❶ Israel spars with the world at UNESCO
❷ Israeli forces demolish East Jerusalem home, leaving 6 Palestinians homeless
❸ Jordan Rejects Any Attempt to Undermine Arab Identity of Jerusalem
❹ Opinion/Analysis: Donald Trump and Mahmoud Abbas both accomplished what they wanted to accomplish
❺ POETRY by Yusuf Hamdan
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❶ ISRAEL SPARS WITH THE WORLD AT UNESCO
By Talya Ezrahi and Yonathan Mizrachi
May 5, 2017
Israel’s success at UNESCO this week was a diplomatic coup. In a work of crafty diplomacy, Israel succeeded in undermining an agreement between the Arab states and 11 EU countries which softened the wording of a resolution that it believes disputes its claims to Jerusalem. Nevertheless, we are told that as a result of heavy pressure by Netanyahu and the Foreign Ministry, more countries opposed a UNESCO resolution concerning Israel than had in years.
___ Why did Israel invest so much effort into foiling a resolution it ought to have regarded as less objectionable?
___Unlike previous UNESCO resolutions, this one cannot be construed as a denial of the Jewish people’s religious and historical connection to Jerusalem. It omits any references to the Temple Mount by its Muslim name, Haram al-Sharif, or to al-Aqsa Mosque — references which had so outraged Israel in the past. The new resolution also includes a clause affirming the importance of Jerusalem to the three monotheistic religions.
___So why object? Because the resolution continues the tradition of calling Israel the “occupying power” in East Jerusalem and declares the Basic Law on Jerusalem (through which Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem) null and void. MORE . . .
❷ ISRAELI FORCES DEMOLISH EAST JERUSALEM HOME, LEAVING 6 PALESTINIANS HOMELESS
Ma’an News Agency
May 5, 2017
JERUSALEM — Amid a spate of demolitions in occupied East Jerusalem, Israeli authorities Thursday demolished a home in the town of Sur Bahir, leaving six Palestinians homeless.
___Israeli bulldozers, escorted by crew from Israel’s Jerusalem municipality and armed Israeli forces, demolished a house Sur Bahir belonging to Ashraf Fawaqa.
___Fawaqa told Ma’an that forces raided his house without prior notice, and began emptying and evacuating the house in preparation for demolition. Authorities told Fawaqa that his home would be destroyed for lacking nearly impossible to obtain construction permits.
[. . . .] ___ According to UN documentation, as of April 17, 59 Palestinian-owned structures were demolished by Israel in East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year, displacing at least 135 Palestinians. A total of 190 Palestinian buildings were demolished in East Jerusalem in 2016. MORE . . .
❸ JORDAN REJECTS ANY ATTEMPT TO UNDERMINE ARAB IDENTITY OF JERUSALEM
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
May 4, 2017
Jordan’s King Abdullah II, on Tuesday, welcomed Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, and reviewed the Kingdom’s efforts to safeguard Islamic and Christian holy sites in Jerusalem, in addition to discussing the latest developments in the Middle East.
___The meeting, held at al-Husseiniya Palace and attended by King’s Personal Envoy and Advisor for Religious and Cultural Affairs, HRH Prince Ghazi bin Mohammad, touched on the key role of Arab Christians and their contributions in the region in its past, present and future.
___According to Al Ray, the meeting dealt with Israel’s unilateral actions in Jerusalem which threaten Islamic and Christian holy sites, with the King reiterating that Jordan totally rejects any attempt to undermine the Arab identity of the holy city. MORE . . .
❹ Opinion/Analysis: DONALD TRUMP AND MAHMOUD ABBAS BOTH ACCOMPLISHED WHAT THEY WANTED TO ACCOMPLISH
HumanRights Newsletter Email List
May 5, 2017
Donald Trump and Mahmoud Abbas both accomplished what they wanted to accomplish from the meeting at the White House. I could only think of the statements of Martin Luther King Jr and of Edward Said as I watched the theater unfold in DC. Just a reminder of what MLK Jr said 50 years ago as leaders of South Vietnam trashed leaders of North Vietnam: Their questions hit home, and I knew that I could never again raise my voice against the violence of the oppressed in the ghettos without having first spoken clearly to the greatest purveyor of violence in the world today: my own government. This was one of his most analytical and important speeches which should still be read carefully today (full text)
___Little changed in those 50 years since then and Trump (like Obama and other presidents before him) gave green light to his military to bomb poor neighborhoods around the world (killing hundreds of civilians mostly children in Mosul alone) while hosting compliant leaders and speaking of “peace” (like fucking for virginity!?). Excuse my language.
___Let me step back into analytical mode. In meeting with Abbas, Trump wanted to get the aura of working for a peace process so that when he goes to Saudi Arabia and Israel later this month they can be more comfortable increasing the wars on Yemen, Syria, Lebanon, and Iran (the remaining axis of rebel states in an otherwise US/Israel dominated Middle East). This public relations ploy worked historically. Trump and his advisors praised Abbas for the continued close security cooperation with Israel (the main function for keeping the Palestinian Authority in the past 24 years). Trump said that cooperation between “Palestinians” (the PA) and Israel is “working beautifully” and encouraged further emasculation of any potential future leverage for the Palestinians (I cringe when I hear terms like “incitement” used for native people who want their rights back).
____Oppressors and enablers of oppressors use the same language. Clinton used it 20 years ago for Arafat. This is the usual carrot and stick approach. Trump asked Abbas to stop the verbal acrobatics of appearing to support “terrorists” (resistance) pushing him strongly in private and nudging him gently in public. Husam Zomlot (PLO representative in Washington) tried his best to facilitate and get some productive outcome but the decks are stacked and the PLO has long been stripped by the PA of its original role as a “Palestine Liberation Organization” (it neither reflects all of Palestine nor Liberation and no longer an organization but a club). It cannot apply any pressure since it has been stripped of all such cards and there is little prospect of democratizing it now (I hope I am wrong).
___Abbas got what he came for: appearing “presidential” and relevant to the future, international visibility, and most importantly continuation of the status quo that guarantees continued “financial support” that allows the system to go on.
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“TO JERUSALEM,” BY YUSUF HAMDAN
You came to me, chained,
Flowing, like the tears of a wounded heart.
And yet, I will not meet you.
For today, you are occupied!
Have you indeed come to me?
In my passion, I prayed often
Without a “Rock,”
And when I found no water,
I simulated the ritual ablution;
And when you finally came to me, I vowed:
I will not accept you occupied!
I want you to be a Kaaba for the people of the earth,
A spacious house,
I love you . . . a voice from a minaret,
The sound of horns
Mingled with church bells.
I love you, a jasmine in the open air,
But I have sworn, yes I have,
I will not accept you occupied!
- From: THE PALESTINIAN WEDDING: A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.
___Yusuf Hamdan was born in 1942 in the Triangle area of Palestine. He lived in Haifa in the early ‘60s and taught in a nearby Arabic school. He published his poems in al-Jadid, al-Ittihad, and al-Ghad, and lost his teaching position because of his poetry. In 1970 he left Israel for the US, where he presently lives and works.