“. . .strangers with their rifles’ muzzles . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Israeli Occupation Forces bunker and watchtower in Central Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM  –  143  DEMOLISHED  IN  2018  
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Qalandiya north of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank, on Wednesday morning.    ___Owner Hamzeh al-Mughrabi told Ma’an that Israeli police forces escorted municipality staff into Qalandiya, where they surrounded the house, emptied and evacuated residents before starting the demolition.    ___Al-Mughrabi added that the Shweiki family of 6 members, including a man with disability, live in the 100-square meter house.    More . . .
~~ Jerusalem  mayor  plans  to  reduce  the  sound  of  mosque  loudspeakers     More . . .
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (20–26  DECEMBER  2018)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.     ___4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a person with mobility impairment were killed.   142 civilians, including 30 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded; the injury of 2 of them was reported serious.    ___A child was killed and 5 civilians were wounded, including a Journalist, in the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited incursions into the northern Gaza Strip.   More . . .
~~  Scores  of  Palestinians  injured  by  Israeli  bullet  fire     More . . .
~~  Civilians  kidnapped,  homes  ransacked  by  Israeli  army    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES  FORMALLY  QUIT  UNESCO
More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of December 31, 2018.   ___UNESCO was the first UN body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions. In 2017, the UN heritage agency passed a resolution designating the Tomb of Patriarchs in  Hebron  as  a  Palestinian  World  Heritage  Site. The decision was opposed by the Jewish community because of the holy cave’s significance in Judaism.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
NOT  WELCOME  IN  HEBRON:  ITS  ORIGINAL  RESIDENTS  AND  BREAKING  THE  SILENCE
Jonathan Cook
Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.    ___It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him, however. He was worried about fellow Israelis—Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them—who have seized control of much of the city center [. . . .]  ___For more than 15 years, Israel has forbidden entry for Palestinians to what was once Hebron’s main throroughfare and central shopping area along Shuhada Street. Now it has been rebranded in Hebrew as King David Street, and declared what the army terms a “sterilized area.” The closure severs the main transport routes for Palestinians between north and south Hebron.    ___Most of the Palestinian inhabitants have been driven from the city center by endless harassment and attacks by settlers, bolstered by arrests and night raids conducted by the army, says Even-Paz.    More . . .
~~  Gaza  march  leader  to  conscientious  objectors:  ‘Turn  your  words  into  weapons’    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“STORY  OF  A  CITY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
Around and spending their money
day after day.

But it became a black city
despising strangers
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih.  SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

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