“Roads die when peoples’ hopes . . . no longer flow through them. . .” (Tareq al-Karmy)

Palestinians working in Israel wait to cross the Israeli-controlled Jalama checkpoint on International Labour Day near the West Bank city of Jenin May 1, 2014.  REUTERS
Palestinians working in Israel wait to cross the Israeli-controlled Jalama checkpoint on International Labour Day near the West Bank city of Jenin May 1, 2014. REUTERS

❶ From PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
FOR JEWISH HOLIDAYS, JALAMA CROSSING CLOSED
[Shavuot—“Feast of Weeks,” May 24-25]
May 24, 2015
JENIN, The Israeli occupation army on Saturday informed the Palestinian Authority liaison office that it would close on Sunday Jalama crossing, north of Jenin city, at the pretext of celebrating Jewish holidays.
___Local sources in Jenin said that the Israeli measure would prevent thousands of workmen and business owners from entering the 1948 occupied lands.
___They added that the closure of the crossing would cause a recession in the markets of Jenin.
(More. . .)

❷ From INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
GAZA’S ONLY COMMERCIAL CROSSING CLOSED BY ISRAELI AUTHORITIES
May 24, 2015
Israel closed the Gaza Strip’s only functioning commercial crossing at Kerem Shalom [“Vineyard of Peace” sic], on Sunday, for the Jewish holiday “Feast of Weeks”, a Palestinian official said.
“The Israeli closure would disrupt trade traffic in the strip and negatively affect the flow of fuel into the enclave,” Mounir al-Ghalban of Gaza’s border authority said, according to World Bulletin/Al Ray.
___Blockaded by Israel – by air, land and sea – since 2007, the Gaza Strip has seven border crossings linking it to the outside world.
___Six of these are controlled by Israel, while a seventh – the Rafah crossing – is controlled by Egypt, which keeps it tightly sealed for the most part.
(More. . .)

Trucks waiting to cross at The VINEYARD OF PEACE
Trucks waiting to cross at The VINEYARD OF PEACE [SIC]
❸ From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
EGYPT TO OPEN RAFAH CROSSING INTO GAZA FOR 2 DAYS
May 24, 2015
CAIRO (Ma’an) — Egyptian authorities will open the Rafah border crossing for two days on Tuesday and Wednesday allowing passengers to travel from Egypt into Gaza, although not the other way around, Egyptian security sources told Ma’an.
___Palestinian officials have reportedly been notified so as to make the necessary arrangements.
__Rafah crossing has been the principal connection between Gaza’s 1.8 million residents and the outside world since the imposition of an Israeli blockade on the coastal enclave since 2007.
___However, for the last two years, the Egyptian authorities have largely kept the crossing closed,
(More. . .)

❹ From MONDOWEISS
BESIEGED IN GAZA FROM BIRTH TO DEATH
Dan Cohen
May 22, 2015
Leila Najjar is 25 years old and six months pregnant. She and her husband Mohammed Sulaiman want to be together for their child’s birth. But she may not see him for years.
__That’s because Najjar lives in Gaza and her husband is studying in Adelaide, Australia. Israeli authorities won’t let Najjar pass through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing or the Egyptian-controlled Rafah crossing to join Sulaiman, 25, in Australia. With only ten weeks before she will be unable to travel by airplane because of health risks, she is struggling to remain optimistic. . .
__In fact, it is possible that Najjar will be prevented from leaving Gaza at all, meaning Sulaiman, who is on track to complete his PhD in 2018, may not see his son-to-be until he is three years old. . .
(More. . .)

❺ From +972
HOW JERUSALEM MAKES PALESTINIANS DISAPPEAR
Orly Noy
May 23, 2015
While the exclusion of Palestinian cab drivers from a Jerusalem megaplex is illegal and immoral, it is just the tip of the iceberg in a city that constantly tries to erase Palestinian existence.
__“If she wants a Jewish driver, she’ll get a Jewish driver, I don’t understand what difference it makes.” This is how Merav Basher, the representative of Cinema City Jerusalem, responded to Thair Raga, a cab driver from East Jerusalem, when he confronted her about the megaplex’s policy of ordering Jewish-only drivers for some of their workers. . .
__The truth is that I believe Basher. I believe her when she says that she does not understand the problem with keeping Palestinian drivers away from her workers, all the while harming their livelihood. . .
(More. . .)

“Not only Rivers,” by Tareq al-Karmy
Not only rivers have a source.
Paths trickle from single dwellings till,
fed by tracks from villages, they go
through towns and cities. Swelled
by tributary streets till they end
in mighty ports and seaside resorts.
Roads die when peoples’ hopes, fears,
wishes, traffic, no longer flow through them,
unlike rivers which are not made by fishes.

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

Tareq al-Karmy studied at Al-Najah University in Nablus. A prolific poet, his work has been published in numerous anthologies and solo collections. [Link to The New Statesman]
Tarek al-Karmy was born in 1975 in the Palestinian coastal city of Tolkarim. He is a member of the Palestinian Left and he teaches and plays professionally the nay (reed flute).
__He has produced and presented numerous programs for local Palestinian radio stations and has participated in a number of local and international music festivals like the Mediterranean Voices Festival in the south of France. He has written several books of poetry and has a website devoted to poetry

The walkway from Gaza to Israel at the Erez crossing Photo Oxfam
The walkway from Gaza to Israel at the Erez crossing Photo Oxfam

“Soldiers stalk a pharmacy: big guns, little pills. . .” (Naomi Shihab Nye)

Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem
Augusta Victoria Hospital, East Jerusalem

❶ From LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION
TRIBUTE TO DR TAWFIQ NASSER
“Long and faithful service” to the Augusta Victoria Hospital
May 19, 2015
With great sadness The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) has learned of the death of DR TAWFIQ A. NASSER, the Chief Executive Officer of the AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL IN JERUSALEM. Dr Nasser passed away on the morning of 16 May 2015. He had been the hospital’s Chief Executive Officer since 2001 and was instrumental in shaping its medical orientation.
___“Dr Nasser was a man of compassion and service who cared deeply about others,” LWF General Secretary Rev. Martin Junge wrote in a condolence letter to Dr Nasser’s family. “In the LWF, we are particularly grateful for the long and faithful service Dr Nasser gave in the development of the Augusta Victoria Hospital.”
___Dr Nasser, who was born in the AVH in 1964 when the hospital still had a maternity ward, had been the hospital’s administrative director since 1997. He took over as Chief Executive Officer in 2001, at the age of 36. Dr Nasser shaped the hospital into the leading center for nephrology and oncology in the Palestinian territories.
(More. . .)
In addition, see related story below picture at end of this post.

❷From +972
FOR JERUSALEM’S PALESTINIANS, A CITY OF POVERTY AND DIVISION
Natasha Roth
May 17, 2015
More than one quarter of Jerusalem’s Palestinian residents live behind the concrete separation barrier; Israel has revoked the residency of over 14,000 Palestinian Jerusalemites since ‘reunifying’ the city in 1967, including 107 last year alone.
(More. . .)

DR TAWFIQ A. NASSER, the Chief Executive Officer of the AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL IN JERUSALEM.
DR TAWFIQ A. NASSER, the Chief Executive Officer of the AUGUSTA VICTORIA HOSPITAL IN JERUSALEM.

❸ From PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA.
ISRAEL DEMOLISHES BUILDING, FOUR SHOPS IN EAST JERUSALEM
May 20, 2015
Bulldozers working for the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Wednesday demolished a two-storey building under construction and a number of stores in Wadi Qadoom neighborhood in East Jerusalem, under the pretext of ‘unlicensed building’.
___WAFA correspondent said that an Israeli police force, accompanied with bulldozers and staff from the so-called West Jerusalem municipality, imposed a tight military cordon around the building and the stores before proceeding to demolish them.
___The demolished structures belonged to Abu Snaineh family.
(More. . .)

❹ From MONDOWEISS
NETANYAHU: JERUSALEM WAS ALWAYS THE CAPITAL ‘OF THE JEWISH PEOPLE ALONE’
Ben Norton
May 18, 2015
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed Jerusalem has always been the capital “of the Jewish people alone, not of any other people” at a Jerusalem Day ceremony on Ammunition Hill, in Israeli-occupied East Jerusalem on May 17. ___“Jerusalem won’t become once again a wounded and bisected city,” he continued. “We will forever keep Jerusalem united under Israeli sovereignty.”
___Netanyahu pledged to “continue to build and nurture [Jerusalem], to expand her neighborhoods.”
(More. . .)

❺ From: INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
VIDEO: SOLDIERS KIDNAP A FATHER AND HIS THREE SONS IN THEIR STORE IN JERUSALEM
Saed Bannoura May 20, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, Tuesday, a Palestinian store in Beit Safafa town, in occupied Jerusalem, kidnapping the store owner and his three sons, after assaulting them along with other Palestinian shoppers.
___The Arabs48 News Website published a video showing the soldiers and police assaulting the family, in addition to attacking a woman who was shopping in the store.
___The soldiers kidnapped the father, Abedrabbo Abedrabbo and his three sons, Abed, Talal and Bilal, after violently attacking and beating them.
(More. . .)

“JERUSALEM,” BY NAOMI SHIHAB NYE

“Let’s be the same wound if we must bleed. Let’s fight side by side, even if the enemy” ——Tommy Olofsson, Sweden

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.

Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother’s doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.

Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.

Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head just slightly
it’s ridiculous.

There’s a place in my brain
where hate won’t grow.

I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.

It’s late but everything comes next.

Naomi Shihab Nye, “Jerusalem” from Red Suitcase.

A typical home demolition in East Jerusalem
A typical home demolition in East Jerusalem

From LUTHERAN WORLD FEDERATION
FEATURE: Israeli Wall Hinders Access to Hospital’s Unique Services
LWF-run Augusta Victoria Hospital is a Link between Israelis and Palestinians
22 December 2004
Dr Tawfiq Nasser stands high up on the Mount of Olives in East Jerusalem and points to the distant landscape below. He indicates the long wall circling Jerusalem and extending far into northern Israel and West Jordan. From up here, from the Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), where Nasser is Chief Executive Officer, the mighty wall looks almost harmless. Like a ribbon it winds through the hilly landscape, sometimes clearly visible, sometimes partly hidden. Yet Nasser knows firsthand how dangerous this wall is. He lives on the other side of it, and whenever conflict breaks out or the Israeli army closes the checkpoint for other reasons, Nasser is cut off from home. That is why he always has a small bag with spare clothes in his office. (More. . .)

“The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning. . . ” (Yousef El Qedra)

Khirbet Susiya, village under threat of demolition. Photo: Ann Pack, Activestills.org, 15 June 2012
Khirbet Susiya, village under threat of demolition. Photo: Ann Pack, Activestills.org, 15 June 2012

❶ From B’TSELEM – THE ISRAELI INFORMATION CENTER FOR HUMAN RIGHTS IN THE OCCUPIED TERRITORIES
STOP THE EXPULSION #SAVESUSIYA
Last Friday B’Tselem organized a visit to the Palestinian village of Khirbet Susiya in the South Hebron Hills. Dozens of Israelis joined us to express solidarity with Susiya’s residents who are facing the threat of imminent expulsion from their land.
At any moment the Israeli Civil Administration (CA) might demolish all homes and structures in Khirbet Susiya leaving the villagers with no shelter in the harsh desert conditions. The threat of demolition looms large following a decision by Israel’s High Court of Justice to deny the residents’ request for an interim injunction on demolition by the CA. For more on the risk of demolition faced by Khirbet Susiya, see B’Tselem’s website page.
(More. . .)

❷ From PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
ISRAELI OCCUPATION KEEPS JORDANIAN-CANADIAN BUSINESSMAN IN CUSTODY, DENIES HIM LAWYER
May 18, 2015
OCCUPIED JERUSALEM –The Shin Bet security service has arrested a Jordanian-Canadian millionaire and held him for 12 days without permitting him to see a lawyer, Haaretz reported Monday.
___58-year-old Ibrahim Seyam was invited by Abbas to attend a conference in Ramallah on developing the PA economy. But when he arrived together with a group of other Jordanian businessman at the Allenby Bridge border crossing about two weeks ago, he was arrested by the Shin Bet and taken to the Kishon interrogation center for questioning.
___Seyam is a businessman of Palestinian descent. He left the country some 30 years ago and moved to live between Canada and Jordan.
(More. . .)

❸ From PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
PALESTINIAN DETAINEES AT OFER JAIL ON TWO-DAY HUNGER-STRIKE
May 18, 2015
RAMALLAH, (PIC)– Islamic-Jihad affiliates held at the Israeli Ofer jail on Monday initiated a two-day hunger-strike in solidarity with their fellow who has been tortured by the prison wardens.
___Palestinian detainees at Ofer lock-up urged the Israeli prison authorities, in a statement, to launch a probe into an attack on their fellow Adel Musa and to take a tougher line against the perpetrators.
___The detainees announced their decision to go on a two-day hunger-strike in protest at the attack.
(More. . .)

❹ From ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
WILL ISRAELIS FILMED KILLING PALESTINIAN TEENS ON NAKBA DAY GET AWAY WITH MURDER?
By Olivia Watson
May 14, 2015
On 15 May 2014, an Israeli Border Police officer took aim at Nadim Nuwara and pulled the trigger of his M16 rifle.
___The live bullet struck Nuwara, 17, in the chest and exited through his back, killing him at the scene. CCTV cameras captured the shooting, allowing for detailed forensic video, sound and spatial analysis to be used to identify Nuwara’s killer. Despite seemingly clear evidence, systemic impunity for Israeli military violence continues to be an obstacle to justice for Palestinian families living under prolonged military occupation like the Nuwaras.
___Nuwara’s death appears to be the direct consequence of a de facto policy pursued by the Israeli military that permits the use of live ammunition, even against children, with almost complete impunity. The families of those killed are left to live with this injustice.
(More. . .)

Nadim Siam Nuwara
Nadim Siam Nuwara

❺ From MONDOWEISS
‘SO WAIT, THE NAKBA IS…?’: LISTENING TO ISRAELIS DISCUSS THE NAKBA
By Yara Dowani
May 15, 2015
How interesting it was to read the answers of Israelis who were asked about the Nakba for the video “So wait, the Nakba is…?”, done by De-Colonizer. Interesting but yet kind of disturbing.
___The interesting part was the idea of going around in Tel Aviv and asking random Israelis about this topic. In my opinion this step taken by De-Colonizer is really brave, because one has no idea what and how their reactions would be. I wonder what would be the answers of Israelis living in other cities and in the settlements?
___The disturbing part was reading the answers of the people who had no clue what the word Nakba means. How can a word, event, hold so much pain and suffering to some people and yet means nothing to the other people who were part of making it happen?
(More. . .)

“I HAVE NO HOME,” BY YOUSEF EL QEDRA
I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms—
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him what he looks like.
My small defeats answered me.
So I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
Stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.

Translated by Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

Yousef El Qedra is a young poet and playwright living in Gaza. He has his BA degree in Arabic Literature from Azhar University, Gaza. Since 2006 he has worked as a project coordinator of theater and youth groups for the Cultural Free Thought Association in Gaza City. He has written several books and plays and published four volumes of poetry, translated into French and Spanish.
From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.

Palestinians packed into Ofer Prison
Palestinians packed into Ofer Prison

“. . . fields yield no more to their tillers than memories of weariness. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

From "Maps," by RAFAT ASAD
From “Maps,” by RAFAT ASAD

From This Week in Palestine
ARTIST OF THE MONTH: RAFAT ASAD
Julie Couzinet
May 2015 (Issue 205)
Fully connected to his environment and the people who surround him, Palestinian artist Rafat Asad opens with each of his productions a new and intimate window onto Palestine’s landscape.
___Born in Nablus in 1974, Rafat obtained a BA in fine arts from An-Najah University in 1998. Although he mainly focuses on paintings, he explores other forms of expression through light and sound installations, videos, and performances. His work has been shown in group exhibitions in Palestine, Cuba, Europe, Japan, the United States, and the Arab world, as well as in three solo exhibitions in Nablus, Ramallah, and London.
(More. . .)

From +972 Magazine
S. AFRICAN JEWS IN LUBYA: WE’RE HERE TO ACKNOWLEDGE THE NAKBA
Natasha Roth
May 2, 2015
In a forest glade set atop the remains of the destroyed Palestinian village of Lubya in the Lower Galilee, a delegation of South African Jews made a public apology to the descendants of refugees from Lubya and their families Friday evening.
___The event, a joint initiative of the South African delegation and representatives of Lubya’s displaced persons, concerned the use of donations made by the South African Jewish community to the Jewish National Fund (JNF), which went toward planting the “South Africa Forest.” This forest is part of the larger Lavie Forest that covers what was once Lubya, which was depopulated on July 16-17, 1948. Kibbutz Lavie, founded in 1949, was also established on the lands of the former village. . .
(More. . .)

Youngest of the Zaatari brother of East Jerusalem
Youngest of the Zaatari brother of East Jerusalem

From Ma’an News Agency
ISRAEL DETAINS 4 CHILDREN IN 2 DAYS FROM SAME JERUSALEM FAMILY
April 30, 2015
BETHLEHEM — Undercover Israeli operatives detained and interrogated a 7-year-old Palestinian boy and his twelve-year-old brother in occupied East Jerusalem Tuesday, only a day after two 15-year-olds from the same family were taken.
___The boy and his older brother, from the Zaatari family in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Wadi al-Joz, were detained by Israeli operatives dressed as Palestinian locals while walking in the street Tuesday evening, the boys’ grandfather told Ma’an.
___The Zaatari family has had four children detained this week. . .
Israel detained 1,266 Palestinian children below the age of 15 in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank in 2014, according to a PLO report, and over 10,000 Palestinian children have been detained by Israeli forces since 2000.
(More. . .)
(More about Israeli treatment of Palestinian children)

from Ma’an News Agency
HUNDREDS PRAY OUTSIDE CLOSED MOSQUE IN BEERSHEBA
May 2, 2015
BEERSHEBA (Ma’an) — Some 250 Palestinians performed Friday prayers outside a mosque in Beersheba in southern Israel that Israeli authorities have kept closed since 1948.
___The prayers came amid heavy Israeli police presence, with police sealing the roads leading toward the mosque.
___The initiative was called for by Sheikh Hassan Abu Ubeid from al-Ramla. . .
___Abu Ubeid told Ma’an: “We are here to continue what those who fought before us started in liberating our mosque. It is unreasonable that our mosque has been closed for 67 years and we stand still”. . .
___The Ottoman-era mosque was first closed to Palestinian worshipers in 1948, when it was used as an Israeli prison during the war that led to the creation of the Israeli state . . .
(More. . .)
(More about the Mosque. . .)

Praying outside the Beersheba Mosque
Praying outside the Beersheba Mosque

From Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
HAMAS SWEEPS STUDENT COUNCIL ELECTIONS IN WEST BANK
Author Adnan Abu Amer
Translator Pascale Menassa
April 28, 2015
The results of the student council elections at Palestinian universities in the West Bank came as a big surprise for Hamas and the Palestinian Authority — a happy one for the former and a bad one for the latter. Hamas was able to achieve electoral success despite the security pressure it has been facing from the PA and Israel at once.
___The April 21 election at Palestine Polytechnic University in Hebron, in the south of the West Bank, resulted in a tie between the Islamic Bloc, Hamas’ student arm, and the Fatah Youth Movement, with each party winning 15 seats. Meanwhile, on April 22, Birzeit University announced the victory of the Islamic Bloc, which beat Fatah with 905 votes.
___Abdul Rahman Hamdan, the head of the Islamic Bloc, told Al-Monitor, “This victory is proof that Palestinians support the resistance, as it is the only way to obtain our rights and refuse the PA’s project, which is based on negotiations.
(More. . .)

“A HOMELAND,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While noting remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samīħ al-Qāsim سميح القاسم‎; (born 1939) is a Palestinian Druze whose Arabic poetry is well known throughout the Arab World. His poetry is influenced by two primary periods of his life: Before and after the Six-Day War. Al-Qasim has published several volumes and collections of poetry.

The Beersheba Mosque
The Beersheba Mosque