“. . . the pretense of maintaining Israel’s Jewish and democratic character . . .” (Orly Noy)

1-home demo
Israeli forces demolished a home in the Qalandiya refugee camp in the West Bank, November 16, 2015 (Photo: Majdi Mohammed, STR)

❶ UN ‘gravely concerned’ over imminent home demolitions in Palestinian refugee camp

  • From: Law & Social Inquiry

❷ Israeli forces assault worshipers at Al-Aqsa Mosque, around 10 Muslims worshipers were wounded

  • From: Israel Studies Review

❹ POETRY by ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 26, 2016
The United Nations warned against imminent punitive home demolitions targeting Palestinian families in Qalandiya refugee camp in the central occupied West Bank, putting at least six Palestinian refugees at risk of being left homeless.
___UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for Palestinian refugees, said in a statement on Saturday that it was “gravely concerned” about the Israeli High Court of Justice’s recent rejection of the families’ appeal to save their homes [. . . .]
___The families were notified on June 14 that they had five days to evacuate, after Israeli authorities ruled their homes would be destroyed as punishment for stab attacks carried out by two young members of the families on December 23 at the Jaffa Gate of East Jerusalem’s Old City.
___The two 21-year-old Palestinians, Issa Assaf and Anan Abu Habsa, were shot dead by Israeli police on the scene.      MORE . . .

From: Law & Social Inquiry
Although initially triggered by an individualized act of human agency, the punishment for certain illegal behaviors is usually inflicted upon the product of the illegal labor rather than on the human initiator of this labor. . . .  Why is the house, rather than any other subject or object, the focal center for such legal attention? The infliction of illegality on the house, rather than on any other product of illegal action, is not incidental, and, accordingly, the law is preoccupied with the documentation and regulation of the house.    ___The extensive literature that exists on this subject mostly focuses on the anthropomorphic nature of the house, presenting it as an extension of the self and as an essential ground for personhood (Fenster 2004; Sibley 1996; Radin 1982). However, the struggle over the house/home in the Israeli/Palestinian context is not only over the individual house but also over its collective meaning. . . .
[. . . .]
___Israel demolishes Palestinian houses not only “because they must be made to be afraid,” but also because “they must, to a certain extent, take part in it” (58). Living in constant fear that the next demolition may be inflicted on their home, the distinction between observers and observed is blurred in this instance to the point where “the spectator does not feel at home anywhere, because the spectacle is everywhere.”

  • Braverman, Irus. “Powers Of Illegality: House Demolitions And Resistance In East Jerusalem.” Law & Social Inquiry 32.2 (2007): 333-372.  SOURCE.

Days of Palestine
June 26, 2016
A large number of Israeli occupation forces stormed Al-Aqsa Mosque and assaulted Muslim worshippers, injuring around ten of them
___“In the very early morning, we were surprised with the ISRAELI FORCES STORMING THE YARDS OF THE MOSQUE WITH A BIG NUMBER OF SETTLERS and foreign tourists,” Omar Kaswani, chief guard of Al-Aqsa Mosque said.
___“We wanted to neutralise the settlers, but the Israeli soldiers, who were protecting them, interfered violently and attacked the worshipers indiscriminately,” he added.    MORE . .

From: Israel Studies Review
. . a law prescribes that any court that convicts an individual for committing various terrorism-related and other security-based offenses will be authorized to revoke citizenship, in addition to the “ordinary” penalties, including life imprisonment. Despite the obvious fact that there are many heinous crimes that can be committed against society, this law applies only to security-oriented crimes. The singling out of these offenses negatively impacts the notion of equality before the law. . . . This choice of offenses is not neutral, but is motivated by the desire to exclude those few Arab citizens of Israel convicted of security-based offenses and to strip them of their citizenship rights, possibly even leading to their deportation.
[. . . . ]
. . . the Israeli legislature has demonstrated a strikingly different approach with regard to other, “patriotic” offenses. The . . . law, which was enacted by the Knesset in February 2010, adopted an ultra-compassionate approach with regard to offenses committed by Israeli right-wing extremists . . . who committed criminal offenses as part of the resistance to the disengagement [from Gaza] plan . . . This legislation violates the principles of rule of law and equality before the law. It prefers some social groups over others, allowing them to commit crimes—including assault in severe circumstances and assault on a police officer—without facing any consequences. The message conveyed by this law is a dangerous one: violence can be forgiven, overlooked, or even considered normative—if it supports the “right” cause.

  • Kremnitzer, Mordechai, and Shiri Krebs. “From Illiberal Legislation To Intolerant Democracy.” Israel Studies Review 26.1 (2011): 4-11.  SOURCE.
Israeli police accompany Jews past the Dome of the Rock mosque during a visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque on April 25, 2016. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

❸ Opinion/Analysis:  THE  ROOTS  OF  ISRAEL’S  MOST  RACIST  LAW
+972 Magazine
Orly Noy
June 24, 2016
[. . . .]
Herein lies the failure with which the Zionist Left refuses to contend: the pretense of maintaining Israel’s Jewish and democratic character is at its core a demographic struggle. In order for the Jewish state to be able to allow itself to be democratic — at least when it comes to individual rights (as opposed to national rights) — vis-à-vis its Arab citizens, it needs a significant demographic advantage. Only then will it be able to tell itself stories about democracy when it comes to a national minority without endangering the Jewish character it is so intent on maintaining. This is precisely why since its founding the state has refrained from establishing a new Arab city, despite population growth and a housing crisis in Arab society. This is why the state needs the Jewish National Fund to continue and “Judaize” land. This is why the state needs legislation that unabashedly restricts the growth of the minority.      MORE . . .

(A salute to Prince Saud Ibn ‘Abd al’Aziz when he visited the poet’s town,
‘Anabta, on August 14, 1935.)

Honorable Prince! Before you stands a poet
whose heart harbors bitter complaint.
Have you come to visit the Aqsa mosque
or to bid it farewell before its loss?
This land, this holy land, is being sold to all intruders
and stabbed by its own people!
And tomorrow looms over us, nearer and nearer!
Nothing shall remain for us but our streaming tears,
our deep regrets.

Oh, Prince, shout, shout! Your voice
might shake people awake!
Ask the guards of the Aqsa: are they all agreed to struggle
as one body and mind?
Ask the guards of the Aqsa: can a covenant with God
be offered to someone, then lost?
Forgive the complaint, but a grieving heart needs to complain
to the Prince, even if it makes him weep.
―Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye
(This poem gained great fame later on because of its prophetic words about the imminent loss of Palestine.)

About ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.


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