“. . . for my city’s sake, raped and abused . . .” (Harun Hashim Rasheed)

PLEASE NOTE: The content of this blog is slightly changed: it presents fewer news items and gives more background for those items. This will provide deeper understanding of the issues shaping the news. All articles without direct links can be found through an EBSCO search in any library with online databases. 

Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (Photo: November 13, 2015, Harold Knight)

❶ Israeli calls for collective break-ins into al-Aqsa
❷ Israeli Justice Minister: West Bank settlements will continue
❸ Retracing Jaffa’s erased Palestinian history (Photo essay)
❺ POETRY by Harun Hashim Rasheed
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
The Palestinian Information Center
May 26, 2016
Israeli extremist groups have called on Thursday for collective break-ins into al-Aqsa Mosque on the 5th of June that coincides with the occupation of the eastern part of Jerusalem. According to Quds Press, the extremist groups called through social media for massive participation in collective break-ins into the Islamic holy shrine and Talmudic rituals in its plazas to celebrate what they called “the anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.” Israeli police will provide security protection for the plan, the groups pointed out.      MORE . . . 

Jerusalem is an arena of conflicting and competing visions of both the past and the future. While Israeli political and military control over both halves of the city has not been disputed since its occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, there is no sense in which the Zionist imaginary of a Jewish city has been achieved or is irreversible. This has meant that alternative visions of the city, both ethno-national and eschatological in nature, continue to vie for dominance and act as mobilizing forces for dissident groups.
___This battle for the sacred is most famously played out on Jerusalem’s ancient fault­ line: the Jewish “Temple Mount” [ Har haBayit] or the Muslim “Noble Sanctuary” [al­ Haram al-Sharif] , the site of the Western (Wailing) Wall and the only visible remainder of the second Jewish Temple and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the place of Muhammad’s legendary night journey to Heaven. While scholars have extensively charted the historic conquests and religious imaginings that imbue this revered 66 square acre compound, our interest is in its contemporary politicization as a dynamic symbol and site of Israeli­ Zionist domination and Palestinian-Muslim resistance.

  • Larkin, Craig, and Michael Dumper. “In Defense Of Al-Aqsa: The Islamic Movement Inside Israel And The Battle For Jerusalem.” Middle East Journal 66.1 (2012): 31-52.

Palestine News Network
May 26, 2016
The Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked on Tuesday night promised that her government will continue settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
___Shaked’s statement came during the opening of a new school in Itamar illegal settlement.  MORE . . .

Since 1967, Israeli policy in the West Bank (referred as Judea and Samaria by Israel since 1967) have been to create facts on the ground by annexing land without its people, by constructing enclaves within and a round the Palestinian built-up areas.
___Since 1967, Israel has been attempting to create facts on the ground that would forever link East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem and Israel. Israel has been trying to limit Palestinian natural growth as much as possible. . .
___According to many Israeli criticisms, settlement polices considers as a problematic issue for both Palestinian and Israeli communities, this is due to many reasons such as the way the settlements damage the Arab-Jewish relations, the negative influence of the settlements on the Israelis security, the role of settlements in deepen the social disparities, and the way the settlements generate a massive waste of resources. In spite of that, Israel continue constructing settlements as a part of its national strategy. . .

  • Thawaba, Salem A. “Jerusalem Walls: Transforming and Segregating Urban Fabric.” African & Asian Studies 10.2/3 (2011): 121-142. EBSCO.

The Electronic Intifada
Silvia Boarini
24 May 2016
In mid-May, when Israeli Jews celebrate Independence Day, Palestinians commemorate the Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people from cities and villages across Palestine that began in December 1947 and intensified throughout 1948, both before and after the declaration of the State of Israel.
___This process of removing Palestinians from their land continues in various forms to this very day.
___Palestinian refugees as a whole have never been allowed to exercise their right to return to their homeland.      MORE . . .  

In Jaffa, 4,000 Palestinians–a mixture of original inhabitants and refugees from surrounding villages–were gathered in the southern Ajami neighborhood while their houses in other parts of the city, or the surrounding villages, were occupied or destroyed. In June 1948 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary: “Jaffa will be a Jewish city. War is war.” Less than a year later he reported to the Israeli parliament that 45,000 new Jewish immigrants had been settled in the city’s “abandoned” homes.
[. . . .]
___A look at the Judaization of Jaffa’s Old City illustrates something of what Israeli policymakers have in mind for the Ajami neighborhood. The heart of the Old City today has been totally renovated, with Palestinian residents long gone. Spotless pedestrian walkways weave between buildings that once served as Palestinian homes, shops and factories and now have been transformed into expensive restaurants, galleries and gift shops for foreign and Israeli tourists. The simple fact that the asking price is beyond the range of the average Jaffa Palestinian would prevent them from even attempting to move into the area.

  • Humphries, Isabelle. “The Nakba Continues: The Ethnic Cleansing Of Jaffa’s Ajami Neighborhood.” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 27.5 (2008): 14-15.
Evidence of Israeli “transfer” of land, Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 18, 2015)

The Palestinian Information Center
Kamel Hawwash
May 22, 2016
The cricket season is in full swing in England and this was possibly playing on my mind when I read this headline in Haaretz: “Israel seized Palestinian family’s East Jerusalem land behind its back, gave it to settler NGO.”
___My immediate reaction was this is simply not cricket, a British term used to describe an act that is unfair, not honest, or immoral. . . .  Israel expropriated the land from the Abu Ta’ah family in East Jerusalem without a tender and against the rules, then handed it over to Amana, an organisation that works to establish settlements and outposts for Jews.
MORE . . .  

“POEM TO JERUSALEM,” Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)

For the sake of a city that’s imprisoned,
for its Dome and Aqsa Mosque,
for the annihilated sanctuary
where Muhammad’s feet once stood,
for all this city has endured,
and for all it has preserved,
for Mary and Jesus,
for all the beings she has known,
for my city’s sake,
raped and abused,
on its wounded brow
God’s words are effaced.

I call on all our dead
and all our living
with verses from the Bible
if only they could hear
with verses from the Quran
in the name of God
calling the young among them and the very old
calling them from my depths
to every brave fighter
I tell them the struggle is for Jerusalem
I call on them to resolve and have faith
tell them how Jerusalem’s sanctity is wounded
I call upon them all to help Jerusalem
She cannot wait any longer,
she overflows with grief.

From the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf
I call upon you in the name of God
with the purity of anger I beseech you
for the city with the humiliated eyes
I call you in your name,
I call my Arab people.
―translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)
Born in Gaza, poet Harun Hashim Rasheed witnessed, as a child, British soldiers demolishing his and his neighbors’ home in reprisal against Palestinian rebels, an incident which left a deep mark on him as a poet. After obtaining a Higher Teacher Training Diploma from Gaza College, he worked as a teacher until 1954. He then became director of the Sawt Al-Arab broadcasting station in Gaza. After the fall of Gaza to the Israelis in 1967, he was harassed by the Israeli occupation forces and was eventually compelled to leave. He has had a long and illustrious career as a Palestinian poet and literary figure in exile.

From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.


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