“. . . A people yearning for their usurped lands . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Destroyed buildings in front of a mosque in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun a year after the war began. (AFP)
Destroyed buildings in front of a mosque in the northern Gaza Strip town of Beit Hanun a year after the war began. (AFP)

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
‘WE HAVE NO HAPPINESS NOW’: PALESTINIANS RECALL HORROR OF GAZA WAR
July 8, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — “Conditions are really tough here,” said 12-year-old Shadi Barakeh. “It’s cold at night and I’m afraid when I hear dogs bark and the wind whistle.”
____”The clothes I have on are the only ones I have left. I go to school in them and wear them in the tent, too.”
____The child’s account is among several testimonies collected by ISRAELI RIGHTS GROUP B’TSELEM looking back on a year since Israel began a bloody offensive on the Gaza Strip that ultimately left more than 2,200 Palestinians dead, most of them civilians.
____The testimonies paint a startling picture of the devastation wrought on ordinary Gazans’ lives during the 50-day conflict.
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
FOREIGN MINISTRY SLAMS ISRAEL’S DECISION TO EXTEND SEPARATION BARRIER INTO CREMISAN VALLEY
July 8, 2015
RAMALLAH (WAFA) – [Palestinian Authority] Ministry of Foreign Affairs, in a statement released on Wednesday, condemned the Israeli government’s decision to build a new section of the Separation Wall in the Cremisan valley near the town of Beit Jala.
____It said the decision allows the confiscation of large swathes of private and state land, undermines the potential of a viable Palestinian state and paves the way for further settlement activities.
____“The building [of the fence] is an ‘assassination’ of the principle of a two-state solution in the full view of the world and the different countries,” the statement said.
____In December 2014, the Assembly of Catholic Ordinaries of the Holy Land (ACOHL) called for taking immediate action against extending the separation barrier into the Cremisan Valley.
(More. . .)

Winery of the Cremisan Brothers Roman Catholic monastery in the Cremisan Valley
Winery of the Cremisan Brothers Roman Catholic monastery in the Cremisan Valley

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI COMMITTEE APPROVES EXPANSION OF JERUSALEM SETTLEMENT
July 8, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A researcher said Tuesday that an Israeli committee for zoning and planning has allocated private Palestinian land to expand the illegal French Hill settlement in East Jerusalem.
____Ahmad Sub Laban, a settlement affairs researcher, told Ma’an that 25 dunams (6 acres) of land from Shufat and al-Issawiya has been allocated to the the settlement area to establish a commercial zone.
____Palestinian residents of Shufat had been trying to obtain licenses to build on the land which was confiscated, but were denied permission by Israel’s Jerusalem municipality.
(More. . .)

❹ Opinion
From ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
CHALLENGING DISCOURSE OF OCCUPATION
Emma Flesche
June 30, 2015
Under international law, occupation is not illegal. There are, however, a number of restrictions and duties placed upon the occupier to ensure the rights of the civilian population of the occupied territory. . . .
____[The] Fourth Geneva Convention. . . [states] that “Occupation is only a temporary situation, and the rights of the occupant are limited to the extent of that period.” Furthermore, the Convention prohibits the forced displacement of the occupied population and confiscation of private property. . . .
____. . . . Israel has violated the rules applying to an occupation power. The occupation is not temporary, protection of civilian rights is not upheld, and forced displacement as well as confiscation of private property occurs regularly.
____Because occupations are not illegal, it is impossible for human rights and legal organisations to end them – it is possible to take Israel to court for war crimes, but not to end the occupation.
(More. . .)

❺ Opinion
From JADALIYYA (ARAB STUDIES INSTITUTE)
PALESTINIAN REFUGEES DESERVE TO LIVE IN DIGNITY
Chris Gunness
July 7, 2015
Allow me to introduce you to Baby Salma from Beit Hanoun in northern Gaza. She is dead. She died of hypothermia in January this year at just forty days old. Her body was drenched in freezing rainwater during the winter storm knows as Huda. Baby Salma was Huda’s youngest victim.
____I met Mirvat, Salma’s mother in Beit Hanoun along with sixteen members of her extended family living in what can only be described as an animal pen. Mirvat shares . . .
____ . . . to date not one single totally destroyed refugee home has been rebuilt. This is partly due to the lack of funds and partly because the residential stream of the mechanism – a simplified process for reconstructing houses — is yet to be finalized. Negotiations to deal with this are reportedly ongoing.
____They need a positive conclusion soon as today 120,000 people in Gaza are homeless – a figure that should shame the international system. It certainly hurts those of us who have advocated tirelessly for rapid steps to help the beleaguered people of Gaza move on in dignity.
(More. . .)

“CUBA,” BY TAWFIQ ZAYYAD

1

My friends in the fertile sugar fields
My friends in the oil refineries in proud Cuba
From my village, my precious home
I send you greetings:
Scented kisses―delicious boxes of sweets
I have for you bouquets of flowers
And songs of magic―the chirping of the birds
I wish I had wings―like an eagle
To carry these gifts.

2

The people of my village tell of many stories
About you.
They tell them proudly―with glowing eyes
With hearts beaming with joy and jealousy
On the golden hills they gather, at high noon,
Under the trees, in the pastures, in the humble lanes
Their conversation is a medley of fire and May, a moving song.
The people in my land love the truly heroic.
My friends who have filled the world with the fragrance of struggle
Keep up the pressure on the imperialists
They have cut my wings.
Within me lies the vengeance of a wounded people
Thrown into the streets
A people yearning for their usurped lands
Press on―the wings of the eagle are stronger
Than the hurricanes,
The imperialists do not understand
The language of humility and tears
They only understand the people surge
To the arena of struggle.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY OF THE SUN: POETRY OF THE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.

Born in the Galilee, Ziad studied literature in USSR.[2] After returning home, he was elected mayor of Nazareth on 9 December 1973, as head of Palestine 48 Rakah, a communist party, a victory that is said to have “surprised and alarmed” Israelis. Elected to the Knesset in the 1973 elections on Rakah’s list, Ziad was active in pressuring the Israeli government to change its policies towards Arabs –
(More. . .)
A popular revolutionary song in Palestine, words by Tawfiq Zayyad

‘I call to you all:
I take your hand and hold it tightly.
I kiss the ground on which you place your feet.
I know that for you I would give my life.
My life I would give for you.

I offer you the light of my eyes,
The fire of my heart:
For this pain that I suffer
Is only a small part of your pain.

I never have sold my country
And I have been willing to serve,
To face the invader with steadfastness and courage,
An orphan willing to die.

Carrying my people on my shoulders,
You will see my flag raised high,
And a mountain clothed in the green of the olive branch
For those who will come after.

I call to you all!’

French  Hill Settlement in East Jerusalem
French Hill Settlement in East Jerusalem

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