“. . . And the green olive tree rose high Embracing the house . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

Alexandra Handal. From  “Bed & Breakfast Notebooks, 2007-2008,” Video (Still from Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009 Catalogue)

❶ Israeli security cabinet freezes plan for Palestinian housing in Qalqiliya
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes in Jabal al-Mukabbir, Silwan

  • Background: “Be/Come Closer to Home.” Third Text

❷ Israel will not slow settlement on Palestinian land, Says Netanyahu
❸ Population, housing and institutions general census 2017 kicks off
❹ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 13, 2017.   The Israeli security cabinet voted on Wednesday to postpone discussions regarding plans to expand the Palestinian city of Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, weeks after Israeli officials condemned the planned construction.
___According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, the security cabinet ruled for no further steps to be taken with regards to the plan, which would see some 5,000 housing units built in Qalqiliya, until it convenes to discuss the matter on July 23.
___The security cabinet also called on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to issue a ruling on how control of Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control, should be divided between the Israeli army and government, and how this would affect the plan.     MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 12, 2017.   Israeli forces targeted Palestinian-owned buildings in occupied East Jerusalem with demolitions for the second day in a row, under the pretext that the structures lacked the nearly impossible to obtain construction permits from Israeli authorities.
___Locals told Ma’an that Israel’s Jerusalem municipality enforced the demolition of three buildings, which included two homes, in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Jabal al-Mukabbir and Silwan. Amid the tense atmosphere in Silwan, Israeli forces reportedly assaulted a local youth during the demolition.
___In Jabal al-Mukabbir, Musa Obidat told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers raided the neighborhood around dawn time and razed his house to the ground for being built without a permit.
___Obidat noted that he was away from his home when the demolition was carried out, and was informed by his neighbors of the raid. When he attempted to return to the house, Israeli forces prevented him from accessing the area and imposed a complete siege around the premises.   MORE . . .

Photiou, Maria. “BE/COME CLOSER TO HOME.” Third Text, vol. 29, no. 4/5, Jul-Sep2015, pp. 340-355. (Article about the Palestinian artist, Alexandra Handal)
[. . . .]   Handal’s ongoing process of this web documentary exposes the reality of the absurd post-1948 political situation in West Jerusalem where expropriated Palestinian houses are being sold on Israeli real-estate agents’ websites. The realisation of this absurd political reality was the persuasive point for Handal’s engagement in this issue:
“The idea for the work grew from an encounter I made in the early 1990s. During a trip to NYC, I met a Palestinian refugee and he showed me a real estate advertisement that featured upscale residential properties in West Jerusalem. At first glance, there was nothing particularly special about this ad, but the absurd political reality around it became evident after he explained to me that this was in fact his family’s expropriated home that was now on sale for an Israeli international clientele. I was a teenager at the time and the story had an enduring impact on me – beneath the glossy surface of the ad was a cruel reality” [From Karmah Elmusa, ‘Alexandra Handal Combines Palestinian History and Art in Web Documentary,
found at
. . .].
[. . . .]  The concept of homeland and the limitations of the Green Line are obvious in Alexandra Handal’s practice. Born in 1975 into a Palestinian family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Handal is influenced by the 1948 Palestinian depopulation from West Jerusalem and the ongoing Palestinian occupation by Israel.
[. . . .] The desire to document the socio-political events of her homeland is obvious in Handal’s work. In the artist’s statement for No Parking without Permission, Jerusalem, Handal describes her longing to explore the occupied areas:
“I wanted to go see first-hand what had become of those neighbourhoods whose stories had shaped my image of the city. So I decided to undertake a number of walks there. Although walking through a city would almost anywhere in the world be seen as a mundane activity, for a Palestinian drifting in Jerusalem is politicised and loaded with emotional ramifications. Through numerous walks, I explored these areas by looking through all sorts of barriers, fences, gates and bushes in an attempt to remove the distance and be/come closer to the spaces that Palestinians were torn apart from in 1948. These drifts culminated into a series of photos, each image – a visual testimony of my yearning” [Author’s Communication with Alexandra Handal, 2015].       SOURCE . . .

The Palestinian Information Center  
July 12, 2107.   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied media reports claiming that Tel Aviv had agreed to slow the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to kick-start the peace process.
___The Prime Minister’s Office denied reports by Hebrew-speaking and Arab news outlets that the White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt and senior Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders had secured backing for new final status agreement talks, including assurances from Israel that construction in the occupied West Bank would be slowed during negotiations with the PA.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 13, 2017.   Ola Awad, president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Thursday announced the start of field operations for the population, housing and institutions 2017 general census.
___Awad said in a press release, “This is the third general census, fully conducted by Palestinians. Modern technology will be used to collect information, such as tablets and geographic information systems.”
___The general census is considered the biggest on the national level and is conducted every 10 years and will officially start on Saturday July 15. It was conducted in 2007 and 1997.   MORE . . 

Will you not open this door for me?
My hand is exhausted from knocking at Your door.
I have come to Your vastness to beg
Some tranquility and peace of mind
But Your door is closed in my face,
Drowned in silence.
Lord of the house,
The door was open here,
A refuge for all burdened with grief.
The door was open here,
And the green olive tree rose high
Embracing the house.
The oil lamb kindling without fire,
Guiding steps of one walking at night,
Relieving those crushed by the burden of Earth,
Flooding them with satisfaction and ease.
Do you hear me, O Lord of the house,
After my loss in the deserts;
Away from You I have returned to You
But Your door is closed
In my face, drowned in silence.
Your house is shrouded
With the dust of death.
You are here. Open, then, the door.
Do not veil your face.
See my orphanhood, my loss,
Amid the ruins of a collapsing world,
The grief of the world on my shoulders
And terrors of a tyrant destiny
To be undone.

From: A  Lover  From  Palestine  and  Other  Poems:  An  Anthology  of  Palestinian  Poetry.  Ed. Abdul Wahab Al-Messiri. Washington, DC: Free Palestine Press, 1970. Available from Amazon.
Fadwa Tuqan obituary.

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