“. . . Beloved, do not blame me. They killed me. . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Committees formed to assess damage caused by Israel at Aqsa Mosque

  • Background: “The Rule of Difference: How Emergency Powers Prevent Palestinian Assimilation in Israel.” Israel Studies Review.

❷ Israel under fire for attacks on Palestinian journalists and media institutions
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli police assault journalists, detain 8 Palestinians at funeral in Jaffa
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) ‘They killed him because he was an Arab’
❸ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
July 31, 2017.   Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and its Governor Adnan Husseini said Monday that the Islamic Waqf Department has formed four committees to assess damage and inspect property at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
[. . . .] The minister added that the next stage requires specialized experts to know if the occupation forces put cameras or listening devices in the mosque.
___Husseini said that if the final report shows that the occupation authorities have made any changes in the mosque or the theft of any of its belongings, then work will first focus on returning these documents and then on pursing Israel in international courts on ground of stealing and damaging important historical documents and property in order to punish Israel for its crime.  MORE . . .

Israel Studies Review, vol. 27, no. 2, Winter2012, pp. 18-40.
Since Israel’s inception in 1948, the country has been under a state of emergency. This condition has persisted for more than six decades, despite the fact that periods of war have generally been punctuated by more peaceful times. This continued state of emergency poses a direct threat to the state’s rule of law and its democratic institutions. Under a state of emergency, a government can—to protect the state and its people—employ exceptional measures that violate civil rights or introduce sovereign arbitrariness. Thus, Israel’s lasting emergency regime has had a significant impact on the state’s mode of governance, and it raises questions about the role of emergency powers.
___Israel’s decades-long emergency seemingly began as a pragmatic solution. The 1948 declaration of a state of emergency was originally invoked as a temporary solution to wartime conditions (i.e., Israel’s War of Independence)—not a permanent governing mechanism. Yet, quite quickly, this makeshift solution became a systemic, permanent mechanism in the hands of the Israeli authorities. This development suggests that the Israeli authorities have gone beyond the protection of the state and its people and have used emergency powers to satisfy political objectives as well.
[. . . .] Ultimately, I join these two prongs of political power—allocation of resources and representation—under a single political objective: Israel’s rule of difference, or its anti-assimilation policy, which is also to say Israel’s adjunct security conception. First, the state’s authorities have transferred most state land to Jewish control and have quarantined Palestinians in the process. Second, the state has denied Palestinians real political representation, which has made them unable to challenge this doctrine through the political process. Overall, I discuss how Israel’s adjunct security policy of anti-assimilation shapes the political uses of emergency powers, how this policy motivates the Israeli authorities to maintain a state of emergency, and how the rule of difference has become institutionalized in state policy [. . . .]    SOURCE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
July 30, 2017.   Israeli forces have been the target of fierce condemnation in recent days for attacks on Palestinian journalists and media institutions, following an overnight raid targeting a media production company in Ramallah on Saturday and multiple attacks on journalists who were covering mass protests in the occupied Palestinian territory against now dismantled security measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque.
___In a predawn raid Saturday, Israeli forces broke into the headquarters of PalMedia, a media production company that provides broadcast services to several media outlets, including Russia Today, al-Mayadeen, al-Manar, and al-Quds news, ransacked the offices, and destroyed equipment over accusations of alleged “incitement.”
___Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi denounced the raid in a statement, in which she said that “Israel’s policies of violence and repression are a blatant attempt to break the steadfastness of the Palestinian people” and represented a violation of international human rights law regarding freedom of expression.
___“Clearly, Israel is engaging in an ongoing policy that deliberately targets media institutions and journalists in Palestine who courageously work to represent the Palestinian human narrative and report on Israel’s military occupation and its persistent policies of apartheid and ethnic cleansing,” she said.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 30, 2017.   Israeli police assaulted Israeli journalists and detained eight Palestinian citizens of Israel, six of them minors, as hundreds participated in a funeral march Saturday night in Jaffa city in southern Israel for 22-year-old Mahdi al-Saadi, who was shot dead by police early Saturday morning.
[. . . .] . . .locals argued that al-Saadi posed no threat to Israeli police when he was fatally shot and that he could have been detained without using lethal force. The incident sparked major street protests in Jaffa against against police brutality and racial profiling Saturday afternoon, triggering clashes with Israeli police. An atmosphere of tension and outrage prevailed in the city during the funeral march and late into the night.
[. . . .] During the funeral procession, Israel’s Channel 2 News reporter Gilad Shalmor and photographer Gal Zeitman were beaten and their equipment was destroyed by Israeli police as they were trying to cover the event, according to Israeli news site Ynet.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) ‘THEY  KILLED  HIM  BECAUSE  HE  WAS  AN  ARAB’  
Al Jazeera English
Zena Tahhan
July 30, 2017.   The family of a young Palestinian man fatally shot by Israeli police in Jaffa are demanding justice for what they believe was a “cold-blooded killing”.
___Mahdi al-Saadi, a 22-year-old Palestinian citizen of Israel, was shot in the chest and killed in the early hours of Saturday morning. Israeli police also shot another young man at the same scene, Sleiman Abu Taleb, who was taken to hospital in critical condition.
___”I was travelling, and I got a phone call from my wife telling me that they killed our boy. The police did not get in touch with us or tell us what happened. He was killed for no reason – in cold blood. They killed him because he was an Arab,” Jamal, Mahdi’s father, told Al Jazeera.
___Israeli police say the young men were suspects in a shooting at a store in Jaffa around 4am (01:00 GMT) on Saturday.     MORE . . .

Once the olive grove was green.
It was, and the sky
A grove of blue. It was my love.
What changed that evening?
At the bend in the track they stopped the lorry of workers.

So calm they were.
They turned us round towards the east.
So calm they were.
Once my heart was a blue bird, O nest of my beloved.
The handkerchiefs I had of yours were all white. They were, my love.
What stained them that evening?
I do not understand at all, my love.
At the bend in the track they stopped the lorry of workers.

So calm they were.
They turned us round towards the east.
So calm they were.
From me you’ll have evening,
Yours the shade and yours the light,
A wedding-ring and all you want,
And an orchard of trees, of olive and fig.
And as on every night I’ll come to you.
In the dream I’ll enter by the window and throw you jasmine.
Blame me not if I’m a little late:
They stopped me.
The olive grove was always green.
It was, my love.

Fifty victims
Turned it at sunset into
A crimson pond, Fifty victims.
Beloved, do not blame me.
They killed me. They killed me.
They killed me.

(Fifty Arab villagers, including many children and women, were stopped and machine gunned by Israeli soldiers at Kafr Qassem on October 29, 1956. More . . . )

From: Darwish, Mahmoud. THE  MUSIC  OF  HUMAN  FLESH. Trans. Denys Johnson-Davies. London: Heinemann Educational Books, 1980. Found at http://poetsfrompalestine.blogspot.com/2010/01/victim-number-18.html 

Remembering Mahmoud Darwish

“. . . And to the last pulse in my veins I shall resist . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

❶ Israel imposes new restrictions on Al-Aqsa as anticipation of widespread clashes grows

  • Background: “Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism: The Second Intifada, the Wall Protests, and the Human Rights Turn.” Geopolitics (Note: While this article is specifically about the change in resistance from the First Intifada to the Second Intifada, it offers much insight into the relationship between Israel and the Palestinian resistance in general.)

❷ 25-year-old Palestinian succumbs to wounds days after being shot in head by Israeli forces
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces install iron gate at an entrance of Bethlehem-area town
❸ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency 
July 28, 2017.   Hours after thousands of Palestinians entered the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, after a near two-week long boycott of Israeli security measures imposed at the site, Israeli forces imposed a new series of sweeping restrictions on the compound Friday morning.
___Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that only men above the age of 50 would be allowed into the compound, while no restrictions would be placed on women.
___Hebrew-language media reported that the restrictions were ordered by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
___Israeli forces remained heavily deployed across the compound and inside the Old City of Jerusalem, as well as in “seam zones” across the occupied West Bank in anticipation of heavy clashes following Friday prayers.     MORE . . .

Mall Dibiasi, Caroline. “CHANGING  TRENDS  IN  PALESTINIAN  POLITICAL  ACTIVISM:  THE  SECOND  INTIFADA,  THE  WALL  PROTESTS,  AND  THE  HUMAN  RIGHTS  TURN.” Geopolitics, vol. 20, no. 3, Jul-Sep2015, pp. 669-695.   What is often overlooked in the assessment of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict are the instances of non-violent protest by Palestinians.4 In fact, it is striking that forms of non-violent protest have persisted and been re-invented despite the disproportionate use of violence by the Israeli army against Palestinian civilians, decades of discrimination and the denial of basic rights, and a general deterioration of the Palestinian situation in economic, social as well as political terms.
[. . . .]  One of the central structural features that drove the transformation of political activism during the Al-Aqsa intifada is the division of Palestinian territory into different zones of control, a legacy of Israeli military plans for phased re-deployment over the Oslo period.61 Because complete military withdrawal never occurred, a complex system of control now divides the West Bank into different zones of governance. Its inhabitants are subject to different regulations and experience very disparate levels of services and provision for personal security. These zones are not contiguous areas but are mapped out like a jigsaw puzzle on West Bank territory.
[. . . .] . . . if Israel continues to refuse to negotiate with the Palestinians on a viable Palestinian state, the Palestinian national movement might ask for full democracy. The convergence of a focus on individual human rights, a demand for democracy, and the decreasing significance of national-level politics in Palestinian political activism may challenge the still dominant concept of Israel as a Jewish state. Alternatively, it may further undermine its validity as a democratic state in the Middle East.   SOURCE . . . 

Ma’an News Agency  
25-year-old Muhammad Kanaan succumbed to his wounds Thursday night, days after he was shot in the head by Israeli forces during clashes in his hometown of Hizma in the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health.
___Kanaan had been in the Palestine Medical Complex in Ramallah in critical condition since he was shot on Monday.
___According to Ma’an documentation, Kanaan was the fifth Palestinian to have been shot and killed by Israelis in the past two weeks, all during clashes with Israeli forces that had erupted across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem in response to Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound and the violent repression of a near two-week long Palestinian civil disobedience campaign.     MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency  
July 27, 2017.   Israeli forces installed an iron gate at an entrance of the village of Janata on Thursday, southeast of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank.
___Palestinian security sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces installed a large iron gate at the eastern entrance of Janata, without providing and reason for the measure.
___Local activists said that the installation of the gate “aims to restrict the life of Palestinians by closing the gate at any time Israel wants to.”     MORE . . .

I may―if you wish―lose my livelihood
I may sell my shirt and bed.
I may work as a stone cutter,
A street sweeper, a porter.
I may clean your stores
Or rummage your garbage for food.
I may lie down hungry,
O enemy of the sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may take the last strip of my land,
Feed my youth to prison cells.
You may plunder my heritage.
You may burn my books, my poems,
Or feed my flesh to the dogs.
You may spread a web of terror
On the roofs of my village.
O enemy of the sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.

You may put out the light in my eyes
You may deprive me of my mother’s kisses.
You may curse my father, my people.
You may distort my history.
You may deprive my children of a smile
And of life’s necessities.
You may fool my friends with a borrowed face.
You may build walls of hatred around me.
You may glue my eyes to humiliations,
O enemy of the sun,
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.
O enemy of the sun
The decorations are raised at the port,
The ejaculations fill the air,
A glow in the hearts,
And in the horizon
A sail is seen
Challenging the wind
And the depths.
It is Ulysses
Returning home
From the sea of loss

It is the return of the sun,
Of my exiled ones
And for her sake, and his
I swear
I shall not compromise
And to the last pulse in my veins
I shall resist.
Resist―and resist.

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 ABE BOOKS.
About Samih Al-Qasim 


“. . . The eagles of this land will shield my open revolt . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

❶ Occupation authorities remove platforms, beams and metal paths from Al-Aqsa gates
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Waqf officials say Palestinian can return to al-Aqsa mosque

  • Background: “Jerusalem: A Microcosm of Israeli-Palestinian Coexistence.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Amnesty International slams Israeli police for ‘terrifying’ hospital raids
❸ Army Abducts Eleven Palestinians In Tulkarem, Jenin And Bethlehem, Injure One In Qalqilia
❹ POETRY by Fouzi el-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan 
July 27, 2017.   The occupation authorities removed on Thursday early morning all metal paths and platforms placed on Al-Aqsa gates after the 14th of July incident.
___Witnesses said the forces also removed all the beams placed above the gates of Al-Aqsa Mosque.
___The occupation authorities removed the beams and metal paths from the courtyard of Al-Aqsa Mosque two days after removing the metal detectors.   MORE . . .
Palestine News Network – PNN
July 27, 2017.  Muslim leaders of al-Aqsa Mosque compound Jerusalem have given their approval, after their technicians could confirm the removal of the security installations, for Palestinians to re-enter the site, Al-Jazeera reports.
___Officials of the Islamic Waqf authority, that administers the holy site, said on Thursday that Muslims can once again pray inside the mosque.
___The first prayer is expected to take place today at around 13:00 GMT.
___“We will be able to offer prayers inside the compound,” an elder Waqf official said.
___He further said “The Israeli occupation forces have been trying for decades to violate the al-Aqsa Mosque compound. Now, you are living in the new era of victory. We totally appreciate the masses who have been gathering.”  MORE . . .

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 4, Mar. 2016, pp. 60-64.
The religious, demographic, physical, psychological and political realities facing the Israelis and Palestinians in Jerusalem today require that it remains an undivided city — yet a capital of two-states serving as a microcosm exemplifying Israeli-Palestinian coexistence. Neither Israel nor the Palestinians can uproot the other from the city. Jerusalem not only represents the largest urban concentration of Israelis and Palestinians coexisting alongside one another, but also the epicenter of the conflict that divides them.
___Now is the time for respected scholars and religious leaders to take the lead in beginning a concerted dialogue on the future of peaceful coexistence in Jerusalem, which respects the sanctity with which each side holds this sacred city.
[. . . .] The demographic reality in East and West Jerusalem makes a division of the city impossible. While Palestinian residents are largely concentrated in East Jerusalem and Jewish residents in West Jerusalem, they are interspersed throughout the city. In 2009, East Jerusalem’s population was over 42% Israeli Jews (193,000), who live in the new post-1967  neighborhoods, and 58% (273,000) Palestinians. In 2010, the number of Jews jumped by 3.5% and continues to grow.
___Today, 38% of all Israeli Jews live east of the so-called “seam line” that once divided Jerusalem prior to the 1967 War, though only about 3,000 Jews live in the Palestinian neighborhoods of East Jerusalem. In addition to this demographic mix, Israel has deliberately developed the city in a concerted manner that has united the eastern and western neighborhoods. Various municipal services such as gas lines and electricity are shared across the city, and a light rail system that opened in 2011 runs through both Jewish and Palestinian neighborhoods. Israelis believe that such structural ties make a future division of the city irreversible. Indeed, today Palestinian leaders do not call for, nor do they expect, a physical division of the city, but rather for sovereignty over the eastern portion of the city as the capital of the Palestinian state. As such, any solution to Jerusalem must take into account that the city is physically united in every way, and it will have to remain so under any peace agreement between the two sides.
___Recognizing these realities, it is a foregone conclusion across the Israeli spectrum that Jerusalem cannot and will not be divided.  [. . . .]   SOURCE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
July 26, 2017.   Human rights organization Amnesty International has condemned Israeli forces for multiple violent raids into an occupied East Jerusalem hospital, which has been struggling to treat hundreds of Palestinians who have been injured by Israeli forces in recent days in a brutal crackdown on demonstrations surrounding the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___In the span of ten days, Israelis killed four Palestinian demonstrators and injured more than 1,000 others, in protests against new Israeli security measures put in place at the holy site following a deadly shooting there on July 14.
___Israeli forces stormed al-Makassed hospital at least twice over the past week in an attempt to detain the same protesters they had critically injured.     MORE . . .
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC   
July 26, 2017.   Israeli soldiers invaded, on Wednesday at dawn, many Palestinian communities in the West Bank governorates of Tulkarem, Jenin and Bethlehem, stormed and ransacked many homes and abducted eleven Palestinians, in addition to wounding one in Qalqilia, and causing many others to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation.
___The Tulkarem office of the Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS), in the northern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers invaded Atteel town, north of the city, broke into dozens of homes and interrogated many Palestinians, before abducting six.     MORE . . .

You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970) 

From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.    Available from Amazon
About Fouzi El Asmar 

“The Temple Mount is under Israeli sovereignty, period . . .” (Avi Dichter, Likud member of Israeli Knessett)

❶ Video: Israel attacks Jerusalem worshippers
❷ Netanyahu orders searching all worshipers entering al- Aqsa
❸ In alleged first, Jewish BDS activists prevented from boarding flight to Israel

  • Background: “No Space for Apartheid: Toward an Academic Boycott of Israel among Geographers.” Geographical Review

❹ POETRY by Al-Raheem Mahmoud (1913-1948)
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
The Electronic Intifada
Maureen Clare Murphy
July 26, 2017.   Israeli occupation forces attacked Palestinian worshippers at the Lions Gate entrance to the al-Aqsa mosque compound in East Jerusalem on Tuesday night.
___The Palestinian Quds news outlet reported that Israeli forces fired sound bombs and tear gas canisters, wounding dozens, and prevented ambulances from reaching the area.
___Palestinian worshippers had continued to keep vigil outside the mosque compound on Tuesday. The Waqf religious trust that administers the site had called for continuation of a boycott as it evaluated the situation after Israel removed metal detectors the night before.
[. . . . ]  Meanwhile Avi Dichter, a senior Israeli lawmaker from Netanyahu’s Likud party who formerly headed the country’s secret police, told Israeli television that the government had decided “to turn the Temple Mount into a sterile area – with all that this entails,” employing the term Israel uses for the mosque compound.
___“The Temple Mount is under Israeli sovereignty, period,” he said.     MORE . . .
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
July 26, 2017.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu ordered the police to search worshipers entering the holy Al-Aqsa Mosque, a day after the removal of the electronic gates and replace it by smart cameras system, which will be completed within six months.
___According to the Walla website, the decision was taken following a telephone call between Netanyahu and Israeli Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan, they agreed to search worshipers entering the Aqsa Mosque individually and through hand-held metal checks, because of  the security sensitivity of the location, according to the Israeli appeals.
___According to a poll made by Hebrew channel 2, 77% of the Israelis believes that the removal of the electronic gate is a retreat by the Israeli government, 17% does not think that it is a retreat, while just 6% has no idea.       MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 25, 2017.  The Israeli government and its international supporters continued to crack down on the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) movement, as five members of an American interfaith delegation to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territory were prevented from boarding their flight from Washington D.C. to Tel Aviv on Monday.
___US-based organization Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) released a report saying five members of the delegation were denied entry to Israel, allegedly due to their activism with the BDS movement, which targets companies that act in compliance with Israel’s illegal occupation of East Jerusalem and the West Bank.
[. . . .] JVP identified the five members that were denied entry on the flight as JVP Deputy Director Rabbi Alissa Wise, Alana Krivo-Kaufman and Noah Habeeb, both members of JVP, Rick Ufford Chase of the Presbyterian Peace Fellowship, and Shakeel Syed, a national board member with American Muslims for Palestine.     MORE . . .

Geographical Review,
vol. 106, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 276-282.
[. . . .]  Against this backdrop of inequality, bloodshed, and institutionalized racism, Palestinian civil society has called upon the international community to engage in boycotts, divestment, and sanctions in order to put political and economic pressure on Israel until Palestinians have their full slate of human rights.
[. . . .] Israeli universities have been deeply embedded in the Israeli state’s efforts to attack, invade, ethnically cleanse, and occupy Palestine And as Lisa Taraki writes, “[g]enerally, there have never been any protests by professional and academic associations of physicists, physicians, geographers, mathematicians, political scientists, architects, and others in Israel regarding the moral and professional implications of collaboration with the [Israeli] army.”
___Palestinian academics and intellectuals have therefore called upon the international community to boycott Israeli academic institutions as a key part of the broader BDS movement.
[. . . .] Collaboration and connections between academic institutions and militaries are not, of course, unique to Israel. Many universities in the United States, for example, receive research funding from the Pentagon . . .   The GI Bill enables former American soldiers to attend college free of charge. The prevalence of ties between universities and the military, in America and elsewhere, has led some opponents of the academic boycott of Israel to reply, “why are you not calling for a boycott of American universities? After all, the United States engages in gross human rights abuses too.” The difference is quite simple: the people oppressed by American policies are not calling for an academic boycott of American universities. But Palestinian civil society is calling for a boycott of Israeli academic institutions. To boycott Israeli academic institutions is thus to respond to a call from Palestinian civil society. It is a principled act of solidarity.      SOURCE . . .

(The poem is a salute to Prince Saud Ibn ‘Abd al’Aziz when he visited the poet’s town, ‘Anabta, on August 14, 1935.)

Honorable Prince! Before you stands a poet
whose heart harbors bitter complaint.
Have you come to visit the Aqsa mosque
or to bid it farewell before its loss?
This land, this holy land, is being sold to all intruders
and stabbed by its own people!
And tomorrow looms over us, nearer and nearer!
Nothing shall remain for us but our streaming tears,
our deep regrets.

Oh, Prince, shout, shout! Your voice
might shake people awake!
Ask the guards of the Aqsa: are they all agreed to struggle
as one body and mind?
Ask the guards of the Aqsa: can a covenant with God
be offered to someone, then lost?
Forgive the complaint, but a grieving heart needs to complain
to the Prince, even if it makes him weep.
(This poem gained great fame later on because of its prophetic words about the imminent loss of Palestine.)

About ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.


“. . . we will continue our prayers and conjure new seasons for our lives . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ PRCS: 1,090 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces over course of 10 days

Background: “Al-Aqsa Mosque: Do Not Intrude!” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli forces level lands near southern Gaza border
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli navy opens gunfire at fishermen off Gaza
❸ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency  
July 24, 2017.   The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) released a statement Monday detailing the casualties of the past 10 days, ever since Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem launched a civil disobedience campaign in the city in protest of increased Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured over the past week during violent clashes and demonstrations against new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___On Monday evening, a Palestinian was shot in the head during clashes in the Jerusalem-area town of Hizma, with the Palestinian Ministry of Health reporting him to be in critical condition.     MORE . . .

Abu Sway, Mustafa. “AL-AQSA  MOSQUE:  DO  NOT  INTRUDE!”  Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 20/21, no. 4/1, Dec. 2015, pp. 108-113.
“Verily, ‘Al-Aqsa’ Is a name for the whole mosque which is surrounded by the wall, the length and width of which are mentioned here, for the building that exists in the southern part of the Mosque, and the other ones such as the Dome of the Rock and the corridors and other [buildings] are novel (muhdatha).”  (Mujir Al-Din Al-Hanbali, Al-Uns Al-Jalil fo Tarikh Al-Quds wal-Khalil, vol.2, p.24.)
More than 500 years ago, when Mujir Al-Din Al-Hanbali offered the above definition of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the year 900 AH/1495, there were no conflicts, no occupation and no contesting narratives surrounding the site. Not only do the Israeli occupation authorities prevent freedom of movement and freedom of worship, they interfere in defining Al-Aqsa Mosque by restricting the meaning of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the southernmost building, Qibli Mosque, father than all 144 dunums or 36 acres. The Israeli occupation authorities consider the open yards within Al-Aqsa Mosque as belonging to public parks, with no jurisdiction for the Waqf. In doing so, the Israeli occupation authorities justify their own role in permitting and protecting extremist Israelis’ and others’ entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound against the will of the Waqf administration.
[. . . .]  It should be known that all policies, actions and “facts on the ground” created by the Israeli occupation are null apd void; they are in violation of international and humanitarian laws. Only Muslims have the right to define their own religious space and what to do with it, for they have exclusive rights to it.
[. . . .]  Places of worship are meant to be exclusive. Those in authority should never be blinded by their own powers to the degree they infringe on the religious space of the other. When invited by Patriarch Sophronius to pray at the Holy Sepulchre Church, Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab declined politely, citing his fear that future Muslim generations might claim this as a right.  This is true leadership. This should be the prevailing ethos between those in power and the religious space of the other. It might help the powerful to show some humility if they could learn from history, and the history of Jerusalem in particular, that power could shift.     COMPLETE ARTICLE . . . 

Ma’an News Agency
July 25, 2017.   Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers crossed the border into the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, where they leveled lands in the “buffer zone” of southern Gaza.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that six bulldozers under heavy military protection leveled lands in the outskirts of al-Qarara, north of the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
___According to the witnesses, Israeli drones hovered over the area during the incursion. No gunfire was reported. . . .
___An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
___Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.   MORE . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  GUNFIRE  AT  FISHERMEN  OFF  GAZA   Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
July 25, 2017.   Israeli fishermen early Tuesday morning opened machine gunfire at Palestinian fishermen while sailing offshore Gaza city, causing damage to one of their boats.
___WAFA correspondent said Israeli naval boats attacked the fishermen with gunfire while the latter were sailing at less than four miles from the shore, causing damage to one of their boats.    MORE . . .

Farah, we will begin our prayers
amid this bloody sorrow
and among the lonely pine.
What makes the mountains this morning much kinder,
the sun more glamorous,
the wind a song that celebrates the heights?
What makes our beloved jasmine
more pure than we imagined
and more disobedient than we had thought?
What makes these mountains
and these trees that we allowed to be taller than us
much shorter than us now?
Farah, we will continue our prayers
and conjure new seasons for our lives,
new rivers to flow in our veins
and a new place for the world’s singing.
We will continues our prayers
and when love is total,
when our fingers shyly and tenderly come together
like beads of the fig’s milk,
we will climb the mountain to bless all creatures
and together whisper: Amen . . . amen.

About Ibrahim Nasrallah
From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN INSIDE: SELECTED POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.

“. . . thieves have not broken down the door of my life . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

  • “In terms of what it aimed to achieve, the [Oslo] Agreement is geared at transforming Palestinian factions into amiable partners in negotiations, concerned with the governing and policing of the Palestinian territories  . . .  while posing a minimal military/security threat to the Jewish state” (Somdeep Sen).

❶ Abbas suspends all contacts with Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque

  • Background: “It’s Nakba, Not a Party”: Re-Stating the (Continued) Legacy of the Oslo Accords.” Arab Studies Quarterly.

❷ 3 Palestinians killed in Al-Aqsa clashes in Jerusalem, West Bank
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Scores of Palestinians wounded in Jerusalem in protest against Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli forces violently suppress Al-Aqsa protests in West Bank, Gaza
❸ UN chief deplores Israeli killing of Palestinians in Jerusalem
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Syndicate, ministry protest Israeli treatment of Palestinian journalist in the field
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News Network – PNN 
July 22, 2017.   President Mahmoud Abbas said last night that he has decided to suspend all contacts with Israel until the latter cancels all measures it has implemented against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
___According WAFA official news agency Abbas, who cut short a trip to China and returned home following the deterioration in the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, headed an urgent joint meeting for the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah Central Committee to discuss strategy in confronting the Israeli measures.
[. . . .] “In the name of the Palestinian leadership, I declare the suspension of all contacts with the occupying country on all levels until Israel revokes all its measures against our Palestinian people and Jerusalem, particularly at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and preserve the historic status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas said at the end of the leadership meeting held in Ramallah.   MORE . . .

Sen, Somdeep.
Arab Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 2, Spring2015, pp. 162-176.
[. . . .] . . . the least discussed effect of Oslo is in fact rooted not in what it failed to do but in what it aimed to achieve. . .  the Accords created a realm of “official politics” that incentivizes a certain brand of Palestinian liberation factions (that are unarmed and recognize Israel) . . .  it continually influences and affects the brand of Palestinian political organizations that are able to operate, uninhibited, within the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). On the basis of these legacies, one could then assert that the Oslo Accords features prominently in the Palestinian political  consciousness today not only through its failures but also the continued influence it has on the manner in which Palestinian politics can be conducted.
[. . . .] The most tangible manifestation of this aspect of the Accords is evident in its creation of a realm of official Palestinian politics. At the very outset, entrance into this realm is limited to Palestinian organizations that have publicly renounced an armed struggle and recognized Israel. Subsequently, the faction would be deemed a “legitimate” representative of the Palestinian populace and granted a permanent seat in negotiations with Israel and Western stakeholders. Once a Palestinian faction abides by this pre-condition, it is given the responsibility of governing the Palestinian territories and would subsequently have access to the financial resources earmarked for the PA. As the PA is responsible for key sectors such as education, culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, and tourism, the resultant expectation would be that the recognized Palestinian faction, through its entrance into official politics, would be socialized into the reasoning of the state and out of the logic of resistance. Finally, in keeping with the “statist logic” of Oslo-mandated official politics . . .  the recognized Palestinian faction would also be responsible for ensuring the primacy of the mandate of the state-like PA (evocative of the logic of “official politics”) through the Palestinian internal security forces.
[. . . .] In terms of what it aimed to achieve, the Interim Agreement is geared at transforming Palestinian factions into amiable partners in negotiations, concerned with the governing and policing of the Palestinian territories (than militarily engaging with Israel), while posing a minimal military/security to the Jewish state. Then, in addition to its failures, the agreement today can be characterized as an institutional embodiment and framework geared at changing the foundational characteristics and subjective identity of Palestinian liberation factions. (Somdeep Sen is a postdoctoral researcher at Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His current research focuses on spatial politics in Palestine.)    SOURCE . . .

Ma’an News Agency  
July 21, 2017.  Three Palestinians were reportedly shot and killed during clashes in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Friday, amid large-scale clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory over new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.  The deaths comes amid a large-scale demonstration across East Jerusalem on Friday to denounce new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following a deadly attack last week.     MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.   Tensions were running high in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Palestinians were marching towards the Old City to denounce increased Israeli security measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israeli authorities decided to maintain early on Friday, despite recommendations from Israel’s own security agencies.
___A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that at least 72 Palestinians had been injured in East Jerusalem, and at least 390 had been injured in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in total.     MORE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.   Israeli forces violently suppressed demonstrations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Friday, injuring scores who had gathered in solidarity with a massive protest in occupied East Jerusalem to denounce increasing Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa compound.
___Palestinian demonstrators performed prayers outdoors across the occupied Palestinian territory in solidarity with Al-Aqsa, to denounce the installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound after a deadly shooting attack took place there on July 14.     MORE . . .

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 22, 2017.   United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “deeply deplores” Israeli police killing of three young Palestinians in clashes that raged in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday calling for these incidents to be fully investigated, according to a statement by Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General.
___“His (Guterres) thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,” said the deputy spokesman.    MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 22, 2017.   The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and the Ministry of Information denounced in two separate press releases on Saturday treatment by the Israeli security forces of Palestinian journalists doing their work in the field.
___The two organizations accused Israeli security of intentionally targeting Palestinian journalist, some of whom were hit by rubber bullets or tear gas canisters.
___They said WAFA photographers Afif Amira was shot by a rubber bullet in the chest while covering the Jerusalem clashes and Mashhour Wahwah was hit by a concussion bomb in his foot while covering the clashes in Hebron.
___Maan news agency reporter Mirna Atrash was intentionally hit by a stun grenade in the face during her coverage of the clashes at Bethlehem’s northern outskirts.    MORE . . .

I have not seen any horrors,
I have not seen a dragon in the land,
I have not seen the Kraken* in the sea,
nor a witch or a policeman
at the outset of my day.
Pirates have not overtaken mu desires,
thieves have not broken down the door of my life,
my absence has not been long,
it only took me one lifetime.

How come you saw scars
on my face, sorrow in my eyes,
and bruises in my bones and in my heart?
These are only illusions.
I have not seen any horrors,
everything was extremely normal.
Don’t worry,
your son is still in his grave, murdered,
and he’s fine.

About Mourid Barghouti.
From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

*a legendary sea monster of large proportions


“. . . My roots have gripped this soil since time began . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

  • Umm_al-Fahm_2014
    Umm al-Fahm (Photo: Wikipedia, 2014)

    Umm al-Fahm is located 20 kilometres (12 miles) northwest of Jenin in the Haifa District of Israel. In 2015 its population was 52,500, nearly all of whom are Arab citizens of Israel. “The people of Um Al-Fahm are proud of their long history of resistance and rejection of colonialism and occupation, during which the city continued to breed revolutionaries in defense of Palestine” (Palestinian Information Center). Umm al-Fahm was the home of the three Palestinians killed in the attack on/by Israeli police in Jerusalem on July 14, 2017.

❶ Thousands of Palestinians march towards Al-Aqsa to denounce Israeli measures

  • Background: “Resisting ‘Israelization’: The Islamic Movement in Israel and the Realization of Islamization, Palestinization and Arabization.” Journal of Islamic Studies

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces violently suppress Al-Aqsa protests in West Bank, Gaza
❷ President asks US to intervene over Al-Aqsa Mosque tensions
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces detain 10 Palestinians, including Fatah officials from Jerusalem
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Um Al-Fahm: Always in defense of Al-Aqsa, Palestine
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.  Tensions were running high in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Palestinians were marching towards the Old City to denounce increased Israeli security measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israeli authorities decided to maintain early on Friday, despite recommendations from Israel’s own security agencies.
___The Waqf, the Islamic endowment administering Al-Aqsa, called earlier this week on all mosques in Jerusalem to be closed on Friday and for all Muslim worshipers in the city to head towards Al-Aqsa to denounce the installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound after a shooting attack on July 14 left the assailants, three Palestinian citizens of Israel, and two Israeli border police officers killed.   MORE . . .

JOURNAL OF ISLAMIC STUDIES, vol. 23, no. 3, Sept. 2012, pp. 325-358.
Since the 1970s the Islamic Movement in Israel has sought to (re)create and promote an Arab Palestinian Muslim identity among its constituency of Palestinian citizens of Israel. Through educational and religious institutions the Movement aims to teach Palestinians in Israel about Islam and ancient and modern Palestinian history, as well as their current predicament as indigenous non-Jewish citizens of the Jewish state; and to improve their level of Arabic. These aims are vocalized in many of the religious and political speeches by the Movement’s leaders; reiterated in the content of the material distributed by the pupil and student organizations; and demonstrably present in the Movement’s social and political activities around the country.
___Established by shaykhs educated in religious institutions in the Israeli-occupied West Bank, the Islamic Movement in Israel grew from a movement of grass-roots activism into a player on the local political field during the mid-1980s
. . .  [the movement bases] their activism on the inter-related agendas of Islamization, Palestinization and Arabization, which are formed and disseminated via the Movement’s state-wide network of mosques, educational and social institutions and organizations.
[. . . .] In order to educate new local religious leaders the Movement now runs an Islamic College in Umm al-Fahm and it also sends students abroad, mainly to Jordan.
[. . . .] According to Dumper and Larkin, it is widely believed among the Muslim Palestinian community in Israel that al-Aqsa is under threat from settler groups, right-wing Israeli politicians, and aggressive military forces. The settler groups are understood to be the main propagators behind the controversial archaeological excavations near and/or under the site. This fear is the motivational force behind the organization of an annual event called ‘al-Aqsa is in danger’ hosted by the Northern branch in Umm al-Fahm. The festival attracts tens of thousands of Muslims from all over the country. At this festival the leaders of the Movement give emotional speeches about liberating al-Aqsa, which are loaded with religious content and strong statements. For example, Khatib has stated at the festival that, ‘ . . . the sweep of the sword will start a fire that will burn the enemies of al-Aqsa.’    SOURCE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.   Israeli forces violently suppressed demonstrations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Friday, injuring scores who had gathered in solidarity with a massive protest in occupied East Jerusalem to denounce increasing Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa compound.
[. . . .] The witness said that some 300 demonstrators had gathered in front of an Israeli military base set behind Israel’s illegal separation wall in northern Bethlehem to pray, with a dozen of protesters chanting slogans.
___As the majority of demonstrators began walking away from the separation wall, Israeli forces began spraying skunk water — a strong, foul smelling liquid — towards the crowd, and shot tear gas.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 21, 2017.  President Mahmoud Abbas Friday asked the US administration to intervene to compel Israel to back down from its measures in East Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___Abbas discussed the spiraling tensions in East Jerusalem in a phone call with US President Donald Trump’s top advisor and son-in-law Jared Kushner.
___He asked the US administration to immediately intervene in order to compel Israel to back down from its recent measures in East Jerusalem and the mosque compound.  MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
July 21, 2017.   Israeli forces Friday detained at least 10 Palestinians, including Fatah officials and activists, during multiple raids across East Jerusalem.
___Israeli police detained former Minister of Jerusalem Affairs and member of Fatah Revolutionary Council after storming his home in the city.
___Police also detained Fatah movement’s Jerusalem Secretary-General Adnan Ghaith and his brother, Hani, after storming their homes in Silwan.   MORE . . .
RELATED: Father Musleh [Spokesman of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate of Jerusalem]: “What is happening at Aqsa premeditated plan.”
The Palestinian Information Center   
July 18, 2017.   At the courtyards of Al-Aqsa Mosque, three Palestinians from Um Al-Fahm city carried out a shooting attack on Friday morning, July 14, killing two Israeli occupation officers, before they were killed at the hands of Israeli policemen. This shooting was only the latest manifestation of a revolutionary spirit of an Arab-Muslim thought in the hearts of the people of this [Um Al-Fahm], located in the heart of the northern 1948 occupied Palestine, which for nine decades had shown outstanding courage in defense of Palestine and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
[. . . .] [At the time of the Nakba] Um Al-Fahm was the largest city in Palestine, with an area of 150,000 dunums, of which only 22,000 dunums remain today. An estimated number of 52,000 Palestinians live there today. The city has the second largest Palestinian population in the 1948 Occupied Territories after Nazareth.
[. . . .] Following its occupation by Israel, the city remained a hotbed of constant tension that disturbed the occupation and its security apparatuses, because of the strong national spirit and its people’s refusal of subjugation to the occupiers. [. . . .]   MORE . . .

[Note: Mahmoud Darwish wrote this poem in 1964 when he was 22 years old. He was imprisoned for it―his first imprisonment. The poem became rallying words for the Palestinians. Note, it was written before the 1967 War and before the First and Second Intifadas and remains germane in today’s Palestine.]

Write down:
I am an Arab
my I.D. number, 50,000
my children, eight
and the ninth due next summer
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
I work with my struggling friends in a quarry
and my children are eight.
I chip a loaf of bread for them,
clothes and notebooks
from the rocks.
I will not beg for a handout at your
door nor humble myself
on your threshold
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
a name with no friendly diminutive.
A patient man, in a country
brimming with anger.
My roots have gripped this soil
since time began,
before the opening of ages
before the cypress and the olive,
before the grasses flourished.
My father came from a line of plowmen,
and my grandfather was a peasant
who taught me about the sun’s glory
before teaching me to read.
My home is a watchman’s shack
made of reeds and sticks―
Does my condition anger you?

There is no gentle name,
write down:
The colour of my hair, jet black―
eyes, brown―
trademarks, a headband over a keffiyeh
and a hand whose touch grates
rough as a rock.
My address is a weaponless village
with nameless streets.
All its men are in the field and quarry
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
You have stolen my ancestors’ vineyards
and the land I once ploughed
with my children
leaving my grandchildren nothing but rocks.
Will your government take those too,
as the rumour goes?

Write down, then
at the top of Page One:
I do not hate
and do not steal
but starve me, and I will eat
my assailant’s flesh.
Beware of my hunger
and of my anger.

About Mahmoud Darwish
From WHEN  THE  WORDS  BURN:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY:  1945-1987.  Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988.

“. . . For the tragedy I live Is but my share in your larger tragedy . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

❶ Israeli bill aimed at preventing Jerusalem’s division passes reading in Knesset

  • Background: “A National or Religious Conflict? The Dispute over the Temple Mount/Al-Haram Al-Sharif in Jerusalem.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) PM Hamdallah to European diplomats: Stop Israel now
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) President Abbas discusses Israeli measures with Turkish counterpart
❷ Israeli soldiers shoot, kill Palestinian after alleged stabbing attempt, sparking clashes
❸ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency 
July 19, 2017.   A bill aimed at preventing any future divisions of Jerusalem, by requiring a two-third majority in Israel’s parliament in order to do so, passed its preliminary reading in the Knesset on Wednesday.
___The bill, titled “Basic Law: Jerusalem, the Capital of Israel,” passed with 58 Members of Knesset (MKs) voting in favor, 48 voting against it, and one MK abstaining from the vote, according to a statement released by the Knesset.
___The bill aims to mend Israel’s Basic Law on Jerusalem to necessitate the approval of 80 of the 120 Knesset members to make any changes to the law, instead of the regular majority vote.
___According to the statement, the proposal explains that the bill has a “security purpose.”
___“Since the IDF’s withdrawal from Lebanon [in 2000] and the disengagement from the Gaza Strip [in 2005] proved that wherever Israel withdraws from, terrorist factors enter, threatening the security of citizens of Israel,” the bill reportedly states, insinuating that if Israel withdrew from occupied East Jerusalem, it would be taken over by “terrorist” factions.   MORE . . .   

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 20/21, no. 4/1, Dec. 2015, pp. 25-32.
Arabs and Jews, the children of Abraham, are becoming increasingly engaged in a religious war. The major focus of this conflict is the Temple Mount/al-Haram al-Sharif and East Jerusalem/al-Quds Al-Sharif. Amalgamated with nationalist and political components of the Arab-Israeli dispute, this religious war also derives from two opposed processes: growing Islamic Judeophobia in the Arab and Muslim world, on one hand; and accelerated Jewish Islamophobia in Israel and the Diaspora, on the other.
[. . . .] Moderate Israeli and Palestinian personalities — religious and secular — have been warning for years that the Jewish-Muslim conflict over the Temple Mount could trigger a worldwide religious war.
[. . . .] Despite these warnings, top Israeli and Palestinian leaders continue to perpetuate this phenomenon to score political gains. Mahmoud Abbas, president of the Palestinian Authority, must politically ride his people’s anger and frustration regarding alleged Jewish intentions to destroy the Al-Aqsa mosque and Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other right-wing Israeli leaders continue to use the Jewish sanctity of the Temple Mount to gamer public support.
___Netanyahu has also done very little to change the desire of Jewish citizens to rebuild the third Temple (approx. 40%), control and pray on the Temple Mount (approx. 65%), and keep a united Jerusalem under eternal Israeli sovereignty (80%). In fact, on Jerusalem Day, May 2014, Netanyahu proclaimed that “Jerusalem was unified 47 years ago. It will never be redivided: We will never divide our heart — the heart of the Nation. Jerusalem is also Mount Zion and Mount Moriah (the Temple Mount), the Western Wall — Israel’s eternal.” [. . . .]  SOURCE . . .

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA      
July 20, 2017.   Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah Thursday urged the European Union to take immediate action to pressure Israel to stop its violations against Palestinian rights and holy places.
___Hamdallah discussed during a meeting at  his Ramallah office with EU diplomats the recent developments in Jerusalem, particularly Israel’s measures at Al-Aqsa Mosque and the heightened settlement activities in and around Jerusalem.
___He warned of deterioration in the security situation if Israel persists in efforts to change the status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA      
July 20, 2017.   President Mahmoud Abbas Thursday discussed over phone with his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdoğan the recent Israeli measures around flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___Abbas and Erdoğan reportedly discussed the Israeli installation of metal detectors at the gates leading to Al-Aqsa Mosque, assaults against Muslim worshippers and the attempt to change the long-standing status quo at the mosque.
___Abbas called upon Erdoğan to help de-escalate tensions through asking the US administration to oblige Israel to retract its serious measures and also through his contacts with Israel.   MORE . . . 
Ma’an News Agency
July 20, 2017.  Israeli forces shot and killed a Palestinian in the southern occupied West Bank village of Tuqu on Thursday afternoon, sparking clashes in which at least one Palestinian was injured.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that a Palestinian attempted to stab Israeli soldiers at an Israeli military checkpoint near Tuqu, adding that “responding to the immediate threat,” soldiers shot and killed the man. They added that no Israelis were injured in the case.
___A Ma’an reporter present at the scene said that Israeli soldiers fired four shots towards the Palestinian near Tuqu’s school, while eyewitnesses said that an Israeli military vehicle then run over the man.   MORE . . .

I call upon you
And clasp your hands.
I kiss the dust under your shoe
And say: I’ll lay down my life for you,
Grant you the gift of eyesight in my eyes.
The warm love in my heart I give to you,
For the tragedy I live
Is but my share in your larger tragedy.

I call upon you
And clasp your hands.
I never stooped in my country
Nor will I ever be humbled.
Orphaned, naked and barefoot
I confronted my oppressors,
Carrying my blood in my palms.
I have never lowered my flags,
And have always tended the grass over my ancestors’ graves.
I call upon you, and clasp your hands!

From THE PALSESTINIAN 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.
Tawfik Zayyad (Tawfiq Ziad) was a Palestinian poet, writer, scholar and politician. He was born in Nazareth in 1929 and died on July 5, 1994, in a dreadful car crash while on his way to meet Yasser Arafat in Jericho after the Oslo agreements. He participated in Palestinian political life in occupied Palestine, was elected mayor of Nazareth, and served as a member of the Israeli Knesset.     (More. . .)

“. . . towards what remained of the heart . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

❶ Worshippers clash with Israeli police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque following noon prayer
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Military wings in Gaza warn Israel Al-Aqsa policies will ‘explode in the region’

  • Background: “Between Religion and Nationalism in the Palestinian Diaspora.” Nations & Nationalism

❷ Activist imprisoned for defending Palestinian children
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli parliament advances law to keep fight against BDS secret from public
❸ Israeli forces shoot young Palestinian in East Jerusalem, raid hospital where he is treated
❹ POETRY by Majid Abu Ghoush
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
July 19, 2017.   Dozens of Palestinian worshipers Wednesday clashed with Israeli police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque following the noon prayer, according to witnesses.
___They said police attacked the worshipers at the end of the prayer held outside Lions’ Gate where people have been holding prayers five times a day, as required by Islam.
___Police used clubs and tear gas to disperse the worshipers. A number of people suffered from gas inhalation and beating and were treated on location. Police arrested two Palestinians.
___Worshipers have been holding the prayers outside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since Sunday after Israel erected metal detectors at the gates to the compound and demanded that people had to go through them first before entering the compound. Muslim leaders have rejected this new measure and vowed to fight it. They also called on people not to enter Al-Aqsa going through the metal detectors.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency  
July 18, 2017.   Military wings of various political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip warned Israel against continuing its restrictive policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem during a press conference on Tuesday, saying that Israel’s “offensive” on Al-Aqsa represents a “spark that will explode in the region.”
___“We will have our strong and supreme word if Zionist plans against Al-Aqsa continue,” the groups warned in the press conference. “We will not allow our enemy to invade our Al-Aqsa, our holy sites, and our people in Jerusalem.”
___The military wings then saluted the people of Jerusalem and called upon all Palestinians to support Al-Aqsa.   MORE . . .

Nations & Nationalism,
vol. 20, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 801-820.
[. . . .] Since its founding, Hamas has proved to be a flexible and dynamic organization.  At times reformist, at others militant, its essential character as a sociopolitical movement has been difficult to define in any certain terms. Perhaps the movement’s shifting positions on the question of religion and nationalism. While some scholars have prioritized Hamas’s religious dimensions and thus located it within broader trends of what has been called ‘political Islam’ or ‘Islamism’, I believe there are several factors that suggest the organization’s religious hue is insufficient for fully negating its nationalist character. First, while Hamas employs a discourse saturated with religious references to the Quran, hadith and the concept of jihad, the target audience of this discourse is nonetheless confined to the Palestinian people. Put simply, Hamas is not speaking to the Muslim umma; rather, it is speaking particularly to Palestinian Muslims and more generally to the Palestinian nation. It wants to put Muslim Palestinians at the forefront of the national movement. Palestinian Muslims thus represent a vanguard of the nation who, in virtue of their invented religious tradition and identification, have a critical role to play in the liberation of Palestine from Israel. In pragmatic terms, Hamas has also confined its efforts to the geography of the national context.
[. . . .] Hamas’s reformist and military approach to the struggle against Israel has also been defined within the limits of the Palestinian territories. It does not work for a transnational reformation of the Muslim world in preparation for a global jihad against Israel and its allies. Rather, it works through a diverse network of charitable institutions in Palestine to support all Palestinians while promoting an Islamic reformation within Palestinian society. . . .   Hamas locates the Islamic reformation of Palestinian society within a greater program of national liberation. Thus turning Palestinian Muslims toward a more pious (Islamic) lifestyle is inextricably linked to the struggle against Israeli occupation and the Palestinian nationalist cause. . . .  In this sense, religious reformation is understood as an essential step toward succeeding in the national struggle where secular organizations have failed. Finally, even the very distinction between what is definitively Islamic and what is definitively national about Hamas remains unclear. An analysis of Hamas’s discourse suggests that it is appropriating religious concepts in Islam for nationalist purposes.
[. . . .]  To the extent that religious ideology can be distinguished from nationalism in Hamas’s discourse and practice, it is clear that neither is sufficient for trumping the other [ . . . .]    SOURCE . . .

Palestine News Network – PNN 
July 19, 2017.   The Ofer military court has sentenced the activist of the Popular Resistance Movement and human rights defender Ahmad Odeh to six months in prison with a fee of NIS 6,000 due to accusations of throwing rocks. He was arrested at the northern entrance to Bethlehem during his attempt to defend a group of children who were barbaric beaten by Israeli special units.
___Munther Amira, head of the High Coordination Committee for the Resistance against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank, said that the ruling was unjust and unfair to a Popular Resistance activist who is also considered a human rights defender. Amira said that it is part of the occupation campaign to put popular resistance activists who have been able to expose the practices of the occupation for trial.
___“It is barbarism against our people on more than one level” Amira stated.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency     
July 18, 2017.
An Israeli bill aimed at exempting Israel’s attempts at combating the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and efforts to “delegitimize Israel” from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law, which allows Israeli citizens to obtain information from the government, passed its first reading in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Monday.     ___According to a statement released by the Knesset, 25 Members of the Knesset (MKs) supported the bill, while 12 MKs voted against it and one abstained from the vote.     ___Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan from the right-wing Likud party, who is in charge of combating the boycott movement, said that the “boycott organizations are spread out geographically and act in different areas. The organizations built a network of activity and act in coordination with the Palestinian Authority,” he said.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 18, 2017.   Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian man on Monday evening in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a local watchdog organization reported, before raiding the hospital where the wounded Palestinian was being treated.
___The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Israeli troops stormed the area of Ein al-Luza and fired stun grenades and live fire haphazardly, while young residents threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks in response.
___One Palestinian was seriously injured during the raid, according to the information center, and taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.
___The center added that Israeli police raided the al-Makassed Hospital east of the Old City of Jerusalem, seeking to detain the injured Palestinian.    MORE . .


the woman was dragging her feet
and what remained of her children
towards what remained of her home
towards what remained
of the sea
towards what remained
of the heart
towards what remained of the heart

she raised her hand softly
wiped a tear which rolled down her cheek
and smiled when the beautiful one
she met on the way asked her:
why are you going back?

to water the jasmine tree
to shade the names of the martyrs

—translated by Magi Gibson

MAJID ABU GHOUSH was born in Amwas. He is a prolific poet, a member of the Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers and a founding member of Poets Without Borders Palestine.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY  (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.