“. . . We squeeze the rock to quench our thirst/And if we starve . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Palestinian farmers work in turning household garbage and the remains of plants into compost for farming instead of chemical fertilizers and pesticides (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib/Apaimages)

❶ Beyond the Binary: Two States, One State, Failed State, No State
❷ UN denounces Israeli occupation’s impact on Palestinian humanitarian situation
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Elderly Palestinians recall ‘good old days’ of Palestinian food security
❸ New crisis in Gaza as ‘our eyes wide open,’ UN envoy says
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Surgeries cut by one-third in Gaza’s main hospital
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
Amal Ahmad
May 30, 2017
Though the international community has hailed the two-state solution since the early 1990s, it has become clear that Israel’s fragmentation of Palestinian people and territory over the past 50 years aims to make a sovereign Palestinian state impossible. While politicians explain this as a result of misunderstandings or missed opportunities between the two parties, the accurate explanation is that Israel does not, in fact, desire two states. This outcome would undermine its goal of conserving preferential rights for Israeli Jews in the territory under its control. Numerous progressives now argue that one state with equal rights for all is the logical alternative. While such a binational state may be just, it is highly unlikely, especially in the short to medium term.      MORE . . . .  
Ma’an News Agency  
May 31, 2017
In its 2016 annual report released on Wednesday, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) denounced Israeli policies for remaining “the key driver of humanitarian need” in the occupied Palestinian territory (OPT).
___OCHA estimated that some 4.8 million Palestinians were affected by the occupation, two million of whom were “in need of humanitarian assistance and protection” and exposed to conflict, violence, forced displacement, and restricted access to essential infrastructure and services.
___“The prolonged occupation, with no end in sight, cultivates a sense of hopelessness and frustration that drives continued conflict and impacts both Palestinians and Israelis,” the report deplored, days ahead of the 50-year anniversary of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.       MORE . . . 
RELATED . . . .
RELATED . . . .
Ma’an News Agency    
Abdul-Hakim Salah
May 31, 2017
“God bless the good old days, when we all had abundant, healthy food from our own production without the need for cash,” 84-year-old Khadijah Balboul . . .  told me with a deep sigh.
___It was my repeated complaints about the high cost of living and my irregular salary payments that aroused my mother’s old memories . . .      I was not asking . . .  to define food security or sustainability, but [she] unknowingly struck a chord.
___The United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization identifies food security as a state when “all people, at all times, have physical, social, and economic access to sufficient, safe, and nutritious food that meets their dietary needs and food preferences for an active and healthy life.”
___ . . . Palestinian households spend approximately 38.6 percent of their monthly income on food and beverages. . . .     MORE . . .

A Palestinian shepherd tends her flock alongside Israel’s separation barrier on the outskirts of east Jerusalem, Dec. 28, 2016. (Photo: Oded Balilty/AP)

Days of Palestine 
May 27, 2017
UN Envoy to Middle East Nicholay Mladenov told UN Security Council “in Gaza we are walking into another crisis with our eyes wide open.”
___In a statement issued on Friday, Mladenov said: “I am today warning the Security Council that unless urgent measures are taken to de-escalate, the crisis risks spiralling out of control with devastating consequences for Palestinians and Israelis alike.”
___. . . . Mladenov speaks about the reality on the ground in Gaza. “Hospitals are now forced to postpone elective surgeries and have already reduced 80 per cent of cleaning, catering and sterilization services.
___“Since mid-April desalination plants are functioning at 15% of their capacity and drinking water is supplied for a few hours every 2-4 days.
____“As we speak 100,000 cubic meters of raw sewage are discharged into the Mediterranean Sea on a daily basis.
___. . . . “Food prices are soaring as the price of water for irrigation has gone up by 65per cent. The manufacturing sector is grinding to a halt and over half of private industry workers have been suspended.”     MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ)  SURGERIES  CUT  BY  ONE-THIRD  IN  GAZA’S  MAIN  HOSPITAL       The Electronic Intifada 
Ahmad Kabariti
May 29, 2017     Fayez Ahmed’s operation was supposed to last six hours.
___With Gaza beset by power cuts, his medical team could not guarantee an uninterrupted electricity supply for that length of time. After weeks of delays, Ahmed decided to discharge himself from the hospital without having the surgery he needed to remove an abscess from his lung.
___ . . . . Ahmed has been seeing doctors in al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, Gaza’s largest hospital. Many others with lung and respiratory complaints have struggled to cope with regular power cuts.
___. . . . Walid Daoud, a doctor at al-Shifa, described the operations required by some patients with respiratory complaints as “sensitive and extremely dangerous.”
___“We have to ensure that there is a continuous flow of oxygen into the patient’s lungs,” he said. “It’s not like a procedure for toothache or something else that can be done without electricity.”        MORE . . .     

It is a thousand times easier
For you
To pass an elephant through the needle’s eye
To catch fried fish in the Milky Way
To plow the sea
To teach an alligator speech,
A thousand times easier
Than smothering with your oppression.
The spark of an idea
Or forcing us to deviate
A single step
From our chosen march.
Like twenty impossibilities
We shall remain in Lydda, Ramlah, and Galilee.

Here upon your chests
We shall remain
Like the glass and the cactus
In your throats
A fiery whirlwind in your eyes.

Here, we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We wash the dishes in the hotels
And serve drinks to the masters.
We mop the floors in the dark kitchens
To extract a piece of bread
From your blue teeth
For the little ones.

Here, we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We starve,
Go naked,
Sing songs
And fill the streets
With demonstrations
And the jails with pride.
We breed rebellions
One after another.
Like twenty impossibles we remain
In Lydda, Ramlah, and Galilee.

Here, we shall remain.
You may drink the sea;
We shall guard the shade
Of the olive tree and the fig,
Planting ideas
Like the yeast in the dough.
The coldness of ice is in our nerves
And a burning hell in our hearts.
We squeeze the rock to quench our thirst
And if we starve
We eat the dirt
And never depart
Or grudge our blood.

Here – we have a past
……a present
………..and a future.
Our roots are entrenched
Deep in the earth
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain.
Let the oppressor review his account
Before the turn of the wheel.
For every action there is a reaction:
Read what is written in the Book.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain – in Lydda, Ramlah and Galilee.

Tawfiq Zayyad, poet, scholar, politician (1929-1994)
From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY OF THE SUN: POETRY OF THE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.   Available from Amazon. 

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