“. . . Happy is he with an iron roof above his head. . . ” (Zakaria Mohammed)

olivesfrom PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAELI FORCES DEMOLISH WATER CISTERN, UPROOT OLIVE TREES IN JENIN, HEBRON VILLAGES
Jenin
March 24, 2015 (WAFA)
Israeli forces Tuesday demolished a water cistern, uprooted olive trees and handed two demolition orders in Ta‘annak village to the west of Jenin and al-Kom locality to the southwest of Hebron.
.  .  .  Escorting a bulldozer, large Israeli troops, consisting of at least 10 vehicles, raided Ta‘annak, where they proceeded to demolish a 50-meter-deep water cistern that is used to provide local farmers in this village as well as Rummana, Zboba, Silat al-Harithiya and al-Yamoun with water for irrigation, said ‘Abdul-Rahman Zyoud, a local farmer and owner of the water cistern.
(More. . . .)

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from PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
IOF HAND OUT FIVE ARBITRARY DEMOLITION THREATS TO JERUSALEM HOMES
PNN/ Jerusalem/
March 23, 2015
Israeli occupation forces this morning have handed out demolition threats to 5 homes in Silwan village north Jerusalem, under the pretext of having no permit to build. Some of the structures date back to 45 years, some of them were newly constructed and others in the process of construction.
.  .  .  The Palestinian Christian-Islamic committee on Monday warned of these threats, since they count as extra Judaization project against Silwan and Al-Aqsa mosque altogether.
(More. . . .)

Jerusalem home demolition (photo by Harold Knight, August, 2008)
Jerusalem home demolition (photo by Harold Knight, August, 2008)

from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
Art, Music & Culture
ISRAELI PORTRAIT OF ROSE-TINTED PAST GIVES WAY TO RAGE AT SETTLERS
Selma Dabbagh
March 23, 2015
It is unusual to read a book on Israel and the Palestinians — perhaps the most documented conflict in world history — that starts by focusing on commonalities rather than divisions: on marriages rather than feuds, festivals rather than riots and municipal housing plans rather than the demolition of homes.
.  .  .  Menachem Klein’s Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron (Hurst Publishing) is a loving, albeit rose-tinted, depiction. By conveying past realities, the book offers a vision of a future for the area that was the British Mandate of Palestine
(More. . . .)

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From JEWISH VOICE FOR PEACE
UCLA RESOLUTION ON ANTI-SEMITISM CREATES DANGEROUS PRECEDENT
Naomi Dann Naomi@jvp.org
March 11, 2015
Jewish Voice for Peace welcomes the commitment of the UCLA Undergraduate Student Association Council (USAC) to addressing issues of anti-Semitism on campus. We recognize that a recent series of troubling incidents, including anti-Semitic graffiti and inappropriate questioning of a Jewish student, have raised concerns about rising anti-Semitism on campus, which we condemn in the strongest terms. However, we are also deeply concerned that the resolution passed by the USAC on March 10, 2015 further enshrines long-standing political efforts to silence legitimate criticism of the state of Israel by codifying its inclusion in the definition of anti-Semitism.
.  .  .  The resolution draws on the “State Department Definition of Anti-Semitism,” (sometimes referred to as the “3 D’s”). However, this definition has no legal standing in the US and was actually removed as a working definition by the European body where it originated.
(More. . . .)

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from THE INTERNATIONAL SOLIDARITY MOVEMENT (ISM)
IN GAZA THE FARMERS IRRIGATE THE LAND WITH THEIR BLOOD
Valeria Cortés
March 18, 2015
Tilling the land in Gaza is one of the most dangerous jobs in the world. The Zionist Occupation Forces fire on the peasants and their families while they sow or harvest their own land near the infamous Zionist fence which surrounds Gaza. They also burn their fields and routinely ravage their crops with bulldozers, leaving hundreds of families ruined and preventing the Gaza Strip from developing its already devastated economy or achieving a minimum of food sovereignty.
(More. . . .)

“THE CYPRESS TREE,” BY ZAKARIA MOHAMMED
The gale above the rooftops –
this gale which has swept through mountain passes
and raced down glens –

Hellish, horned wind –
bellowing and breaking branches. . .

Who smashed the metal stockade?
Who let loose the terrified herd?

The herd-dogs couldn’t stop them,
those horses, fleeing before the wind,
whinnying and upturning time. . .

This storm overhead – horned wind,
battering lampposts, flagpoles, telegraph poles,
pounding with its hooves our hearts and minds –

Happy is he with an iron roof above his head
For the gale will spare his house.
Happy is he who lashes his soul to the cypress tree
that shall not be moved
for his spirit won’t be broken by the winds.
–Translated by Kathleen Jamie

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

Zakaria Mohammed was born in Nablus in 1951, studied in Baghdad, and now lives in Ramallah, working in the Palestinian Ministry of Culture. He is also a journalist and creative writing teacher.

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