“. . . the bark of artillery came near to the flowers . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

❶ Israel closes Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) EU’s security committee discussed secret report on Israel, says official

  • Background: “State-Sponsored Vigilantism: Jewish Settlers’ Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Sociology.
    “. . . the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity. . .”

❷ UN report says at least 206 international companies tied to Israeli settlements
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Haley slams UN anti-settlement report: It is a “waste of time”
❸ Israeli settlers attack Palestinian farmers north of Hebron
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) ‘Construction terror’ Israel’s metaphor for Palestinian displacement
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL  CLOSES  PALESTINIAN  INSTITUTIONS  IN  JERUSALEM
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Feb. 3, 2018 — Israel Hayom newspaper on Friday said that the Israeli authorities have decided to close a number of Palestinian institutions in Occupied Jerusalem.
___According to the Hebrew newspaper, the Israeli Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, on Thursday issued a decision to close the Palestine Chamber of Commerce, the Higher Council of Tourism, the Palestinian Center for Studies, the Palestinian Prisoner Society and the Office of Social Studies and Statistics.
___Erdan’s decision was based on an Israeli law issued in 1994 preventing the Palestinian Authority from opening offices or carrying out activities in “Israeli areas”. The same law grants the minister the authority to issue decisions prohibiting such activities.
___The paper said, quoting Erdan, that efforts will continue to impose Israeli sovereignty over every part of Jerusalem. . . following the US president Donald Trump’s recognition . . . .  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  EU’S  SECURITY  COMMITTEE  DISCUSSED  SECRET  REPORT  ON  ISRAEL,  SAYS  OFFICIAL
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 3, 2018 ― The European Union’s (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC) discussed in its session on Wednesday a secret report that strongly criticized Israel and its policies, Palestine’s ambassador to the EU, Abdul Rahim al-Farra, said on Saturday.
___He said in an interview with the official Palestine TV that the PSC, which is composed of ambassadors from the 28 EU member states, also discussed the situation in occupied East Jerusalem in particular and came out with recommendations that will be presented to the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council when it meets on February 25 and 26 in Brussels.
___He said the PSC recommended that the EU plays a primary and active role in the Middle East peace process in order to salvage the two-state solution.      MORE . . .

Gazit, Nir.
“STATE-SPONSORED  VIGILANTISM:  JEWISH  SETTLERS’  VIOLENCE  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORIES.”
SOCIOLOGY
, vol. 49, no. 3, June 2015, pp. 438-454.
[. . . .] Civilian violence often disrupts government authority and undermines its exclusive sovereignty. However, it may also operate as an extra-juridical force that reproduces governmental power through unofficial channels. This dynamic is salient in situations of contested and fragmented sovereignty, when state power is discontinuous and lacks international and local legitimacy . . .  provisional violence by state forces and ordinary civilians becomes an important mechanism of political power and control.
[. . . .] These trends . . .  suggest a correlation between the two forms of Israeli violence – institutional military violence and non-institutional civilian violence. In times and places of low military presence and violence, unofficial civilian political mechanisms come into play. These reproduce Israeli dominance through direct violence or through initiating Palestinian hostility resulting in provisional active military involvement. The dialectical relationship between the two forms of violence is not trivial . . .  Hence, it is important to analyse the relationship between Israeli ground-level state agents and settlers, and consider how the two sides manage this tension.
[. . . .] . . . the ambiguity surrounding the formal status of the Israeli state in the OTP creates a governmental void. This void is filled, inter alia, by greater freedom of action of the settlers, who, in effect, act as informal agents of the state, behaving as vigilantes and taking the law into their own hands. The settlers’ violence contributes to the manifestation of Israeli rule in two significant ways. First, it brings Israeli dominance to areas with a scarce presence of military forces, generating ad hoc ‘effective control’ over Palestinian territory and population even in the absence of state officials. . .  While the state has limited direct influence over these domains, they undoubtedly contribute to the overall Israeli dominance in the region. The second and complementary mode of support these acts provide to the overall control system is when the Israeli security forces intervene and prevent the settlers from harassing the Palestinians. Such interventions paradoxically demonstrate and reproduce the Israeli power in the region – this time as protectors of the local civilian population. The elusive political and legal structural frameworks of the Israeli occupation are important factors of this phenomenon, generating the necessary ‘degrees of freedom’, so to speak, that allow, and even support, a proliferation of settlers’ violence against Palestinian civilians. In other words, the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity, even if it challenges its exclusive jurisdiction.     SOURCE . . .

UN  REPORT  SAYS  AT  LEAST  206  INTERNATIONAL  COMPANIES  TIED  TO  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS
Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 1, 2018 ― The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report on Wednesday identifying 206 companies from around the world that are doing business linked to Israeli settlements, which are built in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.
___The long-delayed report was initially intended to include the names of companies, but reportedly after intense pressure from the US and Israel, the published report included only the number of companies from each country, rather than naming them.
___”Businesses play a central role in furthering the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements,” the UN report said.    MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  HALEY  SLAMS  UN  ANTI-SETTLEMENT  REPORT:  IT  IS  A  “WASTE  OF  TIME”
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Feb. 1, 2018 ― US Ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday slammed a UN report on 206 companies tied to Israeli settlements as “a waste of time and resources” that showed an “anti-Israeli obsession.”
___The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights released the report that did not name the companies but could pave the way to a “blacklist” of businesses that Israeli officials fear would be targeted for an international boycott.
___“This whole issue is outside the bounds of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s mandate and is a waste of time and resources,” Haley said.   MORE . . . 
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  NORTH  OF HEBRON
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Feb. 3, 2018 ― Israeli settlers attacked on Saturday Palestinian farmers in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, according to Yousef Abu Maria, a local activist.
___He told WAFA that a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Karmi Tsur and settlement security guards threw rocks at farmers, cursed them and prevented them from cultivating their land. The settlement is built on seized Palestinian land that belong to Beit Ummar and other area villages.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ‘CONSTRUCTION  TERROR’  ISRAEL’S  METAPHOR  FOR  PALESTINIAN  DISPLACEMENT
The Palestinian Information Center
Feb. 1, 2018 ― Israel’s construction of its politics on contrasting levels which echo its colonial agenda knows no limits. Now that the international community is largely reluctant to do more than refer to previous statements of colonial expansion as illegal, Israel is more explicit in promoting its state and settler narratives in its appropriation of land ownership.
___A news report published on Monday in Haaretz quotes Jewish Home Party MK Moti Yogev: “Our goal is to protect state lands, consistent with decisions by the state not letting their status be determined by construction terror guided by the Palestinian Authority with the intervention of international elements such as the European Union.” He also suggested legal recourse against Palestinians opposing demolition orders.
___This is not the first time that such rhetoric has been used. In April 2016 a press release titled “Re-evaluate state’s handling of EU-funded construction in Area C” described Palestinian dwellings in similar terms, accusing the EU of financing “construction and infrastructure terror”.     MORE . . . 

“ABOVE  THE  CARNATIONS,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
Her house is above the carnations
on the path to the wind-swept hills. . .
At evening we sought refuge there
watching out for the guns and the aeroplanes.

The crack of bullets followed our coffee
and smashed into our conversation.
The crack of bullets and the bark of artillery
came near to the flowers inside the windows
came near to the warmth and the water jug
debris clattered down the outside stairway
and fell towards the marble pavement.

Her house is above the carnations
there we were in it
we had sought refuge there
and so we moved to where the Jewish soldiers could no longer see us.

—Translated by DM Black
—Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
—From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

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