“. . . Polished by our children’s blood And by the shame of ruins . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Samia Khoury, at lunch in East Jerusalem, November 5, 2015 (Photo: Harold Knight)

❶ 50 years of occupation will not kill hope for a free Palestine
❷ 50 years of occupation: still refugees. Stand with Palestine refugees
❸ Israeli settlers take over Palestinian lands in Salfit, erect illegal outpost

  • BACKGROUND from Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers

❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Samia Khoury
June 5, 2017
On its 40th day, the mass hunger strike by Palestinian political prisoners was suspended after an agreement was reached to allow two visits per month.
___The strike was hailed as a small victory and highlights the dire conditions of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli prisons. The demands throughout the strike have been within the minimum rights of political prisoners in accordance with the Geneva Conventions.
[. . . .] I am just wondering what was it that moved Israel to respond to their demands, especially that the international community did not take any action.
[. . . .] In the meantime the Palestinians are commemorating fifty years of a brutal military occupation. With the Oslo agreement in 1993 we were all made to believe that the occupation will soon be over and that peace was around the corner. But after more than twenty years of futile negotiations we realised that this is not a normal occupation that was going to end by a UN resolution. It is in reality a settler colonial regime with an ongoing process of dispossession.
[. . . .] After 50 years, it is not easy to maintain hope and not to despair especially when we watch new realities on the ground . . .   But when I visit Rawdat El-Zuhur, the school which I served for many years and look at the bright shining eyes of the children, or when I hear my young grandson practicing his trumpet in the late afternoon I am determined that we cannot lose hope for the sake of those children.   MORE . . .
Received as email on June 5, 2017
This week marks a devastating anniversary for Palestinians: 50 years of the occupation of the West Bank including East Jerusalem, and the Gaza Strip.
___In 1967, UNRWA had already been providing services to Palestine refugees displaced by the Nakba for 17 years. The Naksa — the new wave of displacement caused by the June 1967 war and subsequent Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza — warranted the establishment of 10 new refugee camps, and UNRWA expanding its services to newly displaced Palestinians in need. Refugees still live in these camps today.
___Thank you for being one of the tens of thousands of concerned and compassionate supporters in the United States who stand with Palestine refugees. Please support our mission through your generous giving.       RESPOND . . .

Israeli forces preventing Palestinians from performing Friday prayers on May 5, 2017, in Deir Istiya near an agricultural road that was closed by Israeli forces last year, preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

Ma’an News Agency      
June 7, 2017
A group of settlers from Israel’s illegal Nufim settlement erected an outpost on Tuesday on Palestinian lands in the Khirbet Shihada area in the eastern outskirts of the village of Deir Istiya in the occupied West Bank district of Salfit.
___Local activist Nathmi Salman told Ma’an that the settlers erected 13 tents and a number of wooden caravans on Palestinian land owned by residents of Deir Istiya.
___Salman added that a road equipped with electricity and lights was previously built to connect Nufim to the Palestinian lands where the outpost was then constructed.
___Palestinian farmers in Deir Istiya said that they were also threatened from going near the area by an armed Israeli settler.    MORE . . .  

Handel, Ariel. “Gated/Gating Community: The Settlement Complex in the West Bank.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, vol. 39, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 504-517.
The claim that the settlements in the West Bank are gated communities might seem trivial. . .  From 1996 onward, Palestinians have been prohibited from entering settlement premises for any purpose other than work, and workers have been subjected to tight surveillance. Since the outbreak of the Al-Aqsa Intifada in September 2000, security procedures have been further tightened and the fences significantly reinforced.
[. . . .] the settlement layout in the West Bank is not just an aggregate of 124 ‘legal’ gated communities and a similar number of ‘illegal outposts’, but rather a single, contiguous gated community gating, in turn, Palestinian ‘islands’ within it.
[. . . .] In this way, gated communities completely alter the physical space. They split the city into two layers, one connected and the other fragmented; one in movement and the other frozen. The highways that traverse the city to connect the gated communities to each other are extremely hazardous and exact a heavy toll of victims. Thus, even though an official prohibition against crossing them does not necessarily exist, these roads have created highly efficient demarcation lines.
[. . . .]  The settlements have been dispersed over the area by calculated design. . .   based on the settlers’ plans and backed by the state’s apparatuses and its military power . . . .
[. . . .]  The complex of gated communities, based as it is on the network of roads that connect small settlements, has the effect of blocking Palestinian movement and creating a ‘gating from within’ in which the minority gates the majority by help of state regulations and power . . . .  in a situation of perceived danger, movement itself becomes a problem, [and the politics] of mobility turns into a zero-sum game. Thus . . . under a real or perceived threat of crime, terror or other elements of ‘social danger’, [have enhanced] the connectivity of the people of means, while at the same time bolstering their corridors’ exclusionarity . . .  thereby reducing the rest of the population’s public space and freedom of movement.

On the fifth,
Of June last
We returned to death its diplomatic bags
On the fifth
Of June last
We stripped the western winds
Of its ornamentation
Polished by our children’s blood
And by the shame of ruins
On the fifth
Of June last
The dead ascended to the United Nations
To partake in the emergency meeting
On the fifth
Of June last
We viewed the whole face of the globe
On the fifth
Of June last
The Arab oil wells continued flowing
In the midst of Arab lands
Towards the soil of western winds
On the fifth
Of June last

I do not weep!
I do not smile!

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
About Samih Al Qasim

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