“. . . I shall sing in spite of fences . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

❶ MOFA: Preliminary death penalty bill is state terrorism

  • Background: “Israel and Its Messianic Right: Path Dependency and State Authority in International Conflict.” International Studies Quarterly.

. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) [PCHR] Weekly report: Israel’s systematic crimes in the oPt
. . . . . ❶― (ᴃ) Serious injury by IOF gunfire north of Ramallah
. . . . . ❶― (ᴄ) The famous UNRWA staffer killed by Israel’s security check

❷ PA signs 22 international treaties and agreements
❸ Opinion/Analysis: There is no status quo, only Greater Israel
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Jan. 4, 2018 ― The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on Thursday condemned the Israeli Knesset’s approval of the preliminary death penalty bill for the Palestinian prisoners, considering it an extension of the Israeli authorities’ escalation of its arbitrary measures against Palestinian citizens and its grave violations of international law, international conventions, protocols and the principles of human rights.
___“This bill follows a series of racist laws which deepen the rights’, the extreme rights’, and the settlers’ control of the Israeli government, and extends the racist regime of apartheid that the occupation authorities continue to establish and expand in the Palestinian land, in a clear and explicit targeting of Palestinian land and the national and humanitarian Presence in Palestine,” the ministry said in a statement.   MORE . . .

INTERNATIONAL  STUDIES  QUARTERLY, vol. 60, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 47-58.
[. . . .] The religious settler movement was born in the aftermath of Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, which wrested the Palestinian-populated West Bank from Jordanian control. . . .  This movement viewed the struggle to keep the West Bank under Jewish sovereignty as pertinent to the process of redemption; leaders prioritized occupying the land above all other values, including the state’s authority or even the Jewish principle of the sanctity of life.
___The messianic movement’s campaign involved numerous and significant extralegal actions that challenged state authority. Prominent among them was the establishment of unauthorized settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in an effort to commit the state to these territories and fight the government’s “temptation” to reach territorial compromises.
___In addition, movement members launched violent attacks on Palestinians and their property and mosques, as well as on representatives of the Israeli state, including the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Granted, the movement also engaged in modes of resistance that are accepted as legal and legitimate in a democratic country . . . .
[. . . .] A second mechanism concerns a shift in the balance between the primacy of the state and the ideological positions of Jewish Messianism. The erosion of state primacy in a country where illegalism has always been part of the political culture gradually diminished state capacity to promote the rule of law in the face of the messianic challenge. The state’s inability (and, at certain periods, its disinterest) to reassert its authority created a severe legitimacy crisis. . . .  Illegalism in support of resistance to territorial compromise became increasingly accepted, even when it meant fighting the authority of the state.
___Empowering the messianic Right presents a greater challenge to state authority than delegation to a nonideological nonstate actor would, because religion can offer a competing principle for organizing politics. . . .      SOURCE . . . 

Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 4, 2018 ―    PCHR/ Gaza/  During the reporting period (28 December 2017- 03 January 2018): Israeli forces escalated the excessive use of force in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
___*Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; *89 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, *53 of them were hit with live bullets, 23 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets, and 13 were hit with tear gas canisters.  *Nine civilians, including 7 children and a woman, were arrested in a protest in the West Bank.  *Israeli forces conducted 69 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one was conducted in the southern Gaza Strip.   MORE . . . 
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 4, 2018 ―  Palestinian youth on Thursday afternoon was seriously wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) who shot him with a live bullet in the head during clashes that erupted in Deir Nitham town west of Ramallah after the funeral of the Palestinian martyr Musab al-Tamimi.
___The injured Palestinian man was transferred to hospital as his injury was described as serious.
___The head of the local council of Deir Nitham, Ahmad al-Tamimi, told WAFA news agency that IOF soldiers blocked the funeral of martyr al-Tamimi, assaulted  participants and showered them with tear gas canisters and stun grenades.    MORE . . .
RELATED:   Soldiers attack funeral of youth they shot and killed the day before.     Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA, Jan. 4, 2018.
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 4, 2018 ―The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is responsible for the death of the famous UNRWA staffer Abdel Fattah al-Sibakhi, 65, after banning him from crossing the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, when he was still in the middle of his chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer.
___He had been working for 30 years at UNRWA’s Procurement and Warehousing Unit in occupied Jerusalem until he was promoted to a director, thus obtaining an almost permanent residency in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
___Al-Sibakhi died a few days ago after being denied access to the Israeli-controlled Beit Hanoun crossing for chemical treatment and urgent medical tests under the pretext of security checks.     MORE . . . 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Palestine has joined 22 international conventions and treaties, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced today.
___In a statement, the PA said that the move was made “to strengthen the legal status of the State of Palestine on a global scale,” stressing that “adopting the international law is the only way to achieve the Palestinians’ legitimate national rights.”
___On the Israeli decision to annex the West Bank to Israel’s sovereignty, the PA noted that the decision is “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”
___The Palestinian government also noted to the US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel saying that it is “devoid of any legitimacy.”    MORE . . .  
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  THERE  IS  NO  STATUS  QUO,  ONLY  GREATER  ISRAEL        +972 Magazine
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Over the past few years, analysts have been using the term “creeping annexation” to describe Israel’s land grabbing, segregationist policies in the West Bank. But over the past few days, the country’s leaders have been openly signaling that annexation need no longer creep. It is the new game in town.
___On Sunday night, Likud’s Central Committee, the body responsible for updating the party’s constitution, unanimously passed a resolution to extend Israeli sovereignty to all West Bank settlements, effectively annexing them to­­ Israel.
___The Likud decision received a significant boost from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who announced Wednesday that beginning next week, all new pieces of government-supported legislation would include a short directive on how they are to be applied to Israeli settlements. The move, Shaked said Wednesday morning at a Knesset committee hearing, will help implement government policy in the settlements and “normalize life in Judea and Samaria.”
[. . . .] Taken together,  Likud and Shaked’s decisions are important for both their practical and psychological implications: they are changing the paradigm. If, until now, annexation was openly championed only by those on the far-right, today it has become a fundamental tenet of Israel’s ruling party, and the Justice Ministry is continuing to lay the groundwork for its future implementation.       MORE . . .   

I shall create
out of the darkness of my jail
my dawn out of the jaws of hatred
my destiny.
I shall sing
the wind
the sun
the flowers
the spring.
I shall sing
in spite of fences
in spite of jailers
in spite of hatred.

From: El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.  Available from Amazon.
For more than fifty years, FOUZI EL-ASMAR was one of the most important public intellectuals of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Born in Haifa in 1937, he grew up in a Palestinian area of present-day Israel. In 1958, he became a member of the editorial board of the literary monthly Al-Fajr and in 1966 he became editor of the Arabic magazine Hadha Al-Alam. In 1979, after attending university in the US and graduate school in the UK, he became the managing editor of the London-based international newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat.   More . . .

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