“. . . standard-issue developing-world cement block structures. . .” (Rabbi Rachel Barenblat)

200 Couples wed in Gaza
200 Couples wed in Gaza

Contents:

  • 400 Palestinians marry in mass wedding in Gaza
  • Leshem settlers take over Deir Sim’an Roman castle in Salfit
  • Israel seizes thousand dunum of land for settlement expansion in Hebron
  • Israeli forces detain twelve, summon two from West Bank
  • The operational logic behind terrorizing Palestinians
  • Poem by Rabbi Rachel Barenblat

❶ from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
400 PALESTINIANS MARRY IN MASS WEDDING IN GAZA
April 11, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two hundred Palestinian couples were married in a mass wedding in Gaza City on Saturday, seeing the ceremony through despite poor weather.
__A mother of one of the grooms, Rami Abu Amro, said it was a wonderful ceremony that couldn’t be stopped even by the rainy weather. She said that her son will now be able to have his own independent life and family despite difficult conditions in the coastal enclave.
__Newlyweds Mohammad and Fatima Baraka said they were exuberant to be married in such a traditional and well-organized setting.
(More. . .)
Account from Emirates News Agency

❷ from PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
LESHEM SETTLERS TAKE OVER DEIR SIM’AN ROMAN CASTLE IN SALFIT
12 April 2015
Israeli settlers from Leshem colonial settlement west Salfit today have taken over the historical village, Deir Sim’an, on the lands of Kafr Deek and Rafat.
__Deir Siman castle dates back to the Roman Era and counts as a very important Palestinian landmark. It is located a few kilometers west Kafr Deek village. It has been controlled and isolated by Israeli occupation forces, which now dominate more than 1,000 dunums in the area.
__Eyewitnesses said that Israeli settlers are using bulldozers and working around the clock on making roads to the castle, in addition to erecting walls around the village.
(More. . .)

BACKGROUND ON SETTLEMENT
from +972
IN THE WEST BANK, A NEW SETTLEMENT IS BORN
By Noam Sheizaf
August 26, 2013
Settlers are celebrating ‘the first official settlement in 20 years.’ Housing Minister: ‘There are no two states, and there won’t be two states.’
__The regional council for Jewish settlements in the northern part of the West Bank (Samaria) celebrated on Sunday the construction of a new settlement called Leshem, located in the western part of the occupied Palestinian territories.
__According to a report in Maariv, 72 families have moved into their homes in Leshem, and 70 more are expected to do so in the coming year. The plan is to build around 400 more housing units.
Israel has committed – both in the Oslo Accords and to the Bush administration – not to construct new settlements. . .
(More. . .)

Ancient Roman Castle at Deir Sim'ian - historic Palestinian landmark
Ancient Roman Castle at Deir Sim’ian – historic Palestinian landmark

❸ from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAEL SEIZES THOUSAND DUNUM OF LAND FOR SETTLEMENT EXPANSION IN HEBRON
April 8, 2015
HEBRON– Israeli forces Wednesday took over a thousand dunums [about 250 acres] of Palestinian-owned land located between the towns of Beit Ummar and Beit Fajjar in the Hebron district for the benefit of settlement expansion, according to a local activist.
__Anti-settlement activists in Beit Ummar, Yousif Abu Maryya, informed WAFA that Israeli forces along with settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of ‘Migdal Oz’, placed a 2,600-meter-long fence around one thousand dunums belonging to Palestinian farmers in the area to expand the aforementioned settlement.
(More. . .)

❹ from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAELI FORCES DETAIN TWELVE, SUMMON TWO FROM WEST BANK
February 9, 2015
JERUSALEM – Israeli forces Monday detained twelve Palestinians, including three minors and an official, and summoned two others from various West Bank districts, said security sources and an attorney.
__Israeli police detained five Palestinians, including two minors, from al-Tur neighborhood overlooking the Old City and took them to an interrogation and detention center, said the Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association (Addameer) attorney Muhammad Mahmoud.
__Mahmoud identified the detainees as Jamal al-Za‘tari, 16, Ibrahim Abu Jum‘a, 17, Musa, 18, and Muhammad Abu al-Hawwa, 18, as well as Muhammad Abu Ghannam, 18.
(More . . .)

BACKGROUND ON ISRAELI POLICY
from +972
THE OPERATIONAL LOGIC BEHIND TERRORIZING PALESTINIANS
By Yossi Gurvitz for Yesh Din
April 10, 2015
Four Israeli soldiers carry out a routine procedure of ‘showing presence’ by throwing a smoke grenade into a Palestinian home. Its real purpose? Terrorizing innocent people.
__The incident in question, given the daily routine of the occupation, is relatively minor. On December 3rd, 2007, Adnan Abu Haniyeh, a resident of the West Bank village Yanoun, woke up from the sound of an explosion. Something blew up, the windows of his house were shattered and the house was filled with smoke. His little girl screamed in terror, and for a time the family feared that her hearing was permanently damaged. The walls of the house were covered with soot. Abu Haniyeh then heard the sound of a military Hummer.
__The rest of the incident will be described according to the investigative files of the Military Police Criminal Investigations Division (MPCID).
(More. . .) 

“FIRST VISIT TO THE CAMP D’HAISHA, BETHLEHEM,” by RABBI RACHEL BARENBLAT

There are no canvas tents.
The buildings don’t look
so bad, standard-issue
developing-world
cement block structures

until I try to imagine
eleven thousand people
in one square kilometer,
one in every minyan
an angry alumnus

of the Israeli jails.
What do I know
about settlers or rock-throwers,
one-state, two-state
impossibilities.

But our grandparents
didn’t escape the ghettos
of Europe’s worst era
only to create new ones
for somebody else.

When we depart
I’m saddened, troubled
but perfectly able
to order a cold beer
and make conversation.

The sorrow and the fury
dormant overnight
explode the next day.
Even Shabbat can’t soothe
my lacerated heart.

Rachel Barenblat was ordained a rabbi in January 2011 through the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She hold the MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars. Her first full-length collection of poetry, 70 Faces: Torah poems, was published in 2011. She lives with her husband and son in Western Massachusetts. She serves as the rabbi for Congregation Beth Israel in North Adams, MA

Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, 2012
Dheisheh Refugee Camp, Bethlehem, 2012

Historic photo of Dheisheh Refugee Camp (1952) from approximately the same vantage point. “. . . standard-issue developing-world cement block structures. . .”
1952_web

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