the powers currently possessed by the Palestinian Authority fall short of the independence necessary for Palestine (as currently constituted) to be regarded as a sovereign State. The fact that over two-thirds of the Member States of the United Nations currently recognize the existence of the State of Palestine is more indicative of a rhetorical commitment to the realization of Palestinian self-determination than anything else. As James Crawford notes, ‘[s]elf-determination, while it may and often does lead to statehood, is not the same thing as statehood.’ [. . . .]    FULL ARTICLE . . .

❷ FM  MALKI  SAYS  PALESTINE  WILL  NOT  ACCEPT  BLACKMAIL  ON  PLO  MISSION  IN  US     
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 18, 2017 ― The Palestinian leadership will not accept any blackmail or pressure regarding the operation of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) delegation in Washington or negotiations, Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Saturday.
___He told Voice of Palestine Radio that his US counterpart, Rex Tillerson, had not yet signed the memorandum that is issued every six months and which allows the PLO mission’s office in Washington to remain open despite the expiration of the previous memorandum two days ago.
___He said that the US Secretary of State signs this memorandum based on his conviction that the PLO has not done anything that would affect the situation that exists on the ground.
___Malki said that failure to sign the memorandum so far may be part of US measures aimed at pressuring the leadership or create confusion in relation to several political topics.   MORE . . .
RELATED . . .   ..  US  THREATENS  TO  CLOSE  PLO  OFFICE  IN  WASHINGTON
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) EUROPEAN  MEDICAL  DELEGATION  CONDUCTS  SURGERIES  IN  GAZA
The Palestinian Information Center 
Nov. 18, 2017 ― A delegation from the Palestinian Doctors Union in Europe, France branch, on Saturday performed a series of qualitative surgeries in a number of hospitals in the Gaza Strip.
___The PIC reporter said that the medical crew conducted surgeries in al-Shifa, Nasser and Indonesian hospitals in Gaza in coordination with the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.
___Director of the Gaza office of the Palestinian Doctors Union, Dr. Ahmad Abu Nada, said that the delegation, composed of two doctors named Nizar Badran and Raouf Salati, participated in the seventh conference organized by the faculty of medicine at the Islamic University of Gaza under the title “Health Crisis and Disaster Management in the Gaza Strip”.   MORE . . .
❸ OPINION/ANALYSIS:  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  SHOULD  PRIORITIZE  PALESTINE’S  SECURITY 
The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 17, 2017  The reconciliation agreement between the Palestinian Authority and Hamas increasingly resembles other political miscalculations which the international community still upholds as significant reference points . . . .
___Upon Hamas returning control of Gaza’s border crossings to the PA, the UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nickolay Mladenov, issued a statement that is flawed on many counts. Not only does it marginalise Hamas’s major political role in Palestine . . .   by completely failing to mention the movement, but it also insinuates that the reconciliation agreement constitutes “positive momentum”. . . .
___“I take this opportunity,” said Mladenov, “to remind all factions in Gaza of the importance of maintaining security and ending militant activities that undermine peace and security for both Palestinians and Israelis alike.” There was no mention of militant Israeli activities which underpin the occupation and siege of the coastal territory.
___According to Hamas, the UN official’s comments provided “cover for more Israeli crimes against the Palestinian people.”  [. . . .] there are elements missing from Hamas’s criticism which would shed more light upon the dismissive attitude of the international community towards Palestinians in Gaza.    MORE . . .

“I  MAY  LOSE  MY  DAILY  BREAD,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
I may lose my daily bread, if you wish
I may hawk my clothes and bed
I may become a stonecutter, or a porter
Or a street sweeper
I may search in animal dung for food
I may collapse, naked and starved
Enemy of light
I will not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.
You may rob me of the last span of my land
You may ditch my youth in prison holes
Steel what my grandfather left me behind:
Some furniture or clothes and jars,
You may burn my poems and books
You may feed your dog on my flesh
You may impose a nightmare of your terror
On my village
Enemy of light
I shall not compromise
And to the end
I shall fight.

“Poems of Resistance: 7 Poems for Palestine.” SCOOP  WORLD  INDEPENDENT  NEWS. January 2011. Web. http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/WO1101/S00522/poems-of-resistance-7-poems-for-palestine.htm
About Samih Al-Qasim

 

“. . . He renovates a memory demolished like a wall . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ Israel to Displace Entire Palestinian Communities near Occupied Jerusalem

  • Background: “Bedouins’ Politics of Place and Memory: A Case of Unrecognised Villages in The Negev.” Nomadic Peoples

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settlements watchdog warns of accelerated Israeli land seizures
❷ Israel orders Muslim worshipers to pay $37,000 after destroying mosque
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israel-Funded App Destroys Al-Aqsa Mosque, Builds Temple in Its Place
❸ Israeli soldiers invade many villages near Jenin, abduct one Palestinian
❹ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL  TO  DISPLACE  ENTIRE  PALESTINIAN  COMMUNITIES  NEAR  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM 
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Nov. 17, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to displace and remove dozens of Palestinian Bedouin families living in their communities around occupied East Jerusalem, after deeming their dwellings as “illegal,” to replace them with colonists.     ___His decision was made after meeting with representatives of the so-called “Jerusalem Belt Forum,” which is actively involved in displacing the Palestinians and replacing them with Israeli colonist settlers, in direct violation of International Law.     MORE . . .

  • Hall, Bogumila. “Bedouins’ Politics of Place and Memory: A Case of Unrecognised Villages in The Negev.” Nomadic Peoples 18.2 (2014): 147-164.   Source.
    (Note: This article presents the history of the Bedouin presence in Israel. A longer than usual excerpt is printed at the bottom of this posting.)

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLEMENTS  WATCHDOG  WARNS  OF  ACCELERATED  ISRAELI  LAND  SEIZURES  
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO  
Nov. 17, 2017 ― Peace Now has slammed a recently issued legal opinion by Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit permitting the confiscation of private Palestinian land for the benefit of Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt), warning it could accelerate land seizures.
___Mandelblit’s legal opinion was published in the context of Haresha, a settlement outpost near Ramallah, whose residents and supporters are seeking the retroactive legalisation of an access road.
___All Israeli settlements, whether state-sanctioned or unauthorised outposts, are illegal under international law, and are considered to form part of an inherently discriminatory regime.
___According to a statement by the settlements watchdog, “confiscating the land would constitute a severe violation of international humanitarian law and of the Palestinians’ right to own property”.  MORE . . .
❷ ISRAEL  ORDERS  MUSLIM  WORSHIPERS  TO  PAY  $37,000  AFTER  DESTROYING  MOSQUE 
Days of Palestine
Nov. 16, 2017 ― Israeli occupation authorities ordered Muslim worshipers to pay NIS130,000 ($37,000) seven years after destroying their mosque in Rahat, south of Israel.
___Be’er Sheva Magistrate’s Court ruled that the founders and operators of the mosque would pay the fine as a compensation for the state of Israel.
___The lawsuit was filed by the Southern District Public Prosecutor’s Office against eight residents of Rahat, who were members of the mosque committee, and demanded compensation of NIS459,500 ($130,000).   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ)  ISRAEL-FUNDED  APP  DESTROYS  AL-AQSA  MOSQUE,  BUILDS  TEMPLE  IN  ITS  PLACE 
Palestine Chronicle  
Nov. 16, 2017 ―  An Israeli tourist exhibit has launched an app which allows visitors to Jerusalem to virtually destroy Al-Aqsa Mosque and replace it with a Jewish temple, furthering the government’s stated commitment to dismantle the Muslim holy site.
___The smartphone app is part of a government funded exhibition entitled “The Western Wall Experience”. When the app is pointed towards the mosque compound, it makes the Dome of the Rock disappear and replaces it with  a Jewish temple.   MORE . . .
❸ ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  INVADE  MANY  VILLAGES  NEAR  JENIN,  ABDUCT  ONE  PALESTINIAN  
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
Nov. 17, 2017 ―   Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Friday, several Palestinian communities in the northern West Bank governorate of Jenin, installed roadblocks and searched cars, and abducted a young man.     ___Media sources said the soldiers abducted Jihad Faisal Bazzour, 28, from Burqa town, west of Jenin, after stopping him at Barta’a military roadblock, while heading for work.   MORE . . .

“RENOVATION,” BY IBRAHIM NASRALLAH
He renovates a tin window
to open it for the morning birds.
And renovates some stars that have burned out
in the streets, and a woman massacred in the neighborhood.
He renovates a memory demolished like a wall,
a bird’s scattered ashes,
light reflected off a blade in the dark,
a woman lost in a spacious bed
and a bellow.
He renovates a friend’s face as the sea breaks over it
and the singer who no longer resembles his songs,
the wind when it sleeps forgetting the immensity of an orbit,
the taste of words in conversation,
the taste of air and fruit
and two legs that have never carried a planet
while destruction prevails.
He renovates a womb, subdues horses
and poems that beg for livelihood in the shade
before slipping into a chicken coop or blowing by
like a steaming train.
He renovates pillars, neighs,
guns covered with moss from waiting.
He renovates a promise, roots, clouds,
and in the end he is slain alone like a lighthouse.

From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN  INSIDE:  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.
About Ibrahim Nasrallah

  • From: Hall, Bogumila. “Bedouins’ Politics of Place and Memory: A Case of Unrecognised Villages in The Negev.”
    [. . . .] during the latter stages of British rule, there were between 60,000 and 90,000 Bedouins in the Negev region, occupying 98 per cent of the Negev lands, only 11,000 remained after the creation of Israel. Some of the Bedouins fled . . . while others were expelled to Jordan, the Gaza Strip and Sinai during and after the 1948 Arab-Israeli war. This was followed by the policy of further displacements of the Bedouin community . . .  Using martial law, Israel relocated the Bedouin to a restricted area, in the north-eastern part of Negev, called ‘Siyag’ (whose literal translation refers to fence) . . . which they were not allowed to leave without official permission. The policy did not aim to settle the Bedouins, as they had already been sedentarised, but rather to remove them from their lands and concentrate the maximum number of people on the smallest possible space. This led to the situation in which the Bedouins were concentrated on ten per cent of the land they used to occupy, and kept under control and military rule until 1966.  [. . . .] In the mid-1960s, by the end of the military rule, the policy of land expropriation was followed by a new strategy. In 1965 the ‘Planning and Building Law’ . . .  denied the existence of Bedouin villages and defined them as agricultural territories, which meant that the villages were to be omitted from all master plans and no building permits could be granted. As a result, any construction on Bedouin land was by definition illegal . . .  The same law also provided for the demolition of unlicensed buildings and deemed necessary the confiscation of land if it was needed for public purposes. The consequences of the ‘Planning and Building Law’ were therefore twofold: firstly, by not recognising the Bedouin villages it condemned their inhabitants to marginalisation; secondly it transformed the dwellers of these grey zones into ‘lawbreakers’, ‘trespassers’ and ‘squatters on the state lands’. . .  the only way for Bedouins to escape this ‘illegality’ was to leave their ancestors’ land. In 1969, Israel enacted the Land Rights Settlement Ordinance, which declared that ‘lands, which at the time of the enactment of this law were classified as mawat, will be registered in the name of the State’. . .      ___Rendering historical Bedouin villages illegal and turning their land into state property was accompanied by a policy of transferring the rural community to government townships, where ‘they would modernise, develop new habits, and become accustomed to life in permanent houses’.  [. . . .] Since Bedouin localities do not exist, according to official records, the Bedouins are denied building permits and all basic services, such as electricity, running water, public transportation and sewage systems. According to Nūra, one of the female activists from al-Sirra, this systematic exclusion can be compared to a ‘slow execution of the villages and their residents.’ Yet, the Bedouins refuse to leave these spaces of denial and instead, relying on their own efforts and creativity, domesticate the landscape of unrecognised villages and transform them into self-governed entities with their own institutions and rules. [. . . .]

 

“. . . You plundered the land from me . . .” (Fouzi El Azmar)

❶ EU to hold further talks on deployment of mission at Rafah crossing
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ARIJ Daily Report

  • Background: “Review Power of Israel’s High Court of Justice with Regard to the Settlement Legalization Law.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Israel demolishes Palestinian Bedouin village for 121st time
❸ IOF moves checkpoint to expropriate Palestinian lands
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El Azmar
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❶ EU  TO  HOLD  FURTHER  TALKS  ON  DEPLOYMENT  OF  MISSION  AT  RAFAH  CROSSING  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
BRUSSELS, Nov. 16, 2017 ― The European Union (EU) said on Wednesday that it will be holding further talks with the various parties on the deployment of its mission at Rafah crossing with Egypt.
___An EU spokesperson said that in continuing its support for Palestinian reconciliation, the EU is deploying a high level mission this week “to discuss with key interlocutors on the ground the political and security conditions and the expectations of the relevant parties in view of a possible redeployment of the EU Border Assistance Mission (EUBAM) at Rafah, including possible EU financial assistance.”
___Following the agreement signed by Fatah and Hamas in Cairo on 12 October and in the run-up to a meeting of all Palestinian factions in Cairo on 21 November, “the European Union is continuing its support to current efforts to reunite Gaza and the West Bank under one single and legitimate Palestinian Authority,” said the spokesperson. MORE . . .   ..
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ARIJ  DAILY  REPORT
Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem 
Nov. 13, 2017 ― Throughout the years of occupation of the Palestinian territory, Israel has engaged in excessive and disproportionate violations of every existing humanitarian code and routinely employed its efforts to undermine any real action towards a comprehensive peace with the Palestinians. These violations are considered unlawful and breach of human rights and civilized laws including the right to Self-Determination, the right to freedom of movement, the right to work, the right to medical treatment, the right to education, the right to an adequate standard of living and access to holy places.
___(THIS WEBSITE HAS BEEN PRODUCED WITH THE ASSISTANCE OF THE EUROPEAN UNION. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of ARIJ & LRC and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union.)    MORE . . .

Raday, Frances. “REVIEW  POWER  OF  ISRAEL’S  HIGH  COURT  OF  JUSTICE  WITH  REGARD  TO  THE  SETTLEMENT  LEGALIZATION  LAW.”
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 64-69.  (Frances Raday is a professor emerita in Labor Law at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.)
The Settlement Legalization Law, passed by the Knesset on Feb. 6, 2017 by a vote of 60 to 52, constitutes an ominous moment in our history. Although in the context of international humanitarian law, it may be merely another step in a continuum of Israel’s illegal settlement policy, it is nevertheless a highly significant step. It shifts the nature of the violation . . .   to the confiscation of property of protected persons, which cannot be justified under military necessity. It indicates that the Jewish population’s long-term claims to the territory are to be preferred to those of the Palestinians, solely on grounds of nationality . . .
___This goes a considerable way towards undermining the claim that the Israeli occupation does not constitute apartheid under the 2002 Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which defines apartheid as “inhumane acts of a character similar to other crimes against humanity … committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime.”
___In the context of Israeli constitutional law, the Settlement Legalization Law is a move to de jure dispossession of individual Palestinian property in violation of the Israeli High Court’s injunctions. Since its decisions in 1978 and 1979 . . .   the Court has held that settlements, whether on private or public land, cannot be considered permanent, nor can the land be permanently confiscated, only temporarily requisitioned. Settlements on private land are illegal. . . .     SOURCE . . .   …

❷ ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  PALESTINIAN  BEDOUIN  VILLAGE  FOR  121ST  TIME   Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 16, 2017 ― Israeli  authorities on Thursday morning demolished the Bedouin village of al-Araqib in the Negev desert in southern Israel for the 121st time, leaving all the families in the village homeless, according to locals.
___Residents of the al-Araqib have rebuilt the village 120 times after each demolition, the latest of which was October 25th.
___An Israeli court ruled in August that six residents of al-Araqib must pay 262,000 shekels (more than $72,000) for previous demolition costs, in addition to 100,000 shekels ($27,693) to cover the costs of the state’s lawyer. It was only the latest payment in which the village has had to compensate Israel for its routine demolitions in the village.  [. . . .] Right groups say that the demolition of unrecognized Bedouin villages is a central Israeli policy aimed at removing the indigenous Palestinian population from the Negev and transferring them to government-zoned townships to make room for the expansion of Jewish Israeli communities.   MORE . . .
❸ IOF  MOVES  CHECKPOINT  TO  EXPROPRIATE  PALESTINIAN  LANDS   
Alray-Palestinian MediaAgency
Nov. 16, 2017 ― Israeli occupation authorities announced Wednesday moving the military checkpoint of Ain Ya’al that located on the road that connected the occupied Jerusalem and Jelo settlement, enabling Israeli authorities to expropriate Palestinian lands.  According to Haaretz paper, the Israeli District Planning and Building Committee informed the Palestinian residence of Wallageh village that they will move the checkpoint, noting that the area of Ain al-Hennyah will move to Israeli administration.
__Wallageh village is located under the Israeli administration but it is totally isolated by the Israeli separation wall, which also separate the village from its farms.     [. . . .] Israeli occupation authorities announced the residence of Wallageh village that the checkpoint will be moved 2.5 kilometers into the Palestinian lands, which means that Palestinian who do not hold the blue ID will not be able to reach their farms in Ain al-Hennyah.   MORE . . .    ..

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL  ASMAR
You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970) 

From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
Available from Amazon
About Fouzi El Asmar 

“. . . Alas! My sad and silent city . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

❶ Israeli municipality demolishes residential structure in al-Issawiya
❶ Israeli municipality demolishes building in Jerusalem despite pending permit application

  • Background: “Crows on the Cradles: Palestinian Mothers At a Frontline Vortex: Reflections on the Psychology of Occupation.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies.

❶ Two More EU-Funded Palestinian Schools under Threat of Destruction by Israeli Army
❶ 9 Palestinian homes demolished by IOF
❷ Elkin: Start planning for one million settlers in W. Bank & J’lem
❸ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  MUNICIPALITY  DEMOLISHES  RESIDENTIAL  STRUCTURE  IN  AL-ISSAWIYA 
Palestine News and Information Agency
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli municipality of Jerusalem on Wednesday demolished a residential structure in the neighborhood of al-Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking an Israeli construction permit, according to local sources.
___The municipality demolished a residential structure, made of metals, that was installed by Omar Dari, a local citizen, who said he was forced to build without a permit in order to shelter his family, after he was unable to obtain a permit from the Israeli municipality.   MORE . . .
❶ ISRAELI  MUNICIPALITY  DEMOLISHES  BUILDING  IN  JERUSALEM  DESPITE  PENDING  PERMIT  APPLICATION
Palestine News and Information Agency
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli municipality of Jerusalem demolished on Wednesday morning a two-storey building under construction in the neighborhood of al-Issawiya, in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
___Locals told WAFA that staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem accompanied by an Israeli police escort raided the neighborhood and demolished the building, under the pretext of lacking an Israeli permit of construction.
___Mohammad Abu Rayala, a local rights activist, said the owners of the building had earlier received a notification to stop the construction of the building. He said though the owners stopped the construction upon notification and started the process of obtaining a construction permit, they were astonished that the building was demolished without a warning.    MORE . . .   ..

Roth, Judy, and Salwa Duaibis.
“CROWS  ON  THE  CRADLES:  PALESTINIAN  MOTHERS  AT  A  FRONTLINE  VORTEX:  REFLECTIONS  ON  THE  PSYCHOLOGY  OF  OCCUPATION.”
International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.1 (2015): 5-20.
[. . . .] Last June marked 46 [49] years since the start of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. International law is clear that territory can never be acquired as a result of aggression, even if exercised in self-defense. That is why military occupations are meant to be temporary and cannot be legally maintained indefinitely. On the conclusion of the 1967 war, the Israeli authorities imposed military law in the occupied Palestinian territory which still remains in force in the west bank to this day. During this time, East Jerusalem has been annexed, in violation of international law; more than half a million Israelis now live in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and at least 750,000 men, women and children have been prosecuted in military courts and imprisoned. In other words, one in four Palestinian men have been through the military system at one point in their lives. . . .
___Women living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem face many, differing challenges, which include home demolitions . . .   But the issue that stands out above all other issues is that of the settlements built in clear violation of international law on Palestinian land. These settlements are not only illegal, but they are also at the epicenter of a host of human rights violations that occur on a daily basis and affect 2.5 million Palestinians.
[. . . .] Nur is a mother of extraordinary light . . .  Her home, slated for demolition, sits on a small path that Israeli soldiers use to move from one side of the neighborhood to the next. The path is right outside her door. She uses the word “Ro`ub”, absolute terror, to describe her children’s experience of the soldiers. Nur, herself, is worried that her nine-year-old son will be arrested soon. She hears how he talks about the Israeli soldiers and settlers, the revenge that he is brewing in response to their provocations. While she is pretty certain that she will lose him, she retains some hope for a different outcome – although she is unable to create a realistic alternative. Perhaps, none exist.
[. . . .]  Our psychoanalytic understanding of how militarism is inculcated, how rage incubates, and how societies sanction violence and racism is critical to defining a nuanced and sober stance from which to approach this relentless conflict that reverberates both near and far. Finding this stance that humanizes all players – victims, oppressors, and bystanders – and that can then better inform modes of action, prioritizing the urgency of Palestinian suffering, while holding accountable all who are complicit, is now more crucial than ever.    Source . . .

❶ TWO  MORE  EU-FUNDED  PALESTINIAN  SCHOOLS  UNDER  THREAT  OF  DESTRUCTION  BY  ISRAELI  ARMY 
Palestine Chronicle
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Two new Palestinian schools in the occupied West Bank, funded by European governments, are under threat of destruction and seizure, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). An Israeli court has already ordered students not to attend class in one of them, the NGO says.
___Built over the last year with European funding, the schools in Wadi as-Seeq and Al Muntar serve Palestinian Bedouin communities who have long suffered neglect and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.
___Many of the families served by the schools have “already suffered destruction of their property over many years”, NRC states.    MORE . . .
❶  9  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  DEMOLISHED  BY  IOF   
The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 15, 2017 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday knocked down nine Palestinian homes in the West Bank governorate of Jericho.
The demolition was carried out under the pretext of unlicensed construction.  At the same time, the Israeli authorities seized a Palestinian agricultural vehicle in the northern Jordan Valley on claims that it was spotted inside a natural reserve.   MORE . . .   ..
❷ ELKIN:  START  PLANNING  FOR  ONE  MILLION  SETTLERS  IN  W.  BANK  &  J’LEM  
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli Jerusalem affairs minister Ze’ev Elkin has urged his government to start planning for one million settlers in Area C of the West Bank and Jerusalem.     ___“This will happen; it is only a question of when,” Elkin said, adding that it could be anywhere between the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the pace of construction.     ___According to the Israeli central bureau of statistics, 400,000 settlers lived in West Bank settlements in 2016.     ___Using a word of Arabic slang, Elkin dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. “Halas (enough) with the story of two states. There is no other option but the state of Israel, certainly between the Jordan [River] to the sea there will be one state.”  MORE . . .

“MY SAD CITY,” BY FADWA TUQAN
(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)
The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gagging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Burdened,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri

From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.
Obituary for Fadwa Tuqan, 2003.

“. . . Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy . . .” (Diab Rabie)

❶ ‘You choose apartheid’, Netanyahu told in Knesset session
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settler celebration of life of Sarah turns into a torment for Palestinians in Hebron

  • Background:  “Opposed or Intertwined? Religious and Secular Conceptions of National Identity in Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”  Politics, Religion & Ideology.

❷ Israel to seize Palestinian land for settlement expansion
❸ Tension hits peak as Israeli army browbeats Palestinian resistance
❹ POETRY by Diab Rabie
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
‘YOU  CHOOSE  APARTHEID’,  NETANYAHU  TOLD  IN  KNESSET  SESSION
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of choosing “apartheid” and permanent military occupation of the Palestinians during a special session of the Knesset yesterday.
___The debate focused on “the Israeli government’s political challenge in light of new opportunities that have been created”, and was initiated by opposition party Meretz.
___Speaking at the session, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh stated that “we are at a crossroad where it is clearer than ever that we have only two options: peace or apartheid”.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLER  CELEBRATION  OF  LIFE  OF  SARAH  TURNS  INTO  A  TORMENT  FOR  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON
Mondoweiss
Nov. 12, 2017 ― Hebron activist Badee Dwaik sent us the video below showing a group of settlers celebrating the “feast of Sarah” on Thursday night in Hebron by threatening Palestinians who live in a locked-down portion of the city. Dwaik said some of the settlers carried guns, according to Palestinians who witnessed the action, and chanted “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.
___“Israel is the only state in which there are two armies, namely the organized official army and the army of settlers armed with weapons,” Dwaik said. “Where Jewish settler festivals have become a hell for Palestinian families.”    MORE . . .

Baumgart-Ochse, Claudia.
“OPPOSED  OR  INTERTWINED?  RELIGIOUS  AND  SECULAR  CONCEPTIONS  OF  NATIONAL  IDENTITY  IN  ISRAEL  AND  THE  ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN  CONFLICT.”
Politics, Religion & Ideology
, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 401-420.
[. . . .] When Israel’s founding elite institutionalized the role of religion in the new State of Israel by way of consociational governance, they could not foresee that religion would ever become such a powerful force as it is in contemporary Israel. Rather, Ben-Gurion and others acted on a common belief of the time that religion was on the retreat in the wake of the economic and political modernization of societies around the world. Granting religious parties and communities a special status served the short-term goal of integrative state- and nation building, Mamlachtiyut, but was not deemed dangerous as religion was expected to fade into insignificance sooner or later anyway. The consociational arrangement rather helped to keep the domestic peace and turn the state’s energy towards the integration of an enormous influx of immigrants from all over the world. Thus, instead of simply being ‘hijacked’ by religious actors, the Zionist elite of the Yishuv and of the early State deliberately aimed to integrate the diverse religious groups. But the close entanglement of Zionism and Judaism, of secular nationalism and religion, did not only express itself in institutional and political arrangements which allowed for the inclusion of the Orthodox in the statebuilding process.
[. . . .] Contrary to the state’s founders’ expectations, religion did not disappear – it became even more important. The immigration of Jews from Arab countries in the 1950s and 1960s gradually changed the demographic makeup of the young nation. Therefore, in order to live up to the task of integrating the new immigrants into Israeli society, Jewish tradition regained new significance for national identity during that time. The influx of these immigrants created a new category of Jewish identity in Israel: in addition to the distinction between ‘Datiyim’ (Religious) and ‘Chiloniyim’ (Seculars), a third segment of ‘Masortiyim’ (Traditionalists) was added, a Jewish religiosity which was less rigid in observing Jewish commandments and studying the Torah, but more based on communal customs and traditions.
___The rapprochement of Zionism and religion as well as the common theme of Messianism, early indicators for the intertwining of religion and secular nationalism, intensified when Israel won the war in 1967. The State of Israel experienced what some authors have called a ‘second republic’. It moved from the dominance of the secular-socialist concept of the state to one which emphasized the ethno-religious boundaries of membership in the nation. This process was driven by both religion and secular nationalism: Religious actors, the settlers in particular, underwent a process of politicization after the war; and the secular state began to use the religious settlement movement as a tool for its mundane politics in the occupied Palestinian territories.    SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAEL  TO  SEIZE  PALESTINIAN  LAND  FOR  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION     Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 14, 2017 ―  The Israeli military authorities notified Palestinian farmers on Tuesday that they intend to expropriate plots of land near the village of Shofeh, to the southeast of Tulkarm, in order to expand the nearby illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz.
___The farmers told WAFA that the Israeli military informed the Palestinian liaison office that it intends to expropriate land in the village of Shofeh in order to open roads and build playgrounds and other recreational facilities for the benefit of Avnei Hefetz settlement.   MORE . . .
❸ TENSION  HITS  PEAK  AS  ISRAELI  ARMY  BROWBEATS  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― A number of Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed in central Israel on Monday by the Israeli army, amid heightened tensions with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad since the army blew up the group’s resistance tunnel last month.
___The Israeli occupation army confirmed the anti-missile systems had been installed in central Israel. On Sunday Iron Dome batteries were spotted on the outskirts of Occupied Jerusalem allegedly in anticipation of retaliation attacks by the Palestinian resistance.
___The occupation army claimed that the Iron Dome system, which is designed to shoot down short-range rockets and, in some cases, mortars, was deployed to counter the threats made by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance group, which has vowed to avenge its members killed in the tunnel blast.   MORE . . .

“SWEARING BY YOUR JERUSALEM,” BY DIAB RABIE
The nightingale stopped singing and mourned the lost land;
It wandered into spaces where winds held command.
Tired by many nights of flight, it took its rest,
But not at wondrous sites or near a female breast.
It once rejoiced in singing, now it merely cries
All night till morning, and it will not shut its eyes.
Memories with bleeding wounds cried out in disgust:
How could you leave the country and abandon your trust.
Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy.
Rise, throw off the veil of shame none can justify.
Can the oppressed despise sharp swords and keep their pride?
Face daily insults silently and step aside?
You will regain your land only by sword and spear;
With their help people will see justice reappear.
Youth came into this world to battle with their hands;
Brook no pollution in this holiest of lands.
I swear by “Your Jerusalem,” maimed Palestine,
That Arab flags will wave above you for all time.

Translated by George Khoury and Edward Morin.
This poem was published in the Arabic language newspaper, Sameer, in New York City one month after the UN resolution in 1947 to divide Palestine.
“Diab Rabie (1922-2010) was the last of a group of five Diaspora poets which included Kahlil Gibran, Michael Naimeh, and Elie Abu-Madi. A newspaperman assigned to New York, he was prevented by the Israelis from reentering his homeland and settled in North Carolina. His poems were published in major Arabic newspapers and magazines around the world throughout his life. His collected poems, Shetharat El-Rabie were edited by George Khoury and published before his death (The Birzeit Society, 2010).” Before there Is Nowhere to Stand. Palestine/Israel Poets Respond to the Struggle. Ed. Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler. Sandport, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 2012.)  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“A sky fell into the braid of the little girl . . .” (Dalia Taha)

❶ Israel’s Jerusalem municipality plans to demolish Palestinian buildings
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Gabbay: No Settlement Will Be Evacuated

  • Background: “Gated/Gating Community: The Settlement Complex in the West Bank.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

❷ International conference in Kuwait on Palestinian children’s suffering
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israel attacks Palestinian school children with gas and sound bombs
❸ Israel blocks Palestinian from visiting father’s grave in Christian cemetery
❹ POETRY by Dalia Taha
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL’S  JERUSALEM  MUNICIPALITY  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  PALESTINIAN  BUILDINGS 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 13, 2017 ―  The Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem is planning to demolish a number of Palestinian buildings in occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods that would displace hundreds of people, Palestinian and Israeli sources said on Monday.
___The municipality notified a number of Palestinian citizens in Issawiya of its intention to demolish their homes under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to residents.
___They said staff from the Israeli municipality handed Issawiya residents notifications informing that their homes will be demolished for lack of an Israeli construction permit and others were told to report to the municipality to discuss the legal status of their homes.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)  GABBAY:  NO  SETTLEMENT  WILL  BE  EVACUATED
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC      
Nov. 13, 2017 ― Israel will not evacuate any settlement in the occupied West Bank or Jerusalem, under any peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, the leader of Israeli Labor Party Avi Gabbay stated, on Sunday.
___Ma’ariv paper quoted Gabbay as saying that it is impossible to evacuate 100 thousand settlers under any future peace settlement, saying that it is irrational to create such a cruel event.   MORE . . .

Handel, Ariel.
“GATED/GATING  COMMUNITY:  THE  SETTLEMENT  COMPLEX  IN  THE  WEST  BANK.”
Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers,
vol. 39, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 504-517.
[This] paper suggests that the settlement layout in the West Bank is not just an aggregate of 124 ‘legal’ gated  communities and a similar number of ‘illegal outposts’, but rather a single, contiguous gated community gating, in turn, Palestinian ‘islands’ within it. Gated communities differ on several factors of enclosure, security features, amenities, type of residents, tenure, location, size and policy context. They tend to turn their backs on the city and aspire to create an autarkic community that has no need for the outside world.
[. . . .] In their account of the evolution and development of enclosed residential neighbourhoods in Israel, Gillad Rosen and Eran Razin distinguish between three types of enclaves: landscapes of heritage (ultra-orthodox Jewish cities, inner division of a Bedouin city), fortress landscapes (frontier settlements in Israel and in the Occupied Territories) and fortified and privatized neighbourhoods (new urban gated communities.
[. . . .] the settlements in the West Bank were part of a network since their very inception, both in their positive features of shared ethnicity and values and in their exclusionary character with respect to the Palestinian population. Also, Israel’s purpose was to seize as much land as possible, therefore planning the settlements’ form and dispersion as part of a wide network. As for the closure’s characteristics, the settlements’ closure was achieved for many years without walls and gates. . . .   In fact, the Jewish settlements started gating themselves only after they had turned into a single, fortified net cast wide enough as to constitute not a gated but a gating community. Finally, the settlements’ relations with the surrounding area had always been exclusionary, but they gradually came to encompass more and more domains: from separate settlements to separate road network. The ethnic feature effected a clear-cut separation between the populations, their villages and later their cars . . .   SOURCE . . .

❷ INTERNATIONAL  CONFERENCE  IN  KUWAIT  ON  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN’S  SUFFERING   
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Nov. 13, 2017 ― Kuwait’s Emir Sheikh Sabah al-Ahmad al-Jaber al-Sabah and the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas on Sunday opened an international conference in Kuwait on the Israeli violations against Palestinian children.
___The two-day conference is organized by the Arab League’s General Secretariat in cooperation with Kuwait’s Ministry of Social Affairs and Labor.
___Abbas affirmed, in his address to the conference, that children are the most affected segment of the Palestinian people by the Israeli practices, pointing out that Israel has violated international agreements by opening prisons for children in 2009.
___The United Nations a few days ago announced that there are 500 Palestinian children incarcerated in Israeli jails and expressed concern over their situation.
___For his part, the Secretary-General of the Arab League, Ahmad Abu al-Gheit, called in his speech at the conference for developing mechanisms to hold the Israeli occupation accountable for its crimes against the Palestinian children.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAEL  ATTACKS  PALESTINIAN  SCHOOL  CHILDREN  WITH  GAS  AND  SOUND  BOMBS   
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO    
Nov. 13, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces stormed the village of Deir Nidham, northwest of Ramallah, this morning and closed its main entrances.
___Ahmed Al-Tamimi, head of Deir Nidham’s village council, told the news agency that the occupation forces stormed the area in the morning and closed its main entrances, imposing a siege on it.
___He pointed out also that “there have been large numbers of occupation forces in the village since the morning, who claimed that school students are throwing stones at settlers along the main road.”
___Al-Tamimi explained that in the meantime the occupation forces besieged the school in order to threaten students and intimidate them with detention if they throw stones.   MORE . . .   …
❸ ISRAEL  BLOCKS  PALESTINIAN  FROM  VISITING  FATHER’S  GRAVE  IN  CHRISTIAN  CEMETERY
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Nov. 13, 2017 ― For years, Israel has been preventing Salwa Salem-Copty from visiting the grave of her father killed by Israeli troops in his Galilee village, Ma’alul, in 1948, just a few months before she was born.
___Israeli forces occupied Ma’alul in July 1948, expelled its Palestinian residents, and destroyed the entire village with the exception of two churches and a mosque. Israel has since prevented the village’s displaced residents from returning.
___An Israeli military base was built around the village’s Christian cemetery and the displaced residents, whose loved ones are buried in the cemetery, have been barred by Israeli authorities from visiting family graves since 1948.
___Adalah – The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel ― said in a press release on Tuesday that it has sent a letter to senior Israeli political and military officials demanding that Salem-Copty and other internally-displaced Christian Palestinian residents and their descendants be allowed to visit the graves of family members in Ma’alul.   MORE . . .

“FACE,” BY DALIA TAHA
A sky fell into
the braid
of the little girl who was killed.
Her face
is a wind in the shadows
of the garden,
blowing without colour
or blushing
when the air rushes through.

As if she knew,
when the jackals emerged
from her shadow and the river widened
in the disappointment
of whiteness.

As if she knew, when the sparrows
ate her eyes
and the sidewalk walked
in her blood.

The woman treads on dead
jasmine, searching
the minutes
for her hand.
She hides half her face,
and the air is filled with
the fingers of nothingness.

She pokes a hole in the poem
so the sidewalks can
wander into it.

The little girl’s hand withers and her blood
slumbers in
the lake.
When God passed over
her name,
she buried her hands in the heights of the jasmine
and covered her nakedness
with the corpses of the invaders.
―Translated by Allison Blecker

From Banipal 45: Magazine of Modern Arab Literature. Winter 2012.
Dalia Taha is a Palestinian poet and playwright. She was born in Berlin 1986 but grew up in Ramallah-Palestine. Her first play “Keffiyeh/Made in China” was produced by the Flemish Royal Theater [and] was premiered in Brussels in 2012, then brought to Palestine where it toured 7 Palestinian cities across the west bank.  (More. . .)
An Interview with Dalia Taha

“. . . I’m old enough, almost four, I’ve seen enough . . .” (Hanan Ashrawi)

❶ IOF arrests seven Jerusalemite minors
CONTEXT: Military Court Watch (monitoring the treatment of children in detention)
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settler attacks Palestinian child in Hebron
CONTEXT: Space to play: West Bank refugee camps are facing a crisis of safety and square feet
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) A life worth living?

  • Background: “The Right to Home: Domicide as a Violation of Child and Family Rights in the Context of Political Violence.” Children & Society

❷ Palestinian demolishes own home in Jerusalem to avoid Israeli fines
❸ POETRY by Hanan Ashrawi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ IOF  ARRESTS  SEVEN  JERUSALEMITE  MINORS
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Nov. 12, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Sunday morning, five Jerusalemite minors after storming their houses in the town of Silwan, south of Al Aqsa Mosque.
___The IOF arrested from Silwan. Abdulrahman Shweky, 14, Qosay Zaiton 13, Imran Mansour ,15, Mehdi Mansour, 12, and Khaled Mayala, 20, and were transferred to investigate at Maskobeya police station in the occupied Jerusalem, confirmed the lawyer Mohammed Mahmoud.
___Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that the intelligence and occupation forces stormed Silwan neighborhoods and arrested five children after storming their houses.   MORE . . .
CONTEXT:    MILITARY  COURT  WATCH  (MONITORING  THE  TREATMENT  OF  CHILDREN  IN  DETENTION).   Briefing Note, October 2017 ― This Briefing Note reviews developments in the Israeli military detention system for children and covers the period up to October 2017.
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  SETTLER  ATTACKS  PALESTINIAN  CHILD  IN  HEBRON 
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency 
Nov. 12, 2017 ― Ahmed Hadeeb, 15, was injured by bruises on Saturday after an Israeli settler beat and injured him in the center of Hebron.
__According to local sources, the settler hit Habeed with the butt of his rifle; he was injured and then transferred to the hospital.   MORE . . .
CONTEXT:  SPACE  TO  PLAY:  WEST  BANK  REFUGEE  CAMPS  ARE  FACING  A  CRISIS  OF  SAFETY  AND  SQUARE  FEET 
Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP)       
Oct. 5, 2017   ― [. . . .] Overcrowding and fifty years of Israeli military occupation, as well as the now-frequent Palestinian security forces’ raids, have negatively impacted the available spaces for play. When schools let out for the summer, children spend their time between camp spaces that are either too cramped or too dangerous for play [. . . .]
. . . . . ― (ᴃ) A  LIFE  WORTH  LIVING?
The Electronic Intifada      
Hamza Abu Eltarabesh
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Young people in Gaza are finding few prospects for a better life.
___On Tuesday, 29 August, Mohannad Younis swallowed a bottle of sleeping pills and ended his life.
___He was only 22 and seemed to have much going for him. A budding author, he had recently completed a series of short stories and just put the finishing touches on a stage play – Escape.   MORE . . .

Akesson, Bree, et al.
“THE  RIGHT  TO  HOME:  DOMICIDE  AS  A  VIOLATION  OF  CHILD  AND  FAMILY  RIGHTS  IN  THE  CONTEXT  OF  POLITICAL  VIOLENCE.”
Children & Society, vol. 30, no. 5, Sept. 2016, pp. 369-383.
[. . . .] The term domicide was coined by Porteous and Smith to describe the ‘deliberate destruction of home against the will of the home dweller’.
[. . . .] Home is a symbolic place that often embodies togetherness, individual and family growth, accomplishments, memories, and deeply personal and familial connections with land and territory. Scholars have pointed out how places of origin, such as the home, are closely connected to cultural practices, symbolic meanings, memories and rituals that shape individual identity.
[. . . .] One study examining the effects of home demolitions on Palestinian children . . .   compared to children of similar demographics living in the same location, found that children who had their homes intentionally destroyed fared significantly worse on a range of mental health indicators including withdrawal, somatic complaints, depression, anxiety, social difficulties, higher rates of delusional, obsessive compulsive and psychotic thoughts, attention difficulties, delinquency, and violent behaviour. Not surprisingly, the study found that children’s mental health was closely tied to their caregivers’ mental and physical health. Similarly, [a] case study of home demolitions for children in Palestine found that children who were forced from their homes reported feeling anxious, sad and angry after experiencing repeated displacement. Losing their homes and becoming refugees within their own neighbourhoods was reported as the most painful incident that had happened to them and ultimately an experience of ‘living in the hyphen’.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

❷ PALESTINIAN  DEMOLISHES  OWN  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM  TO  AVOID  ISRAELI  FINES    
Ma’an News Agency  
Nov. 12, 2017 ― A Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan was forced to destroy his own home on Saturday in order to avoid incurring a demolition fee from Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, which was set to carry out the demolition.
___According to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center, Abd al-Ghani Dweik, a resident of the al-Bustan area of Silwan, said that the Israeli municipality issued a demolition order against his house, along with a demolition fee of 80,000 shekels ($22,741).
___Four people were residing in the home, which was built two years ago.
___A spokesman of a Silwan-based committee formed to fight demolitions, Fakhri Abu Diab, previously told Ma’an that all 100 residential structures in the al-Bustan area are slated for demolition, and that the 1,570 residents of the area have exhausted all legal options.   MORE . . .

“FROM  THE  DIARY  OF  AN  ALMOST-FOUR-YEAR-OLD,”  BY  HANAN  ASHRAWI
Tomorrow, the bandages
will come off. I wonder
will I see half an orange,
half an apple, half my
mother’s face
with my one remaining eye?
I did not see the bullet
but felt its pain
exploding in my head.
His image did not
vanish, the soldier
with a big gun, unsteady
hands, and a look in
his eyes
I could not understand.

If I can see him so clearly
with my eyes closed,
it could be that inside our heads
we each have one spare set
of eyes
to make up for the ones we lose.

Next month, on my birthday,
I’ll have a brand new glass eye,
maybe things will look round
and fat in the middle —
I’ve gazed through all my marbles,
they made the world look strange.

I hear a nine-month-old
has also lost an eye,
I wonder if my soldier
shot her too—a soldier
looking for little girls who
look him in the eye—
I’m old enough, almost four,
I’ve seen enough of life,
but she’s just a baby
who didn’t know any better.

Interview with Hanan Ashrawi
From ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

 

“. . . I’m unfamiliar with settlements. Are some of those people good? . . .” (Marwan Makhoul)

❶ European conference on settlement declares Israel ‘apartheid regime’

  • Background: “Spatial Changes in Palestine: From Colonial Project to an Apartheid System.” African & Asian Studies.

❷ Israel encourages settlers to move to Jordan Valley settlements
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Netanyahu is redefining ethnic cleansing not pursuing genuine peace
❹ POETRY by Marwan Makhoul
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ EUROPEAN  CONFERENCE  ON  SETTLEMENT  DECLARES  ISRAEL  ‘APARTHEID  REGIME’ 
Days of Palestine
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Representatives from 24 European countries, including parliamentarians, legal experts, journalists and activists, met in Brussels, have declared Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” in the West Bank.
___In a press release, the recommendations of the first European conference on Israeli settlement activity were named the Brussels Declaration, and included the following:
1. Israel, the occupying power of the Palestinian territories since 1967 continues its policy of confiscating and judaising Palestinian land and building settlements over it. These settlements have turned, with the passage of time, into an incubator for settler’s “terrorist organisations” such as HiiltopYouth, Paying the Price and Revenge.
2. With this premeditated policy of settlement expansion, it is, therefore, inappropriate to talk about dismantling political or security settlements, but rather, see this movement as a structure colonial policy that was able to colonize a large part of the West Bank not less than 60 percent of its size. This policy has, in fact, established an Apartheid regime, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 . . .        MORE . . .

Al-Rimmawi, Hussein.
“SPATIAL  CHANGES  IN  PALESTINE:  FROM  COLONIAL  PROJECT  TO  AN  APARTHEID  SYSTEM.”
African & Asian Studies,
vol. 8, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 375-412.
[. . . .] After the 1967 war, Israel began to strip Palestinian land from its Palestinian owners . . . . settlements penetrated deeply inside the occupied land like spears, with the purpose of dividing the Palestinian land in the West Bank into three main Bantustans, north, and central and south.
___At present, Israel continues to construct its Apartheid Wall which would guarantee that the confiscated land be on the Israeli side of the border . . .  The Wall is planned and implemented in a way which results in residential and territorial discrimination. Palestinian workers may be allowed to work in Israel but will not be allowed to reside in the same place . . . .
___Palestinian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, is being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. The Apartheid Wall is destroying archeological sites, shrines, monuments and historical buildings. The establishment of this wall is represented by ‘spatial and socio-side’. The Wall also has a significant impact on Palestinian wild life and biodiversity. For example, heavy equipment destroys plant coverage and degrades the soil. Flora and fauna are endangered and some species will disappear.
[. . . .] The whole Zionist plan evolved through different phases which reflected itself on the space through the settlements, the creation of the State of Israel, the evolution of Israel to become an occupying power in Arab lands and the present apartheid system. Through the acquisition of territory and the building of the Annexation Wall, Israel aims at eliminating the possibility of Palestine as a viable political entity. Palestinians cannot fully exercise their human rights, including their freedom of expression, travel from one place to another, and different laws are applied to them than those used for Israeli settlers. At present, they are prisoners inside their own cities, villages, and refugee camps. . .  It seems that Israelis are not capable of transferring the soul of settlement movement into a real and consolidated state.   SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAEL  ENCOURAGES  SETTLERS  TO  MOVE  TO  JORDAN  VALLEY  SETTLEMENTS       
The Palestinian Information Center 
Nov. 11, 2017 ― The National Office for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement on Saturday said that the Israeli government is planning to double the number of Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley area.
___The Office explained in its weekly report that the Israeli government plans to launch a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging settlers to move to the Jordan Valley, adding that it also has vowed to transfer funds to the settlement councils that host the newcomers. Preference will be given to the settlements that set fewer conditions to host settlers.
___Hebrew media sources have unveiled a plan presented by the Israeli Housing Minister, Yoav Galant, to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Jordan Valley, one-quarter of the West Bank.   MORE . . .
❸ OPINION/ANALYSIS:  NETANYAHU  IS REDEFINING  ETHNIC  CLEANSING  NOT  PURSUING  GENUINE  PEACE   
The Palestinian Information Center
Kamel Hawwash    [ Kamel Hawwash is Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at Birmingham University, and Immediate Past President of the European Society for Engineering Education.]  
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for missing an opportunity to push peace further into the distant future. [. . . .] Netanyahu took to the air to absolve Israel of any fault for the lack of progress towards peace. Israel is in a difficult neighbourhood and therefore its security needs are such that meeting these is almost incompatible with a Palestinian state.
___In an interview . . .  he trotted out the usual talking points. Israel, he said, “stands out as a beacon of democracy, a beacon of self-restraint in a sea of trouble”. As for the Israeli army, “there is no more moral army in the world,” he said. The settlements “are an issue but I don’t think they are the issue”. Instead he believes the issue “is the 100-year-old refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognise a Jewish state in any boundary”.  Netanyahu took issue with Marr regarding the settlements, saying “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea [the West Bank] is crazy”. When challenged that it is Palestinian territory, which the UN says is a flagrant violation of international law, he said that it is “disputed territory”.  MORE . . .

“IDENTITY,” BY MARWAN MAKHOUL
I’m unfamiliar with refugee camps.
Is that the ultimate in giving up?
Or are they tents I’ve been told are white
with guy ropes at the corners to hold them up
that hold me up?

I’m unfamiliar with tear gas.
Is it a weapon whose used bears the radiance of defeat?
Or is it his disappointment at the pathos of my tears
when I cry

I’m unfamiliar with settlements.
Are some of those people good?
Sure, completely. Like I walk
on my hands,
and the sand sings?

I’m unfamiliar with my mother too.
Is she the one who suckled me?
Or is she the one bereft, standing in my doorway,
or a window on belonging?

I’m unfamiliar with UNRWA.
Is it a shipment I once chanced upon?
Or did I direct its driver
when he asked the way to Rafah?

I’m unfamiliar with the “cause”.
Is it a fiancée searching in the rubble
for her finger to put the ring on?
Or is half the whole of a fifth?

I’m unfamiliar with the truth.
Am I lacking something?
Or does my blood course within me
but not as my nerves would wish?

Personally, I’m unfamiliar with myself.
Am I the one now in my body?
Or am I that one I wrote about
the day I became my neighbor?
―Translated by Raphael Cohen   

From BANIPAL: MAGAZINE OF MODERN ARAB LITERATURE 45  Winter 2012.
Marwan Makhoul was born to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother in 1979 in the village of Boquai’a in the Upper Galilee region of Palestine. He currently lives in the village of Maalot Tarshiha. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Mustaqbal College. His first book of poetry was published in 2007 in both Beirut and Baghdad by Al-Jamal Publishers. That same year a second edition of the book was published in Haifa by Maktabat Kul Shai’ Publishers. In 2009 he won the prize of best playwright in The Acre Theatre Festival for his first play. (An interview with Marwan Makhoul )