“. . . what can I call this rug of soil? is it my country or the source of my exile? . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

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Blockaded street in Hebron, preventing Palestinians from entering area controlled by Israeli illegal settlers, with Israeli soldiers guarding above. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 15, 2015)

❶ Hebron is the next Israeli-Palestinian fight at UNESCO

Background: “Settler-Colonialism, Memoricide and Indigenous Toponymic Memory: The Appropriation of Palestinian Place Names by the Israeli State.” Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies

❷ Palestinian fires at Israeli soldiers during Jenin raid to remove memorial
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers change name of Damascus Gate-area street to ‘honor Israeli soldiers’
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Europeans for Jerusalem warns of Israel’s practices in holy city
❸ Knesset begins deliberations on bill to cut funds to PA over ‘martyrs’ social program
❹ POETRY by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ HEBRON  IS  THE  NEXT  ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN  FIGHT  AT  UNESCO   
+972 Blog
Yonathan Mizrachi
June 29, 2017.   In recent years, every time UNESCO convenes to discuss world heritage sites, Israel-Palestine is in the limelight.  Usually, tensions center around the Old City of Jerusalem, declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in Danger in 1982. Recently, however, the Israeli Foreign Ministry began a campaign against the Palestinian nomination of the city of Hebron as a World Heritage Site. Though Hebron is not Jerusalem, Israel’s claims to the place sound pretty much the same: a national and religious connection to the Cave of the Patriarchs which is based on the city’s status as a sacred site from Biblical times. Names such as Abraham and King David — who made Hebron his first capital for seven years before conquering Jerusalem — are proclaimed in connection to the city with requisite pathos.
___The discussion about recognizing Hebron as a World Heritage Site will take place during the meeting of the UNESCO World Heritage Committee in Krakow, Poland from July 2 to 12. The Palestinians propose recognizing the Tomb of the Patriarchs and Hebron as a World Heritage Site because of the city’s rich 6,000 year-old history. Like the Israelis, the Palestinians also revere the tombs of the Matriarchs and the Patriarchs — Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Sarah, Rebecca and Leah. They note that the present structure of the Cave of the Patriarchs dates to the time of Herod — a tradition accepted by all sides, but that is yet to be verified by archeologists.   MORE . . .              POSTED HERE    Israel refuses entry to UNESCO group expected to visit Hebron’s Old City    June 26, 2017

Masalha, Nur. “Settler-Colonialism, Memoricide and Indigenous Toponymic Memory: The Appropriation of Palestinian Place Names by the Israeli State.” Journal of Holy Land & Palestine Studies, vol. 14, no. 1, May 2015, pp. 3-57.
Cartography and toponymy – the term derives from the Greek words topos (‘place’) and onoma (‘name’) – were central to European empire building in the nineteenth century. Place names (including human settlements such as villages, towns, cities, streets and countries and natural places such as mountains, hills, valleys, rivers, springs, and wadis) are meant ‘to provide clues as to the historical and cultural heritage of places and regions’. Yet in reality place names are not just spatial references; they are rooted in power relations and struggles over land and resources and the identities of the people that inhabit these places.
[. . . .] Since the rise of the Zionist settler movement in the late nineteenth century, and especially since the establishment of Israel in 1948, the struggle over toponymic memory and the renaming of sites has developed as an integral part of the political conflict in Palestine. The indigenous Palestinians have insisted on their own comprehensive set of Arabic place names through which they see their own social memory and deep-rootedness in the land of Palestine. On the other hand, since the ethnic cleansing of the 1948 Nakba and the creation of the Israeli state, a large number of Palestinian Arabic place names have been Judaised, Hebrewised. Indeed since 1948 the Israeli army and Israeli state have sought to rename systematically Palestinian Arabic place names, claiming priority in chronology and using modern archaeology, map-making, and place names as their proofs of Jewish roots in ‘the land of Israel’. In Israel the significance of place names lies in their potential to legitimize ‘historical claims’ asserted by the Zionist settler-colonial movement.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

❷ PALESTINIAN  FIRES  AT  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  DURING  JENIN  RAID  TO  REMOVE  MEMORIAL       
Ma’an News Agency       
June 30, 2017.  An armed Palestinian opened fire on Israeli forces carrying out a raid in the northern occupied West Bank city of Jenin on Friday, causing no injuries.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian shot towards Israeli soldiers during a dawn raid in Jenin, before dropping his weapon and fleeing.
___No Israelis were injured in the incident, the spokesperson said, adding that the army recovered the weapon on the scene.
___The spokesperson added that the soldiers were targeted as they were undertaking an operation to remove a memorial stone commemorating Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine (DFLP) leader Khalid Nazzal.   MORE . . .

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Five fully armed Israeli soldiers detaining and searching a lone Palestinian young man, outside Damascus Gate (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 12, 2015)

. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  SETTLERS  CHANGE  NAME  OF  DAMASCUS  GATE-AREA  STREET  TO  ‘HONOR  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS’ 
Ma’an News Agency      
June 23, 2017.  A group of Israeli settlers escorted by Israeli police and border police forces changed the name of the Damascus Gate-area Sultan Suleiman Street in occupied East Jerusalem to Heroines Street, “in commemoration of killed Israeli soldiers.”     ___Hebrew-language media sites reported on Friday that a group of Israeli settlers under the protection of Israeli forces changed the name of the Damascus Gate-area street, in commemoration of two Israeli soldiers who were killed in shooting and stabbing attacks near Damascus Gate — including 23-year old Hadas Malka, an Israeli police officer who, along with three Palestinian assailants, was killed last week at the gate’s entrance.
___Israeli settlers, police and border guards lit candles at the site before putting a sign reading “Heroines Street” in Hebrew, Arabic and English over the original street sign, which read Sultan Suleiman Street.  MORE. . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) EUROPEANS  FOR  JERUSALEM  WARNS  OF  ISRAEL’S  PRACTICES  IN  HOLY  CITY    
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
June 21, 2017.   Europeans for Jerusalem foundation has warned against Israel’s persistence in its serious practices in Occupied Jerusalem in general and at the Aqsa Mosque in particular.
___In a statement, Europeans for Jerusalem described the exposure of the holy city in general and the Aqsa Mosque in particular to direct targeting, break-ins, desecration and assaults on worshipers under police protection as “a threat to regional stability.”
___The foundation voiced deep concern about acts of desecration and sabotage which Jerusalem and the Aqsa Mosque are being exposed to . . .    MORE . . .    FOUNDATION . . . 
❸ KNESSET  BEGINS  DELIBERATIONS  ON  BILL  TO  CUT  FUNDS  TO  PA  OVER  ‘MARTYRS’  SOCIAL  PROGRAM 
Ma’an News Agency    
June 29, 2017.   Israel’s parliamentary foreign affairs and defense committee began discussing on Wednesday a bill aimed at slashing tax transfers to the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority (PA) over its controversial “martyrs” compensation program, which provides financial support to Palestinians imprisoned by Israel, their families, and for relatives of those who have been killed by Israeli forces — whether during attacks against Israelis or in situations void of wrongdoing.
___The bill, which would see the Israeli government cut an estimated 1 billion shekels ($280 million) in tax transfers to the PA each year, was approved for a preliminary reading in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, earlier this month.
___Israel collects an estimated $2.1 billion in taxes yearly on behalf of the PA, according to a 2015 report by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), representing three quarters of the PA’s revenue.
___Israel has regularly withheld transferring taxes to apply pressure on the Palestinian government, despite rights groups saying such punitive measures amount to “collective punishment.”   MORE . . .

“NAME OF THE SOIL,” BY ZUHAIR ABU SHAIB
what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun, a town near the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awraq.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

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