“. . .strangers with their rifles’ muzzles . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Israeli Occupation Forces bunker and watchtower in Central Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM  –  143  DEMOLISHED  IN  2018  
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Qalandiya north of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank, on Wednesday morning.    ___Owner Hamzeh al-Mughrabi told Ma’an that Israeli police forces escorted municipality staff into Qalandiya, where they surrounded the house, emptied and evacuated residents before starting the demolition.    ___Al-Mughrabi added that the Shweiki family of 6 members, including a man with disability, live in the 100-square meter house.    More . . .
~~ Jerusalem  mayor  plans  to  reduce  the  sound  of  mosque  loudspeakers     More . . .
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (20–26  DECEMBER  2018)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.     ___4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a person with mobility impairment were killed.   142 civilians, including 30 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded; the injury of 2 of them was reported serious.    ___A child was killed and 5 civilians were wounded, including a Journalist, in the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited incursions into the northern Gaza Strip.   More . . .
~~  Scores  of  Palestinians  injured  by  Israeli  bullet  fire     More . . .
~~  Civilians  kidnapped,  homes  ransacked  by  Israeli  army    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES  FORMALLY  QUIT  UNESCO
More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of December 31, 2018.   ___UNESCO was the first UN body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions. In 2017, the UN heritage agency passed a resolution designating the Tomb of Patriarchs in  Hebron  as  a  Palestinian  World  Heritage  Site. The decision was opposed by the Jewish community because of the holy cave’s significance in Judaism.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
NOT  WELCOME  IN  HEBRON:  ITS  ORIGINAL  RESIDENTS  AND  BREAKING  THE  SILENCE
Jonathan Cook
Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.    ___It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him, however. He was worried about fellow Israelis—Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them—who have seized control of much of the city center [. . . .]  ___For more than 15 years, Israel has forbidden entry for Palestinians to what was once Hebron’s main throroughfare and central shopping area along Shuhada Street. Now it has been rebranded in Hebrew as King David Street, and declared what the army terms a “sterilized area.” The closure severs the main transport routes for Palestinians between north and south Hebron.    ___Most of the Palestinian inhabitants have been driven from the city center by endless harassment and attacks by settlers, bolstered by arrests and night raids conducted by the army, says Even-Paz.    More . . .
~~  Gaza  march  leader  to  conscientious  objectors:  ‘Turn  your  words  into  weapons’    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“STORY  OF  A  CITY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
Around and spending their money
day after day.

But it became a black city
despising strangers
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih.  SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . the day is impudent and selfish. . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

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Palestinian children at the Great Return March, near  Gaza City, April 10, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY 
ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION  UNDERWAY  AT  COST  OF  A  NORTHERN  WEST  BANK  VILLAGE
The Israeli army razed land in Dhar al-Maleh village, southwest of Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank, in order to expand an illegal Jewish settlement, the village’s head of council Ahmad Khatib said on Tuesday.    ___He told WAFA that bulldozers started to work on 120 dunums of the village land and in the process destroyed a paved road as the military was working on expanding the illegal settlement of Shaked, built on expropriated village land.     More . . .
~~  Israel  plans  new  settlement  units  in  Bethlehem    More . . .
~~  Israeli  settlements  threaten  to  engulf  West  Bank  communities    More . . .
QATAR  DEAL  EXPECTED  TO  BOOST  PALESTINIAN  TRADE
Qatar and Palestine are working to boost their bilateral trade, taking steps that one expert says will double their exchange over five years.    ___The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Palestine Trade Center (PalTrade) to increase partnership efforts between the two countries. During a Dec. 12 meeting in Doha that was also attended by Palestinian Ambassador to Qatar Amir Ghannam as well as Qatari and Palestinian businesspeople, the two sides agreed to allow nine Palestinian food and agriculture companies to export their products to the Qatari market.    More . . .
~~  Palestinian  Poverty  Level  Almost  Double  Israel  Average    More . . .
|   EIGHT  PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED  BY  IOF  IN  W.  BANK
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday kidnapped at least eight Palestinian citizens during campaigns in the West Bank.    ___The Israeli army claimed in a statement that its forces arrested eight wanted Palestinians overnight in the West Bank.    ___According to local sources, the IOF kidnapped a number of citizens in Beit Ummar town. . .    More . . .
~~  Israeli  navy  kidnaps  two  fishermen  in  Gaza  waters    More . . .
~~  Israeli  army  opens  fire  at  Palestinians  south  of  besieged  Gaza    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
|  THE  GRASSROOTS  MOVEMENTS  IN  ISRAEL-PALESTINE  THAT  WON  2018
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
+972 Magazine’s story of the year for 2018 is the protest movements that managed to beat the odds by forcing governments to revisit and even change their policies. The story of African refugees stopping their deportation from Israel, and Gazans using popular protests to make sure the world doesn’t forget about them.   ___The global rise of nationalist and right-wing governments has not been particularly good for progressive movements over the past year. But two grassroots movements in Israel and Palestine, respectively, managed to push back against oppressive policies and, at least temporarily, achieve real victories on the ground. These stories are not only impressive, against-the-odds wins — they are also a reminder that the work of organizers and activists on the ground does stand a chance facing down governments, armies, and immensely powerful economic interests.   More . . .
|  THE  UN’S  VISION  OF  ‘PEACE’  FOR  PALESTINE  EXCLUDES  ORDINARY  PALESTINIANS
Ramona Wadi
The UN is now adamant that the Palestinian Authority should return to govern the Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge, this hypothesis was raised by the US and has seldom been questioned, ostensibly due to other pressing factors such as delivering the necessary humanitarian aid to displaced and injured Palestinians in the besieged enclave.    ___Since the Palestinian cause has become fragmented into separate issues to prevent national unity, the PA — through decisions taken by its leader Mahmoud Abbas — has slowly imposed its own sanctions on Gaza, bizarrely in the name of unity. Ths facade was dropped swiftly, though, to reveal the real reason for the sanctions; the Fatah-led PA wants to force Hamas to relinquish its political power in the enclave. Hamas, remember, won the last Palestinian elections in 2006, but has never been allowed to govern both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.     More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

Excerpt from “MIDNIGHT,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI

The new day does not ask your permission to enter,
it does not ask if you are ready to receive it.
The day is impudent and selfish,
it insists on arriving every day.
You hear dawn climbing the stairs
before it breaks into your house,
the same way you hear them coming to arrest you
before they break down the door,
before you rub your eyes,
before you’re asked to have a cup of coffee
with the hyena
with the gold tooth
and heavy makeup.

As for the birds,
don’t they know that this is not the time for singing?
Here they are, singing
as usual,
twittering melodies you do not understand.
May be they echo the refrain:
nothing equals
one more hour with you.

From: Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. By Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, Lancashire, UK: Arc Books, 2008. Available from B&N.

“. . . No quiet place to die, with dignity. . .” (Jehan Bseiso)

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Cyclist Alaa al-Dali’s leg was amputated after being shot at the Great Return March protests, crushing his dream of participating in the 2018 Asia Games. (Photo: Middle East Eye, 27 April 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
| OCHA:  ISRAELI  FORCES  KILLED  295  PALESTINIANS  IN  2018   
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that a total of 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 others were injured in 2018 by Israeli forces.    ___According to a recent report released by OCHA, 57 of those Palestinian fatalities and about 7,000 of the wounded citizens were under age 18.    ___“This is the highest death toll in a single year since the Gaza conflict of 2014, and the highest number of injuries recorded since OCHA began documenting casualties in the oPt (occupied Palestinian territories) in 2005,” the report said.    More . . .
IOF  KIDNAPS  25  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK  RAIDS
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday arrested 25 Palestinians during West Bank sweeps.    ___The PIC reporter said that the IOF raided Kobar village, north of Ramallah, and arrested 12 Palestinian citizens.    ___Other Palestinians, including two ex-prisoners and a lawyer, were arrested in campaigns targeting Silwad and Ras Karkar villages, east and west of Ramallah respectively . . .    More . . .
~~  Israeli  forces  demolish  agricultural  structure  in  Masafer  Yatta    More . . .
~~  Israel  seizes  1,200  dunams  of  Palestinian  land  for  new  settlement     More . . .
|  ISRAEL  CONTINUES  TO  DENY  TREATMENT  ABROAD  TO  GAZANS  INJURED  IN  BORDER  PROTESTS
The Israeli authorities continued in November to deny Gazans injured in the border protest access to medical treatment outside the besieged Gaza Strip.    ___In its monthly report on health access barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory for the month of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that out of 51 permit applications  in November for people injured during the protests seeking treatment outside Gaza, only four applications were approved, six were denied and 41 delayed.   More . . .
~~  Video:  Israel-Palestine  Tensions:  UN  says  Israel  has  no  justification  for  Gaza  killings      More . . .
~~  Israel  Launches  Aistrikes  on  Gaza      More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
|  WHO  REPORT:  PALESTINIANS’  ACCESS  TO  HEALTHCARE  AT  MERCY  OF  ISRAEL    
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its monthly report of the situation patients have been facing in Palestine in November 2018.    ___Due to the impoverished circumstances in Gaza, many residents need to travel outside the confines of the Israeli-Gazan border to receive appropriate health care. However, despite necessity of medical care, access to these hospitals and facilities has been routinely obstructed by Israeli security.    ___In November 2018, there were 2,519 applications to cross the Erez border for health care. 29% were children, 16% of applicants were 60 years plus, 43% female and 92% were medically funded by Palestinian Ministry of Health.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
|  A  CHRISTMAS  MESSAGE  FROM  MAP  (MEDICAL  AID  TO  PALESTINIANS)  CEO  AIMEE  SHALAN
This year has been yet another difficult and tragic one for Palestinians.    ___The shocking use of force by Israeli forces against demonstrators in Gaza has killed scores and injured thousands. . .    ___Demolitions continue to be a day-to-day reality for many Palestinians in the West Bank. Not only have individual homes and buildings such as schools been demolished, but entire villages like Khan al Ahmar have been threatened . . .     ___We have also witnessed a dangerous politicisation of humanitarian aid, with the US administration cutting all funding to UNRWA . . . These cuts greatly threaten Palestinian refugees’ access to healthcare, education and emergency food assistance.    __Amid such bleak circumstances, I am incredibly proud of all that MAP has achieved and want to thank our supporters for their generosity and kind support – facilitating our essential and lifesaving work    More . . .    Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“RE:  CEMETERIES  IN  PALESTINIAN  CAMPS  SHORT  ON  SPACE/DAILY  STAR/16.06.12,”  BY  JEHAN  BSEISO

And so, the cemeteries are full –
In Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Gaza.
We will soon bury Palestinians above ground.
Nowhere to live and now,
No quiet place to die, with dignity.
Raise high the beams – carpenters, death architects.
Soon, your walls will reach the sky.

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  POETRY  BY  SAMAH  SABAWI,  RAMZY  BAROUD,  JEHAN  BSEISO.  Vacy Vlazna, editor. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from publisher.

“. . . My endurance is as limitless as the horizon . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

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BETHLEHEM: Palestinian family takes photo in front of the Christmas tree. (Photo: Institute for Middle East Understanding, Dec. 20, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  AFTER  KILLING  DISABLED  YOUTH,  ISRAELI  FIGHTER  JET  STRIKES  GAZA
An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip following, causing horror among women and children, Palestinian security sources said.    ___In a statement, the Israeli military spokesman recognised the attack and claimed it targeted a Palestinian resistance post in the southern Gaza Strip.    ___Palestinian medical sources reported no injuries, but reiterated that airstrike caused repulsive horror among tens of children and women living in the vicinity of the targeted place.    More . . .
|  BIBLICAL  CITY  OF  BETHLEHEM  BOASTS  LARGEST  CHRISTMAS  IN  YEARS
Pilgrims from around the world flocked to Bethlehem on Monday for what was believed to be the biblical West Bank city’s largest Christmas celebrations in years.    ___Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Crowds flooded the Church of the Nativity, venerated as the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, and waited to descend into the ancient grotto.    ___Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.     More . . .
|  GDP  ‘UP’  IN  WEST  BANK,  ‘DOWN’  IN  GAZA  DURING  1ST  THREE  QUARTERS  OF  2018
The gross domestic product increased by 2.3% in the West Bank and decreased by 7.9% in Gaza Strip  during the first three quarters of the year 2018 compared to the same quarters of the year 2017, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).    ___PCBS said a sharp decrease in GDP at constant prices in the Gaza Strip during the first three quarters of the year 2018 led to slowing down in the growth of the Palestinian economy compared to the parallel quarters of the year 2017.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| ISRAEL’S  ARREST  OF  MOTHERS  SHOWS  ITS  CONTEMPT  FOR  PALESTINIAN  WOMEN   
Dr. Mohammad Makram Balawi
On 16 December 2018, an Israeli court . . .  sentenced Suzan Abu Ghannaam – the mother of 20-year-old Palestinian martyr Muhammad Abu Ghannaam – to eleven months in prison on account of “incitement” in a Facebook post. Her son had been killed while protesting against the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on Muslim worshippers . . . .   On the same day Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed that Facebook had banned him from posting for 24 hours. In a series of tweets, Yair had called for the expulsion of Palestinians and Muslims from the region . . .   Unlike mother-of-four Suzan Abu Ghannam, Yair Netanyahu was not jailed for two months, summoned to court and sentenced to 11 months in prison. Instead, he brags about his actions . . .   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
| KinderUSA  A  NEW  YEAR  FOR  GAZA
As 2018 comes to an end, we are sad to report that living conditions in Gaza continue to get worse, taking an unfathomable toll on the population.  Unemployment is over 55%, with youth unemployment at 75%, while most who do get paid receive only half their wages.  Many families live on $1 a day, at best. Over 95% of the water supply is now undrinkable due to the persistent lack of electricity limited to about 4 hours per day. The land, sea, and air blockade is now in its 12th year, sealing Gaza off from the rest of the world.    ___Children in Gaza are caged in a toxic slum from birth to death . . .    More . . .   DONATE . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“THE  FIRE  OF  THE  MAGI,  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
I take my time!
I take my time!
I draw the first thread of light
From the deep darkness of night;
I tend the nursery of dreams
At the source of the torrent,
And dry the tears of loved ones
With a kerchief of jasmine.
I plant the most verdant oases
Amidst the scorched sands,
And shape a life for the outlaws
From fragrance, plenty, and justice.
If someday, on the road, my foot should stumble,
My roots will uphold and support me.

I take my time
For I am unlike the match
That flickers once, then dies.
I am more like the fire of the magi, burning bright
From my cradle to my grave.
And from my forebears to my offspring.
My endurance is as limitless as the horizon,
And the skill of the ant I’ve mastered.

I take my time,
For it is the function of history
To follow our dictates.
We have prepared for the downfall of the giants of the earth,
We will pay them back in kind;
We will give them enough rope, not that they may live longer,
But that they might have enough to hang themselves.

From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from  Palestine Online Store.

“. . . And your children will play again . . .” (Nizar Qabbani)

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Children of Rawdat El-Zuhur School (Photo: Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ, Nov. 2014)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY    
|  GAZA  –  4  PALESTINIANS  KILLED,  DOZENS  INJURED  INCLUDING  JOURNALISTS,  PARAMEDICS
Four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during weekly protests across the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon.    [. . . .] The ministry pointed out that two journalists and four paramedic were among those injured.    ___At least 47 others were injured with live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces suppressed the 39th Friday of the return marches.    More . . .
~~ Photojournalist  among  4  injured  in  Kafr  Qaddum  weekly  march    More . . .
~~ Factions  call  protest  at  Australia’s  representative  office  in  Ramallah  against  Jerusalem  decision   More . . .
|  UN  ADOPTS  RESOLUTION  ON  PALESTINIAN  SOVEREIGNTY  OVER  NATURAL  RESOURCES
The United Nations General Assembly adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution that affirms the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty over their natural resources.    ___The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 13 abstentions.    ___The resolution stresses permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.    More . . .
| [THE  ORGANIZATION  OF  ISLAMIC  COOPERATION]  OIC  INTENDS  TO  SET  UP  FUND  FOR  SUPPORT  OF  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has announced its intention to establish a fund to support the Palestinian refugees.    ___According to a press release issued by the organization, a committee of experts from the OIC member states held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the draft statute of the waqf fund for support of the Palestinian Refugees at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah.    ___OIC secretary-general Yousef al-Othaimeen stated that the meeting came in light of the worsening financial crisis of UNRWA and its impact on the humanitarian, social, and economic situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially after the US suspended its contributions.    More . . .      
~~ Health  ministry,  with  support  from  WHO,  UNICEF,  succeeds  in  bringing  in  children  vaccines  More . . .
~~ EU  increases  financial  support  for  UNRWA      More . . .
~~ Distribution  of  Palestinian  refugees  registered  by  UNRWA     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION

| HUMANITARIAN  AID  IS  OVERTLY  POLITICIZED,  JUST  NOT  IN  FAVOR  OF  THE  PALESTINIANS
By Ramona Wadi
The 2019 humanitarian plan for Palestinians in the occupied territories will allocate $350 million for aid intervention, according to Ramallah’s Minister of Social Development Ibrahim Al-Shaer and UN envoy Jamie McGoldrick. The people of Palestine remain divested of their legitimate human and civil rights in order to retain the imposed status of near-total aid dependency.    ___Despite decades of humanitarian aid sent their way since 1948, the Palestinians have still not recovered from the immediate deprivation of basic necessities created by the Nakba. This paradox could have been resolved if their rights had been fulfilled with equal enthusiasm.     [. . . .] Human rights, it seems, are official opportunities for personal advancement at the UN. Is that not a means of the politicization of humanitarian aid? According to Ma’an news agency, Al-Shaer “reaffirmed the danger of politicizing humanitarian aid because that would undermine and threaten human rights.”   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
RAWDAT EL ZUHUR SCHOOL
Rawdat El-Zuhur
is a Palestinian non governmental non-profit women’s organization in East Jerusalem. It supervises  Rawdat  El-Zuhur  elementary  coeducational  school  and  kindergarten  which serves mainly the lower income community.   December Newsletter. . .           Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“JERUSALEM,”  BY  NIZAR  QABBANI
Oh Jerusalem, the luminous city of prophets
The shortest path between earth and sky

Oh Jerusalem, the citadel of laws
A beautiful child with fingers charred
and downcast eyes
You are the shady oasis passed by the Prophet
Your streets are melancholy
Your minarets are mourning
You, the young maiden dressed in black
Who rings the bells in the Nativity
On Saturday morning?
Who brings toys for the children
On Christmas eve?
The city of sorrow
A huge tear trembling on your eyelid
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Who will safeguard the Bible?
Who will rescue the Quran?
Who will save Christ?
Who will save man?
Oh Jerusalem my town
Oh Jerusalem my love
Tomorrow the lemon trees will blossom
And the olive trees will rejoice
Your eyes will dance
The migrant pigeons will return
To your sacred roofs
And your children will play again
And fathers and sons will meet
On your rosy hills
My city, city of peace and olives.
—Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

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.

“. . . Whether my way leads to a jail . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Wafaa Mahdawi, (Photo: Asra Media, from Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY  
| ISRAELI  COURT  REJECTS  APPEAL  TO  RELEASE  NAALWA’S  MOTHER,  BROTHER
The Israeli military court of Salem rejected, on Wednesday, an appeal to release the mother and brother of Ashraf Naalwa on a bail.    ___Ashraf Naalwa was shot and killed by Israeli forces on December 13th, 2 months after carrying out a shooting attack in the Israeli Barkan industrial zone, killing two Israelis.    ___The Palestinian Authority’s Committee for Prisoners and Former Prisoner’s said that the appeal was presented by the lawyer representing Naalwa’s mother and brother.    ___The Israeli judge of the Salem military court rejected the release of Wafaa Mihdawi and Amjad Naalwa.    ___Naalwa’s mother and brother were detained during the week after the shooting carried he had carried out, in an attempt by Israel to pressure him to turn himself in.    ___The two are still being held without any real charges.   More . . .
~~ Mother of Palestinian slain by Israeli forces imprisoned for posting on Facebook   More . . .
~~ Palestinian women prisoners escalate struggle against repression    More . . .
| ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAZE  PALESTINIAN-OWNED  LANDS  IN  BATTIR
Israeli settlers razed Palestinian-owned lands in the Battir village, in the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on Thursday morning.    ___Local activist, Hassan Breijieh, representative of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee, said that Israeli settlers razed lands northwest of Battir, west of Bethlehem City, to create or open a settlement road.    __Breijieh added that opening the settlement road comes as an attempt by Israeli settlers to build a new settlement outpost on seize Palestinian lands.
More . . .
~~ IOF Goes ahead with Oppression Campaign in West Bank    More . . .
~~ Israeli Knesset votes to expel families of anti-occupation activists     More . . .
| AQSA  TV  [GAZA]  TO  GO  OFF  AIR  OVER  LACK  OF  FUNDS    More . . .
~~ Israeli army creeps into Gaza border    More . . .
~~ Gaza: Hamas delegation leaves for Cairo    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| Beneath the illusion of a temporary occupation lies apartheid
By Fady Khoury
The so-called temporary nature of Israel’s control over the Palestinians in the West Bank and Gaza has for too long served as a justification for not extending them full political and civil rights.    ___The Oslo peace process entailed a Palestinian acceptance of “the right of the State of Israel to exist in peace and security,” while in return Israel only recognized the Palestinian Liberation Organization as “the representative of the Palestinian people.” Israel has never recognized Palestine or the Palestinians’ right to an independent state in the occupied territories. To this day, Israel has never formally recognized the Palestinian people’s right to independence in any internationally binding document.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“THE  WAY,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I shall not despair;
Whether my way leads to a jail,
under the sun
or in exile
I shall not despair.

It is my right to behold the sun
To demolish the tent and banishment
To eat the fruit of the olive
To water the vineyards
with music
To sing of Love
in Jaffa, in Haifa
To sow the fertile land
with new seeds
It is my right.

Let my way be
The reaching of one hand to another
That a tower of dreams be built.

This is my way
And if the last price to pay
is my sight
my life
I shall
but will not give up
my way.

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

“. . . is it my country or the source of my exile . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

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Inhabitants of YITZHAR – a reputation as being among the most extreme Israeli settlers in the West Bank. (The Palestinian Information Center Sunday, December 3, 2017)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY    
|  WEST  BANK  WITNESSES  WORST  ESCALATION  IN  THIS  YEAR,  ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  4  PALESTINIAN  CIVILIANS  WITHIN  ONLY  48  HOURS;  TWO  OF  THEM  WERE  EXTRA-JUDICIALLY  EXECUTED
The West Bank is witnessing the worst and most violent escalation by the Israeli forces and settlers in this year.  Only within 48 hours, the Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians, including an elderly and 2 extra-judicially killed, and wounded dozens due to use of armed force against the peaceful demonstrators.  The Palestinian cities have witnessed large-scale incursions; mostly in the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, and a strangulating closure on both cities.  Meanwhile, the Israeli settlers have escalated their attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property in light of the Israeli military and political leaders’ calls for incitement against the Palestinians.  The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) emphasizes that the Israeli forces continue to pursue the policy of Extra-judicial executions that have publicly carried out for the first time in the so-called “Bus 300” operation on 10 April 1984 when 4 Palestinians were killed.  More . . .
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAZE  PALESTINIAN  LANDS  TO  EXPAND  [YITZHAR] NABLUS-AREA  SETTLEMENT  
Israeli bulldozers, belonging to settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, razed Palestinian lands in the Assira al-Qibliya village, on Wednesday morning.    ___Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that several Israeli settlers from Yitzhar razed lands in eastern Assira al-Qibliya to expand their settlement.    ___Daghlas confirmed that these lands belong to several Palestinians.    More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  FORCES  UPROOT  200  CACTUS  SEEDLINGS  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY
Israeli forces uprooted hundreds of cactus seedlings belonging to a Palestinian resident in the Bardala village in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday afternoon.    ___A Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mutaz Bisharat, said that Israeli forces uprooted 200 five-month-old cactus seedlings.    ___Bisharat added that the seedlings belong to local resident Faris Sawafta in Bardala in the Jordan Valley.   More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  UPROOT  OVER  100  TREES  WEST  OF  HEBRON
Israeli settlers Tuesday evening uprooted over 100 trees belonging to the Palestinian villagers of Tarqumiya, west of Hebron, said a local official.    ___Head of the Agricultural Damage Documentation Section Hashem Badarin told WAFA that settlers from Adora settlement uprooted and destroyed over 100 fruitful trees belonging to the village.  More . . .
| OFFICIAL:  WE  INFORMED  ISRAEL  THAT  WE  ARE  GOING  TO  RECONSIDER  ALL  SIGNED  AGREEMENTS
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Civil Affairs Commission, said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority has informed Israel that it is going to reconsider all the agreements signed between them.    ___”We have told the Israeli side a clear message and that was as long as the agreements are being slaughtered and murdered every day on the ground by the behavior of the settlers and the army, we are going to reconsider all the agreements signed between us and them,” he said in an interview.    [. . . .] “We have delivered a very clear message that the current serious escalation is targeting all the occupied territories.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| KHAN  AL-AHMAR:  SETTING  THE  RECORD  STRAIGHT
By Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
The story of Khan al-Ahmar has been told countless times in the media in recent months. The way it is being told, however, is chock full of misconceptions. Here’s the real story behind the embattled village.    ___ The village of Khan al-Ahmar, home to 193 Palestinian Bedouins and a school, is under the very real and imminent threat of demolition and forcible displacement by Israeli authorities. Israel wants to remove Khan al-Ahmar to facilitate its “E-1” development plan, which envisions 3,910 housing units for Israelis and over 2,000 hotel rooms, and which would connect the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to East Jerusalem. The separation wall would then be built around that bloc, with Greater Jerusalem “Judaized” and the viability of a Palestinian state jeopardized.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“NAME  OF  THE  SOIL,”  BY  ZUHAIR  ABU  SHAIB
what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

“. . . But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying . . .” (Blake Alcott)

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Great Lavra of St. Sabas, Bethlehem. (Photo: St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY     
| ARMED  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  SAINT  SABA  MONASTERY  NEAR  BETHLEHEM    Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided Saint Saba Monastery (Mar Saba) area, near the al-Ubeidiya village east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on predawn Tuesday.    ___Security sources told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
~~ SCORES  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
About 71 Jewish settlers, including soldiers, desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning under security guard by police forces.    ___According to Quds Press, 71 settlers escorted by police officers entered the Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards.    ___Three of those settlers were identified as police officers wearing civilian clothing.    ___According to the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police, as always, closed al-Maghariba Gate. . .  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLER  VANDALISM  OF  PALESTINIAN  PROPERTY,  WRITING  HATE  SLOGANS  CONTINUE  UNABATED
Vandalism by Israeli settlers of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank continued unabated on Tuesday when settlers sneaked into the village of Yasouf, east of the city of Salfit in the north of the occupied West Bank, slashed tires of several vehicles and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village, witnesses said.    ___They said the settlers wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the wall of the village’s mosque such “I will not sleep when blood is shed here,” and “Jews wake up.”    ___Settlers’ raids into Palestinian villages and terrorizing the local population as well as attacks on West Bank roads has become almost a daily occurrence in light of the Israeli government and military’s sanctioning of these attacks and their failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.    More . . .
| PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHED  FOR  LACK  OF  BUILDING  PERMIT 
Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkaber, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, according to witnesses.    ___Israeli police cordoned off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house owned by Moath Aqil, which was in its last stage of construction.  More . . .
~~ ISRAEL  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  ANOTHER  PALESTINIAN  HOUSE  PART  OF  ITS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, the Israeli military government informed the family of Khalil Jabarin on Tuesday that it intends to demolish its house in the town of Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank.    ___The military said Jabarin, 16, stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in the south of the West Bank in September before he was shot and killed by an Israeli passerby.    ___Local and Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the army informed the Jabarin family of its plan to demolish its home as a punishment for the act of its son.     More . . .
|  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  24  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  WOMAN,  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces detained 24 Palestinians from across districts of the occupied West Bank, including the wife of a former prisoner, on predawn Tuesday.    ___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Mutaz Abu Sil, 19, from the al-Arroub refugee camp.    ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; PPS identified them as Muhammad Nassim Sbeih and Hadi Azab Salah. . . .    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL  ‘OCCUPY’?  
By  BLAKE  ALCOTT 
In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?    ___Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.    ___When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“FROM  THE  DOORSTEP  TO  HEAVEN,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-MAGHUT **

Now,
With the sad rain
Drenching my sad face,
I dream of a ladder of dust,
Collected from hunched backs
And hands clinging onto knees,
To mount to highest heave
And discover
What becomes of our prayers and sighs.

O my beloved,
All the prayers and sighs,
All the laments and cries for help,
Springing from
Millions of lips and hearts,
Through thousands of years and centuries,
Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
Like clouds.
And maybe
These words of mine
Are now close to those of Jesus.
So let us await the tears of heaven,
O beloved.

(**Sources disagree about Maghut’s birthplace. Some say he was Syrian. This poem, however, is appropriate regardless.)

–From AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY. Translated by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. University of California Press, 1974. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . An Arab who has refused to sell his soul . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Sunrise over Nazareth (Photo: Harold Knight, November 9, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY   
| NETANYAHU:  EFFORTS  UNDER  FULL  SWING  TO  NORMALIZE  TIES  WITH  ARAB  WORLD    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening said Israeli relations with Arab countries have been increasingly normalized.    [. . . .] “What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,” continued Netanyahu.    ___“Today we are going there without the Palestinians being involved and it is much stronger because it does not depend on their caprices. The Arab states are looking for links with the strong. Cultivating strengths gives us diplomatic power.”    More . . .
| ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  FAMILY  HOME  OF  PALESTINIAN  ATTACK  SUSPECT  IN  TULKAREM   Israeli bulldozers demolished the family home of Ashraf Naalwa, a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a shooting attack killing two Israelis in October and who was killed by Israeli forces during the past week, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday.    ___Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Naalwa’s family home in the Shweika village of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday, in preparation to demolish the building.   [. . . .] Dozens of Palestinians had gathered around Naalwa’s family home, since late Sunday, in an attempt to prevent the demolition.    More . . .         
~~ OVER  180  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED  IN  LAST  FIVE  DAYS,  SAYS  PRISONERS  COMMISSION    The Israeli military detained 183 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the last five days while the number of those detained since the beginning of the month has reached 330, the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners Commission said on Monday.    More . . .
|  AS  NAZARETH  PREPARES  FOR  CHRISTMAS,  ISRAELIS  SPRAY  PAINT  HATE  GRAFFITI  ON  WALLS    Extremist Jewish Israelis from the terror group “Price Tag” Monday spray-painted racist, offensive and anti-Arab slogans on the wall of a building in the Arab Christian city of Nazareth in northern Israel as the city prepares for Christmas, according to witnesses.    ___The slogans included terms such as “The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel”, and “death to Arabs”.  More . . .
~~  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIANS  ON  WEST  BANK  ROADS,  INJURE  ONE    A Palestinian man was injured on Monday after he was attacked by Israeli settlers while driving near the southern West Bank town of Tuqa, to the east of the city of Bethlehem, Palestinian security sources said.    [. . . .] Israeli settlers have escalated their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank by either throwing rocks at their cars as they drove on the roads or by attacking their villages while the army either watch or encourage them.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| ITALY’S  SALVINI  SAID  WHAT  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  CAN’T  SAY:  ‘SUPPORT  ISRAEL’
Ramona Wadi
It is no secret that the right wing has appropriated and manipulated the definition of “peace” in today’s poisonous political climate. Peace  is  now  synonymous  with  power, and little is being done to challenge this notion on a political level, to the point that one can speak of collusion between the right wing and the alleged peacebuilders.    ___Consider, for a moment, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s recent statement during a press conference on a visit to Israel: “Whoever wants peace, needs to support Israel.”    __Whatever happened to the right of people living under a brutal military occupation to seek their liberation by all possible means? We are, surely, entitled to a reasonable answer to this question.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“BECAUSE  I  AM  AN  ARAB,BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering of his people
Who has carried with him the hope of a just peace,
Who has spoken out against death at every corner
Who has called for and has lived a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

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

“. . . and wish for you another day another sun . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

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Sarah Algherbawi with her husband and son, Khalil. (Photo: Mondoweiss, Dec. 14, 2018, courtesy of the family)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .     
|  ISRAELI  ARMY  SHATTERS  THE  ILLUSION  OF  NORMALCY  IN  RAMALLAH
Living in Ramallah is thought of as trendy these days, and to a certain extent, represents a relatively luxurious life. Restaurants and cafes are packed, there are clubs and parties on weekends, there are sports and cultural activities, art galleries, and concerts.   ___Yet that assumption, that life is good as long as you are inside Ramallah, is not always reflective of reality. Israeli forces raid the city of regularly, entering a neighborhood in the dead of night, taking over an entire home or building, and leaving at dawn with whomever they came to capture.    ___This week, with Christmas approaching, Israel didn’t just invade one neighborhood, it put the entire city under military closure . . . .     More . . .
|  GAZA  TEACHER  AMONG  50  FINALISTS  FOR  ‘WORLD’S  BEST  TEACHER’  PRIZE
The Palestinian Ministry of Education announced on Friday that a teacher from Gaza has been nominated as one of 50 finalists for the “world’s best teacher prize”.    ___Maths teacher Rana Ziadeh is to compete for the prize as part of a competition organized by global education charity The Varkey Foundation, Safa news agency reported.    More . . .    
~~ TWO  SCHOOLS  EVACUATED  AS  SETTLER  OPENS  GUNFIRE  OUTSIDE
An Israeli settler opened gunfire on Sunday outside two schools on the entrance to the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus in the West Bank, as other settlers rampaged through the street under the protection of Israeli forces, local sources said.   ___The shooting terrified the students and teachers of the two schools, and were forced to leave the schools to a safe haven.    More . . .
~~ STUDENTS  SUFFOCATE  FROM  TEARGAS  FIRED  BY  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  IN  HEBRON
Dozens of students suffocated on Sunday from teargas inhalation after Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters at them in a school in Hebron City, southern West Bank, a local source told WAFA.     More . . .
|   ISRAEL  DELIVERS  DEMOLITION  NOTICE  TO  FAMILY  OF  PALESTINIAN  PRISONER
Israeli forces delivered a demolition notice to the family of 16-year-old Khalil Jabbarin, in Yatta City in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, on Sunday.    ___Jabbarin, was shot, injured and imprisoned by Israeli forces, in September, after he had carried out a stabbing attack reportedly killing an Israeli settler.    ___The Israeli commander of the Israeli military central command approved an order for the demolition of the Jabbarin family’s apartment . . .  [. . . .] Israel demolishes family homes of Palestinians, who were involved in attacking Israelis as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people.     More . . .
~~ SETTLERS  START  EXPANSION  OF  SETTLEMENT  NEAR  HEBRON
Israeli Jewish settlers on Sunday proceeded to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yair, to the south of Hebron city in the southern West Bank.    ___Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli settlers started razing lands and installing caravans in the settlement in order to expand it.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
ISRAEL’S  ASSASSINATION  OF  PALESTINIAN  CHILDHOOD
Israeli soldiers continue to practice terrorism and murder against Palestinians; the latest of which was with the shooting of four-year-old child Ahmed Yassen Abu Abed, when an Israeli sniper fired an internationally forbidden bullet at his head.    ___The child Ahmed Yasser Abu Abed died of wounds sustained a week ago east of Khan Younis.    [. . . .] Defense for Children International, Palestine said the Israeli occupation forces killed 52 children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of this year, 46 of them were in the Gaza Strip.    More . . .
~~ HOW  IT  FEELS  TO  HAVE  A  CHILD  IN  AN  UNINHABITABLE  PLACE
Sarah Algherbawi
I just had my first baby, a boy named Khalil, last month. From the first moment I held my child in my arms, I was flushed with emotions. I was extremely happy and blessed, but also worried and confused.    [. . . .] When I thought of the coming year, I could not help but think of the UN report that warns my home in the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable” by 2020.    [. . . .] It’s not only the fear of war that dominates every parent in Gaza. We also lack stability. When I lost my job on July because of the punitive measures the Trump administration took against Palestinians I became like one-third of Gaza: unemployed.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
DEFENCE  FOR  CHILDREN  INTERNATIONAL  (DCI)  is a worldwide movement for children’s rights with more than 37 national sections and associated members across the globe. DCI-PALESTINE WAS CREATED IN PALESTINE in order to promote and defend children’s rights. Therefore, several actions are undertaken in the following priority issues . . .     Donate . . .    ..

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“LULLABY,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD
. . . For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

I’ll etch your name
on a secret star
we’ll both go there
on frightful nights

when Mother Earth
runs out of room
for you and me

I’ll hold you tight
and sing you songs
of a distant land
beyond the stars

and watch you grow
between my heart
and the highest high

I’ll draw your face
on a single seed
and hold your palm
to face the sun

when you’re awake
and call out my name
don’t moan or cry

I’ll return
to raise your hand
at a shooting star
and with for you

another day
another sun
another world

where Palestine
is a mountain top
of soil and air
and a purple sky

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.