“. . . I’m unfamiliar with settlements. Are some of those people good? . . .” (Marwan Makhoul)

❶ European conference on settlement declares Israel ‘apartheid regime’

  • Background: “Spatial Changes in Palestine: From Colonial Project to an Apartheid System.” African & Asian Studies.

❷ Israel encourages settlers to move to Jordan Valley settlements
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Netanyahu is redefining ethnic cleansing not pursuing genuine peace
❹ POETRY by Marwan Makhoul
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Days of Palestine
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Representatives from 24 European countries, including parliamentarians, legal experts, journalists and activists, met in Brussels, have declared Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” in the West Bank.
___In a press release, the recommendations of the first European conference on Israeli settlement activity were named the Brussels Declaration, and included the following:
1. Israel, the occupying power of the Palestinian territories since 1967 continues its policy of confiscating and judaising Palestinian land and building settlements over it. These settlements have turned, with the passage of time, into an incubator for settler’s “terrorist organisations” such as HiiltopYouth, Paying the Price and Revenge.
2. With this premeditated policy of settlement expansion, it is, therefore, inappropriate to talk about dismantling political or security settlements, but rather, see this movement as a structure colonial policy that was able to colonize a large part of the West Bank not less than 60 percent of its size. This policy has, in fact, established an Apartheid regime, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 . . .        MORE . . .

Al-Rimmawi, Hussein.
African & Asian Studies,
vol. 8, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 375-412.
[. . . .] After the 1967 war, Israel began to strip Palestinian land from its Palestinian owners . . . . settlements penetrated deeply inside the occupied land like spears, with the purpose of dividing the Palestinian land in the West Bank into three main Bantustans, north, and central and south.
___At present, Israel continues to construct its Apartheid Wall which would guarantee that the confiscated land be on the Israeli side of the border . . .  The Wall is planned and implemented in a way which results in residential and territorial discrimination. Palestinian workers may be allowed to work in Israel but will not be allowed to reside in the same place . . . .
___Palestinian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, is being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. The Apartheid Wall is destroying archeological sites, shrines, monuments and historical buildings. The establishment of this wall is represented by ‘spatial and socio-side’. The Wall also has a significant impact on Palestinian wild life and biodiversity. For example, heavy equipment destroys plant coverage and degrades the soil. Flora and fauna are endangered and some species will disappear.
[. . . .] The whole Zionist plan evolved through different phases which reflected itself on the space through the settlements, the creation of the State of Israel, the evolution of Israel to become an occupying power in Arab lands and the present apartheid system. Through the acquisition of territory and the building of the Annexation Wall, Israel aims at eliminating the possibility of Palestine as a viable political entity. Palestinians cannot fully exercise their human rights, including their freedom of expression, travel from one place to another, and different laws are applied to them than those used for Israeli settlers. At present, they are prisoners inside their own cities, villages, and refugee camps. . .  It seems that Israelis are not capable of transferring the soul of settlement movement into a real and consolidated state.   SOURCE . . .

The Palestinian Information Center 
Nov. 11, 2017 ― The National Office for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement on Saturday said that the Israeli government is planning to double the number of Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley area.
___The Office explained in its weekly report that the Israeli government plans to launch a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging settlers to move to the Jordan Valley, adding that it also has vowed to transfer funds to the settlement councils that host the newcomers. Preference will be given to the settlements that set fewer conditions to host settlers.
___Hebrew media sources have unveiled a plan presented by the Israeli Housing Minister, Yoav Galant, to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Jordan Valley, one-quarter of the West Bank.   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center
Kamel Hawwash    [ Kamel Hawwash is Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at Birmingham University, and Immediate Past President of the European Society for Engineering Education.]  
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for missing an opportunity to push peace further into the distant future. [. . . .] Netanyahu took to the air to absolve Israel of any fault for the lack of progress towards peace. Israel is in a difficult neighbourhood and therefore its security needs are such that meeting these is almost incompatible with a Palestinian state.
___In an interview . . .  he trotted out the usual talking points. Israel, he said, “stands out as a beacon of democracy, a beacon of self-restraint in a sea of trouble”. As for the Israeli army, “there is no more moral army in the world,” he said. The settlements “are an issue but I don’t think they are the issue”. Instead he believes the issue “is the 100-year-old refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognise a Jewish state in any boundary”.  Netanyahu took issue with Marr regarding the settlements, saying “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea [the West Bank] is crazy”. When challenged that it is Palestinian territory, which the UN says is a flagrant violation of international law, he said that it is “disputed territory”.  MORE . . .

I’m unfamiliar with refugee camps.
Is that the ultimate in giving up?
Or are they tents I’ve been told are white
with guy ropes at the corners to hold them up
that hold me up?

I’m unfamiliar with tear gas.
Is it a weapon whose used bears the radiance of defeat?
Or is it his disappointment at the pathos of my tears
when I cry

I’m unfamiliar with settlements.
Are some of those people good?
Sure, completely. Like I walk
on my hands,
and the sand sings?

I’m unfamiliar with my mother too.
Is she the one who suckled me?
Or is she the one bereft, standing in my doorway,
or a window on belonging?

I’m unfamiliar with UNRWA.
Is it a shipment I once chanced upon?
Or did I direct its driver
when he asked the way to Rafah?

I’m unfamiliar with the “cause”.
Is it a fiancée searching in the rubble
for her finger to put the ring on?
Or is half the whole of a fifth?

I’m unfamiliar with the truth.
Am I lacking something?
Or does my blood course within me
but not as my nerves would wish?

Personally, I’m unfamiliar with myself.
Am I the one now in my body?
Or am I that one I wrote about
the day I became my neighbor?
―Translated by Raphael Cohen   

Marwan Makhoul was born to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother in 1979 in the village of Boquai’a in the Upper Galilee region of Palestine. He currently lives in the village of Maalot Tarshiha. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Mustaqbal College. His first book of poetry was published in 2007 in both Beirut and Baghdad by Al-Jamal Publishers. That same year a second edition of the book was published in Haifa by Maktabat Kul Shai’ Publishers. In 2009 he won the prize of best playwright in The Acre Theatre Festival for his first play. (An interview with Marwan Makhoul )


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