“The messengers of peace here weep for the bitterness and the malice . . . .” Samih Al-Qasim

NEWS OF THE DAY

Netanyahu trial to begin on 17 March, says Israeli court – Prime minister expected to attend initial hearing, where indictment will be read

The Guardian
Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem
Feb 18 2020
Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to appear at a court hearing on 17 March for the start of a corruption trial against him, the Israeli judiciary has announced.
– – – – The first day of the case is scheduled just two weeks after a national election on 2 March in which the prime minister is fighting to remain in power, despite the damning charges levelled against him.
– – – – After a three-year police investigation, the country’s attorney general indicted the 70-year-old leader in November in all three of the major cases against him.   More . . . .

Newspapers review: Plan to build new settlement near Jerusalem focus of dailies

WAFA
Feb 20 2020
The Israeli plan to build thousands of new colonial settlement units on the former Qalandia airport near the Jerusalem neighborhood of Kafr Aqab dominated the front page headlines in the dailies.
– – – – The dailies reported that Israeli occupation authorities have prepared a master plan to build 9,000 new colonial settler units on the former Qalandia airport to the north of Jerusalem.
– – – – Al-Quds quoted observers saying in this regard that this project is second largest settlement construction project following the Maale Adumim settlement, which would undermine the prospects for the creation of the Palestinian state.
– – – – Al-Ayyam added in this regard that this huge settlement project is intended to consolidate the separation of Jerusalem from the West Bank.    More . . . .

In an attempt to prevent education in Area C of the West Bank, soldiers seize a classroom

WAFA
Feb 19 2020 – In their efforts to prevent education in the Palestinian areas classified as C, Israeli forces today seized a caravan used as a school classroom in the village of Susiya, in Masafer Yatta cluster to the south of the occupied southern West Bank city of Hebron, according to a local source.
– – – – Fouad al-Amoor, an activist, said that Israeli soldiers seized the classroom caravan under the pretext of construction without permit.
– – – -Israel never gives Palestinians permits to build in Area C of the occupied West Bank, which is under full Israeli military rule and make over 60 percent of the area of the West Bank.    More . . . .

  • Israeli forces detain seven Palestinians, ransack houses in West Bank raids
    WAFA
    Feb 19 2020
    Israeli forces Wednesday overnight detained seven Palestinians and ransacked a
    number of houses and stores across the West Bank, said the Palestine Prisoners’
    Society (PPS).    More . . . .
  • Israel Shuts Down Bakery Shop, Detains Owner In Jerusalem

    Days of Palestine
    Feb 19 2020
    On Wednesday, the Israeli occupation police shut down a bakery shop and detained the owner in the Old City of Jerusalem. Local sources confirmed that Israeli occupation police shut down a bakery shop in Bab Hutta neighborhood, citing the distribution of ka’ek, a crusty bread with sesame seeds, to Muslim worshipers on last Friday free of charge as a pretext.    More . . . .

In Wake of Trump Peace Plan, EU Countries Pushing for Recognition of State of Palestine

Israel is attempting to squash the initiative, claiming that EU opposition to the Trump Mideast plan would only encourage Palestinian rejectionism
‘Whether they accept it or not, it’s going to happen’ — Netanyahu lays out Palestinian submission to Trump plan
Mondoweiss
Philip Weiss
Feb 18, 2020
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told American Jews that he and the Trump administration are moving ahead with plans to remap the West Bank to give Israel sovereignty over large portions of occupied territory, and Palestinians are going to have to live with that plan “whether they accept it or not.”
– – – – Netanyahu’s discussion of Palestinian submission to the “radical” and “historic” terms of the Trump “peace plan” including annexation of all “Jewish communities” and military control of the West Bank sounded very much like surrender.
– – – – He spoke in Jerusalem two days ago to the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations, a rightwing Israel lobby organization.    More . . . .

POEM FOR THE DAY

“PSALM  OF  ISAIAH’S  GRANDCHILDREN,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
We are Isaiah’s grandchildren
calling out to him now,
calling out to his kind face,
our dreams trembling, behind crimson tears!
We are Isaiah’s grandchildren―
and we call to him now―crying in anger:
Isaiah who has slept for ages!
How has this village become a whore?
Its silver has been debased.
They’ve treated it with disdain,
mixing the wine of its people with water.
Why don’t you tell them of the widows’ claims?
O Isaiah of the struggle―
Hallelujah!
The messengers of peace here weep
for the bitterness and the malice,
after the pretenders to right,
the enemies of culture,
severed the heads of the peaceful!
O sad Isaiah!
Rise up now, and cry through a village
that’s falling upon the slope of peril:
“May God show you the error of your ways!
Why, after seventy years, have you resorted to trade
with merchants from every kingdom?
Rise now and cry out through Tel Aviv:
“A thousand woes on those
who do not seek the Lord. And go to Egypt
bearing the wooden boards
of the Orient’s cross!”
O beloved Isaiah!
That revelation comes from Tayma,
From the lands of the Arabs: People!
Bring out the water to the refugees,
provide the long-hungry with bread,
bandage the wounds of those who have fled,
escaping the edge of the sword.
O brave Isaiah!
Rise up now so that
Palestine’s children will be able to play
without fearing the vipers’ fangs,
so two lambs might feel safe
in the lions’ jungle.
Hallelujah!
Then justice will reign among the nations
without the annihilation of right,
without silencing any tongue.
O Isaiah of the struggle!
The swords will be turned into plowshares
and the people’s spears be molded
into scythes, and then―
no nation will raise a sword to fight!
Little people know not war,
nor what bloodshed is.
Hallelujah! Hallelujah!
God of glory!
Our fight has been long,
and we were slaughtered and slaughtered in turn,
and have shed our blood for ages.
God of glory!
We were tried for long, and rested. . .
Hallelujah! . . . Hallelujah! . . . Hallelujah!

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

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