“. . . the beaker of our ablution has been sold to a tourist from California . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

Ayman Odeh
Threats on his life are not “a culture off death.” Palestinian  political leader Ayman Odeh heads the Joint List. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse /Ahmad Gharabli)

❶ Netanyahu says Palestinians have ‘culture of death’
❷ Israeli extremist detained after death threats
Palestinians Call On Oscar Nominees To Reject Israel Propaganda Trip
❹ Italian municipalities demand Israel stop building fence in Bethlehem
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHY  HERZOG’S  DIPLOMATIC  PLAN  LOOKS  AN  AWFUL  LOT  LIKE  APARTHEID
❻ Poetry by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
NETANYAHU  SAYS  PALESTINIANS  HAVE  ‘CULTURE  OF  DEATH’
Feb. 11, 2016
Members of the Knesset on Wednesday argued the possibility of a two-state solution at a special plenum debate, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian “terror” came from a “culture of death,” according to a Knesset press release.
___During the debate, the Israeli PM and Israel’s Labor party opposition leader Isaac Herzog exchanged criticisms over the “most realistic” way to obtain a two-state solution.  More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  MK:  ISRAELI  EXTREMIST  DETAINED  AFTER  DEATH  THREATS
Feb. 11, 2016
A far-right Israeli extremist was reportedly detained after threatening the life of Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Ayman Odeh.
___The MK, member of the Joint List party, said the extremist was detained by Israeli police who carried out investigations into comments left by the Israeli on social media.
___Odeh said he held Israeli authorities “fully responsible” for violations committed against Palestinians, slamming attempts by the Israeli right to prevent Palestinians from realizing their rights.     More . . .
MONDOWEISS
PALESTINIANS  CALL  ON  OSCAR  NOMINEES  TO  REJECT  ISRAEL  PROPAGANDA  TRIP
Activism Palestinian BDS National Committee
Feb. 10, 2016
Palestinian human rights activists are calling on Oscar nominees not to accept travel vouchers supplied by the Israeli government as part of the gift bag . . . .
___A statement from the Israeli ministry of tourism boasted that its initiative is a chance to have “leading opinion-formers” share their visit “among millions of fans and followers”.
___Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said:
___“There are no Hunger Games in Gaza . . . .”    More . . .

1-Apartheid-wall
Israel’s Apartheid Wall at Bethlehem. (MEMO file photo)

THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
ITALIAN  MUNICIPALITIES  DEMAND  ISRAEL  STOPS  BUILDING  FENCE  IN  BETHLEHEM
Feb. 12, 2016
The National Association of Italian Municipalities has called for the Italian Foreign Minister Paulo Jantelaun to ask the Israeli authorities to stop excavation work and the building of new fence in Bethlehem . . . .
___Italian national TV reported the mayor of the Italian city of Prato Mathieu Pefoni saying in a letter sent to Jantelaun: “I would like to draw your attention towards what is going on in Palestinian Bethlehem. The Israeli authorities are building a new fence and carrying out an excavation campaign.”
___Pefoni said that the fence and new excavations “threaten the natural and cultural heritage of this area.”    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
WHY  HERZOG’S  DIPLOMATIC  PLAN  LOOKS  AN  AWFUL  LOT  LIKE  APARTHEID
Neve Gordon
Feb. 11, 2016
Looking closely at Labor’s plan, the logic behind it becomes clear: since it is difficult to envision a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future, Israel should no longer be ashamed of putting Palestinians in Bantustans.
On Sunday night, Israel’s Labor Party unanimously approved their leader’s diplomatic plan.
Labor’s premier Isaac Herzog laid out his vision . . . that he “wish[es] to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.”  More . . .  

“THERE  WAS  A  VILLAGE  CALLED  SIREEN,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

(“A Palestinian village whose feudal owner sold it for a kiss through a pane of glass…”)

Nothing remained of Sireen after the auction
apart from you, little prayer rug,
because a mother slyly stole you
and wrapped up her son who’d been sentenced to cold
and weaning – and later to sorrow and longing.

It’s said there was a village, a very small village,
on the border between sun’s gate and earth.
It’s said that the village was twice sold ―
once for a measure of oil
and once for a kiss through a pane of glass.

The buyers and sellers rejoiced at its sale,
the year the submarine was sunk,
in our twentieth century.

And in Sireen ― the buyers went over the contract ―
were white-washed houses, lovers, and trees,
folk poets, peasants, and children.
(But there was no school ―
and neither tanks
nor prisons.)
The threshing floors, the colour of golden wine,
and the graveyard
were a vault meant for life and death,
and the vault was sold!

People say that there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat along with civilization!

“And the axe is laid at the root of the tree…”
And once again at the root of the tree,
as one dear brother denies another
and existence. Officer of the orbits…
attend, O knight of death,
but don’t give in ―
death is behind us and also before us.
Knight of death, attend,
there is no time to retreat ―
darkness crowds us and now has turned
into a rancid butter,
and the forest too is full,
the serpents of blood have slithered away
and the beaker of our ablution has been
sold to a tourist from California!
There is no time now for ablution.

People say there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat, along with civilization!

From: Samih al-Qasim. SADDER  THAN  WATER:  NEW  &  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Nazih Kassis. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006. Available from Amazon.
About Samih al-Qasim.

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