“. . . an impossible burden weighs down on eyelids and chest . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

❶ Major initiative launched to support human rights in Palestine
❷ Israeli Violations’ Activities in the oPt

  • Background: “Settler-Colonialism, Memoricide and Indigenous Toponymic Memory: The Appropriation of Palestinian Place Names by the Israeli State.” Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies

❸ Analysis: Pessoptimistic reflections from besieged Gaza
❹ POETRY by Majid Abu Ghoush
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ MAJOR  INITIATIVE  LAUNCHED  TO  SUPPORT  HUMAN  RIGHTS  IN  PALESTINE   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Oct. 21, 2017 – The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates, together with the European Union (EU) and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), launched on Thursday a project which aims at making the rights contained in the human rights treaties acceded by the State of Palestine in 2014 a reality for all Palestinians, according to a joint statement by the three groups.
___The commitments under these treaties complement and enhance the Government’s political obligations within the National Policy Agenda and the Sustainable Development Goals.
___The project will provide capacity building to assist the Palestinian government in promoting and protecting all human rights for all Palestinians. The project will also work with the Independent Commission for Human Rights and selected civil society organizations to strengthen their ability to promote accountable governance through national dialogue and advocacy. It will empower Palestinians as rights-holders to better understand and claim their rights.     MORE . . .
❷ ISRAELI  VIOLATIONS’  ACTIVITIES  IN  THE  OPT 
POICA – Monitoring Israeli Colonization Activities in the Palestinian Territories 
Oct. 17, 2017   (NOTE: these daily reports become available as they are translated.)
The daily report highlights the violations behind Israeli home demolitions and demolition threats in the occupied Palestinian territory, the confiscation and razing of lands, the uprooting and destruction of fruit trees, the expansion of settlements and erection of outposts, the brutality of the Israeli Occupation Army, the Israeli settlers violence against  Palestinian  civilians  and  properties, the erection of checkpoints, the construction of the Israeli segregation wall and the issuance of military orders for the various Israeli purposes.    MORE . . .

Masalha, Nur.
“SETTLER-COLONIALISM,  MEMORICIDE  AND  INDIGENOUS  TOPONYMIC  MEMORY:  THE  APPROPRIATION  OF  PALESTINIAN  PLACE  NAMES  BY  THE  ISRAELI  STATE.”
Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, May 2015, pp. 3-57.
[. . . .] Since the rise of the Zionist settler movement in the late nineteenth century, and especially since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the struggle over toponymic memory and the renaming of sites has developed as an integral part of the political conflict in Palestine. The indigenous Palestinians have insisted on their own comprehensive set of Arabic place names through which they see their own social memory and deep-rootedness in the land of Palestine. On the other hand, since the ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba and the creation of the Israeli state . . .  the Israeli army and Israeli state have sought to rename systematically Palestinian Arabic place names, claiming priority in chronology and using modern archaeology, map-making, and place names as their proofs of Jewish roots in ‘the land of Israel’. In Israel the significance of place names lies in their potential to legitimize ‘historical claims’ asserted by the Zionist settler-colonial movement.
[. . . .] The social and cultural importance of toponymic memory and geographical rendering of sites and terms in historical writing is evident in many histories from antiquity, medieval and modern Palestine. One classical example of listing place-nations of ancient Palestine in ‘Histories’ (or The History, 1987) of Herodotus, written from the 450s to the 420s BC. Herodotus is believed to have visited Palestine in the fifth decade of the fifth century B.C. The ‘Father of History’ refers to ‘Palaistine’, Syria, or simply ‘Palaistine’ five times, an area comprising the region between Phoenicia and Egypt. . . .  Although Herodotus’s Histories is now considered a founding work of history in Western literature, and serve as a key record of the ancient traditions, politics, geography, and clashes of various powers that were known in Greece, Western Asia and North Africa, when it comes to Palestine and toponymic memory Western Christian writing relies not on Herodotus’ Histories but on the myth-narratives of the Bible. Interestingly however the Greek toponym for Palestine and Ascalan were preserved in indigenous Palestinian Arab tradition and by medieval Arab historians and travellers . . . .    SOURCE.   (Available through libraries with EBSCO databases.)

❸ ANALYSIS:  PESSOPTIMISTIC  REFLECTIONS  FROM  BESIEGED  GAZA     Mondoweiss
Haidar Eid
Oct. 20, 2017    One cannot understand the deadly, medieval siege imposed on Gaza apart from Israel’s settler-colonialism in Palestine. The horror inflicted on Gaza is, in fact, rooted in the political fragmentation caused by Apartheid Israel, reinforced by the Oslo authority, and sparked by factional struggles over access to power in a Bantustan turned into a concentration camp.
___The rationale behind this genocidal blockade imposed by Apartheid Israel, and supported by a complicit ME Quartet is that we, 2 million Gazans, are expected to recognize Israel’s right to exist on our ethnically cleansed villages from where we were expelled in 1948 and renounce our resistance as a form of violence. This is how this Crime of Collective Punishment is justified! The international community is basically telling us that we must collaborate with the occupiers in order to be accepted, that we must normalize apartheid and settler colonialism. If we don’t do that, we are doomed then and must pay a heavy price with the lives of our children.  MORE . . .   .

OCCUPATION,”  BY  MAJID  ABU  GHOUSH
Occupied Ramallah 17/11/06

Strange days cast dour shadows
Dusk. The fragrance of death
on a windowsill.
In the lingering heat
an impossible burden weighs
down on eyelids and chest;
the throat aches, the spine throbs.

Rose petals all tarnished with foul dust
from the poisoned world.
Black limousines sail past, flying
the skull and crossbones.
The grave yawns open early,
nightmares never leave.
Death squads. Detention camps.

Somewhere, an oud
pronounces its sad chords.
The invaders smile; tap their feet.
―Translated by John Glenday

Majid Abu Ghoush 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.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014). Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition continue to persist with their egregious policies of colonial-settler expansionism . . .” (Hanan Ashrawi)

holy land 1 033
The Settler Colonial project, Jerusalem (Photo Harold Knight, 2008)

❶ Ashrawi: Israeli settlement activity in the West Bank amounts to war crimes

  • “Relations of Ruling in the Colonial Present: An Intersectional View of the Israeli Imaginary.” Canadian Journal of Sociology

❷ Analysis:  Rethinking Our Definition of Apartheid: Not Just a Political Regime
❸ How the EU mocks the victims of Israel’s crimes
❹ POETRY by Yousef El Qedra
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ASHRAWI:  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENT  ACTIVITY  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  AMOUNTS  TO  WAR  CRIMES
Ma’an News Agency 
Oct. 20, 2017   Following announcements that Israel had advanced plans for nearly 3,000 illegal settlement units in the occupied West Bank, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi strongly denounced the move as a “blatant disregard for the two-state solution.”
___The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee convened on Tuesday and Wednesday, and advanced plans for 2,615 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements.
___“In blatant disregard of the requirements for the two-state solution and the chances for peace and stability, Netanyahu and his extremist, racist coalition continue to persist with their egregious policies of colonial-settler expansionism,” Ashrawi said.
___”Israel is deliberately working to enhance its extremist Jewish settler population and to superimpose ‘Greater Israel’ on all of historic Palestine. Undoubtedly, it is bent on annexing the entire city of Jerusalem, systematically wiping out the Palestinian presence and continuity on Palestinian soil, and destroying the territorial and demographic contiguity of the future Palestinian state.”   MORE . . .

Santos, Madalena.
“RELATIONS  OF  RULING  IN  THE  COLONIAL  PRESENT:  AN  INTERSECTIONAL  VIEW  OF  THE  ISRAELI  IMAGINARY.”
Canadian Journal of Sociology, vol. 38, no. 4, Oct. 2013, pp. 509-532.
Through the interweaving of Zionist myths of nation, identity, and security, Israel presents itself as the national homeland for all Jewish peoples — a land under constant threat of annihilation by Palestinians who are discursively constructed as demographic and security risks. Yet, the Zionist project of Eretz Israel (our land of Israel) is one of colonization which bases the survival and vitality of the state’s Jewish population on the removal and absence of the racialized Palestinian other. Israel has continued its settler colonial project in Palestine, with its distinct forms of occupation and apartheid, through state discourses and practices of separation, fragmentation, and violence . . .  this article offers a categorical framework that underlines the relationality between race, class, and gender that has been central to the structuring network of Zionist colonization from its initial stages to the colonial present.
___ [. . . .]  Zionism has been preoccupied with the question of ethno-demography and a desire to separate Jews in Palestine from the indigenous Arab population. Since Zionism set Israel out to be the Jewish nation for Jews regardless of where they resided and/or claimed citizenship at the time, there was a perceived need to make Jews the majority of the population . . .  To secure a land base for the Jewish population, the Zionist colonial project that established the state of Israel in May 1948, and which continues in the colonial present, involved the forced expulsion, exile, imprisonment, murder, massacre, and political assassination of Palestinians as well as the destruction of over 500 Palestinian towns and villages. Although implemented and performed by Zionist rule, these practices were facilitated through the laws and governance of Western colonialist forces.  FULL ARTICLE.

❷ ANALYSIS:   RETHINKING  OUR  DEFINITION  OF  APARTHEID:  NOT  JUST  A  POLITICAL  REGIME     
Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
Haidar Eid, Andy Clarno
Aug. 27, 2017  As Israel intensifies its settler-colonial project, apartheid has become an increasingly important framework for understanding and challenging Israeli rule in historic Palestine. Indeed, Nadia Hijab and Ingrid Jaradat Gassner make a convincing argument that apartheid is the most strategic framework of analysis. And in March 2017, the UN Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (ESCWA) released a powerful report documenting Israeli violations of international law and concluding that Israel has established an “apartheid regime” that oppresses and dominates the Palestinian people as a whole.
___Under international law, apartheid is a crime against humanity and states can be held accountable for their actions. However, international law has its limitations. One specific concern involves what is missing from the international legal definition of apartheid. Because the definition focuses solely on the political regime, it does not provide a strong basis for critiquing the economic aspects of apartheid.     MORE . . .
❸ HOW  THE  EU  MOCKS  THE  VICTIMS  OF  ISRAEL’S  CRIMES 
The Electronic Intifada   
Ali Abunimah
Oct. 18, 2017   [. . . .] And why not? Despite the UN Security Council declaring repeatedly – most recently in December – that all of Israel’s settlements are illegal under international law, Israel faces no consequences for its crimes.
___On Wednesday, the European Union put out a statement about Israel’s reinvigorated settlement drive, its forced expulsions of Palestinian Bedouins and its evictions of Palestinian families in Jerusalem.
___The statement does not clearly condemn Israel’s actions. Instead, it says the EU “has requested clarifications from Israeli authorities and conveyed the expectation that they reconsider these decisions, which are detrimental to ongoing efforts towards meaningful peace talks.”
___This is diplomatic speak for: we barely have the courage to even criticize you, let alone to take action.     MORE . . .

“I  HAVE  NO  HOME,”  by YOUSEF  EL  QEDRA
I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms –
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.
–– Trans. By Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin.

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 Barnes and Noble.
About Yusef El Qedra

“. . . And have always tended the grass over my ancestors’ graves . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

❶ Israel advances more than 2,000 settlement housing units in one week

  • “Apartheid, SETTLER COLONIALISM and the Palestinian State 50 Years On.” The Palestine-Israel Journal.

❷ Israeli forces demolish structures in Masafer Yatta
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Germany says settlement construction a path to one state devoid of Palestinian rights
❸ Analysis: The real reasons Trump is quitting UNESCO
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL  ADVANCES  MORE  THAN  2,000  SETTLEMENT  HOUSING  UNITS  IN  ONE  WEEK. 
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 18, 2017   The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee convened on Tuesday and Thursday, and advanced plans for 2,615 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
___Peace Now released a statement on Thursday detailing the committee’s decisions, saying that over the course of two days of meetings, the civil administration promoted 2,615 housing units, bringing the total number of units promoted through plans this week to 2,646, after 31 construction permits were approved for settlers in Hebron on October 16th.
___Of the 2,615 housing units promoted, 1,508 were approved for depositing, while 1,323 were approved for validation.   MORE . . . 

Salem, Walid.
“APARTHEID,  SETTLER  COLONIALISM  AND  THE  PALESTINIAN  STATE  50  YEARS  ON.”
The Palestine-Israel Journal Vol.22 No.2 & 3, 2017.
[. . . .] The Israeli researcher Ariel Handel described these processes as creating a “geography of catastrophe”, while the Palestinian scholar Sari Hanafi gives it the name “spacio-cide”. The latter of these descriptions reflects the elimination of both the space and the people who populate it. This is exemplified in the external dispossession of refugees and the internal dispossession of the occupants of Area C and East Jerusalem, both of which will be considered.
___A further problem is that these dispossessions of the Palestinians are followed by the establishment of military camps and, in most cases, Israeli settlements. In the literature of political science and international relations, this combined process of displacement and replacement is called “Settler Colonialism.”  In the Israeli-Palestinian case, this process is also planned and supported by the Israeli governments, while being protected by the Israeli occupying Army. What complicated such a situation even more is the denial of such a process at both the official and public levels of the State of Israel [. . . .]   SOURCE.

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  STRUCTURES  IN  MASAFER  YATTA   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 19, 2017   Israeli forces demolished on Thursday several residential structures and tents in Khirbet Halaweh, in Masafer Yatta area to the south of Hebron in the West Bank, according Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Commission.
___He told WAFA that staff from the Israeli so-called Civil Administration, an arm of the military government, accompanied by soldiers raided the Bedouin village and demolished structures and tents used to shelter the residents.
___Israeli authorities have demolished dozens of residential structures and animal barns in the area, citing construction without a permit as a pretext.
___Many of the structures were donated by the European Union (EU). . . .   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) GERMANY  SAYS  SETTLEMENT  CONSTRUCTION  A  PATH  TO  ONE  STATE  DEVOID  OF  PALESTINIAN  RIGHTS 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Oct. 19, 2017  Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory is going to lead to a one-state solution where Palestinians will be deprived of political rights, a statement by the German Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
___The statement was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build almost 3000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
___“The Federal Government takes this opportunity to reaffirm that it will recognize only such changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, which all the parties have agreed on through negotiations,” said a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry.
___“Settlement construction, illegal under international law, is not the only obstacle to a two-state solution, but each new housing unit consolidates a one-state reality in which the Palestinians are denied the full exercise of their political rights.”   MORE . . .
❸ ANALYSIS:  THE  REAL  REASONS  TRUMP  IS  QUITTING  UNESCO
Mondoweiss   
Jonathan Cook
Oct. 17, 2017   At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?
___Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.
___The first is that in 2011 UNESCO became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.
___It should be recalled that in 1993, as Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, the watching world assumed the aim was to create a Palestinian state.
___But it seems most US politicians never received that memo. Under pressure from Israel’s powerful lobbyists, the US Congress hurriedly passed legislation to pre-empt the peace process. One such law compels the United States to cancel funding to any UN body that admits the Palestinians. . . .
___The agency’s second crime relates to its role selecting world heritage sites. That power has proved more than an irritant to Israel and the US.   MORE . . .

“I  CLASP  YOUR  HANDS,” BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
I call upon you
And clasp your hands.
I kiss the dust under your shoe
And say: I’ll lay down my life for you,
Grant you the gift of eyesight in my eyes.
The warm love in my heart I give to you,
For the tragedy I live
Is but my share in your larger tragedy.

I call upon you
And clasp your hands.
I never stooped in my country
Nor will I ever be humbled.
Orphaned, naked and barefoot
I confronted my oppressors,
Carrying my blood in my palms.
I have never lowered my flags,
And have always tended the grass over my ancestors’ graves.
I call upon you, and clasp your hands!

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.
Tawfik Zayyad (Tawfiq Ziad) was a Palestinian poet, writer, scholar and politician. He was born in Nazareth in 1929 and died on July 5, 1994, in a dreadful car crash while on his way to meet Yasser Arafat in Jericho after the Oslo agreements. He participated in Palestinian political life in occupied Palestine, was elected mayor of Nazareth, and served as a member of the Israeli Knesset.     (More. . .)

 

“. . . Each river has its own springs . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Palestinian  officials  begin  transferring  control  of  Gaza  borders  from  Hamas  to  Fatah
❷ Fatah official: Cairo reconciliation accords a bridge to end the split

  • Background: “Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.” Third World Quarterly

❸ Israeli  settlers  steal  olive  harvest,  attack  Palestinian  farmers  in  West  Bank
❹ The pedagogy of apartheid
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIAN  OFFICIALS  BEGIN  TRANSFERRING  CONTROL  OF  GAZA  BORDERS  FROM  HAMAS  TO  FATAH
Ma’an News Agency  
Oct. 17, 2017   Head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) borders and crossing committee Nathmi Muhanna arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday in order “to carry out the first article of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo regarding taking over the crossings,” Muhanna told Ma’an.
___Muhanna entered Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, and was welcomed by the Palestinian Minister of Public Work Housing Mufid al-Hasayna.
___Upon his arrival in Gaza, Muhanna told Ma’an that a committee to oversee the takeover of Gaza border crossings by the Fatah-led PA was formed upon instructions by President Mahmoud Abbas.
___In the reconciliation agreement signed last week by Hamas and Fatah, it was agreed that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza would be operated by PA presidential guards by November 1.     MORE . . .
FATAH   OFFICIAL:   CAIRO   RECONCILIATION   ACCORDS   A   BRIDGE   TO   END   THE   SPLIT
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 17, 2017   Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said the agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo under Egyptian auspices is the bridge that will lead to an end to the division and to achieve reconciliation.
___Sheikh said in an interview on Palestine TV aired on Monday night that the real test for the success in ending the division is found in the full empowerment of the government of national reconciliation, which was not given an opportunity in the past to function in the Gaza Strip as in the West Bank, expressing hope that this time it will succeed in its mission.   MORE . . .

(NOTE: While being two years old, this article presents historical information of value in understanding the current situation.)

Pogodda, Sandra, and Oliver P. Richmond.
“Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.”
Third World Quarterly 36.5 (2015): 890-907.
The outburst of inter-factional violence between Fatah and Hamas in 2007 came as a shock to a society that sees itself as the victim, not the perpetrator of violence. Between October 2006 and August 2010 more than 470 Palestinians were killed in inter-factional fighting, while torture in Palestinian prisons became pervasive. In addition, inter-factional structural violence perpetuates the repressive and discriminatory conduct of the occupation: campaigns of political arrests, the obstruction of political participation, crackdowns on political rights and civil liberties, and discrimination in public sector employment. Structural violence is thus disruptive of civil society, political life and socioeconomic development in the occupied Palestinian territories. After eight years of bitter rivalry and three failed attempts at creating a unity government, Fatah and Hamas signed another unity agreement on 23 April 2014. Accordingly, a technocratic government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was sworn in in June 2014 and is supposed to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while overseeing new elections in 2015. Given the continuing tensions between the two parties, doubts remain with regard to the durability of the unity government. Elections have again been indefinitely postponed, while Fatah and Hamas are competing over the control of the pledged reconstruction assistance.   SOURCE.

ISRAELI  SETTLERS  STEAL  OLIVE  HARVEST,  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  WEST  BANK
Ma’an News Agency 
Oct. 16, 2017   Israeli settlers on Sunday stole olive pickings from dozens of trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Nablus.
___Gassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlements activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian lands in Ramallah and Nablus under protection of armed Israeli forces, and stole olives from dozens of Palestinian trees.
___Daghlas told Ma’an that Israeli settlers stole the pickings of more than 65 olive trees in the Nablus-area village of al-Sawiyeh and the Ramallah-area village of al-Janiyeh.
___Meanwhile, NGO Rabbis For Human Rights (RHR) released a statement saying that the settlers, from the illegal Zayit Raanan outpost, were arrested by Israeli security forces “following the swift intervention of the head of the field department of Rabbis for Human Rights, Zakaria Sadah, who informed the security forces.”    MORE . . .
THE  PEDAGOGY  OF  APARTHEID
Mondoweiss 
Jonathan Ofir
Oct. 15, 2017   Two months ago, Israel’s education ministry introduced a compulsory four-part question in civics matriculation exams. Students are asked to give their opinion on a “controversial public issue”, including for example “allowing different population groups to live in separate neighborhoods”. In the circulation to teachers, it was stated that since teachers “sometimes encounter inflammatory or racist statements against groups or individuals” on the exam, “It’s important to make clear to the students that racist or inflammatory statements in any part of the question will disqualify the entire answer” (which is worth 11 points out of a total of 100).
___But last week, the head of the ministry’s pedagogical secretariat, Moshe Weinstock, overruled the ministry’s civics supervisor and rescinded the rule. An update was sent to teachers, wherein the ban on racist statements was dropped, and the fourth part of the question was eliminated, in which students had to defend their position in light of their own values.   MORE . . . 

“CONCERNING HOPES,” BY MAHMOUD DARWISH
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a baker in Algeria
To sing with a fighter.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a shepherd in Yemen
To sing for resurrection.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a waiter in Havana
To sing the victories of the oppressed.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a young porter in Aswan
To sing for the rocks.
The Nile will never flow into the Volga,
Nor will the Congo or the Jordan flow into the Euphrates.
Each river has its own springs,
Its own course and its own life.
Our land, my friend, is no barren land.
Each land gives birth in due time,
And each fighter will see the dawn.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.  Available from Amazon.
About Mahmoud Darwish.  

 

“. . . debris clattered down the outside stairway and fell towards the marble pavement. . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

❶ Israel halts construction of school in Bethlehem, despite residents receiving permit
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settler Caravans Erected Near Bethlehem

  • “The Future of Israel and Palestine: Expanding the Debate.” Middle East Policy.

❷ Israeli forces blow up home of slain Palestinian in Ramallah-area village
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces demolish homes in Bedouin villages in southern Israel
❸ Hebron: Israeli Occupation Forces Confiscate 47 Dunums of Land
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Hebron: ‘We’re living in the heart of a prison’
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL  HALTS  CONSTRUCTION  OF  SCHOOL  IN  BETHLEHEM,  DESPITE  RESIDENTS  RECEIVING  PERMIT
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 18, 2017.   Israeli authorities forcibly halted the construction of a school in Jubbet Al-Dhib village in the eastern part of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank on Thursday, despite Palestinians receiving an Israeli-issued building permit for the project.
___A representative of a popular resistance committee in Bethlehem Hadan Brejiyeh told Ma’an that Israeli forces, escorted by employees of the Israeli civil administration had “raided the village,” and shut down the construction at the school.
___Israeli forces had put a stop to the construction, which consisted of eight mobile structures, and confiscated vehicles belonging to an Italian NGO. The residents said they had received a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit for the project.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLER CARAVANS ERECTED NEAR BETHLEHEM
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
August 17, 2017.   Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, installed caravans near the village of Nahalin, to the west of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
___Sobhi Zeidan, head of Nahalin village council, told WAFA that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beitar Elit installed 10 caravans near the fence separating the settlement from Nahalin.   MORE . . .

Walt, Stephen M., et al.
“THE  FUTURE  OF  ISRAEL  AND  PALESTINE:  EXPANDING  THE  DEBATE.”
Middle East Policy,
vol. 20, no. 2, Summer2013, pp. 1-24.
[. . . .] The second scene is in a small village that I visited near the Hebron Hills in Area C in the West Bank. There are Palestinian herdsmen there who have a couple of small houses and sheds for livestock. The day I visited this hamlet — Sadat a Thaale, I think it was called — the Israelis had come in a few days before and, using a bulldozer, had destroyed the cistern. It is an ancient practice, throughout the Middle East and many parts of the world, of storing water in cisterns — in this case a limestone cistern carved out of the hill. The Israelis had destroyed it. The source of water was destroyed and five sheep were killed. This kind of wanton destruction is happening on a regular basis in the West Bank, with the aim of pushing people off the land, off Area C and into cities, where they can be gathered together. Israel has always wanted as much land as possible with as few Palestinians on it. That has been part of the program from the start.
[. . . .] Because Israel has so permeated the West Bank and East Jerusalem and has encircled East Jerusalem, I believe the two-state solution is over. It’s not going to happen. There are 600,000-650,000 Israelis east of the Green Line. They’re not going to move. So this historic conflict, which has been called two irreconcilable claims to the same land, is over. One side has won. That has always been the case; one side was winning. We’re now at a point where one side controls all the land with the exception of Area A, in which the Palestinian Authority is exercising some type of authority.    FULL ARTICLE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  BLOW  UP  HOME  OF  SLAIN  PALESTINIAN  IN  RAMALLAH-AREA  VILLAGE     
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2017.   In a raid Thursday morning on the Ramallah-area village of Deir Abu Mashaal in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces blew up the home of slain Palestinian Adel Hassan Ahmad Ankoush, who was killed by Israeli forces in June along with two other Palestinians after the three carried out a deadly shooting and stabbing attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left an Israeli border police officer dead.
___Locals told Ma’an that the Israeli army raided Ankoush’s family home and set up explosives around the house, as other forces surrounded Deir Abu Mashaal and deployed across all entrances to the village, while drones hovered overhead.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  HOMES  IN  BEDOUIN  VILLAGES  IN  SOUTHERN  ISRAEL 
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2017.   Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian homes on Thursday morning in several Bedouin villages in the Negev of southern Israel for allegedly being built without Israeli-issued building permits, locals told Ma’an.
___According to locals, Israeli authorities demolished a house belonging to Salman Abu Sabileh in the Umm Qabu village, while two other homes were demolished in the al-Atrash and al-Sayyid villages.
___Meanwhile, locals in the Umm al-Hiran village in the Negev told Ma’an that clashes had erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli police forces after they raided the village to carry out demolitions. However, there were no reports of demolitions being carried out.   MORE . . .
❸ HEBRON:  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  FORCES  CONFISCATE  47  DUNUMS  OF  LAND
PalestineChronicle
Aug. 17, 2017.  Israeli authorities confiscated at least 47 dunams (12 acres) of lands in al-Thahiryeh village, south of Hebron city, in the southern occupied West Bank for alleged military purposes, locals told Ma’an on Wednesday.
___Al-Thahiryeh mayor Ratib al-Sabber told Ma’an that locals were surprised last Sunday when an Israeli confiscation order was put up on the entrance of the Mitar checkpoint in the southern part of al-Thahiryeh, close to the lands that were confiscated. The order stated that the land would be used for Israeli army purposes.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) HEBRON:  ‘WE’RE  LIVING  IN  THE  HEART  OF  A  PRISON’   
Al Jazeera English 
August  16, 2017.   (Amid heightened restrictions and harassment, Palestinians struggle to keep their homes in Hebron’s historic Old City.)     
For weeks, members of the Abu Rajab family have been confined to their home in the heart of Hebron’s historic Old City.
___They cannot leave for fear that settlers will occupy the house. When absolutely necessary, one family member takes a short trip to buy food or other necessities, before hurrying back inside.     “We’re always careful about going out and coming back in, and we make sure not to leave the house alone,” Hazem Abu Rajab, 28, told Al Jazeera as he sat outside on their porch.
___On July 25, a group of 15 settler families broke into apartments belonging to the Abu Rajabs’ ancestral family home and moved in. The same evening, the settlers physically attacked members of the Abu Rajab family while attempting to invade their primary residence. Yet when Israeli authorities arrived on the scene, they attempted to arrest the Abu Rajabs, they said.
___For six days, the Abu Rajab family could not leave their home at all, due to a military order that forbade anyone from exiting or entering, Abu Rajab said. The Palestinian Civil Administration tried to deliver food on the fourth day but was turned away.   MORE . . .

“ABOVE  THE  CARNATIONS,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
Her house is above the carnations
on the path to the wind-swept hills. . .
At evening we sought refuge there
watching out for the guns and the aeroplanes.

The crack of bullets followed our coffee
and smashed into our conversation.
The crack of bullets and the bark of artillery
came near to the flowers inside the windows
came near to the warmth and the water jug
debris clattered down the outside stairway
and fell towards the marble pavement.

Her house is above the carnations
there we were in it
we had sought refuge there
and so we moved to where the Jewish soldiers could no longer see us.

Translated by DM Black
Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY.   (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

“. . .Each land has its own rebirth. . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

A personal note: I was unable to rouse myself to post here yesterday (or to complete many of my regular activities) because of the distressing events in the American body politic since Friday evening. I will resume with a regular posting this afternoon.

However, I want to express my gratitude to Mazin Qumsiyeh, Professor and (volunteer) Director of the Palestine Museum of Natural History and Palestine Institute of Biodiversity and Sustainability at Bethlehem University, for his writing on his blog yesterday that helped me think through exactly why the events in the US and our president’s reaction to them were so devastating to me (and many other Americans).

Please read Professor Qumsiyeh’s writing at his blog, Popular Resistance.

I am also grateful that I recalled Mahmoud Darwish’s poem on “hope” to give a word of clarity in this bizarre time.

(You may check back here later today for my regular posting.)

Thank you, Harold Knight

“ON  HOPE,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

Do not tell me:
I wish to be a baker in Algeria
In order to sing with the revolutionaries
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a shepherd in the Yemen
To sing for the uprising of the age
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a waiter in Havana
To sing for the victory of the poor
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a stone carrier in Aswan
To sing for the rocks
My friends:
The Nile will not pour into the Volga
The Congo and Jordan Rivers
Will not serve the Euphrates
Each river has its own
Our land is not barren
Each land has its own rebirth
Each dawn has a date with revolution.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.  Available from Amazon.
About Mahmoud Darwish.  

“. . . the light of day will dawn, And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Israel’s collective punishment policy: Entire family in prison, whole village under siege

  • Background: “There Will Not Be a Stable Peace without Justice and Accountability. An interview with human rights lawyer Eitay Mack.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Army Offers Conditions for Removal of Hebron Restrictions
❸ 16 Palestinians kidnapped in abduction sweep by Israeli forces
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL’S  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY:  ENTIRE  FAMILY  IN  PRISON,  WHOLE  VILLAGE  UNDER  SIEGE   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Ihab Rimawi
August 14, 2017.   The family home of  OMAR EL-ABED in the Ramallah area village of Kobar stood at empty of people and furniture.
___Omar el-Abed is the 19-year-old Palestinian from Kobar who on July 21 sneaked into the illegal settlement of Halamish, not far from his West Bank village, to avenge earlier Israeli police killing of three young Palestinians during pro-Aqsa protests in East Jerusalem and stabbed to death three Israeli settlers. He was shot, wounded and arrested.
[. . . .] Army units raid their village and home almost every day in a way to punish not only the entire el-Abed family, but the whole village of 6000 young and old people.
[. . . .] The mother, Ibtisam, was arrested . . . .  along with her husband, Abdul Jalil, and two of her sons: Khaled, the eldest who works as driver of a company van, who was arrested while waiting for his wife to give birth at Ramallah hospital, and Munir, a senior at Birzeit University studying finance . . . .
___A handicapped brother and sister were the only two members of el-Abed family the army has so far spared. Yet, they were left with no one to take care of them after the arrest of their entire family.    MORE . . .

“THERE  WILL  NOT  BE  A  STABLE  PEACE  WITHOUT  JUSTICE  AND  ACCOUNTABILITY.  An interview with human rights lawyer Eitay Mack.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 3, Jan. 2016, pp. 114-125.
[. . . .]  Are there two types of Israelis in the courts, human rights activists and settlers? What are the chances a settler will be indicted? The way the system operates is that every crime committed against a Palestinian by an Israeli, in Israel and the Occupied Territories, is first considered as a regular, criminal offense unless proven to be a hate or terror crime. When the victim is a Jew, and this applies also in Israel, and the perpetrator is Palestinian, the first option is usually that it was a security offense, a terror offense. If a settler attacks a human rights activist or a Palestinian it depends on the preliminary classification of the complaint. . . . I think they try to minimize the offenses made by Jews against Palestinians . . .
___Do Palestinians immediately have access to lawyers upon arrest or is that also problematic? It’s a big problem. In the criminal situation it’s easier for them to get a lawyer because the family can reach out to a human rights organization. In most cases, people do get a lawyer, whether from the organization, by themselves, or through the court. With victims of Jewish terror or hate crimes, and victims of the violence of the soldiers, with all the NGOs – B ‘Tselem, Yesh Din, etc. – the numbers of victims is so high that there is a large area of the West Bank that is not receiving a proper defense.
___Since last October, there was a big increase in collective punishment and the limitation of freedom of movement.
. .  I realized how many people were being harassed and not filing. . .
___The military has also blocked the entrance to many villages. When Israel left the northwestern part of the West Bank, they left areas without settlements- a bubble of Palestine. Yet, the army enters there . . .  the soldiers just come and go and they continue with their lives. There is no destabilization, thus they see this as the best way for them to survive their situation.   SOURCE . . .

❷ ARMY  OFFERS  CONDITIONS  FOR  REMOVAL  OF  HEBRON  RESTRICTIONS
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 14, 2017.   Israeli forces, on Sunday, informed locals from three Hebron neighborhoods that they would remove the security restrictions if they “behave”, via leaflets distributed in the area.
___Conditions, according to the leaflets, will depend on “the population’s non-interference in terrorist operations and stone and Molotov throwing incidents.”   MORE . . .
❸ 16  PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED  IN  ABDUCTION  SWEEP  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES
The Palestinian Information Center
August 14, 2017.   At least 16 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in abduction sweeps rocking West Bank provinces at daybreak Monday.
___The Israeli army claimed that weapons and ammunition were spotted in al-Khalil’s southern town of Yatta and in Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem.
___The Palestinian young man Khaled Sabah was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers from his family home in Deir Abu Mishaal village, west of Ramallah, before he was dragged to an unknown destination.
___The IOF also stormed al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, and ravaged Palestinian homes and shops.  Clashes flared up in the area, where the occupation soldiers attacked Palestinian protesters with live rounds and sound bombs.   MORE . . .

“LETTER FROM A PRISON CAMP,” BY SAMĪH AL-QĀSIM
Mother, it grieves me,
That because of me, throughout your night of agony,
You shed silent tears, anxiously awaiting the return
Of my beloved brothers from their chores;
That you are not able to eat
While my seat remains empty, and there is no talk or laughter.
How it pains me, Mother,
That tears rush to your eyes
When friends drop by to ask about me.
But I believe, Mother,
That the splendor of life
Is being born within the walls of my prison,
And I believe that the last of my visitors
Will not be an eyeless bat, coming to me by night.
Surely, the light of day will dawn,
And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled.
He will fall to the ground . . . broken,
Shattered, burnt by daylight.
Translated by A. M. Elmesseri

Samīh al-Qāsim (1939-2014)
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.

“. . . when we can run in the streets without anyone pronouncing us crazy . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ UN expresses ‘deep concern’ over ever-worsening humanitarian crisis in Gaza
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Debunking Israel’s UN-bias claims
❷ Greek Orthodox patriarch says Israeli court ruling on church property politically motivated

  • Background: “Surviving Jerusalem: Fifty Years of Neglect and Daily Suffering Just to Remain.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) EU calls on Israel to reconsider eviction of Shamasneh family in Sheikh Jarrah
❸ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ UN  EXPRESSES  ‘DEEP  CONCERN’  OVER  EVER-WORSENING  HUMANITARIAN  CRISIS  IN  GAZA  
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 12, 2017.   The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights office (OHCHR) expressed “deep concern” on Friday over the ever-deteriorating situation in the besieged Gaza Strip, three months after the electricity supply was severely cut by Israel at the behest of the PA.
___In May, the Fatah-led PA decided to slash funding for Israeli fuel to the coastal enclave, as Israeli authorities acceded to PA demands to dramatically reduce its electricity supply to Gaza, which was already reeling from lack of adequate access to electricity and fuel.
___The PA was accused of carrying out “collective punishment” on Palestinians living in the Hamas-led Gaza Strip, which had already been embroiled in a dire electricity crisis that was only worsened by increasing punitive measures by Israel and the PA.
[. . . .] “This has a grave impact on the provision of essential health, water and sanitation services,” Shamdasani said, adding that the large-scale power cuts were a life-threatening risk for vulnerable residents of the coastal enclave. “Israel, the State of Palestine, and the authorities in Gaza are not meeting their obligations to promote and protect the rights of the residents of Gaza.”    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) DEBUNKING  ISRAEL’S  UN-BIAS  CLAIMS
Al Jazeera English 
August 13, 2017.   Nikki Haley, the US envoy to the United Nations, made headlines in June when she denounced what she claimed was a pattern of “anti-Israel” behaviour at the UN.
[. . . .] . . .analysts say there is little substance to her allegations that, in the words of Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, Israel has been “the UN’s punching bag”.
[. . . .] While issues concerning Namibia, South Africa, Cape Verde, Vietnam, Laos and others have in one way or another been resolved, Erakat told Al Jazeera, “the only one that hasn’t is Palestine”.
___ In 2016, the UN Security Council’s activity [saw] just one resolution dealt with Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories. It was the first in almost eight years.
[. . . .]  It is a different story, however, elsewhere within the UN, where Israel faces frequent condemnation for its actions through bodies such as the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.
[. . . .] “But this must be viewed in the context of the UN political organs as a whole,” [John Dugard, the UN’s former special rapporteur for human rights in the occupied Palestinian territories] added. “The Security Council and Quartet on the Middle East [UN, European Union, United States and Russia] are notoriously pro-Israel and refuse to pay adequate attention to Palestinian issues.”     MORE . . .
❷ GREEK  ORTHODOX  PATRIARCH  SAYS  ISRAELI  COURT  RULING  ON  CHURCH  PROPERTY  POLITICALLY  MOTIVATED  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
August 13, 2017.   Greek Orthodox Patriarch Theophilos III said Sunday that a two-week old Israeli District Court ruling upholding a 99-year lease of church property in Jerusalem’s Old City to Jewish settler organizations is politically motivated.
___Theophilos said at a press conference in the Jordanian capital Amman that this legal battle, which has been going on for a decade, has resulted in an unjust decision that has ignored very clear legal evidence presented by the church, which made it clear that it was done in “bad faith, bribery and conspiracy” for the benefit of the group of settlers from Ateret Cohanim.
[. . . .] The Greek Orthodox patriarch said his church is going to appeal the District Court’s ruling, which he said will have a grave negative impact on Christian presence in the Holy Land, at the Israeli Supreme Court.   MORE . . .

Abu Ghoush, Amaal.
“SURVIVING  JERUSALEM:  FIFTY  YEARS  OF  NEGLECT  AND  DAILY  SUFFERING  JUST  TO  REMAIN.”
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture
, vol. 21, no. 4, Mar. 2016, pp. 6-11.
No one can imagine when first looking at Jerusalem, with the light rail, the clean paved roads, the old and new buildings, that just a few blocks away from the European-like main streets, there are Palestinian neighborhoods that look like slums, and not because the buildings are poorly constructed, on the contrary. More than 37% of Jerusalem s population are Palestinian residents who are living in East Jerusalem neighborhoods that lack basic services, adequate roads and safe sidewalks — when and if they exist.
___East Jerusalem, which is 70 square kilometers, compromises 56% of all Jerusalem, including the Old City. Palestinian Jerusalemites, or “Arabs,” according to the 2106 Jerusalem Institute for Policy Research statistical yearbook, make up 37.2% of Jerusalem residents. They live on just 13% of the land that was annexed in 1967. One-third of the annexed land, or about 34% of it, has been turned into Israeli settlements, while the rest is land Palestinian East Jerusalemites cannot develop because it is designated as an open space or a green area.
[. . . .]  East Jerusalemites see that Israeli settlements are built on their lands. The settlers receive better services and infrastructure by far, while it takes the Palestinians ages to get a permit to build one house to live in with their family or for their married children on land they own. And many times they try to get a permit and do not succeed. At the same time, huge settlements are built quickly. Infrastructure, roads and other services are provided — with long-time residents’ tax money — quickly and smoothly for settlers who just immigrated from outside.
[. . . .] Fifty years of neglect and no-planning has turned our Palestinian neighborhoods in East Jerusalem into places we do not approve of, but it has also turned us into people who are so worried about our survival and well-being that we no longer work together. We complain to one another about the situation, and we demand services and better conditions, but not in the right places nor in the right ways for our demands to be heard. We wait for the Jerusalem Municipality to solve our problems, knowing that it will not do anything unless it is forced to. . . .  Recently, with the support of Palestinian and international organizations, some neighborhoods have started working collectively to prepare plans which will eventually legalize their homes. But more importantly, they are beginning to understand that through pursuing the collective interest, individual interests are achieved as well and the impact will be stronger.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) EU  CALLS  ON  ISRAEL  TO  RECONSIDER  EVICTION  OF  SHAMASNEH  FAMILY  IN  SHEIKH  JARRAH  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
August 13, 2017.   The European Union missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed concern at the imminent threat of eviction by Israeli authorities of the Shamasneh family from their home in the neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah in East Jerusalem.
___In a statement Sunday, EU missions called on the Israeli authorities to reconsider the decision, saying, “The eviction, of carried out, would be the first in the area since 2009. Further settlement plans including evictions are being moved forward in Sheikh Jarrah.”
___The Shamasneh family is one of at least 180 households in East-Jerusalem, mainly in Sheikh Jarrah, Silwan, the Old City and Beit Safafa, facing the threat of eviction from their homes.   MORE . . .

“BEGINNINGS,” BY IBRAHIM NASRALLAH
When all the bids in the world flap their wings in unison
as one  body, when the waters of springs and mountain streams
gather in a dusty palm,
when a human being runs
and trees and the hidden future follow him,
when the world become simple
and I can climb onto a table in the office of the daily news
and speak of your love to the elegant shuttered windows,
to the good and bad paintings on the walls,
when I am able to freely place a gentle kiss
on your cheek in public,
when I am able to return with you after midnight
without a police patrol desecrating our bodies
in search of a confession,
when we can run in the streets
without anyone pronouncing us crazy,
when I am able to sing
and share a stranger’s umbrella
and when she in turn may share my loaf of bread,
when you are able to say I love you
without fear of death or imprisonment
and I can open a window in the morning
without being silenced by a bullet,
when I am able to grow older
and the trees are added to your attire
and we can count the drops of rain on each other’s faces
and sing and love free of weapons,
raids. Chronic fear, and disappearances –
another world will begin,
a new homeland will have been readied.
But for now we announce a new beginning with our death,
a new beginning of love.

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

“. . . In the rubble I rummage for light and new poetry . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Israeli settlers erect 29 mobile homes in Nablus, Tulkarem
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israel is razing a Bedouin village to build a Jewish-only town on its ruins

  • Background: “The Biopolitics of Israeli Settler Colonialism: Palestinian Bedouin Children Theorise the Present.” Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Palestinians perform prayers at Jerusalem home threatened by settler takeover
❷ 9th anniversary of the passing of Mahmoud Darwish
❸ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ERECT  29  MOBILE  HOMES  IN  NABLUS,  TULKAREM
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 12, 2017.   Israeli settlers installed 29 mobiles homes in and near several illegal Israeli settlements in the Nablus and Tulkarem districts of the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian official told Ma’an on Saturday.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the infamous Yitzhar settlement . . .    installed 11 mobile homes inside the settlement, located south of Burin village.
___Another nine houses were erected by settlers near the village of Qusin . . . .  settlers from the Einav settlement in the eastern part of Tulkarem district erected nine homes . . .
[. . . .] There are some 196 government recognized Israeli settlements scattered across the Palestinian territory, all considered illegal under international law, while hundreds of unauthorized Israeli settler outposts — considered illegal even under Israeli law — also dot the Palestinian landscape.
[. . . .] Meanwhile, in June, Israeli authorities broke ground on the first official new Israeli settlement in 25 years amid fierce condemnation from the international community and rights groups.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ISRAEL  IS RAZING  A  BEDOUIN  VILLAGE  TO  BUILD  A  JEWISH-ONLY  TOWN  ON  ITS  RUINS
+972 Magazine
By Edo Konrad     August 10, 2017.   Despite assurances made to Israel’s High Court of Justice, a new town being built on the ruins of a Bedouin village in southern Israel is intended for Jews only, according to the bylaws of the future town’s cooperative association.
___Israel first notified the residents of Umm al-Hiran, Bedouin citizens of Israel, that it plans to demolish their entire village and build another community in its place 15 years ago. A legal battle has been taking place ever since, although Israel’s top court ultimately approved the plan — partially based on assurances that the current Bedouin residents would have the option of living in the new community.     
___ According to the bylaws of Hiran, the future Jewish town, which were uncovered by “Adalah — The Legal Center for Arab Minority Rights in Israel,” acceptance into the community will be open only to “Jewish Israeli citizens or permanent residents who observe the Torah and the commandments according to the values of Orthodox Judaism.”    MORE . . .    RELATED . . .

Shalhoub-Kevorkian, Nadera.
“THE  BIOPOLITICS  OF  ISRAELI  SETTLER  COLONIALISM:  PALESTINIAN  BEDOUIN  CHILDREN  THEORISE  THE  PRESENT.”
Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies, vol. 15, no. 1, May 2016, pp. 7-29.
[. . . .] nearly half of the 192,000 Bedouin live in ‘unrecognised villages’. Closely examining the context of the Naqab Bedouin and how, specifically, the children who live under conditions of unrecognisability conceptualise their place within a wider system of dispossession and elimination can enhance our framework and sharpen our lens of analysis in our attempts to interrogate Israeli  settler colonialism . . .
___ Interviews, conversations, and reflections led me to understand that within settler colonial contexts, children and childhood become political and politicised sites. . .  settler states attempt to turn children into instruments and targets that assist in the project’s need to eliminate and efface Native communities and people. . .
[. . . .]  Forced removal and ‘modernisation’ efforts were (and are) driven by the Zionist leaders’ perceptions of Native inferiority and threat. These depictions of the Palestinian Bedouin, as uncivilised, pre-modern, and Other, have contributed to their construction as an inherent threat to Israel’s modern and civilised way of life. Additionally, the state’s treatment of the Bedouins as a minority population, rather than a native community, allows for further erasure. . .   discourse around Bedouin primitivism begins to emphasise race/ethnicity and gender, but works to deny collective and historical belonging.
[. . . .]  . . . In a study of 250 Bedouin teenagers from 32 unrecognised villages that sought to include the children’s own reflections, over 95 percent of the participants met the criteria for posttraumatic stress disorder, with over 57 percent suffering from severe PTSD.
[. . . .] In many ways, the foundational violence of the Jewish state remains sacred and untouchable. But we must begin to unravel the centrality of Jewish supremacy – as the primary constituent of being Israeli – which has come to shape and define the fabric of Palestinian life and society. The structural violence embedded in the various colonial technologies of dispossession and colonial distractions makes it difficult to overcome the racialised barriers inscribed on children’s bodies and lives. Each component is interrelated and interlocked with the other, and they all reveal how childhood, and children’s lives, are political questions that demand thorough and complex political discussion. The eviction of Palestinian children from childhood, from humanity to zones of unrecognisability, especially in sickness, arrest, evacuation, and state terror, plays a major role in narrating the settler’s story of needing to fear the colonised child, who, in the case of Israeli settler colonialism, is always already a terrorist other.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) PALESTINIANS  PERFORM  PRAYERS  AT  JERUSALEM  HOME  THREATENED  BY  SETTLER  TAKEOVER  
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 11, 2017.   Tens of Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem performed prayers outside the Shamasna home in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood on Friday in a show of solidarity with the family, who is facing imminent evacuation from their home of 53 years to make room for Israeli settlers claiming they own the family’s home.
___Ekrima Sabri, head of the High Islamic Committee, said during the Friday khutbah — Islamic sermon — that “the land that the Shamasna family home is built on belongs to the family, and not to Jews.” He said that the Shamasna family had rented the house from its “original owners” since before 1948 — the year Israel was established.
___However, Sabri’s claims contradict reports that the family patriarch, Ayoub Shamasna, moved into the house in 1964.   MORE . . .

(Note: the anniversary of Mahmoud Darwish’s death was August 9, 2017.)
❷ 9TH  ANNIVERSARY  OF  THE  PASSING  OF  MAHMOUD  DARWISH     
Palestine News Network – PNN
August 11, 2017.   PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi on the 9th anniversary of the passing of Mahmoud Darwish said :”On behalf of the Palestinian leadership and the people of Palestine, we mark with great sorrow the 9th anniversary of the death of Palestine’s greatest poet and national literary figure, Mahmoud Darwish, whose passing continues to be felt in Palestine and throughout the world.     ___Darwish was not just a national poet; he was a poet of humanity and creativity who forged a new language and awareness for Palestine and beyond. He humanized Palestinian reality during its darkest hours, and he generated an undeniable energy to legitimize hope and affirmation, as well as resistance.   MORE . . .

“THE  ROSES  AND  THE  DICTIONARY,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH
Be that as it may,
I must . . .
The poet must have a new toast
And new anthems.
Traversing a tunnel of incense
And pepper and ancient summer,
I carry the key to legends and ruined monuments of slaves.
I see history and old man
Tossing dice and gathering the stars.

Be that as it may,
I must refuse death
Even though my legends die.
In the rubble I rummage for light and new poetry.
Did you realize before today, my love,
That a letter in the dictionary is dull?
How do they live, all these words?
How do they grow?
How do they spread?
We still water them with the tears of memories
And metaphors and sugar.

Be that as it may,
I must reject the roses that spring
From a dictionary or a diwan.
Roses grow on the arms of a peasant, on the fists of a laborer,
Roses grow over the wounds of a warrior
And on the face of a rock.

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.

 

“. . . Have years of suffering . . . led to this? . . .” (Harun Hashim Rashid)

❶ 5 Palestinians shot, injured in the legs during clashes in Ramallah-area village

  • Background: “The Impact of Occupation on Israeli Democracy.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) 2 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces undergo surgery, 1 in critical condition
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Four Children injured After Being Struck By An Israeli Colonist’s Car In Silwan
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israel’s culture of impunity in full view of the world
❷ Behind the headlines in Jerusalem: Recent al-Aqsa clashes are a result of Israel’s long-standing plans to expand control over Jerusalem.
❸ POETRY by Harun Hashim Rashid
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
5  PALESTINIANS  SHOT,  INJURED  IN  THE  LEGS  DURING  CLASHES  IN  RAMALLAH-AREA  VILLAGE  
Ma’an News Agency 
Aug. 11, 2017.  Five Palestinians were injured with live fire during clashes that erupted Thursday evening in the Beit Rima town in northern Ramallah between Palestinian youths and Israeli undercover forces that raided a house in the town, according to official Palestinian sources.
___Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas and stun grenades at youths that surrounded the undercover forces as they were raiding a house in the area.
___The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement that five Palestinians were injured with live fire during clashes in Beit Rima, which is located in the central occupied West Bank.      MORE . . .

Schnell, Izhak. “THE  IMPACT  OF  OCCUPATION  ON  ISRAELI  DEMOCRACY.”
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture,
vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 18-25.
Military control of large numbers of people who are denied basic human rights and the right for national self-determination cannot be aligned with democratic values. International law legitimizes such situations in occupied territories but only for a limited time and under strict regulations that do not allow putting the occupied people’s interests at risk except for security reasons of both the occupiers and the occupied. . . .
___We have identified five main processes of deterioration in Israeli democracy: first, intensive use of propaganda in order to adopt a blind and a narrow definition of national patriotism; second, the loss of consensus concerning the balance between the Jewish and the democratic characteristics of the state; third, a weakening of the authority of law; fourth, the involvement of the military in politics; and fifth, the undermining of the authority of the Supreme Court.
[. . . .] In its struggle for hegemony, the new elite increasingly applied propaganda techniques that played on the deep fears of the public in order to promote an uncritical and narrow definition of Israeli identity.  . . . the one-sided historical “truth” of the neo-Zionist narrative infiltrated into the established Israeli discourse. Statements like those of . . .  former military generals like Uzi Dayan, who repeatedly say that they care about the interests of Israel and not the Palestinians . . .  helped establish a blind uncritical patriotism. Increasingly, the Bible was introduced as the ultimate justification to our attachment to the land and our identity as Jews and heavenly promise became the ultimate justification for our sole ownership of the land with disregard to the rights of Palestinians who have lived on the land for hundreds of years.
[. . . .] The vicious circle of violence between the occupier and the occupied only increases mistrust and dehumanization of the other. In such a milieu children grow up with a mistrust of foreigners, which may lead to hatred and racism. This mindset is amplified by the fortification of space by fences, walls and guards. Under such a regime the discourse of human rights developed in Western culture could not be adopted by Israelis who support the occupation, thus increasing Western countries’ criticism of Israel and the perception among right-wing Israelis of a nation under siege that, as a consequence, is allowed to use any and all means for its survival.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)  2  PALESTINIANS  SHOT  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  UNDERGO  SURGERY,  1  IN  CRITICAL  CONDITION 
Ma’an News Agency.
Aug. 10, 2017.   Two injured Palestinian detainees, who were detained on Wednesday after they were shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during a raid on the Bethlehem-area al-Duheisha refugee camp, have undergone surgery and are still in the hospital, with one in critical condition.
___Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Karim Ajwa released a statement on Thursday after visiting the two injured Palestinians, Abd al-Aziz Arafeh and Raed al-Salhi, who are being held in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
[. . . .] Ajwa added that a court session is expected to be held on Thursday to extend the detention of the two, who were detained during a predawn raid on the camp, located in the southern occupied West Bank.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) FOUR  CHILDREN  INJURED  AFTER  BEING  STRUCK  BY  AN  ISRAELI  COLONIST’S  CAR  IN  SILWAN  
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC     
Aug. 11, 2017.   Palestinian medical sources have reported that four children were injured, Thursday, after being rammed by a speeding Israeli colonist’s car, in the al-‘Ein Street, in Silwan town, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem.
___The sources said the four children suffered various cuts and bruises, before an Israeli ambulance moved them to Hadassah Medical Center.
___Two of the wounded children have been identified as Hamza Abu Sbeih and his brother Amir.
___Eyewitnesses said the colonist deliberately rammed the children with his car as they were walking along the sidewalk . . .   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) ISRAEL’S  CULTURE  OF  IMPUNITY  IN  FULL  VIEW  OF  THE  WORLD
Ma’an News Agency 
April 12, 2016.  “Whether he made a mistake or not, is a trivial question,” said an Israeli Jewish man who joined large protests throughout Israel in support of a soldier who calmly, and with precision, killed a wounded Palestinian man in al-Khalil (Hebron). The protesting Jewish man described Palestinians as ‘barbaric,’ ‘bestial,’ who should not be perceived as people.
[. . . .] The vast majority of Israelis, 68 percent, support the killing of Abdel Fatah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, by the solider who had reportedly announced before firing at the wounded Palestinian that the “terrorist had to die.”
[. . . .] The incident, once more, highlights a culture of impunity that exists in the Israeli army, which is not a new phenomenon.   MORE . . .
See post of July 8, 2017 for further discussion of “culture of impunity.”
❷ BEHIND  THE  HEADLINES  IN  JERUSALEM:  RECENT  AL-AQSA  CLASHES  ARE  A  RESULT  OF  ISRAEL’S  LONG-STANDING  PLANS  TO  EXPAND  CONTROL  OVER  JERUSALEM.
Al Jazeera English    
By Nur Arafeh
Aug. 11, 2017.   Jerusalem has been in the spotlight again recently as tensions reached the boiling point after the mid-July attack on Israeli forces in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Despite the apparent resolution of the immediate crisis owing to mass Palestinian civil disobedience, which forced Israel to reverse its attempt to change the status quo that has been in place since 1967 at the historic Noble Sanctuary mosque complex, the underlying issues remain in place.
___Media coverage of Jerusalem has tended to focus on clashes as and when they erupt, and to frame these as the harbingers of an emerging “religious war”. However, this approach fails to address the history of and context in which such clashes unfold, and the explicit aims of the Israeli government.   MORE . . .

(After occupying Gaza in 1967, the Israelis searched houses and forced men and women to stand next to walls with arms raised. Often they shot at them. The poet had this experience.)

“RAISE  YOUR  ARMS,”  BY  HARUN  HASHIM  RASHID
――Raise your arms . . .
they aimed their guns at me . . .
――Raise your arms . . .

I stood, my eyes flaming
and scorching with anger
as an insistent film of events
assailed me.
Can defiled cities be
the outcome of our struggle?
Have years of suffering,
long days of vigilance
in trenches, on hills
and in tattered tents
led to this?

The world blackened in my eyes
my hands on the wall
as guns were pointing at me
I wished the wall would fall on my head
My comrades and I waited
for their bullets,
for their bullets

They walked away, and the wall
remained, gazing back at us
waiting for a fiery volcano, for the flames.
―Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

About HARUN HASHIM AL RASHID (born in Gaza, 1927)
From ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.