“The reason, see, is that I am an Arab. . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Harvesting tomatoes in Gaza
Harvesting tomatoes in Gaza

from DALLAS MORNING NEWS
GAZA EXPORTS FIRST PRODUCE TO ISRAEL SINCE HAMAS TAKEOVER
By Fares Akram, Associated Press
Mar. 12, 2015
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — Israeli authorities allowed the import of Gaza produce on Thursday for the first time since Hamas seized control of the territory in 2007, a move that will aid Gaza’s battered economy and help pious Jews observe a biblical farming sabbatical.

Some 27 tons of tomatoes and five tons of eggplants were cleared to leave Gaza for Israel, Palestinian officials and Gaza merchants said.

“Exporting to Israel is better, but insufficient,” said Gaza merchant Hosni Shehada, who oversaw the preparation of half-ripe tomatoes and large eggplants for export at his warehouse.

Before Hamas took over the seaside territory nearly eight years ago, Gaza merchants used to export hundreds of tons of vegetables to Israel on a daily basis. (More. . .)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
15-YEAR-OLD PALESTINIAN ENTERS 76TH DAY IN ISRAELI CUSTODY
March 12, 2015
Fifteen-year-old Palestinian Khalid Hussam al-Sheikh entered his 76th day in Israeli custody on Wednesday after he was

Khalid Hussam al-Sheikh entered his 76th day in Israeli custody
Khalid Hussam al-Sheikh entered his 76th day in Israeli custody

sentenced to four months jail time and given a 2,000 shekel ($495) fine for throwing rocks and burning tires.

Al-Sheikh’s family told the Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights that Khalid was not medically treated by Israel since he was detained on Dec. 25, 2014 despite the fact that he suffers from anemia. (More. . .)

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ARMY KIDNAPS NINE PALESTINIANS IN JERUSALEM AND NABLUS
by IMEMC & Agencies
March 12, 2015
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Wednesday evening, three young Palestinians including a 10-year old child, and four women, in occupied East Jerusalem, in addition two Palestinians near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Amjad Abu ‘Asab, head of the Jerusalem Detainees Committee, said the Police kidnapped Mohammad ‘Awad, 17, and Nour az-Zaghal, 17, from Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood in Silwan. (More. . .)

Funeral of Tawfiq Abu Riyala, Gaza
Funeral of Tawfiq Abu Riyala, Gaza

from MONDOWEISS
ISRAEL SHOT AT GAZA FISHERMEN 5 TIMES IN FIRST 7 DAYS OF MARCH, KILLING 1, INJURING 2
Ben Norton
March 11, 2015
Israeli forces shot at Palestinian fishermen off the coast of Gaza on 7 March, killing one, a man by the name of Tawfiq Abu Riyala. Two fishers were also arrested.

Associated Press implied that it was not a purposeful attack on the part of Israel, and that the innocent fisherman was to blame for his own death, writing: “It was not clear how the fisherman ended up in the line of fire.” Such an attack on defenseless, unsuspecting fishermen is not uncommon, however. Not by any means.

According to the Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights, since the summer 2014 ceasefire agreement, in at least 10 incidents, Israel has injured 17 Palestinian fishers and detained 49 more. (More. . .)

from MONDOWEISS (Opinion)
BY BUSTING UP PEACE EFFORTS, AIPAC MAY HAVE BURST ITS OWN BUBBLE
Medea Benjamin
March 11, 2015
Early in the morning of March 3, on AIPAC’s national lobby day and just hours before Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu was set to address the joint session of Congress, AIPAC President Robert Cohen, along with the group’s Policy Director and two associates, briskly approached the Congressional office of Speaker of the House John Boehner. To their horror, they found the office locked and surrounded by crowd of CODEPINK activists staging a sit-in to protest the Netanyahu speech. . .

When finally cornered after seeking refuge in the office of Congressman Steve Stivers, the policy director agreed to talk to the CODEPINK group. But he kept repeating the mantra that Iran is a state sponsor of terrorism and as such, cannot be trusted in a nuclear deal.

This is the AIPAC line, and its strategy is to sabotage the negotiations . . . there is speculation that AIPAC was behind the letter by 47 Republican senators to the Iran government . . . AIPAC’s underhanded efforts to scuttle talks with Iran threaten to move us down a dangerous path towards war. But it’s not just AIPAC’s position on Iran that poses a threat to peace. AIPAC tries to undermine any attempts by the Palestinians to take their grievances to the international community. (More . . .)

“Because I Am an Arab,” 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.

Born in Haifa, Palestine, Dr. El-Asmar grew up in a Palestinian area of Israel. In 1958, he became a member of the editorial board of the literary monthly, Al-Fajr, and in 1966 he became editor of the Arabic magazine, Hadha-al-Alam. He attended Central Connecticut State University (then Central Connecticut State College) and received his B.A. degree there with honors in 1975. He subsequently earned a Ph.D. from the University of Exeter in England.Then in 1979, he became the managing editor of the London-based international newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat.

Dr. El-Asmar lectured and taught at a number of universities, including St. Antony’s College, Oxford University, and Bradford University in England, and the American University in Washington, D.C. He held dual Israeli and U.S. citizenship and resided in Bethesda, Maryland.

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