“. . . Where’s my father now? So we might join hands . . .” (Waleed al-Halees)

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A still from July 2013 video footage taken by Israeli human rights watchdog group B’Tselem – The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories – shows five-year-old Wadi Maswadeh and his younger sister with an unknown adult surrounded by soldiers before Wadi’s arrest

❶ Israeli forces detain alleged ‘Hamas cell’ behind Jerusalem bus explosion
❷ Switzerland gets active on Palestinian reconciliation
❸ Report: “Israel Issued 729 Administrative Detention Orders This Year”
❺ POETRY by Waleed al-Halees
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
May 29, 2016
The Israeli army announced on Sunday that Israel’s internal security service agency had apprehended six Palestinians belonging to a “Hamas terror cell” allegedly behind a Jerusalem bus explosion in April.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that the Shin Bet agency had detained Palestinians in the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem in past weeks, over their alleged involvement in a group which planned an explosion on a bus in southern Jerusalem on April 18 [. . . .]
___The Hamas movement claimed responsibility for the explosion . . .    MORE . . .   

Why and how young men choose to join violent terrorist/military organisations – often using their bodies as deadly weapons – is a matter that continues to puzzle social scientists and the policy world, as well as society at large. This enduring question, which is ultimately about humanity and the allure of violence, has become particularly salient given the changing nature of the global landscape concerning security development. [. . . .]
___Hamas is particularly interesting because of its unique positioning as a legal, democratic, legitimate political actor, as a terrorist organisation, as a paramilitary force, and as a social association. Hamas has used both suicide bombings and rocket attacks as part of its political struggle against Israelis, and has been classified as a terrorist organisation by the EU and the US, as well as by Russia, Israel, Japan and Canada. However, the Arabic “Islamist” party democratically won the 2006 Palestinian Legislative Council elections, with a political platform that underlines Shari’a as the basis of the law. Thereafter Hamas has reduced their “terrorist” activity.

  • Malmström, Maria Frederika. “Porous Masculinities: Agential Political Bodies Among Male Hamas Youth.” Etnográfica: Revista Do Centro De Estudos De Antropologia Social 19.2 (2015): 301-322.   ARTICLE . . .   

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Melhem
May 27, 2016
Paul Garnier, the Swiss ambassador to Palestine, visited the Gaza Strip through the Beit Hanoun (Erez) crossing, which is controlled by Israel, twice in a short period. The first visit was on April 6, and the second on May 9. These visits attest to the Swiss’ intensified action regarding reconciliation between Hamas and Fatah, hoping to overcome the division that has plagued the Palestinian scene since 2007.      MORE . . .  

Oslo is history. Twenty years have passed since the last significant peace accord between the Israelis and the Palestinians. The intervening years have been marked by an intifada and three military interventions in Gaza by the Israel Defense Forces that have left around seven thousand Palestinians and one thousand Israelis dead. The so-called “Peace Process” is in tatters and there seems to be no way of re-stitching it.
___But the West still can’t let go of the nostalgic image of Bill Clinton inviting the late Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin to shake hands with Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat in September 1993. The handshake was real, but the accord itself was illusory.

  • Casertano, Stefano. “Broken Peaces.” World Affairs 177.5 (2015): 69-74.     ARTICLE . . .    
Rally celebrating the surprise 2006 Hamas election victory in the West Bank (Photo: BBC News, July 11, 2014)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
May 28, 2016
Riyad al-Ashqar, the media spokesperson of The Palestinian Prisoners’ Center for Studies, has reported that the Israeli occupation authorities issued 729 arbitrary Administrative Detention orders, since the beginning of this year, and that most of the orders were renewals of previous ones.
___Al-Ashqar stated that these numbers are a %35 increase of the same period of last years, when Israel issued 493 orders.        MORE . . .  

Thus, if the authorities could guarantee better conditions to detainees by holding them in Israel, rather than in the OT as required under Article 76 of the Convention, they were conforming with ‘the substantive provisions of the Geneva Convention relating to conditions of detention’. The rhetoric in this judgment would seem to imply that, by holding that the Convention should be interpreted for the benefit of the protected persons, the Court was departing from the approach described above that prefers state interests to the rights of individuals, and was holding that the Convention should be interpreted for the benefit of the protected persons. However, the rhetoric was employed in the concrete case so as to justify the authorities’ refusal to comply with the strict requirements of the Fourth Geneva Convention. The decision therefore appears to be consistent with the general approach of the Court mentioned above, which favors the interpretation that supports the government’s position.

  • Kretzmer, David. “The Law of Belligerent Occupation in the Supreme Court of Israel.” International Review of the Red Cross 94.885 (2012): 207-236. ARTICLE . . .  

The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Asa Winstanley
May 28, 2016
B’Tselem is probably the most influential Israeli human rights group there is.  The group was founded during the first Palestinian intifada, and thus has been working on compiling evidence of violations of Palestinian human rights in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip for more the 25 years.   [. . . .]
___A turning point in the group’s history came this week, as it published a new report titled “The Occupation’s Figleaf”. In it, B’Tselem announced that it would no longer refer complaints of abuses to Israel’s military law enforcement system in the West Bank. [. . . .]
___ The B’Tselem report explains the group’s reasons for this seminal decision: “There is no longer any point in pursuing justice and defending human rights by working with a system whose real function is measured by its ability to continue to successfully cover up unlawful acts and protect perpetrators.”      MORE . . .   

Colonialism is not just about a seminal moment of conquest but rather the implementation of various designs that over decades actively and radically alter laws, land use policies, property rights, and that also reconfigure urban spaces with new city planning strategies.
___Race and new racist logics are crucial to these violent transformations — and they are usually quite violent in one way or another. Israeli governance, I assert in the book**, is consistent with settler-colonialism, a specific form of colonial rule that seeks to replace one group of people with another.  [. . . .]
___What I witnessed in Jerusalem and other places was a Palestinian population increasingly “warehoused” in deeply circumscribed and policed areas — almost completely under Israeli control. These towns, villages, neighborhoods, and refugee camps are often surrounded by Israel’s destructive (and illegal) separation barrier. At the same time, those who resist Israeli military rule (even children as young as 10) are routinely detained and most of these detainees, Israeli and other human rights organizations tell us, are badly beaten or tortured.Interview withThomas Abowd. “Jerusalem: Colonized City.”

  • Against The Current 31.181 (2016): 25-28.     ARTICLE . . .
  • ** Colonial Jerusalem. The Spatial Construction of Identity and Difference in a City of Myth, 1948-2012 (Syracuse University Press, 2014).


[. . . .]
Where’s my father so I might tell him
his seed is not content merely with life,
a faint hope for life?
that a warm womb
is equal to all kinds of life.
Where’s my father now?
So we might join hands
and laugh, spitting, gripping life with force
(no life can be had but by force)
―I swear I’ve lied to God just now
for life taken by force only equals
all the warm wombs of women.
Forgive me, Mother,
Slowly I became the wise child of this life!
[. . . .]
Translated by Lena Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye

from ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press. Waleed al-Halees (b. 1952), a contemporary Palestinian poet from Gaza who currently lives in a compulsory exile, composed a poem entitled, “A Poem on a Closed Summer” in which ‘ among other things ‘ he mentions the hardships and agonies he encounters, but he never despairs.



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