“. . . tell them how Jerusalem’s sanctity is wounded . . .” (Harun Hashim Rasheed)

❶ Presidents Abbas and Trump commit themselves to work for a historic peace deal
❷ UNESCO adopts resolution criticizing Israeli policies in Jerusalem, Gaza
❸ Israeli settlers reportedly destroy Palestinian-owned water well near Bethlehem
❹ POETRY by Harun Hashim Rasheed

PRESIDENTS ABBAS AND TRUMP COMMIT THEMSELVES TO WORK FOR A HISTORIC PEACE DEAL
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 3, 2017
WASHINGTON – Presidents Mahmoud Abbas and Donald Trump said Wednesday that they are committed to work together to reach a historic peace deal between the Palestinians and Israelis.
___They said in a joint press conference at the White House that it was important to start a process that will lead to a genuine peace.
___Abbas stressed that his strategic choice is to achieve the two-state solution: Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, to live in security, peace and stability with the State of Israel.
___He said that all final status issues could be resolved, including the refugees and prisoners, based on international law and UN resolutions.
___He stressed that it is time for Israel to end its 50-year-old occupation of the Palestinian territories.
___”We are the only people left in this world under occupation. Israel must recognize the state of Palestine as we recognize the State of Israel,” he said.    MORE . . . .

UNESCO ADOPTS RESOLUTION CRITICIZING ISRAELI POLICIES IN JERUSALEM, GAZA
Ma’an News Agency
May 2, 2017 (Updated: May 3, 2017)
The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) passed a resolution on Tuesday criticizing Israeli policies in occupied East Jerusalem and the besieged Gaza Strip.
___The resolution — which passed with 22 countries in favor, 10 voting against, and 23 abstaining — criticized Israel’s refusal to cease “persistent excavations, tunneling, works, and projects in East Jerusalem,” and stressed that these procedures were illegal under international law.
___“All legislative and administrative measures and actions taken by Israel, the occupying Power, which have altered or purport to alter the character and status of the Holy City of Jerusalem, and in particular the ‘basic law’ on Jerusalem, are null and void and must be rescinded forthwith,” the text read.
___The resolution also reaffirmed the importance of Jerusalem to the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.   MORE . . . .

Jerusalem  must  be  the  capital  of both  Israel  and  Palestine,  and sovereignty must be divided in Jerusalem with clear borders for each side. There is no other way of concluding a peace treaty. But Jerusalem cannot be divided physically without killing the city that we both claim to love and cherish.
___Jerusalem is a living, breathing organism.  Its life is expressed in so many ways every day by the people who live here and by those who come  to  visit,  either  for  religious  expression  of their  faith,  for  business and work,  for entertainment or for tourism.  The first observation that any newcomer to Jerusalem makes, if they are in any way politically and socially aware, is that Jerusalem is the most segregated city in the world. There areno common Israeli-Palestinian areas in the city. Jews and Palestinians do not live together. They largely use different roads and different modes of public transportation. They shop in different areas, they celebrate holidays and family occasions in different spaces. When an Israeli from Jerusalem and a Palestinian from Jerusalem describe their city, they describe two very different places. I know that when I invite Palestinians to visit me in my home in Kiryat Hayovel in southwest Jerusalem, most do not know where it is and have never been there. That never happens when I invite an Israeli. Likewise, when Palestinians invite Israelis, even Jewish Jerusalemites, to their home, for the Israelis it is almost as if there were visiting a foreign city. The only places of commonality in Jerusalem are perhaps the hospitals, where our own human frailty ceases to distinguish between our differing identities, where our illnesses are identically human and where, fortunately, much of the medical teams are both Jews and Palestinians.

  • Baskin, Gershon. “The Blessing of Jerusalem.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 4, Mar. 2016, pp. 15-20.

ISRAELI SETTLERS REPORTEDLY DESTROY PALESTINIAN-OWNED WATER WELL NEAR BETHLEHEM
May 3, 2017
Ma’an News Agency
BETHLEHEM – Israeli settlers destroyed a Palestinian-owned water well on Tuesday in the town of al-Khader south of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank, according to official Palestinians news agency Wafa.
___Hasan Brijiyeh, a local activist from the separation wall and settlements’ committee in Bethlehem, told Wafa that a group of Israeli settlers destroyed the well under the protection of Israeli forces, identifying the owner of the well as Ahmad Ghnaim.
___The 100-square-meter well was built almost 250 years ago, according to the report, and is located near the illegal settlement outpost of Sde Boaz, built on Palestinian-owned land.   MORE . . . 

“POEM TO JERUSALEM,” Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)

For the sake of a city that’s imprisoned,
for its Dome and Aqsa Mosque,
for the annihilated sanctuary
where Muhammad’s feet once stood,
for all this city has endured,
and for all it has preserved,
for Mary and Jesus,
for all the beings she has known,
for my city’s sake,
raped and abused,
on its wounded brow
God’s words are effaced.

I call on all our dead
and all our living
with verses from the Bible
if only they could hear
with verses from the Quran
in the name of God
calling the young among them and the very old
calling them from my depths
to every brave fighter
I tell them the struggle is for Jerusalem
I call on them to resolve and have faith
tell them how Jerusalem’s sanctity is wounded
I call upon them all to help Jerusalem
She cannot wait any longer,
she overflows with grief.

From the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf
I call upon you in the name of God
with the purity of anger I beseech you
for the city with the humiliated eyes
I call you in your name,
I call my Arab people.
―translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)
Born in Gaza, poet Harun Hashim Rasheed witnessed, as a child, British soldiers demolishing his and his neighbors’ home in reprisal against Palestinian rebels, an incident which left a deep mark on him as a poet. After obtaining a Higher Teacher Training Diploma from Gaza College, he worked as a teacher until 1954. He then became director of the Sawt Al-Arab broadcasting station in Gaza. After the fall of Gaza to the Israelis in 1967, he was harassed by the Israeli occupation forces and was eventually compelled to leave. He has had a long and illustrious career as a Palestinian poet and literary figure in exile.

From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

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