“. . . We raise in the sky a glorying arc . . .” (Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh)

Khirbet Tell an Himma, Mass home demolitions five days later. Sep. 27, 2016. (Photo: EAPPI/E. Mutschler)

❶ UN condemns demolition and seizure of donor-funded structures in Palestinian [Bedouin] communities

  • Background:  “Demolitions And Amendments: Coping With Cultural Recognition And Its Denial In Southern Israel.” Nomadic Peoples

❷ Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian-owned agricultural structures in Qalqilya
❸ Israel preparing to build thousands of housing units in settlements after Trump was elected
❹ POETRY by Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 11, 2016
The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper Thursday condemned Israeli activities in the occupied Palestinian territory that has obstructed the international agency from assisting Palestinian communities, calling the policies “illegal” with the intention of “creating an entirely new reality on the ground.”
___According to a statement, the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli army on Nov. 7 “seized nine donor-funded tents (two of which were not yet erected)” in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khirbet Tell al-Himma . . . . The materials were provided to the community as humanitarian aid in response to earlier demolitions carried out by Israeli forces on Sept. 27, which left several Palestinian families without shelter.
___“Targeting the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and preventing them from receiving relief – especially as winter sets in – is unacceptable and runs counter to Israel’s obligations as an occupying power,” Piper said in the statement, adding that “sadly, we are seeing more and more of this.”     More . . .      

  • McKee, Emily. “Demolitions And Amendments: Coping With Cultural Recognition And Its Denial In Southern Israel.” Nomadic Peoples 19.1 (2015): 95-119.   Source.

[. . . .]   Bedouin Arabs are permitted within Israel and granted formal citizenship, but only in ways that perpetuate their outsider status. However, Bedouin Arabs, though legal citizens, generally cannot gain substantive citizenship through a multicultural recognition of difference. Because of Israel’s definition as a Jewish state and national anxieties over Jews’ cultural solidarity and their separation from Arabs, Bedouins cannot gain inclusion through assimilation, which would recognise threatening similarities. Instead, Bedouin Arabs must accommodate Zionist nation-building projects by relinquishing their lifestyles and ties to place in order to realise certain benefits of citizenship. Because this pressure to accommodate demands the relinquishing of agropastoral practices that so many Bedouin Arabs have asserted as central to their cultural identity, but also does not invite them to assimilate by adopting Jewish culture, I refer to it as de-cultural. It pushes Bedouin Arabs to act as if they were acultural, individual actors making the ‘rational’ choice to move to planned townships for better amenities. De-cultural accommodation points to a particular mechanism of exclusionary incorporation that centres on simultaneous anxieties about cultural differentiation and ‘rooted’ ties to land. It attempts to remove Bedouins as an obstacle to Jewish nation building.
[. . . .] Through direct and indirect pressure, Bedouin Arabs are pushed to abandon rural residences and denied access to large areas of land for farming or shepherding.
___The granting and regulation of sedentary land rights are key modes of governance, and governments throughout the Middle East have pressured formerly nomadic groups to settle and adopt new livelihoods. A key difference between the sedentarisation pressures facing Bedouins in Israel and those elsewhere in the Middle East is that in Israel this pressure to settle is tied directly to efforts to root Jewish Israeli identity in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. Agricultural communities have been historically important for Zionism, particularly until the 1970s. In symbolic terms, Zionist proponents have drawn on pastoral images of farming to assert reforged connections between ancient Hebrew patriarchs and contemporary Israeli Jews. In material terms, international organisations, and later the Israeli state, founded and subsidised farming communities (e.g., kibbutzim and moshavim) to establish control over newly acquired lands, create a self-sufficient food supply and establish segregation between Jewish and Arab residents.    [. . . .] 

Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 10, 2016
Israeli bulldozers early Thursday morning, escorted by Israeli forces, demolished two agricultural structures in the occupied West Bank district of Qalqilya under claims they were built without Israeli-issued building permits.
___According to local sources, the Israeli army raided the western district of Qalqilya and demolished a room belonging to Abdulbaset Khayzaran used for agricultural purposes. Israeli forces then headed to the al-Zara district in the south of the city and demolished a room and water tank owned by Hilme Aba also used for agricultural purposes.
___The mayor of Qalqilya, meanwhile, condemned the demolitions, calling the move a “savage act” that aims to expel Palestinians from the lands, and demanded that international authorities protect Palestinian farmers from Israeli aggressions. More . . . 

The Givat Hamatos settlement, Dec. 20, 2012 (Photo: AFP)

Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 11, 2016
Israeli Public radio reported Friday morning that the Israeli occupations municipality of Jerusalem is to announce plans to build thousands of settlement units in different parts of the city, which had been frozen because of the international criticism of settlement activity in the last three years.
___According to Israeli radio Meir Turgeman, head of the local committee for construction in Israeli municipality of Jerusalem announced that he intends to approve thousands of settlement housing units that have been freeze because of the international political pressures, especially those which the United States exercised by the current us secretary of state John Kerry.       More . . .     

On my way to them, I pass Him by,
(as, on his way, God passes me by)
for as we go our separate ways
we see no one but those on high.
The beds are allotted before the violet dawn.
The black and endless night is spent alone
and then the cataclysm comes
that will seed them from the borders of Palestine
the Great Thorn.
They are the only roses that grow.
From where they stalk the edge of paradise
the first paradise.
From where the children use thorns
to draw maps of this paradise.
From this spot.
We raise in the sky a glorying arc
the first milestone to Mecca
and we leave a kiss for those who left
with neither luggage nor papers for their passage.
This is the way the journey will always be.
They leave their bags for the postman to deliver
He takes them from the hands
of those who follow
And those who follow leave their packages
as the first ones do.
It’s hard for the post to make it to paradise.
There is no address
neither here nor there.
—translated by Rachel McCrum

Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh is from Jerusalem. He teaches philosophy, history, and creative writing at Bir Zeit University and the Qattan Center in Ramallah, and is the author of many literary and academic books.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.

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