“. . . I shall continue to carve All the chapters of my tragedy . . .” – Tawfiq Zayyad

NEWS OF THE DAY

Germany Calls On Israel To End Its Illegal Settlement Construction In The Occupied Territories

Days of Palestine
Feb 22 2020
Germany on Friday called on Israel to end its illegal settlement activities in the occupied Palestinian territories.
– – – – “The Federal Government is deeply concerned about the recent Israeli government announcement to build 5,000 new housing units in Israeli settlements in occupied East Jerusalem,” said a German Foreign Ministry statement. “These new housing units would separate occupied East Jerusalem from the West Bank and therefore undermine the possibility of establishing a contiguous and viable Palestinian state as part of a negotiated two-state solution.”
– – – – “The German government once again calls on the Israeli government to abandon plans to build new housing units in Har Homa (Jabal Abu Ghneim) and Givat Hamatos in occupied East Jerusalem and to stop the construction of settlements in the occupied territories that violate international law.”    More . . . .

  •  Turkey Denounces Israeli Settlement Expansion Plans
    Days of Palestine
    Feb 22 2020
    The Turkish Foreign Ministry on Friday condemned plans announced by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu for settlement expansion in Palestinian territories Israeli has occupied in 1967.
    – – – – Netanyahu’s remarks came few days ahead of the national Israeli elections, it said in a statement, stressing that it strongly rejects this policy that violates international law and United Nations resolutions, according to the Turkish Anadolu news agency.
    – – – – It said the Israeli government had repeatedly followed this approach before every election through usurping the rights of the Palestinian people while trampling on international law.
    – – – – It said that Israel was clearly encouraged to take these illegal steps by the so-called “peace plan” recently announced by the United States.    More . . . .

Gaza: 5,000 factories closed due to Israeli siege

The Middle East Monitor
Feb 22 2020
Head of Popular Committee Against the Siege on Gaza, MP Jamal Al-Khodari, announced on Friday that 5,000 factories in Gaza were closed down due to the 14-year-long Israeli siege.
– – – – In a statement, Al-Khodari disclosed that the closure of the factories reflects the level of humanitarian suffering as a result of the siege, as thousands of workers, engineers, accountants and technicians lost their jobs.
– – – – “This reality has a disastrous impact on the Palestinian economy and dangerous effects on the lives of more than two million residents enduring the siege in Gaza,” Al Khodari stressed.
– – – – He noted that up to 85 per cent of Gaza residents live under the poverty line, reflecting the grave reality of life in Gaza.    More . . . .

Herders forced to leave pastures in south of West Bank after attack by Israeli settlers

WAFA
Feb 22 2020
Israeli settlers today attacked Palestinian herders while grazing sheep in open pastures near Tuwaneh village, in the south of the occupied West Bank, forcing them to leave the area, according to a local official.
– – – – Fouad al-Amour, a Palestinian official in charge of monitoring Israeli settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that settlers, protected by Israeli soldiers, attacked herders with stones and chased them out of the pastures.
– – – – He said Israeli soldiers in the area did not intervene to stop the settlers, rather they provided them protection.    More . . . .

  • Latin Patriarchate Condemns Israeli Settlers’ Violations Of Its Property In Jordan Valley Village
    Days of Palestine
    Feb 22 2020
    The Latin Patriarchate in Jerusalem today condemned Israeli settlers’ violations of its property in the northern Jordan Valley village of Tayasir.
    – – – – It said in a statement that yesterday “thousands of Israeli settlers entered with no permission and gathered on the land lot belonging to the Latin Patriarchate in Tayasir, near Tubas in northern West Bank, in clear violation of private property.”
    – – – – The armed settlers were demonstrating in the area under Israeli army protection. Tayasir was only one of several Palestinian villages in that region the settlers broke into in a provocative step to the local Palestinian civilian population.    More . . . .

BACKGROUND/OPINION

Democracy in the West Bank and Gaza: More than Elections

Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network
by Yara Hawar
Feb 19 2020
Last September, Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas renewed his pledge to hold parliamentary elections and called for an international presence to monitor the process. Abbas has spoken sporadically of elections since the beginning of 2019, and many of his critics argue that he is simply paying lip service to the voices calling for democratization in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. Indeed, when Abbas became president in 2005, he had a four-year presidential term. At the time of writing, he has exceeded his electoral mandate by over a decade, and his strategy of governing by presidential decree as well as the PA’s increasing authoritarianism have left many questioning his sincerity when he speaks of Palestinian democracy.
– – – – One can argue that the calls for elections are the PA’s attempt to renew its legitimacy at a time when its approval ratings are abysmal and its position on the global diplomatic stage the most vulnerable it has ever been. Certainly, the internal and external pressure for an electoral process is at an all-time high. Yet whilst international actors are keen for elections to forge ahead, various Palestinian political factions have called on Abbas to hold a national meeting to agree on a variety of issues before setting a date. Abbas, however, has thus far rejected this call, and rather ironically will likely go ahead with elections through presidential decree. Crucially, and surprising many within Fatah, Hamas has approved holding both legislative and presidential elections. The remaining obstacle is the issue of holding elections in East Jerusalem.    More . . . .

POEM OF THE DAY

 “ON  THE  TRUNK  OF  AN  OLIVE  TREE,”  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
Because I do not weave wool,
And daily am in danger of detention,
And my house is the object of police visits
To search and “to cleanse,”
Because I cannot buy paper,
I shall carve the record of my sufferings,
And all my secrets
On an olive tree
In the courtyard
Of my house.

I shall carve my story and the chapters of my tragedy,
I shall carve my sighs
On my grove and on the tombs of my dead;
I shall carve
All the bitterness I have tasted,
To be blotted out by some of the happiness to come

I shall carve the number of each deed
Of our usurped land
The location of my village and its boundaries.
The demolished houses of its peoples,
My uprooted trees,
And each crushed wild blossom.
And the names of those master torturers
Who rattled my nerves and caused my misery.
The names of all the prisons,
And every type of handcuff
That closed around my wrists,
The files of my jailers,
Every curse
Poured upon my head.
I shall carve:
Kafr Qasim, I shall not forget!
And I shall carve:
Deir Yassin, it’s rooted in my memory.
I shall carve:
We have reached the peak of our tragedy.
It has absorbed us and we have absorbed it,
But we have finally reached it.

I shall carve all that the sun tells me,
And what the moon whispers,
And what the skylark relates,
Near the well
Forsaken by lovers.

And to remember it all,
I shall continue to carve
All the chapters of my tragedy,
And all the stages of the disaster,
From beginning
To end,
On the olive tree
In the courtyard
Of the house.

  • From  THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY.  Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Ergode Books

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