“. . . windows of the sky closed, And the city held its breath . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

Sanaa balboul
Sanaa Balboul stands with her daughter Nuran in front of a banner dedicated to her slain husband and hunger-striking sons on Aug. 2, 2016 (MaanImages/Jaclynn Ashly)

❶ Israeli forces have cracked down on 21 Al-Aqsa employees in past 10 days, Waqf says
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Jordan: Israeli practices against Al-Aqsa fuel global extremism

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli court confirms administrative detention of hunger-striking Balboul brothers
❸ Soldiers Prevent Twelve Bethlehem Families From Visiting With Their Detainees Sons

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❹ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  HAVE  CRACKED  DOWN  ON  21  AL-AQSA  EMPLOYEES  IN  PAST  10  DAYS,  WAQF  SAYS
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 8, 2016
Israeli forces have detained, summoned and banned 21 Palestinian employees of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in the past 10 days, a Waqf spokesperson said on Monday.
___Firas al-Dibs, the head of Waqf public relations, said that Israel had banned 10 Waqf employees from the Al-Aqsa compound for periods of time ranging from five days to six months.
___Al-Dibs himself was briefly detained before being banned from accessing the religious site for six months.       MORE . . .    
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) JORDAN:  ISRAELI  PRACTICES  AGAINST  AL-AQSA  FUEL  GLOBAL  EXTREMISM
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
August 8, 2016
Israel’s continued aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque will “inflame and stimulate the environment that increases the behaviour of extremism and hatred all over the world”, the Committee of Palestine in the Jordanian government warned yesterday.
___In a statement, the committee said: “Jordan has a firm position in support of Jerusalem and the holy sites therein. It calls on Israel to respect all agreements, international conventions and various bilateral and multilateral treaties regarding the situation within the city of Jerusalem.”      MORE . . .         RELATED . . .

From:  Abu Sway, Mustafa. “Al-Aqsa Mosque: Do Not Intrude!” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 108-113.

. . .  Meddling in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque could destabilize the region and beyond. Any forced entry . . . is tantamount to a clear violation of the sanctity of the mosque. Not only do the Israeli occupation authorities prevent freedom of movement and freedom of worship, they interfere . . .  restricting the-meaning of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the southernmost building, Qibli Mosque, rather than all 144 dunums or 36 acres. The Israeli occupation authorities consider the open yards within Al-Aqsa Mosque as belonging to public parks. . . .
___In doing so, the Israeli occupation authorities justify their own role in permitting and protecting extremist Israelis’ and others’ entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound against the will of the Waqf administration. . . . These forced entries . . . lead to Israeli occupation security forces attacking and arresting protesters and restricting their entry into the mosque. . . The security situation deteriorated with many unfortunate incidents that were linked to Israeli policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The climax was the occupation authorities’ decision to totally close Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslims at the end of October 2014, for the first time since 1967. Even Israeli commentators said that these policies could lead to a religious war.  [. . . .]
___For the last 1,400 years, Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was under Islamic sovereignty except during the Crusades and Israeli occupation . . .  ongoing since 1967.  Israel continues to disregard United Nations resolutions according to which it should have ended its occupation . . .. . . .  Various measures make freedom of movement and worship a thing of the distant past. It is the extreme Israeli occupation policies and practices in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to a long list of violations of international law (land confiscation, building colonies, house demolitions as collective punishment, revocation of residency, etc.), that undermine prospects for peace.     FULL ARTICLE

❷ ISRAELI  COURT  CONFIRMS  ADMINISTRATIVE  DETENTION  OF  HUNGER- STRIKING  BALBOUL  BROTHERS
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 7, 2016
An Israeli military court at the Ofer detention center near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday decided to confirm the administrative detention sentence of Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, two brothers from Bethlehem who have been on hunger strike since the beginning of July.
___According to a statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the court rejected an appeal by the committee’s lawyers to reduce the sentence.
___Muhammad, a dentist, was sentenced to six months of administrative detention, while Mahmoud, a Master’s student at al-Quds University, was sentenced to five months.
___Mahmoud Balboul has been on hunger-strike since July 5, and Muhammad since July 7.    MORE . . .  

aqa detentions
Israeli police arrested both of the director of the rehabilitation committee, Bassam al Hallaq and other five employees, August 7, 2016 (Photo: Alray-Palestinian MediaAgency)

❸ SOLDIERS  PREVENT  TWELVE  BETHLEHEM  FAMILIES  FROM  VISITING  WITH  THEIR  DETAINEES  SONS
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 8, 2016
The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Monday, that Israeli soldiers prevented twelve Palestinian families, from the West Bank district of Bethlehem, from heading to prisons to visit with their detained family members, and tore their permits.
___The Committee stated that the soldiers stopped the families at military roadblocks, and tore their permits, before forcing them back.
___The Committee added that such violations have been seriously escalating and that a number of families filed complaints with the Israeli Prison Authority, especially since they already obtained permits from Israel.      MORE . . .   

From:  Sela, Ronit. “Freedom of Movement V. Restrictions on Movement under the Two Legal Systems.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 31-38.

Freedom of movement is one area — though certainly not the only one — in which the dual legal system has a decisive influence on the daily life of residents of the West Bank and on their basic human rights. Restriction ot movement infringes not only upon the right to freedom of movement but rather violates a range of rights. For Palestinians, those restrictions impact where a person can live, whether family members will be able to come and visit, how fast one can reach a hospital, which opportunities for studies and employment are available, and much more. In the West Bank, freedom of movement is a function of nationality. The movement of Israelis is permitted in the vast majority of the region, e primary restriction imposed on Israeli citizens is that they are forbidden from entering the large Palestinian cities of Area A, which amounts to 18% of the West Bank. While settlers’ freedom of movement is not completely unencumbered, they do enjoy freedom of movement in all significant domains of their daily life, moving freely within and between the settlements as well as into Israel proper, and using the main thoroughfares available.
___The situation of the Palestinians is completely different. For them, numerous restrictions limit their movement to, from and even within a given district of the West Bank. The many prohibitions imposed by the army throughout the West Bank are enforced through physical barriers, such as the Separation Wall, concrete roadblocks and inspection checkpoints. The rigid restrictions on travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and into  erusalem have bred a dependency on the army for receiving limited and conditional entrance permits.    FULL ARTICLE.

` ` ` ` `

“MY SAD CITY,” BY FADWA TUQAN
(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)

The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gaging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Burdened,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.
Obituary for Fadwa Tuqan, 2003.

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