“. . . My friend / You cannot ask me to leave . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|    TENSIONS  EASE  IN  GAZA,  ALLOWING  MONEY  AND  FUEL  TO  ROLL  IN
For months, Israel has tried to quell Gaza’s border protests through force. Now Israel is taking a different approach, easing a blockade and allowing millions of dollars in aid to flow into Gaza, the impoverished enclave controlled by Hamas, its bitter foe.    ___The aim of the change, in a plan mediated by Egypt and with money supplied by Qatar, is to provide much-needed relief for Gaza, restore calm on the Israeli side of the border and avert another war.    ___The clashes along Gaza’s border have caused misery on both sides: At least 170 Palestinians have been killed, and thousands of acres of Israeli farmland have been torched.    ___But the change in Israel’s approach presents risks for leaders on both sides, pressures that could doom even this limited warming of relations.    More . . .
|    QATARI  CASH  CAN’T  STOP  ISRAELI  BULLETS
One Palestinian was killed during the 33rd consecutive Friday of mass protests along the eastern perimeter of the occupied Gaza Strip.    [. . . .] Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in Gaza . . . said his faction was reaching “understandings” with Egypt, Qatar and the United Nations to lift the blockade.    [. . . .] Qatari officials brought in $15 million in cash to Gaza in recent days, disbursing it to some 30,000 civil servants hired by Hamas since 2007 whose salaries hadn’t been paid in months. The money will also be used to create 10,000 jobs in Gaza, where unemployment is currently nearly 55 percent – believed to be among the highest rates in the world, if not the highest.    ___The Qatari funding is the first installation of a total of $90 million pledged by the Gulf country for Gaza to be paid over the following six months.    More . . .
|    ISRAEL’S  NEW  DECISION  TO  BAN  DEALING  WITH  LARGE  CASH  A  NEW  CHALLENGE  TO  THE  PALESTINIAN  ECONOMY    In few weeks, the Israeli decision barring dealing with large cash in commercial transactions that exceed 11,000 Israeli shekels ($3000) will get into force, which may have big and immediate repercussions on the Palestinian economy.    [. . . .] The Israeli decision prohibits dealing with cash in commercial transactions. . .  replacing it with electronic means of payment . . .   [. . . .] With the weakness of modern means of payment in Palestine, in light of large daily transactions in Israeli currency, there is fear of large inflow of shekel into the Palestinian market, which already suffers from a large surplus of this currency.    More . . .
|    PALESTINIANS  CONDEMN  HOLLYWOOD  STARS’  FUNDRAISER  FOR  ISRAELI  ARMY
Palestinian people condemned several Hollywood starts who celebrated and raised millions of dollars to fund the Israeli army last week.    ___The Middle East Eye London-based news outlet reported that the gala was organized on November 1st, by Friends of the Israeli Defense Forces, adding that Hollywood stars such as  Ashton  Kutcher,  Gerard  Butler  and  Andy  Garcia attended and celebrated the event.    [. . . .] The event was met with condemnation in Palestine and by Palestinians on social media.    ___One of the organizers of  “The Great March of Return,  which takes place every Friday at the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, Ahmad Abu Artema, told Middle East Eye that “The Israeli army will use these funds to buy more bullets and more bombs, only to kill more civilians.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  ISRAELI  FORCES  INJURE  AT  LEAST  37  PALESTINIANS  AT  EASTERN  GAZA  BORDERS
. . . . Related  PALESTINIAN  SUCCUMBS  TO  WOUNDS  SUSTAINED  IN  GAZA  PROTESTS
. . . . Related  FOUR  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  IN  KAFR  QADDUM  MARCH

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|    JERUSALEM  CHURCHES  ACHIEVE  NEW  VICTORY  AGAINST  ISRAEL  GOVERNMENT  (VIDEO) 
The Council of Jerusalem Churches has achieved a new victory against the Israeli government, with an “unprecedented number of US churches condemn[ing] Israeli attempts to confiscate church lands,” a Council statement – a copy of which was sent to MEMO – said on Friday.     ___The Greek Orthodox Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, who heads the Council of Jerusalem Churches has toured the USA and EU countries to lobby against an Israeli law – known as the “Properties Bill” – which was recently advanced in the Knesset to target church property.    More . . .
|    ‘LIVING  STONES’  OF  AL  AHLI  ARAB  HOSPITAL  BUILD  A  MINISTRY  OF  HEALING,  WITNESS  IN  GAZA
By  Mary  Frances  Schjonberg,  Posted  Mar.  27,  2018
(Note: reposted to show the people of the US continue relationship with Gazans despite the actions of the US government)
Healing comes in many forms, and Al Ahli Arab Hospital’s medical ministry . . .  provide[s] the people of the Gaza Strip with an example of the love of Christ in action.    ___That example is set in an area whose Christian population is dwindling. Suhaila Tarazi, the hospital’s director general, estimates there are no more than 900 Christians among Gaza’s 2 million residents. Ten years ago, the number of Christians stood at 3,000 and the total population was around 1.5 million.    ___Tarazi told Bishop Michael Curry, Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, United States. . . that the remaining Christians are “the living stones” of Gaza, and so too are institutions like Al Ahli Arab Hospital, which is one of more than 30 social service ministries of the Episcopal Diocese of Jerusalem.   More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“TO  A  JEWISH  FRIEND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
Don’t ask me
the impossible
Don’t’ ask me
to hunt stars,
walk to the sun.
Don’t ask me
to empty the sea
to erase the day’s light
I am nothing but a man.

Don’t ask me
to abandon my eyes, my love,
the memory of my childhood.

I was raised
under an olive tree,
I ate the figs
of my orchard
drank wine from
the sloping vineyards
Tasted Cactus fruit
in the valleys
more, more.

The nightingale has sung
in my ears
The free winds of fields and cities
always tickled me
My friend
You cannot ask me
to leave my own country.  (March 1971)

El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON.  Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from Abe Books.

 

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