“. . . At night, we wait for dreams, dressed up as priestesses of fog. . .” (Sami Muhanna)

Al-Aqsa Mosques (NE exposure)
Al-Aqsa Mosques (NE exposure)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
JEWISH RIGHTISTS TOUR AL-AQSA COMPOUND, ASSAULT PALESTINIAN WOMEN
Sunday, March 22, 2015

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews toured the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday morning under the protection of Israeli forces, while Israeli police detained Palestinians even as groups of settlers reportedly assaulted worshipers nearby.

A spokesman for the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments told Ma’an that 127 “extremist Jewish settlers” entered the compound via the Moroccan Gate in groups.
[. . . ]
One of the settlers tried to “tear off his clothes inside the compound before security guards intervened and stopped him,” said an eyewitness, who told Ma’an he believed the act was part of religious ritual.

Israeli police officers, who entered the compound to protect the settlers, chased Palestinian worshipers including children and women.
[. . . ]
Settlers also assaulted a group of Palestinian women outside the Chain Gate who were unable to access the compound after an Israeli court decision banned them from visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. [See next item for background.]
(More. . . . )

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL COURT BANS 4 WOMEN FROM ENTERING AQSA COMPOUND
Thursday, February 26, 2015

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court on Thursday banned four Palestinian women from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for periods of between 10 and 60 days, a lawyer said.

The women were detained on Wednesday as they were leaving the holy site and taken for interrogation at a local police station, lawyer Ramze Kteilat told Ma’an.
[. . . ]
It is unclear why the women were banned.
(More. . . )

Israeli Soldiers blockading entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli Soldiers blockading entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque

from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
PALESTINIANS DECRY ISRAELI COURT’S RULING TO UPHOLD JEWISH PRAYER IN AL-AQSA COMPOUND
JERUSALEM,
March 4, 2015
Palestinian organizations criticized the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruling which ostensibly backs claims that Jews are allowed to pray in al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

While Jewish extremists praised the ruling and considered it a “historic victory” as Israeli media sources reported, al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Waqf and Heritage published a report claiming that the move aims to legalize Jewish control over the Islamic site.

On Sunday, Judge Malka Aviv said the police ban on far-right extremist Yehudah Glick visiting the compound was issued “without appropriate consideration, was arbitrary, and only out of concern for the consequences of the broadcast.”
[. . . ]
The extremist Glick, who is known for his regular attempts to legalize prayer at the compound, was banned by the Israeli police from entering the compound and attempting to pray there, as the action will “inevitably” trigger Palestinians.
[. . . ]
And the judge insisted that Jews have a right to pray in the compound. Following the ruling, Glick’s lawyer said, “Starting from today, all Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. There is no longer any crime in prayer itself.” While Jews considered the ruling as a first step that will eventually allow all Jews to pray in the compound, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “committed to upholding the so-called status quo” in November 2014.
(More. . . )

from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
Opinion/Editorial
THE MESSAGES FROM ISRAEL’S ELECTION
Ilan Pappe
Friday, March 20, 2015
Those of us who know the nature of the beast could not have been surprised by the results of the Israeli election.

Like many of my friends, I was also relieved that a liberal Zionist government was not elected. It would have allowed the charade of the “peace process” and the illusion of the two-state solution to linger on while the suffering of the Palestinians continues.

As always, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself provided the inevitable conclusion when he declared the end of the two-state solution — inviting us all to the long overdue funeral of an ill-conceived idea that provided Israel with international immunity for its colonialist project in Palestine.

The power of the charade was on show when the world and local pundits unrealistically predicted a victory for liberal Zionism, an Israeli ideological trend that is near extinction — embodied by the Zionist Union list headed by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.
(More. . . )

from THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
JERUSALEM OF THE SPIRIT: SUFISM, MYSTICISM, AND THE SUBLIME
Dr. Ali Qleibo
Issue #203, March 2015
The mere name, Al-Quds, triggers an emotional, affectional upsurge in every Muslim heart and mind, wherein nostalgia, piety, and the love of God and his prophet Mohammed meet. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad is a spiritual journey leading to a process of religious transformation, and touching the deepest aspects of the human spirit. It is a mystical rite of passage that promotes one’s personal connection with God.

The lore of Jerusalem as the axis mundi –the symbolic center of the world where the four compass directions meet– reverberates throughout Islamic history. Inspired by Prophet Mohammad’s Night Journey to Jerusalem to connect with God, the pious believe that travel and correspondence between Heaven and Earth, between the higher and lower realms, is possible at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Communication from the lower realms may ascend to the higher ones, and blessings from the higher realms may descend to the lower realms. Jerusalem functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning, inflaming Muslim passion with yearning for the holy city.
(More. . . )
Dr. Ali Qleibo is an anthropologist, author, and artist. A specialist in the social history of Jerusalem and Palestinian peasant culture, he is the author of Before the Mountains Disappear, Jerusalem in the Heart, and Surviving the Wall, an ethnographic chronicle of contemporary Palestinians and their roots in ancient Semitic civilisations. Dr. Qleibo lectures at Al-Quds University.


“RHYTHMS OF THE NIGHT,” BY SAMI MUHANNA

At night the heavens come closer
to wolves.
At night, quiet is transparent,
treads on the carpet of the horizon of contemplation,
sees nothing but the breadth of its imagination.
At night, we listen to breaking hearts,
we grieve with the spirit’s dove,
we embrace our dreams.
At night, we remember and visualize,
mix colours into a paste of old wishes.
At night, we hear our true voice.
Night listens for childhood, in case it returns
and for love on the cusp of desire.
Night is the pulpit of our silence.
At night, directions don’t work.
At night, we lessen leaving
to the width of windows.
At night, we wait for dreams, dressed up
as priestesses of fog.
At night, details, distance and secrets encompass
the realm of infatuation.
Night writes
Without the restrictions
Of rhyme.

Translated by Katherine Sowerby
From A Bird Is not a Stone
Sami Muhanna is a poet and lawyer, and president and founder of the Arab Writers Union in Haifa. He is active in Palestinian political and academic affairs inside Israel.

Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform traditional Friday prayers in a street outside the Old City in east Jerusalem on October 17, 2014. The Israeli government has restricted access to the mosque for men under 50 years of age.
Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform traditional Friday prayers in a street outside the Old City in east Jerusalem on October 17, 2014. The Israeli government has restricted access to the mosque for men under 50 years of age.

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