“. . . And have always tended the grass over my ancestors’ graves . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

❶ Israel advances more than 2,000 settlement housing units in one week

  • “Apartheid, SETTLER COLONIALISM and the Palestinian State 50 Years On.” The Palestine-Israel Journal.

❷ Israeli forces demolish structures in Masafer Yatta
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Germany says settlement construction a path to one state devoid of Palestinian rights
❸ Analysis: The real reasons Trump is quitting UNESCO
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 18, 2017   The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee convened on Tuesday and Thursday, and advanced plans for 2,615 housing units in illegal Israeli settlements across the occupied West Bank, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
___Peace Now released a statement on Thursday detailing the committee’s decisions, saying that over the course of two days of meetings, the civil administration promoted 2,615 housing units, bringing the total number of units promoted through plans this week to 2,646, after 31 construction permits were approved for settlers in Hebron on October 16th.
___Of the 2,615 housing units promoted, 1,508 were approved for depositing, while 1,323 were approved for validation.   MORE . . . 

Salem, Walid.
The Palestine-Israel Journal Vol.22 No.2 & 3, 2017.
[. . . .] The Israeli researcher Ariel Handel described these processes as creating a “geography of catastrophe”, while the Palestinian scholar Sari Hanafi gives it the name “spacio-cide”. The latter of these descriptions reflects the elimination of both the space and the people who populate it. This is exemplified in the external dispossession of refugees and the internal dispossession of the occupants of Area C and East Jerusalem, both of which will be considered.
___A further problem is that these dispossessions of the Palestinians are followed by the establishment of military camps and, in most cases, Israeli settlements. In the literature of political science and international relations, this combined process of displacement and replacement is called “Settler Colonialism.”  In the Israeli-Palestinian case, this process is also planned and supported by the Israeli governments, while being protected by the Israeli occupying Army. What complicated such a situation even more is the denial of such a process at both the official and public levels of the State of Israel [. . . .]   SOURCE.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 19, 2017   Israeli forces demolished on Thursday several residential structures and tents in Khirbet Halaweh, in Masafer Yatta area to the south of Hebron in the West Bank, according Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the Anti-Settlement Commission.
___He told WAFA that staff from the Israeli so-called Civil Administration, an arm of the military government, accompanied by soldiers raided the Bedouin village and demolished structures and tents used to shelter the residents.
___Israeli authorities have demolished dozens of residential structures and animal barns in the area, citing construction without a permit as a pretext.
___Many of the structures were donated by the European Union (EU). . . .   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Oct. 19, 2017  Israeli settlement construction in the occupied Palestinian territory is going to lead to a one-state solution where Palestinians will be deprived of political rights, a statement by the German Foreign Ministry said on Thursday.
___The statement was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build almost 3000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.
___“The Federal Government takes this opportunity to reaffirm that it will recognize only such changes to the 4 June 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, which all the parties have agreed on through negotiations,” said a spokeswoman for the German Foreign Ministry.
___“Settlement construction, illegal under international law, is not the only obstacle to a two-state solution, but each new housing unit consolidates a one-state reality in which the Palestinians are denied the full exercise of their political rights.”   MORE . . .
Jonathan Cook
Oct. 17, 2017   At first glance, the decision last week by the Trump administration, followed immediately by Israel, to quit the United Nation’s cultural agency seems strange. Why penalise a body that promotes clean water, literacy, heritage preservation and women’s rights?
___Washington’s claim that the UN’s Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO) is biased against Israel obscures the real crimes the agency has committed in US eyes.
___The first is that in 2011 UNESCO became the first UN agency to accept Palestine as a member. That set the Palestinians on the path to upgrading their status at the General Assembly a year later.
___It should be recalled that in 1993, as Israel and the Palestinians signed the Oslo accords on the White House lawn, the watching world assumed the aim was to create a Palestinian state.
___But it seems most US politicians never received that memo. Under pressure from Israel’s powerful lobbyists, the US Congress hurriedly passed legislation to pre-empt the peace process. One such law compels the United States to cancel funding to any UN body that admits the Palestinians. . . .
___The agency’s second crime relates to its role selecting world heritage sites. That power has proved more than an irritant to Israel and the US.   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 PALESTINIAN 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. . .)


“. . . Each river has its own springs . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Palestinian  officials  begin  transferring  control  of  Gaza  borders  from  Hamas  to  Fatah
❷ Fatah official: Cairo reconciliation accords a bridge to end the split

  • Background: “Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.” Third World Quarterly

❸ Israeli  settlers  steal  olive  harvest,  attack  Palestinian  farmers  in  West  Bank
❹ The pedagogy of apartheid
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency  
Oct. 17, 2017   Head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) borders and crossing committee Nathmi Muhanna arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday in order “to carry out the first article of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo regarding taking over the crossings,” Muhanna told Ma’an.
___Muhanna entered Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, and was welcomed by the Palestinian Minister of Public Work Housing Mufid al-Hasayna.
___Upon his arrival in Gaza, Muhanna told Ma’an that a committee to oversee the takeover of Gaza border crossings by the Fatah-led PA was formed upon instructions by President Mahmoud Abbas.
___In the reconciliation agreement signed last week by Hamas and Fatah, it was agreed that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza would be operated by PA presidential guards by November 1.     MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 17, 2017   Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said the agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo under Egyptian auspices is the bridge that will lead to an end to the division and to achieve reconciliation.
___Sheikh said in an interview on Palestine TV aired on Monday night that the real test for the success in ending the division is found in the full empowerment of the government of national reconciliation, which was not given an opportunity in the past to function in the Gaza Strip as in the West Bank, expressing hope that this time it will succeed in its mission.   MORE . . .

(NOTE: While being two years old, this article presents historical information of value in understanding the current situation.)

Pogodda, Sandra, and Oliver P. Richmond.
“Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.”
Third World Quarterly 36.5 (2015): 890-907.
The outburst of inter-factional violence between Fatah and Hamas in 2007 came as a shock to a society that sees itself as the victim, not the perpetrator of violence. Between October 2006 and August 2010 more than 470 Palestinians were killed in inter-factional fighting, while torture in Palestinian prisons became pervasive. In addition, inter-factional structural violence perpetuates the repressive and discriminatory conduct of the occupation: campaigns of political arrests, the obstruction of political participation, crackdowns on political rights and civil liberties, and discrimination in public sector employment. Structural violence is thus disruptive of civil society, political life and socioeconomic development in the occupied Palestinian territories. After eight years of bitter rivalry and three failed attempts at creating a unity government, Fatah and Hamas signed another unity agreement on 23 April 2014. Accordingly, a technocratic government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was sworn in in June 2014 and is supposed to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while overseeing new elections in 2015. Given the continuing tensions between the two parties, doubts remain with regard to the durability of the unity government. Elections have again been indefinitely postponed, while Fatah and Hamas are competing over the control of the pledged reconstruction assistance.   SOURCE.

Ma’an News Agency 
Oct. 16, 2017   Israeli settlers on Sunday stole olive pickings from dozens of trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Nablus.
___Gassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlements activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian lands in Ramallah and Nablus under protection of armed Israeli forces, and stole olives from dozens of Palestinian trees.
___Daghlas told Ma’an that Israeli settlers stole the pickings of more than 65 olive trees in the Nablus-area village of al-Sawiyeh and the Ramallah-area village of al-Janiyeh.
___Meanwhile, NGO Rabbis For Human Rights (RHR) released a statement saying that the settlers, from the illegal Zayit Raanan outpost, were arrested by Israeli security forces “following the swift intervention of the head of the field department of Rabbis for Human Rights, Zakaria Sadah, who informed the security forces.”    MORE . . .
Jonathan Ofir
Oct. 15, 2017   Two months ago, Israel’s education ministry introduced a compulsory four-part question in civics matriculation exams. Students are asked to give their opinion on a “controversial public issue”, including for example “allowing different population groups to live in separate neighborhoods”. In the circulation to teachers, it was stated that since teachers “sometimes encounter inflammatory or racist statements against groups or individuals” on the exam, “It’s important to make clear to the students that racist or inflammatory statements in any part of the question will disqualify the entire answer” (which is worth 11 points out of a total of 100).
___But last week, the head of the ministry’s pedagogical secretariat, Moshe Weinstock, overruled the ministry’s civics supervisor and rescinded the rule. An update was sent to teachers, wherein the ban on racist statements was dropped, and the fourth part of the question was eliminated, in which students had to defend their position in light of their own values.   MORE . . . 

Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a baker in Algeria
To sing with a fighter.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a shepherd in Yemen
To sing for resurrection.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a waiter in Havana
To sing the victories of the oppressed.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a young porter in Aswan
To sing for the rocks.
The Nile will never flow into the Volga,
Nor will the Congo or the Jordan flow into the Euphrates.
Each river has its own springs,
Its own course and its own life.
Our land, my friend, is no barren land.
Each land gives birth in due time,
And each fighter will see the dawn.

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 Mahmoud Darwish.