“. . . this purgatory Of sorrow In the Holy Land. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

1-DEMOLITION
Palestinian homes demolished in Beit Sahour by Israeli Occupation Forces, January 31, 2006. (Photo: The Applied Research Institute – Jerusalem)

❶ Israeli Military Vows Collective Punishment against Bethlehem Village
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Collective Punishment [Geneva Conventions]
❷ Netanyahu, Lieberman discuss death penalty for Palestinian prisoners
❸ Nakba without end: Memories of shattered Palestinian communities in Syria
❹ Hundreds of academics call for boycott of genocide conference in Israel
❺ Opinion/Analysis: SOWING  STEADFASTNESS,  HARVESTING  HOPE
❻ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  MILITARY  VOWS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  AGAINST  BETHLEHEM  VILLAGE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 23, 2016
The Israeli military last night threatened to consider collective punishments against the Palestinian residents of al-Khader, a village located south of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
___Witnesses told WAFA that Israeli troops distributed sheets warning the entire village about potential collective punishments, IN CASE LOCAL YOUTHS CONTINUE TO ATTACK WITH STONES ISRAELI VEHICLES passing outside the village.      MORE . . .  
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  [GENEVA  CONVENTIONS]
Crimes of War
Daoud Kuttab
For 14 years, George Qumsieh [built a home] in the West Bank town of Beit Sahour. . . . [In February 1981] Israeli soldiers arrived at the home [near Bethlehem] to arrest their youngest son, Walid, age 15. The army accused Walid of having thrown stones . . . .
___The following day . . .  Members of an Israeli engineering brigade placed the explosives and blew up the Qumsieh stone house. . . .
___Under the 1949 Geneva Conventions, collective punishments are a war crime.
MORE . . .
RELATED (UN REPORT OF QUMSIEH INCIDENT)  

❷ NETANYAHU,  LIEBERMAN  DISCUSS  DEATH  PENALTY  FOR  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS
Middle East Monitor
May 23, 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and the head of Yisrael Beitenu Avigdor Lieberman are nearing a deal to execute Palestinians involved in fighting the occupation, Al-Araby Al-Jadeed reported yesterday.
___Israel’s Haaretz newspaper reported that Israelis who carry out deadly attacks against Palestinians would not be subject to this law because the law would only be enforced by military trials, settlers and Israeli nationals are tried in civil courts.
___If this happened, tens of Palestinians could be sentenced to death. . . .     MORE . . .
BACKGROUND . . .   

❸ NAKBA  WITHOUT  END:  MEMORIES  OF  SHATTERED  PALESTINIAN COMMUNITIES  IN  SYRIA
Middle East Eye
Tom Rollins
May 17, 2016
On 15 May 2011, thousands of Palestinian refugees from Syria are marching towards Syria’s long, quiet border with Israel. Even though the protests are not as big as the organisers promised, it is both a symbolic and physical statement [. . . .]
___Palestinian-Syrian displacement, memory and loss is not history, it is happening right now. In recent weeks and months, Yarmouk camp, the beating-heart of the Palestinian-Syrian diaspora, has seen some of its fiercest clashes . . . .      MORE . . .

❹ HUNDREDS  OF  ACADEMICS  CALL  FOR  BOYCOTT  OF  GENOCIDE  CONFERENCE  IN  ISRAEL
Palestine News Network
May 23, 2016
In a letter to the International Network of Genocide Scholars (INoGS), 270 academics from 19 countries have called for the cancellation of the 5th Global Conference on Genocide taking place on 26-29 June at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
___The letter sent to the organizers of the conference on the 3rd of May points at the hypocrisy of having the conference in Israel at a time when Israel’s actions are “increasingly being viewed through lenses of ethnic cleansing and genocide linked to settler colonialism”. The signatories call on scholars and professionals to boycott the conference should it go ahead.      MORE . . .

daoud nassar
Daoud Nassar stands near a lone fig tree, the only tree remaining standing after Israeli authorities bulldozed his family’s grove of some 1,500 fruit trees near the West Bank village of Nahalin, June 3, 2014. (Photo: Activetills.org)

❺ Opinion/Analysis:  SOWING  STEADFASTNESS,  HARVESTING  HOPE
The Electronic Intifada
Claire Thomas
May 19, 2016
The view from Daoud Nassar’s farm southwest of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank is very different from what it was when he was a child.
___Pointing to the five Israeli settlements that surround the farm, he asked, “People come from outside and they can build houses and here I’m not allowed to build one house.”
___Daoud’s family has farmed and lived on their 100 acres of land ever since his grandfather purchased it a hundred years ago this month. The Nassars marked the centennial with a week of celebrations.      MORE . . . 

“PSALMS OF THE PALESTINIANS,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM

From here
From this purgatory
Of sorrow
In the Holy Land
The orphaned birds beseech
Mankind
From here
From Jenin
From Old Jerusalem
Alleluia.

Once
A Gaza tune of yearning
Played
Once
The sad refrain
Kindled tragedy
In refugee tents
Once
In Jerusalem
The little ones chanted
We shall return
We shall return
Alleluia.

The birds nest on our roof
The sparrow flies
In the horizon
And in exile
Under the hot sun
In the wind
Hearts―eyes
Implored:
God of glory
Return us
Our trial
Has gone on too long!
Alleluia―Alleluia

And then it happened
The metallic eagles swept down
They did not bring the sons of Zion
To Zion
Not the remaining crowds
They did not bring
Pious psalms
To the wailing wall
God of Glory!
What did they bring?
Do not ask me
For in my voice a pagan flame
Burns
And listen O God of Glory
Listen to the outcry of a dispossessed people
We have been tested long enough
We have carried the weight of centuries
Long enough
―Why aren’t you convinced?―
Our days of trial have been too long
So
Return us―Return us
Alleluia―Alleluia―Alleluia.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE.  Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970. Available from Amazon.
Interview with
Samih al-Qasim (August 20, 2014)

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