“. . . in old age you have been crowned with humiliation . . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

❶ [Palestinian] Presidential spokesman: White House statements incorrect and rejected
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Rajoub: The President’s [ABBAS] speech at the Islamic Summit establishes for a national strategy

  • Background: “Israel or Occupation?.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers break into Solomon’s Pools site in Bethlehem
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ)  Israel raids Birzeit University at dawn
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Did Trump’s Jerusalem decision revive support for Palestine?
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PRESIDENTIAL  SPOKESMAN:  WHITE  HOUSE  STATEMENTS  INCORRECT  AND  REJECTED
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina Thursday said the Palestinian leadership rejects and deems incorrect the latest White House statement saying President Mahmoud Abbas’ rhetoric prevents peace.
___He said, “These statements are entirely wrong, since President Abbas always reiterates that he is committed to a just peace on the basis of international legitimacy, Security Council resolutions and world’s recognition of the State of Palestine as an observer in the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, based on the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.”
___Abu Rudeina added that this was confirmed by the Arab peace initiative, and on these bases the Palestinian leadership has been involved in the Oslo accords based on the two-state solution, including resolutions 242 and 338. The previous US administrations have engaged in negotiations based on these rules.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  RAJOUB:  THE  PRESIDENT’S  [ABBAS]  SPEECH  AT  THE  ISLAMIC  SUMMIT  ESTABLISHES  FOR  A  NATIONAL  STRATEGY
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Fatah Central Committee’s secretary general Jibril Rajoub, described the speech by President Mahmoud Abbas at the Islamic summit as bold and establishes for a national strategy, pointing out that the president’s decision to form a committee to formulate a steadfast resistance strategy in Jerusalem aims at people, land, holy places, dignity of citizens and their ability to remain steadfast and resist.
___Rajoub stressed that all Palestinians must realize the strategy to build full national partnerships that keep Palestine on the agenda of the world, pointing out that the president’s speech at the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reflects the greatness of the Palestinian people and expresses their ambitions and aspirations.  MORE . . .

(NOTE: Apparently Mr. Bahour was mistaken.)

Bahour, Sam.
“ISRAEL  OR  OCCUPATION?.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL  JOURNAL  OF  POLITICS,  ECONOMICS  &  CULTURE, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 15-17.
[. . . .] Today’s Palestinian leadership is waging an uphill battle to achieve some form of appropriate reconciliation of the historical injustices done to Palestine and its people. Palestinians went to Madrid, Oslo and Camp David and put on the table the greatest concession ever voluntarily made by an indigenous people: to relinquish 78% of their ancestral homeland so the Jews of the world could fulfill their own dream of a homeland. In return . . . Palestinians received instead [ ] a package of Israeli aggression like never before: collective punishment, imprisonment, political assassinations, uprooting of trees, burning of schools, maiming of children, economic blockades, tanks, helicopter gunships, F-16s and much more. Today’s highly sophisticated military occupation . . .   suffocates and humiliates each and every Palestinian, day in and day out, in hopes that each individual and family will ultimately decide to leave voluntarily or turn to violence.
[. . . .]  It took the Palestinians, as victims of a prolonged 20th century colonization project, 45 years to absorb the fact that they had become objects in a history that was not theirs — and thus, to accept Israel’s political existence. If today or tomorrow all hope is lost, if Israel finally yields fully to its illegal settlers and Jewish extremists and remains bent on the obliteration of Palestinian national identity, no one ought to be surprised if it takes Palestinians perhaps 45 hours to reinstate a political platform anchored by their legitimate collective memory – call it “One State” or what you will. If 21st-century diplomacy and politics fail to serve justice and restore Palestinian dignity, however fractured by all that has occurred, the Palestinian collective memory can be expected to make its presence felt again, to provide at least the comfort of justice as a vision, as an oral tradition. Israel knows this, and none of its leaders dare to unilaterally rip up the Oslo peace agreements, not even hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. THE  PUBLIC  AND  DIPLOMATIC  LEADERSHIP  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  KNOWS  THIS  EVEN BETTER  AND  DOES  NOT  DARE  TO  DISREGARD  THESE  AGREEMENTS,  NO  MATTER  HOW SHATTERED  THE  STATUS  OF  THEIR  IMPLEMENTATION,  AND  NO  MATTER  HOW  UNSCHOOLED THE  CURRENT  U.S.  ADMINISTRATION  MAY  BE  ON  THE  ISSUES.      SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  FIRE  AT  GAZA  FISHERMEN 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli naval boats Friday opened fire at fishermen’s boats while sailing in the Gaza waters; offshore Beit Lahia town to the north of the Gaza Strip, said sources.
___Fishermen were forced to return back to shore for fear of being detained, injured, or killed. No injuries were reported among the fishermen.
___Israeli navy and troops routinely open fire on fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone and farmlands along the border, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal that was reached in August 2014.
___The current six-nautical-mile fishing zone falls drastically short of the twenty nautical miles allocated to Palestinian fishermen in the 1993 Oslo Accords.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BREAK  INTO  SOLOMON’S  POOLS  SITE  IN  BETHLEHEM 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli settlers Friday broke into Solomon’s Pools archaeological site, south of Bethlehem, and performed religious rituals there, said security sources.
___At least 40 settlers broke into the site under tight protection by Israeli forces, and carried out talmudic rituals there.
___Earlier in February, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stressed in a cabinet meeting that was held at the site in defiance to repeated attempts by Israeli settlers to take over it that the pools, ancient water reservoirs located south of Bethlehem, are an Islamic waqf (trust) and considered as an archaeological reserve since 1929.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)    ISRAEL  RAIDS  BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY  AT  DAWN  
Days of Palestine
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces raided on Thursday at dawn Birzeit University in occupied West Bank, ransacked campuses and student union offices.
___A statement released by the university said: “A large number of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed Birzeit’s campus at dawn, raiding the headquarters of the student council in Sheikh Rashid bin Said al-Maktoum Building, Kamal Nasir Hall and the Faculty of Science.”
___The statement added: “The Israeli occupation forces ransacked the campuses and the different offices they raided and damaged much of the furniture.”   MORE . . .
❸ Opinion/Analysis: DID  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  DECISION  REVIVE  SUPPORT  FOR  PALESTINE?
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse) 
Daoud Kuttab
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Without knowing or planning it, the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has resulted in renewed interest in Palestine and brought back to the top of the agenda the question of Jerusalem.
___George Irani, a social science professor at the American University of Kuwait, told Al-Monitor that Trump’s decision helped bring the world to Palestine’s side. “With his foolish decision, Trump has rallied the global community with Palestinians.”
[. . . .] Botrus Mansour, a Palestinian lawyer and citizen of Israel, told Al-Monitor that through his declaration, Trump “did put the Palestinian issue in the news again”. . .  However, Mansour, who is the director of the Nazareth Baptist School, questioned whether Palestinians can use this to their advantage. “The question is whether Palestinians will be able to leverage this opportunity, which I doubt, in light of the current political balance of power in the region.”
___Dozens of protests took place in Jordan when Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh al-Abadi said Dec. 7 that people should go out in the streets to demonstrate, and the Jordanian parliament took the unusual step of revisiting agreements with Israel that had been untouchable before.     [. . . .] The unexpected nature of this “gift” from Washington has been reflected in many ways. Local, regional and international demonstrations have taken place, and emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have been held.  MORE . . .

“A  NATIONAL  HYMN,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH
Is it true that you were young,
And that your wavy hips
Caused seduction among young men?
And that fashion magazines
Devoted their numbers to your dresses?
I do not believe.
Is it true that you turned your husband into a leader and he led
And built you hanging gardens,
O my country?

Is it true that he who sang you with burning love
Sang you with high esteem,
Is it true that you led the horses,
That your sons rode to them in distant pastures
And that they did not open their mouths to nibble
But opened them to emit a neigh like hymns of the minarets?
I do not believe
I do not believe, O my country.

Not because you have become old:
For there is dignity in gray hair
And wrinkles have an effect unequaled by soft skin.
Not because you have become secluded:
If only when limelights receded from you
You sponsored institutions,
Opened orphanages or collected donations.
No, my country:
For then I would have loved you
And sung for a beauty that gradually changes but does not die,
And I would have visited you
And would have done so in awe.

But in old age you have been crowned with humiliation
And you brushed off the memory of your husband and of youth
As if they were dust on your soiled body.
You have castrated your sons
And I saw them droop their heads for your memory;
You wallowed with this and that person of immoral character
(How would I believe what is said about your past
O my country
I who saw your house and its dim lights?)
If lovers turn away from you
You have been prostituting your daughters
O my country
O my country.

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.
About Tawfiq Sayigh

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