“. . . my son doesn’t walk this path with me. . .” (Mohammed Lafi)

Nov. 1, 2014. Israeli soldiers escort a group of Palestinian school children as they walk through the Israeli settlement of Havat Ma'on in West Bank. The students’ journey takes them through a legal and political maze as they pass between a legal and an illegal Israeli settlement on their way to school. (Max Becherer/Max Becherer/Polaris Images For The Washington Post)
Nov. 1, 2014. Israeli soldiers escort a group of Palestinian school children as they walk through the Israeli settlement of Havat Ma’on in West Bank. The students’ journey takes them through a legal and political maze as they pass between a legal and an illegal Israeli settlement on their way to school. (Max Becherer/Max Becherer/Polaris Images For The Washington Post)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
SCHOOL STUDENTS USE SEWAGE CHANNELS TO REACH SCHOOL
March 24, 2015
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian students are being forced to cross through sewage channels to reach a high school in western Ramallah district after a settlement road cut off the only other means of access, residents told Ma’an.
Up to 200 students from the villages of al-Tira and Beit Ur al-Fuqa now reach the school using a four kilometer route that runs along the separation wall, where armed settlers, as well as Israeli soldiers, almost daily interrupt their commute.
The route passes through sewage channels and regularly takes students up to 40 minutes to reach their school,
(More. . .)

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from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
DCI-PALESTINE: 30 CHILDREN SHOT BY ISRAELI FORCES IN 2015
by IMEMC News & Agencies
March 24, 2015
Israeli forces shot and injured at least 30 children across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, according to Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCIP).
DCIP reported that, while Israeli military regulation permits the use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, the organization found no evidence that any of the children injured in 2015 posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers.
“The pace at which we are documenting injuries from live ammunition in 2015 shows no sign of slowing down,” DCIP advocacy officer Olivia Watson told Ma’an News Agency.
(More. . . )

Feb. 14, 2015. Nasser Murad Safi, 15, was shot by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition breaking his leg.
Feb. 14, 2015. Nasser Murad Safi, 15, was shot by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition breaking his leg.

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
TEL AVIV U: 850 SCHOLARSHIPS FOR GAZA ATTACK SERVICE
by Alternative Information Center
March 25, 2015
Tel Aviv University (TAU) recently awarded scholarships to 850 students who took part in Israel’s military attack on the Gaza Strip last summer.
The “President’s Scholarship for Service in Operation Protective Edge”, up to NIS 2,000 per student, was awarded as tuition credit to the winners.
Already during the attack. . . University President Joseph Klafter announced that such scholarships would be made available. . .
(More. . . )

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from HAARETZ
OBAMA SAYS ‘REAL POLICY DIFFERENCE’ BETWEEN ISRAEL, U.S.
U.S. president says Netanyahu has ‘different approach,’ and that his administration still believes two-state solution is ‘best way to preserve Israel’s security.’
Barak Ravid
March 24, 2015
The crisis between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that broke out anew after the Israeli election, worsens from day to day. At a press conference on Tuesday Obama said that there is “real policy difference” between himself and Netanyahu when it comes to the need to establish a Palestinian state. This dispute, Obama added, will have ramifications for U.S. policy
(More. . . )

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From HUFFINGTON POST
ISRAEL CANNOT REFORM ITSELF AND NEEDS SOME TOUGH LOVE
Bob Herbst
March 24, 2015
There is a silver lining in the black cloud of the recent Israeli election. The pretense at the base of Israel’s pious public pronouncements about its desire for peace with the Palestinians has been stripped away. Netanyahu revealed himself as unalterably opposed to the end of the occupation of the West Bank, to the creation of a viable state for the Palestinians, and thus to a lasting peace and just end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite all the talk we have heard for the last decade and more about Israel’s lacking a Palestinian partner for peace, it turns out to be the Palestinians who don’t have an Israeli partner really willing to make peace. And Netanyahu’s rant in the closing days of the campaign about the Arabs flocking to the polls “in droves” to vote betrayed an ugly racism truly disgusting to behold in the political leader of the Jewish state who purports to represent Jewry worldwide.
(More. . . )
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/bob-herbst/israel-cannot-reform-itself-and-needs-some-tough-love_b_6918806.html

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MY OTHER SELF AND I, BY MOHAMMED LAFI
my son doesn’t walk this path with me
nor my father or brother or a friend
but I sense his presence as I walk
and I sense his absence as I walk
and whenever past misfortunes camp at the door
I sense his presence more
Calling out in whispers and shouts
Whenever our steps seem lost on the edge of the war:
Stop! Mohammed!
If your innocent conscience is violated even once
It will turn to fire

On the path I am not a son for him nor a father
A brother or a friend yet he remains with me
that last faithful survivor from the family of the wolf
watching guard over me at night
following me through the day
and he howls when I step off
of the grass that leads the way:
Stop! Mohammed!
open your ears and listen hard O Mohammed!
the virginity of your conscience once sullied
will burn
and the ashes on your path will never be reborn
—translated by Jim Ferguson
Mohammed Lafi is a Lecturer in English and Translation at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, and he works as a freelance translator for local and international organizations.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

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