“. . . an unmistakable signal that [the US] Palestinian views and perspectives will be . . . defined by our relationship with Israel . . .” (Ambassador Daniel Kurtzer )

Donald-Trump-and-Benjamin-Netanyahu-850x567SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

The Israeli government has postponed the evacuation of Khan al-Ahmar until further notice, following weeks of rising tensions in the Bedouin village.     ___Following a meeting with US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on Sunday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said that the village will soon be “evacuated,” adding that the government plans on implementing the September High Court decision allowing for the demolition of the village.     ___[. . . .] Later Sunday afternoon, the Israeli news website Haaretz that the Israeli security cabinet approved Netanyahu’s plans to temporarily postpone the demolition “in order to exhaust negotiations with the village residents.”   More . . .
Related . . . .  Land  in  the  south  of  the  West  Bank  leveled,  [320  olive  and  almond]  trees  uprooted
Israel’s war Minister Avigdor Lieberman (Yisrael Beytenu) threatened to wage a bloody war against Gaza at the start of a meeting of the Knesset Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee.     ___“Wars are only conducted when there is no choice, and now there is no choice,” the minister claimed on Monday. “Anything less than the toughest response won’t help anymore. We have exhausted the other options.”     ___ “There is no popular uprising,” Lieberman said. “There is violence organized by Hamas.     More . . .
Israeli forces detained at least 13 Palestinians across the occupied West Bank, on predawn Monday.     ___According to Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), Israeli forces detained one Palestinian in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. . .    In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, three Palestinians were detained. . .    In Kafr Aqab town, in the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, one Palestinian was detained by Israeli forces. . .  In the central West Bank district of Ramallah, another three Palestinians were detained by Israeli forces. . .   In the northern West Bank district of Nablus, two Palestinians were detained. . .   In the northern West Bank district of Jenin. . .    More . . .


Daniel  Kurtzer,  US  Ambassador  to  Israel,  2001-2005
[. . . .] the Trump administration has decided on yet another step that accelerates the burial of an already moribund peace process: closing  the  American  Consulate  General  in  Jerusalem  and  transforming  it  into  a  “Palestinian  Affairs  Unit”  with  the  U.S.  Embassy. The strangest part of all this is that the administration believes it can still achieve what President Trump has called the “ultimate deal.”   ____The American Consulate General in Jerusalem has been an independent diplomatic mission since its establishment in 1844. Since 1948, and in particular since 1967, the Consulate has served a critical purpose of engaging with Palestinians in an effort to advance the prospects of peace with Israel. The Consulate reported directly to Washington, commenting on what its officers saw and heard, and offered recommendations on how to resolve problems both small and large.   More . . .
Dr. Mohammad Makram Balawi, president of ASIA  MIDDLE  EAST  FORUM
. . . . Netanyahu is the prophet out to save the modern Israelites in a hostile environment. His message is to cast the clash of civilisations  theories of Bernard Lewis and Samuel Huntington into a religious mould. The battle is against evil, which is embodied, he believes, in Islam. . . . I suspect that even Lewis and Huntingdon would be shocked if they could see where Netanyahu has taken their idea.     ___ [. . . .] Netanyahu’s words did not reflect gratitude to the US President as much as implicate and entangle him in a messy situation in an area were historical feuds are rarely forgotten. The Israeli-US alliance. . .  is “an eternal bond that can never, ever be broken,” said Netanyahu. His message was clear: you cannot leave us alone, because we share both the responsibility and the consequences for. . .  occupying the Holy City and land of our existential enemy, Islam.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 


With small shovels
and plastic buckets,
the children,
in their joyful clothes,
are building sturdy sand castles.

They throw balls in a game without rules,
they shout, call each other names, laugh,
get scratched in short inevitable clashes.
Complaints are also inevitable:
“Why did you leave me alone?”
“Why don’t you leave me alone?”

They squat on the seat, in a flash,
to make the swing fly higher and higher.

They invent their sudden demands:
a glass of water,
a cry for help, soon forgotten,
a napkin,
a look at the miracle about to take place:
“Watch what I am going to do now!”
“Watch how I jump.”

In the half circle of benches in the part,
on wooden seats
that have almost lost their cumin-colored paint,
mothers and grandmothers in their drab clothes
turn up the collars
to avoid a gust of cold wind,
or silently finger their wrinkled worries.

And from time to time,
trying to overcome their boredom,
they exchange the latest news
in low voices.

They send their children a caring smile,
an encouraging look,
or an instructive gesture.

A big-bellied cat with heavy steps
moves around, as if lost, looking for something.
A string of birds, silent, turns slowly,
like a column of prisoners of war.

Dark clouds pile up above the scene;
a small sun keeps on trying.

From the sand kingdom
a shriek of grief,
a child yells at everyone:
“The castle has fallen.”

—From MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS, by Mourid Barghouti, translated by Radwa Ashour. London: ARC Publications, 2008.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

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