“. . . children who couldn’t bear his absence . . .” (Taha Muhammad Ali)

(A blog linking to information about PALESTINE not available in mainstream media.
“Online Resources” above lists helpful sites. Works by Palestinian poets close all posts.)

Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy playing in the snow
Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy playing in the snow

St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Madeline Buthod • St. Louis
February 21, 2015

Regarding the Washington Post article “Israel’s Netanyahu spent $24,000 on takeout” (Feb. 18):

It reported that his exorbitant spending on personal affairs violates ethical standards and could potentially raise criminal issues. While spending tax dollars on takeout food should raise concerns, I’d like to argue that the occupation of the West Bank and mass murder of thousands of Gazans should raise much higher red flags about ethical violations.

I recently spent two weeks in Israel/Palestine as an Interfaith Peace-Builder delegate. During my visit, I met farmers whose orchard had been bulldozed by Israeli authorities. I met other farmers who were separated from their land by an electrified fence. I met people who had family members shot at, arrested or killed for nonviolently trying to keep the separation wall from being built on their farm. (Full letter)

amp header.600American Muslims for Palestine

Total American aid to Israel since 1949 exceeds $121 billion (in non-inflation-adjusted dollars).

In 2007, President George Bush and Israel entered into a 10-year Memoradum of Understanding that would give Israel $30 billion in Foreign Military Assitance.

At the completion of this 10-year-plan in 2018, the U.S. will have given Israel $30 billion in unconditional military aid. The United States awards this grant in one lump sum, unlike other foreign recipients, which receive their payments in installments. Israel uses the interest it earns on this amount to pay down its debt to the United States, valued at $455 million in January 2013. In his March 2013 visit to Israel, President Barack Obama pledged to continue multi-year aid packages to Israel through 2028. (Full report)

cpt-001Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine

by Member of the Christian Peacemaker Teams Palestine
January 21, 2015

Last week Christian Peacemaker Team members drove out of Hebron with our Palestinian partner organizations the Land Research Centre and Al-Haq. Our purpose of driving through the rocky hills with their terraced farms was to see the results of more Israeli demolitions that happened just before the recent big storm. While our destination was only thirteen kilometres as the crow flies – it was much longer, because we needed to navigate around the complex settler road system, and of course Palestinians aren’t allowed on them all.

We arrived in the town of Idhna, a village that that has existed since the Bronze Age. The Green Line (1949 armistice line) lies just a kilometre away, and from the village you can see the Israeli ‘security fence’ cutting across the Palestinian farmland. (Full report)

IMECInternational Middle East Media Center

Monday February 23, 2015

On the afternoon of the 21st of February Saleh Abu Shamsiya, a 10-year-old Palestinian boy, was attacked by settler youth in the Al-Khalil (Hebron) neighborhood of Tel Rumeida. (Full account)

Monday February 23, 2015
Israel’s Electric Corporation announced, Monday, that it will begin limiting the supply of electricity to a number of cities in the West Bank beginning from 2.00 p.m. today. (Full account)
The Middle East Magazine

Kerry Hutchinson,
February 2014

While statistics can be produced to manipulate whatever ‘fact’ the proposer wishes to establish as a ground truth, nature is oblivious to such human data manipulations – her truths are immutable. The man-made ‘truths’ over water in the Occupied Territories vary depending on whose statistics you believe. One set of figures show the Palestinians have adequate water supplies, whereas others indicate they are being denied access to even the most basic water needs. The reality involves vast disparity, widespread mismanagement and overall indifference from those in a position to instigate change.

Clearly, each side is stealing water from the other. Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers and fence off access to Palestinian water sources, or turn them into ‘tourist attractions’, before denying access to Arabs on so called ‘security grounds’. Palestinians syphon off what they can, at personal risk, to circumvent the draconian restrictions imposed upon them. However, what remains undeniable is that while water is freely available to fill the swimming pools of some, it remains off-limits to others to drink or cultivate crops. (Full article, available from Liberal Democrat Friends of Palestine; an organization of the Liberal Democrat Party of the UK.)


“REVENGE,” by Taha Muhammad Ali (1931-2011)
translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi and Gabriel Levin. 21 December 2006.

At times … I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I’d rest at last,
and if I were ready—
I would take my revenge!
But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who’d put
his right hand over
the heart’s place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they’d set—
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.
Likewise … I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn’t bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbours he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school …
asking about him
and sending him regards.
But if he turned
out to be on his own—
cut off like a branch from a tree—
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbours or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I’d add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness—
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I’d be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street—as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

“Revenge” was initially published by TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation, along with a short introduction to the poet and the poem by Peter Cole. The poem was read by Taha Muhammad Ali and Peter Cole at the 11th Dodge Poetry Festival in Stanhope, New Jersey. Taha Muhammad Ali lived in Nazareth. When he was not reading and writing poetry, he ran a souvenir shop. Peter Cole is a poet, translator and editor, and has been visiting professor at Wesleyan University and Middlebury College. He lives in Jerusalem. This poem is distributed by the Common Ground News Service (CGNews) and can be accessed at http://www.commongroundnews.org.

Mandate Era postcard of Nazareth
Mandate Era postcard of Nazareth

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