“. . . to forget the word ‘future,’ or to erase it completely from your vocabulary. . .” (Somaya El Sousi)

Church goers before the troops arrived
Unruly (dangerous?) Church goers before the troops arrived

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ISRAELI SOLDIERS RAID PALM SUNDAY CELEBRATION IN BEIT JALA
by IMEMC News & Agencies
Monday March 30, 2015
Palm Sunday celebrations in Beit Jala were brought to an abrupt end, on Sunday, when Israeli troops raided the majority-Christian town near Bethlehem and began threatening locals. Palestinian policemen on duty near the celebrations were threatened by Israeli soldiers with arrest during the raid, which took place in the middle of the day as Sunday mass was coming to an end in local churches, Ma’an News Agency reports.

The town of Beit Jala is subject to regular incursions by Israeli forces, even though the large majority of its population live in Areas A, subject to full Palestinian civil and military control under the Oslo Accords. Palm Sunday is celebrated this year on March 29 according to the Gregorian calendar, which is recognized for religious purposes by most Western Christian denominations in Palestine. Orthodox Christians, meanwhile, use the Julian calendar and will be celebrating Palm Sunday on April 5.

The raid raises fears of a repeat of last Easter, when Israeli restrictions on Christian worship during the holiday prevented thousands of Christian Palestinians from traveling to Jerusalem and led to chaotic scenes in the city itself.
(More. . . .)

From B’TSELEM
CIVIL ADMINISTRATION DEMOLISHES 4 HOMES IN KHALLET MAKHUL, NORTHERN JORDAN VALLEY, 18 MONTHS AFTER DEMOLISHING ALL STRUCTURES IN COMMUNITY
25 Mar 2015
At 6:30 A.M. on 18 March 2015, representatives of the Civil Administration arrived with a military escort at the shepherding community of Khallet Makhul in the northern Jordan Valley. Civil Administration bulldozers demolished four residential tents belonging to four of the community’s nine families. They also demolished 4 kitchens, 12 livestock enclosures and a tent used by one of the families to produce cheese. The very same day, the families erected tents they received from aid organizations to serve as substitute housing. The next evening, a military patrol arrived at the community. Once more, they demolished the tent of one of the families.
(More. . .)

Khallet Makhul - Israeli demolition equipment
Khallet Makhul – Israeli demolition equipment

from MONDOWEISS
PALESTINIANS MARK THE 39TH ANNIVERSARY OF LAND DAY
Allison Deger
March 30, 2015
Today, March 30th Palestinians in Israel and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, marched for Land Day, Yom al-Arda in Arabic, which commemorates protest in the Galilee in 1976 where six Palestinian citizens of Israel were killed.

The main marches today were held in the village of Sakhnin and Arrabe in the north of Israel, home to the first Land Day protests 39 years ago. Other demonstrations took place in the lower Galilee and in the Bedouin town of Rahat in the Negev desert. Unlike past years, no general strike was called. Businesses and schools stayed open although the Israeli outlet Ynet News reported 70% of school-aged Palestinian children inside Israel took the day off. “Sixty-seven years have passed since the establishment of Israel and there still is no equitable allocation of land,” said Joint List Knesset-elect member and current parliamentarian Ahmed Tibi in Rahat, reported the Jerusalem Post.
(More. . . .)

from COMMON DREAMS
WHEN BEING PRO-PALESTINIAN AND PRO-ISRAELI IS THE SAME THING: ON WHY I PAINTED PHYSICIAN, AUTHOR, AND PEACE ACTIVIST ALICE ROTHCHILD
By Robert Shetterly
March 31, 2015
Editor’s note: The artist’s essay that follows accompanies the ‘online unveiling’—exclusive to Common Dreams—of Shetterly’s latest painting in his “Americans Who Tell the Truth” portrait series, presenting citizens throughout U.S. history who have courageously engaged in the social, environmental, or economic issues of their time. This painting of Alice Rothschild—a physician, author, filmmaker, and peace activist—is his latest portrait of those who dedicated their lives to equality, freedom and justice. Posters of this portrait and others are now available at the artist’s website.
(More. . .)

“THE ART OF LIVING IN GAZA,” BY SOMAYA EL SOUSI
(A narrative prose-poem)
To live in a dreamless city, a city abundant in its discontents and completely forgotten about, a city whoever enters is lost and whoever leaves is destined for a new life, you must learn a great many survival skills. Then, as an individual, you can become harmonised with the paradigm that rules everything in it.

The first of these skills is the ability to interact with time. I don’t mean that time is important, to such a great extent, in this city. On the contrary: in Gaza there is a great surplus of time, which you must know how to use up, how to get rid of, in every possible way, as there are no important appointments binding you to your schedule, and no particularly sacred or respected times. Everything is possible at any time, and it’s up to you to kill time as you see fit. So you either remain a prisoner in your own home, workplace, or wherever it is that you know and that knows you, or you think of other ways to kill time. Whatever you do will lead you to the same result in the end: you will make it as far as your pillow, at night, with a sense of absolute futility. You will be unable to find anything to think of other than fleeing from your self, the self that asks itself constantly until when? And what will you do tomorrow? And how are you going to spend the rest of your life?

The second skill is to forget the word ‘future,’ or to erase it completely from your vocabulary, because it doesn’t mean anything when it comes up against the reality you inhabit. You cannot contemplate what you’ll do in an hour’s time, because there are so many changes which you have no say in and which happen at lightning speed; so you could fall prey to a stray bullet which comes at you in your house or in the street, a bullet no one knows the source of. Bullets are so plentiful these days and they roam around with such an unprecedented freedom that your life could end with absolute simplicity and you could become just another number, the latest addition to the list of casualties of random firearm use. . . . (More. . .)

Somaya El Sousi was born in Gaza City in 1974. She studied English language at Gaza’s Al-Azhar University, and works as a researcher in the sociological division of the Palestinian Planning Centre. Four collections of her poetry have been published so far: The First Sip of the Sea’s Chest (1998), Doors (2003), Lonely Alone (2005), Idea, Void, White – in a joint collection with the poet Hala El Sharouf, published by Dar Al-Adab, Beirut, (2005) (More. . . )

Dr. Alice Rothschild, by Robert Shetterly
Dr. Alice Rothschild, by Robert Shetterly

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