❶ Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem
❷ Hamas and Fatah meet in Cairo to continue reconciliation talks
- Background: “Indispensible but Elusive: Palestinian National Reunification.” Middle East Policy.
❸ Israel arrests 19 Palestinians including 6 Fatah activists taken for interrogation
❹ Save the Children: rights of Palestinian children being eroded in West Bank
❺ POETRY by Fouzi el Asmar
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❶ ISRAEL DEMOLISHES 2 PALESTINIAN HOMES IN OCCUPIED EAST JERUSALEM
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 22, 2017 ― Israeli forces reportedly demolished two Palestinian homes on Wednesday in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
___Locals told Ma’an that staff from Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, under the protection of police forces, raided the neighborhoods of al-Issawiya and Shufat and demolished two homes, under the pretext that they were built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.
___Israeli forces first demolished the home of Sharif Muhsein in al-Issawiya, which according to local activist Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, was still under construction. The demolition reportedly caused damages to the house next door. MORE . . .
❷ HAMAS AND FATAH MEET IN CAIRO TO CONTINUE RECONCILIATION TALKS
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 21, 2017 ― Palestinian political factions are set to meet on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, in the newest round of national reconciliation talks, following the reconciliation agreement signed by feuding factions Hamas and Fatah in October.
___Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that the “national dialogue” is to last for three days, and will review what has been achieved so far from the October agreement, and review elements from the failed 2011 agreement. MORE . . .
(Note: While this article is four years old and is about the previous agreements which failed, it offers valuable information for understanding the current work toward reconciliation between the two entities. We will continue with more articles written in the intervening years.)
“INDISPENSIBLE BUT ELUSIVE: PALESTINIAN NATIONAL REUNIFICATION.”
MIDDLE EAST POLICY, vol. 21, no. 3, Fall2014, pp. 31-46.
[. . . .] Egypt has always regarded the Gaza border area and the Rafah crossing as more of a domestic and national-security issue than a foreign-policy challenge. . . [but] Egypt moved to shut down smuggling tunnels, make it much harder for anything or anyone to pass between Egypt and Gaza, and close the crossing except for humanitarian purposes or other special exceptions. Gaza had never in its history been this cut off. The Egyptian blockade was, if anything, tighter than the Israeli blockade. And Egypt was in no way constrained, as Israel is, by the responsibilities accruing to the officially designated (by the UN Security Council) occupying power in Gaza. Egypt’s lawful prerogatives are much more elastic [than srael’s]. Hamas soon found itself politically isolated, diplomatically squeezed and economically strangled at a whole new level, even considering that the blockade had existed since the 2007 split with the PA in the West Bank.
[. . . .] As Hamas was facing an unprecedented meltdown in Gaza during 2013-14, the Ramallah leadership was also in a severe, albeit less extreme, crisis of its own. Like Hamas, its leaders lacked a popular mandate. . . . Its policy of negotiating with Israel had not produced any tangible benefits in years, but had occasioned significant frustration. Its controversial policy of security coordination with Israel helped to secure law and order and stability . . . was painted as simply providing calm for the occupier. The sense of patriotic duty and national purpose was being weakened . . .
[. . . .] The calculations of all parties regarding the unity agreement  were reshaped by the hostilities in Gaza, the subject of an uneasy truce and uncertain negotiations. Indeed, the Hamas-Israel war appeared to breathe new life into an arrangement . . .
[. . . .] Israel will have to change its implicit, and perhaps even explicit, position towards the unity agreement. It could well be argued that Israel has already done so, by signaling a willingness to go along with such an arrangement if it is coupled with a “demilitarization” regime . . . If Israel does not adapt its policies towards the Ramallah leadership, it can virtually guarantee that Hamas will eventually and plausibly insist that the 2014 war with Israel constituted a “victory” for the Islamist organization and its policy of armed struggle. . . If Israel does decide to adapt its policies in order to deny Hamas that opportunity, this will require a new approach to the PA and, if there is an explicit understanding on a lasting ceasefire or reconstruction, perhaps also to the Palestinian national-unity agreement. SOURCE . . . ..
❸ ISRAEL ARRESTS 19 PALESTINIANS INCLUDING 6 FATAH ACTIVISTS TAKEN FOR INTERROGATION
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 20,2017 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a large-scale arrest campaign at dawn on Tuesday arresting 19 people most of them in Jerusalem and targeted girls and leaders from Jerusalem.
___The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said that the occupation arrested 13 Palestinians from Jerusalem.
___According to an attorney with the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Mufeed al-Haj, Israeli police is also interrogating six Fatah activists, including one woman, from East Jerusalem detained in earlier raids at their homes for their alleged activity in the occupied city.
___He said that the six detained include Hatem Abdul Qadder, one of the top Fatah officials . . . . MORE . . .
❹ SAVE THE CHILDREN: RIGHTS OF PALESTINIAN CHILDREN BEING ERODED IN WEST BANK
Ma’an News Agency Nov. 20, 2017 (Updated Nov. 21, 2017) ― On the anniversary of Universal Children’s Day, international NGO Save the Children released a statement highlighting ongoing the rights violations of Palestinian children in the occupied territory by Israel.
___Jennifer Moorehead, the country director of Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory called for greater protection of schools and children’s right to education, saying that “children’s most fundamental right to education is being eroded” in the territory.
___Moorehead highlighted the cases of 55 Palestinian schools in Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control, that are under threat of demolition by Israeli forces.
___“Distance, risky roads, the presence of settlers or of military checkpoints had presented insurmountable challenges for many children to reach the nearest schools,” Moorhead said. MORE . . .
“I AM THE SON OF THE LAND,” BY FOUZI EL ASMAR
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
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
The branches of this land
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)