“. . . as if his look could order the rubble to become a house, could restore . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

[NOTE: the background article today is somewhat more technical than usual, but it explains in detail the problem of “collective punishment” and the Israel Supreme Court’s inconsistent rulings on the question. The poetry by Barghouti is one small section of his important major work. The entire poem is available only in the book noted.]

The apartment of Amjad Ilaiwi in Nablus after Israeli forces demolished it, Oct. 11, 2016. (Photo: Ayman Noubani/WAFA)

❶ Israeli forces demolish Nablus home of shooting attack ‘mastermind’

  • Background: “When Does A Court Systematically Deviate From Its Own Principles? The Adjudication By The Israel Supreme Court Of House Demolitions In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Leiden Journal Of International Law

❷ Israel Army Targets Abu Sbeih Family, Their Homes And Stores
❸ IOF demolish agricultural facility in Yatta, level lands in Salfit
❹ IOF opens fire at Palestinian houses, fishermen in Gaza
❺ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 11, 2016
Israeli forces raided the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank early Tuesday morning and demolished the home of Amjad Aliwi, who Israeli intelligence accused of being one of the masterminds of a shooting attack on Oct. 1, 2015 which left two Israeli settlers dead.
___Local sources told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed a three story building in the Khallat al-Eiman neighborhood in southern Nablus where Aliwi’s family lived.      ___Aliwi was one of six men accused in the deadly drive-by shooting, and was sentenced by an Israeli court to two life sentences with an additional 30 years in prison in June.       More . . .

  • HARPAZ, GUY. “When Does A Court Systematically Deviate From Its Own Principles? The Adjudication By The Israel Supreme Court Of House Demolitions In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Leiden Journal Of International Law 28.1 (2015): 31-47.   Source . . .

Anti-terrorist measures may be pursued for the purposes of pre-emption, retribution, deterrence, and pressure. . .  measures adopted for general deterrence purposes are problematic because they treat the subject matter of the measures as a means rather than as an end. Thus even if deterrence can serve as a justification for severe security measures, the required evidentiary-data threshold of the net benefit stemming from security measures should arguably be higher than the one applicable to a measure aimed at pre-emption. Yet in dealing with HD [Home Demolition] measures aimed at general deterrence, the Court faces a greater challenge than when it deals with pre-emptive measures aimed at particular individuals. The question of whether or not a proposed sanction effectively promotes general deterrence does not lend itself easily to strict evidentiary requirements.
[. . . . ] Had the Court adopted its traditional approach on issues of international law, collective punishment, and security necessity, it would have been forced to conclude that HD measures are illegal per se, especially in cases of suicide terrorists whose family members are not at fault. Yet such a result is incompatible with the Court’s own record in security petitions submitted by Palestinians at times of security instability, when the Court has been strongly disinclined to allow petitioners to win through a final Court disposition. Instead the Court has been inclined to exert pressure on the parties to settle, granting the petitioners partial relief and avoiding the need to issue a coercive order which would bring the petitioners into direct, overt conflict with the state.
[. . . .]  When courts are faced with deterrent measures employed in periods of severe security threats and strongly supported by the political establishment and by the public, they may find it difficult to play a counter-majoritarian role and to abide by their own judicial doctrines and principles, particularly when there has been a consistent series of their own verdicts upholding the legality of the proposed measures.

ISRAEL  ARMY  TARGETS  ABU SBEIH  FAMILY,  THEIR  HOMES  AND  STORES       International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Oct. 11, 2016
Since the death of Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israel army and police fire after carrying out a fatal shooting attack in which an Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman were killed, the family, their homes and stores became the target of the Israeli army, police and security forces.
___The soldiers started repeatedly invaded the family’s homes and stores, in the al-Ram town and Kafr Aqab, in occupied Jerusalem, since Misbah was killed after carrying out a drive-by shooting attack, near the Light-Rail stop, close to the Police headquarters, in Jerusalem.     More . . .    

Soldiers conduct military training in front of home in Masafer Yatta (Photo: Christian Peacemakers Teams, Jan. 1, 2016)

Palestine News Network – PNN 
Oct. 10, 2016
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Monday morning have demolished acricultural facility in Masafer Yatta, southern Hebron Hills, and bulldozed lands in Salfit, northern West Bank.
___Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Rateb Jabour, told PNN that IOF demolished the facility, and handed the owner a notice to halt building his home on his property, claiming that the land was “State Property” and he had no permission to build.
___At the same time, Israeli bulldozers and jackhammers were bulldozing, leveling Palestinian lands to the west of Salfit in order to expand Ariel illegal settlement, as reported by PIC.     More . . .    
The Palestinian Information Center
Oct. 11, 2016
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire at Palestinian houses east of Khuzaa town east of Khan Younis to the south of Gaza Strip Monday evening. According to the PIC reporter, Israeli forces opened their machine gun fire at Palestinian homes and agricultural lands near Shuhada School in Khuzaa town.     More . . .  

Excerpt  from  “MIDNIGHT,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI  (pages 86-90)

My grandfather’s cloak gets hooked
on the bulldozer’s teeth.

The bulldozer retreats a few metres,
empties its load,
comes back to fill its huge shovel,
and never has its fill.
Twenty times, the bulldozer
comes and goes,
my grandfather’s cloak still hooked on it.
After the dust and smoke
have cleared from the house that once stood there,
and as I stare at the new emptiness,
I see my grandfather wearing his cloak,
wearing the very same cloak ―
not one similar to it,
but the same one.
He hugs me and maintains a silent gaze,
as if his look
could order the rubble to become a house,
could restore the curtains to the windows,
and my grandmother to her armchair,
as if it could retrieve her coloured medicine pills,
could lay the sheets back on the bed,
could hang the lights from the ceiling,
and the pictures from the walls,
as if his look could return the handles to the doors,
and the balconies to the stairs,
and persuade us to resume our dinner,
as the world had not collapsed,
as if Heaven had ears and eyes.
He goes on staring at the emptiness.
I say:
what shall we do when the soldiers leave?
What will he do when the soldiers leave?
He slowly clenches his fist,
recapturing a boxer’s resolve in his right hand,
his coarse bronze hand,
the hand that tames the thorny slope,
the hand that holds his hoe lightly
and with ease,
the hand which, with a single blow,
splits a tree stump in half,
the hand that opens in forgiveness,
the hand that closes on candy
with which he surprises his grandchildren,
the hand that was amputated
many years ago.

From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Amazon.


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