“. . . what terror drove them out of their homes? . . . (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

Palestinian Nozha neighborhood in Jaffa.
Palestinian Nozha neighborhood in Jaffa.

From THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
DISPLACEMENT SCHEMES TARGETING PALESTINIANS IN JAFFA (REPORT)
June 20, 2015
The Israeli Judaization and displacement schemes have escalated especially in Jaffa city, north of Occupied Palestine, as the Israeli Authorities approved new settlement schemes targeting the city which was occupied in 1948.
____The so-called Israel Lands Administration (ILA) . . . endorsed a huge . . . scheme which will be established on the ruins of the Palestinian homes and lands in Nozha neighborhood in Jaffa. . .
____ILA claims that the Palestinian residents who live in this area will be expelled under pretext that these lands are “state owned” and that the Palestinians are illegally living in them and they will be compensated if they agree to leave.
(More. . .)

From THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
REPORT: PALESTINIAN REFUGEES TOPPED 36,000 IN EUROPE
June 19, 2015
LONDON, (PIC)– 36,450 Palestinian refugees fleeing war-torn Syria reached Europe between 2011 and June 2015, Action Group for Palestinian refugees in Syria said in a report issued Friday.
. . . .
____The 36,450 refugees arrived to Europe via the so-called “boats of death” risking their lives after being forced to flee their homes in Syria and to live again uncertain lives as refugees, the report said.
(More. . .)

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
RAFAH CROSSING CLOSES AFTER WEEK OPEN
June 19, 2015
GAZA (Ma’an) — The Egyptian authorities closed the Rafah crossing into and out of Gaza Friday after a week of being opened.
____The head of the department of crossings and borders in Gaza, Maher Abu Sabha, said that he is hopeful the crossing will be reopened again next week, adding that there remain 12,000 Palestinians registered to travel.
____On Friday, 450 people departed Gaza through the crossing and 88 others entered, while 10 were denied entry with no reasons specified.
. . . .
____In recent years, the Egyptian authorities have only rarely opened the Rafah crossing — Gaza’s only connection to the outside world.
(More. . .)

One of the larger refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, Dheisheh is home to some 15,000 people squeezed into one square kilometer.
One of the larger refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, Dheisheh is home to some 15,000 people squeezed into one square kilometer.

From THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ROOFTOP GARDENS GIVE REFUGEES ROOM TO BREATHE
June 9, 2015
In the narrow alleys of Dheisheh refugee camp in the occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem, Muaath Atef points to a rooftop. “There, that’s a nice bit of plastic,” he laughs. Behind that bit of plastic lies a garden set up by Karama, a volunteer community organization in the camp.
____Atef works with Karama, which runs after school activities and summer camps for local children. Three years ago, the group began setting up “micro-farms” on the rooftops of some 20 families in the camp.
____“There was a need and we tried to address it,” Yasser Al-Haj, Karama’s director, explains, adding that projects are chosen and implemented according to the demands of the community and not according to the whims of foreign funders.
(More. . .)

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
REPORT: HAMAS MILITARY WING CLAIMS RESPONSIBILITY FOR FRIDAY SHOOTING
June 20, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) – Hamas military wing Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades reportedly claimed responsibility for Friday’s West Bank shooting that left an Israeli man dead and another lightly injured.
____“One of the fighters ambushed a settler vehicle and shot at them from point-blank range after having observed the area continuously” . . . .
____The statement identified the “Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha Brigade” as the affiliated group directly behind Friday’s shooting, adding that “the operation was carried out days before the first anniversary of the martyrs Marwan Qawasmeh and Amir Abu Eisha.”
(More. . .)

“ANY REFUGEES IN THE WORLD,” BY LAHAB ASSEF AL-JUNDI

what is the first thing that comes to mind
when you hear of refugees?
what terror drove them out of their homes?
are they getting help?
what is being done for their safe return?

are Palestinians any different from any other refugees?
is not their simple right
to return to the land they were driven from?

why are they being asked to settle
for money?
who designated the Palestinians as the chosen people
to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West?
why do politicinas tell them
too much time has passed
when their grievance
is with people who went back after 2000 years?

between continued warfare and annihilation
coexistence beckons
as the only
honorable
demographic.

time for peace
now.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi was born of Palestinian refugee parents and grew up in Damascus, Syria. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Not long after graduation, he discovered his passion for writing. He published his first poetry collection, A Long Way, in 1985. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and many anthologies including Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry, edited by Hayan Charara, and Between Heaven and Texas, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

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. Available from Barnes & Noble.

C A L E N D A R

• Nakba Museum Project of Memory and Hope, June 13-27
• Upcoming group delegations to Palestine/Israel
. . . o Interfaith Peace Builders Delegation
. . . o 2015 Sabeel Witness Visit

Palestinians raise Hamas flags at what remains of the house of Hussam Qawasmeh, accused by Israel of being part of the plot to kidnap three hitchhikers. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)Palestinians raise Hamas flags at what remains of the house of Hussam Qawasmeh, accused by Israel of being part of the plot to kidnap three hitchhikers. (AFP/Hazem Bader, File)

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