“. . . we leave a kiss for those who left with neither luggage nor papers for their passage. . .” (Abdel Rahim Al-Sheikh)

Ali Shaaban stands outside his home, which is under threat of demolition. (PHOTO J. COOK)
Ali Shaaban stands outside his home, which is under threat of demolition. (PHOTO J. COOK)

❶ from WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
CONFERENCE: THE ISRAEL LOBBY. IS IT GOOD FOR THE US? IS IT GOOD FOR ISRAEL?
Washington, DC – April 10, 2015 at the National Press Club

This unprecedented gathering will focus on the Israel lobby in America. How big is it? How fast has it grown? How interconnected are the organizations and individuals? How much revenue does it raise and where does the money go? What are the common objectives of the lobby? What laws apply to lobbying to benefit a foreign government and are they vigorously enforced? Do coordinated campaign contributions cause American policymakers to act more on behalf of Israel than the United States? What fallacies underlie the assertions that U.S. and Israeli interests are the same? What are the Israel lobby’s public and private, short-and-medium-term policy objectives? And what can Americans who do not believe pro-Israel slogans, activities and policy objectives do?
(More. . .)

❷ from WASHINGTON REPORT ON MIDDLE EAST AFFAIRS
THE NAKBA CONTINUES: ONLY PALESTINIAN VILLAGE REMAINING IN CENTRAL ISRAEL THREATENED WITH DEMOLITION
By Jonathan Cook
May, 2015, pp. 14-15
According to Israel’s official records, the 600 inhabitants of Dahmash village live a single building—one that no longer exists. The villagers’ story may sound like the basis for a sinister fairy tale, but their plight is all too real.
_ For decades officials have refused to recognize the village’s 70 actual homes, trapped between the towns of Ramle and Lod, and only 20 minutes’ drive from Tel Aviv, Israel’s most vibrant city.
_ Arafat Ismail, the village’s leader, said that while industrial parks, shopping malls and estates of luxury villas had sprung up all around them, Dahmash’s residents had been treated like “illegal squatters.”
(More. . .)

❸ from +972
LIVING ALONGSIDE ONE OTHER ISN’T NECESSARILY COEXISTENCE
A mixed Jewish-Arab couple is discouraged from applying to live in what many look to as a model for coexistence in Israel-Palestine.
By Orna Akad (translated by Ofer Neiman)
April 9, 2015
No, this is not a new book which I have just published, nor is it a new play. This is my life with Fouad, which has given me a few minutes of fame.
_ The furor last summer over the marriage of Mahmoud and Morel led me to my virtual photo album, in order to publish a family photo. I wanted to show that it’s both possible and desirable to live differently. . .
(More. . .)

❹ from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
67 YEARS LATER, DEIR YASSIN STILL BLEEDING WOUND FOR PALESTINIANS
Ma’an News Agency
April 9, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Palestinians on Thursday marked the 67th anniversary of the massacre of more than 100 Palestinian civilians by Zionist forces at the village of Deir Yassin.
_ “The Deir Yassin massacre was a turning point in the history of the people of Palestine, and it continues to serve as a necessary reminder of Israel’s ongoing policies of displacement, dispossession and dehumanization, and its willful erasure of the Palestinian narrative and human presence in historical Palestine,” senior PLO official Hanan Ashrawi said in a statement.
(More. . . )

❺ from THE PALESTINE CHRONICLE
STANDING FIRM AMID THE RUINS: BLIND BROTHERS FIGHT FOR JUSTICE IN JERUSALEM
By Dr. Bill Dienst
April 10, 2015
Wadi Joz neighbourhood (immediately Northeast of the Old City of Jerusalem) – Nureddin Amro and his brother Sharif Amro are humble men. Both were born with retinitis pigmentosa, a congenital (genetic) condition, which has left them blind since birth. They are both married, Nureddin has three young children, Sharif has four; all of the children are under 14. They all live with their 79 year old grandmother in a home just south of the main road which connects Hebrew University on Mount Scopus (Palestinian land which was confiscated by Israel in 1967) with West Jerusalem. This road is bisected diagonally by another road which connects the center of Wadi Joz to the upper Kidron Valley. For millennia, this has been the main road connecting the community of Wadi Joz, the Mount of Olives and other communities to the Northeast with the Al Aqsa Mosque and the Christian sites in the Old City and the Garden of Gesthamine. The Amro brothers live in the first house immediately on the southeast corner of this intersection. At 5:30 am on March 31, 2015, their home became ground zero in the latest efforts to Judaize the land
(More. . .)

“SINGLE ADDRESS FOR THE POST,” BY ABDEL RAHIM AL-SHEIKH

On my way to them, I pass Him by,
(as, on his way, God passes me by)
for as we go our separate ways
we see no one but those on high.

The beds are allotted before the violet dawn.
The back and endless night is spent alone
and then the cataclysm comes

that will seed them from the borders of Palestine
the Great Thorn.
They are the only roses that grow.

From where they stalk the edge of paradise
the first paradise.

From where the children use thorns
to draw maps of this paradise.

From this spot.

We raise in the sky a glorying arc
the first milestone to Mecca

and we leave a kiss for those who left
with neither luggage nor papers for their passage.

This is the way the journey will always be.
They leave their bags for the postman to deliver

He takes them from the hands
of those who follow

And those who follow leave their packages
as the first ones do.

It’s hard for the post to make it to paradise.
There is no address
neither here nor there.
—translated by Rachel McCrum

Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh is from Jerusalem. He teaches philosophy, history, and creative writing at Bir Zeit University and the Qattan Center in Ramallah, and is the author of many literary and academic books.

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

Nureed Amro and his son Mohammed in front of their destroyed home. (Bill Dienst, Palestine Chronicle)
Nureed Amro and his son Mohammed in front of their destroyed home. (Bill Dienst, Palestine Chronicle)

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