“. . . they come arresting the earth. . .” (Omar Shabbanah)

The Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope, founded by Bshara Nassar, hosts a two-week art exhibit at the Festival Center in Washington D.C. from June 13-27, 2015. Mohammad M'ali is one of six featured artists. His 2015 painting, titled
The Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope, founded by Bshara Nassar, hosts a two-week art exhibit at the Festival Center in Washington D.C. from June 13-27, 2015. Mohammad M’ali is one of six featured artists. His 2015 painting, titled “The Wall,” depicts the Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem.

From MONDOWEISS
UNTOLD STORIES: FIRST-EVER US NAKBA MUSEUM OPENS IN WASHINGTON DC
Kayla Blau
June 12, 2015
[After a successful fundraising campaign earlier this year, that project will formally launch on June 13, 2015, with the opening of a two-week art exhibit at the Festival Center in Washington D.C. ]
When Bshara Nassar arrived in Washington, DC, he strolled along the National Mall and passed myriad museums dedicated to exposing the painful history of oppressed peoples. . . . He quickly recognized there was no “place for the Palestinian story to be told,” which inspired him to launch the first-ever Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope.
____As Nassar worked on a master’s degree in conflict transformation, the thought of a space dedicated to Palestinian voices became a working reality. He was particularly interested in telling the little-known story of the “Nakba,” which means “catastrophe” in Arabic. . . .
____A non-partisan team of Palestinian and Jewish-American artists formed to support Nassar’s dream. One of the artists whose work will be featured in the upcoming exhibit, painter Ahmed Hmedat, curated the show by recruiting other Palestinian artists and helping assemble their work for display.
(More. . .)
(The Museum Project website)

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
DOZENS INJURED AS ISRAELI SOLDIERS ATTACK BILIN’S WEEKLY PROTEST
June 13, 2015
Dozens of residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation after Israeli soldiers assaulted the weekly nonviolent protest against the Wall and Settlements in Bil’in village, near the central West Bank city of Ramallah. Israeli gas bombs also caused fire in olive orchards.
____The villagers, accompanied by Israeli and international peace activists, marched from the center of the village, carrying Palestinian flags and chanting for national unity, ongoing resistance against the occupation, and the release of all detainees.
____Today’s protest comes in solidarity with hunger striking Palestinian detainees in Israeli prisons, and to demand local, regional and international human rights groups to pressure Israel into releasing all political prisoners.
(More. . .)

Tear gas in Bil’in. Photo by Shadi Hatem.
Tear gas in Bil’in. Photo by Shadi Hatem.

From PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY (WAFA)
ISRAELI FORCES ATTACK, INJURE PALESTINIANS NEAR RAMALLAH, TARGET JOURNALISTS, CIVIL DEFENSE
RAMALLAH, June 13, 2015 (WAFA) – Two Palestinians were injured and many others suffocated by tear gas as Israeli forces clashed with Palestinians late Friday in the town of Silwad to the east of Ramallah, according to local sources.
____Sources reported that Israeli soldiers raided several homes in the town, forced residents out and took over their rooftops, turning them into military outposts to target residents.
____Forces fired tear gas canisters, stun grenades, and banned Toto bullets towards residents, injuring a Palestinian youth with a banned Toto bullet, while another sustained injuries after being hit with a stun grenade. Dozens other Palestinians suffered from suffocation due to tear gas inhalation.
____Forces further targeted journalist attempting to cover the clashes as well as a civil defense vehicle while it attempted to to put out fire caused by tear gas canisters that exploded in a land near the scene of the clashes.
____Forces fired a hail of tear gas bombs toward the civil defense vehicle and targeted journalists with stun grenades.
____An increasing number of unarmed and peaceful Palestinians were either killed or seriously injured as a result of Israel’s constant use of tear gas against them.
(More. . .)

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
EU TO LABEL PRODUCTS MADE IN ILLEGAL SETTLEMENTS
June 13, 2015
The European Union (EU) will soon begin to mark the products of Israeli settlements, according to the Associated Press.
____According to Al Ray, the EU had frozen its decision to put marks on settlements products under the pressure of the United States, in 2013, but this move was restored again and approved by 13 European countries.
____The report added that 16 foreign ministers of EU demanded in less than two months, to go forward with procedures to mark settlement products in European marketing networks.
(More. . .)

❺ A special report
From JADALIYYA (ARAB STUDIES INSTITUTE)
WHAT IS SPECIAL ABOUT ISRAEL?
By Ran Greenstein
June 3, 2015
(Ran Greenstein is an Associate Professor in the Department of Sociology at the University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa.)

This time of the year we commemorate sixty-seven years to the 1948 war and Nakba, and forty-eight years to the 1967 war and occupation. As always, the question of why particular attention must be paid to these events comes up. Is there anything special about them, and about Israel as a state?
____Israeli hasbara officials and their supporters overseas frequently invoke the notion of “singling out” as a problem in analyses and campaigns aimed to address Israeli state practices. They do not necessarily deny that there are problems with government policies, formal and informal discrimination within the Green Line, and denial of rights beyond it. . . . These measures, the argument goes, are not unique to Israel. . . . Why regard Israel, then, as a unique state deserving of unique treatment?
____In what follows I suggest possible answers to this question, seeking to identify the particular features of the case of Israel and explore their implications both for analysis and political activism.
(More. . .)

“SEVENTH SENSE,” BY OMAR SHABBANAH

Tonight they come
arresting tender shoots from the walls of the home
arresting lilies and olives
arresting fresh rosebuds
arresting the night
the lemon water
the very substance of happiness from my chest
the vessel of sleep
the cup of rest
and the violated dance
Tonight they come
arresting the earth and all that they leave
is fire on a haunted horizon.

― translated by Mona Zaki

From Contemporary Palestinian Poetry. Edited by Michael Smith. Online.
Omar Shabbanah was born in 1958 in Amman and studied at the University of Jordan. He has published four collections of poems, most recently in 2013. He is a cultural correspondent for several Arab newspapers and lives in Amman. His long poem “The Poet,” a description of the importance of poetry in Arab cultures, is in A Bird Is not a Stone.

Nakba refugee camp, Palestine, 1948
Nakba refugee camp, Palestine, 1948

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