“How long had you been away from the place you loved best?” – Naomi Shihab Nye


Palestinian territories stable after Trump plan, but for how long?

Feb 20 2020
A relative calm has returned to the West Bank after a brief outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers on the outskirts of cities and contact points after US President Trump announced his so-called deal of the century for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Jan. 28.
– – – – Confrontations on the West Bank in early February went beyond Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces to include deadly clashes involving gunfire, a car-ramming attack and resisting the demolition of a home. In Gaza, Palestinians launched more than 20 rockets and hundreds of incendiary balloons toward Israeli communities. In response, the Israeli army decided on Feb. 6 to send reinforcements to the border with Gaza and to the West Bank.
– – – – In a speech at the UN Security Council on Feb. 11, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We will not resort to violence and terrorism, no matter the aggression against us. We believe in peace and fighting violence. We are ready to cooperate with any country to combat terrorism, and we will fight with peaceful popular resistance.”    More . . . .

‘We gave up on historic Palestine in exchange for nothing’

Bassem Tamimi, who has led popular protests in Nabi Saleh for more than a
decade, says the two-state solution is ‘no longer an option.’
Feb 19 2020
“We need to wake up and change our strategy, to unite our struggle,” says Bassem Tamimi, a veteran Palestinian activist and father of Ahed Tamimi, as he sits in his Nabi Saleh home in the occupied West Bank. Tamimi, who was born in 1967 and has only ever known military occupation, was jailed during the First Intifada and has been among the leaders of the village’s popular protests over the past decade. Now, however, he has given up on the two-state solution. “It’s no longer an option,” he says.
– – – – The Tamimi family, and their village, made global headlines in late 2017 when Ahed slapped an Israeli soldier who had entered her family courtyard during a Friday demonstration. Earlier that day, a soldier had shot a 15-year-old relative in the head. A few days later, soldiers arrested Ahed, then 16, from her home in the middle of the night. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested shortly after her daughter for filming the slapping incident. Both spent eight months in prison.    More . . . .

  • Israeli court approves demolition of homes of five Palestinian detainees
    Feb 20 2020
    The Israeli Supreme Court today gave the go-ahead to demolish the Ramallah-area family homes of five Palestinian detainees allegedly involved in the killing of a settler in late August 2019.
    – – – – Israeli media reported that the Israeli court unanimously approved the demolition despite multiple petitions filed by the prisoners’ families against the demolition.
    – – – – The court explained its approval by the need to “establish credible deterrence against attacks.” Israel commenced in January the trial of the five prisoners, who were detained in December purportedly for being responsible for the killing of an Israeli settler. . . .  More . . . .
  • IOF shoot Palestinian youth east of Khuza’a town
    Feb 20 2020
    Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
    – – – – Media sources said the soldiers shot the young man near the perimeter fence, inflicting moderate wounds before he was rushed to the European Hospital for treatment.
    – – – – The Israeli army claimed that sharpshooters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad fired rounds at military vehicles and soldiers across the fence and that the soldiers fired back.    More. . . .
  • Dozens of Palestinians choke by IOF tear gas during clashes in West Bank
    Feb 19 2020
    Dozens of Palestinian citizens on Tuesday choked on tear gas fired by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) during confrontations in Tulkarem and Ramallah in the West Bank.
    – – – – In Tulkarem, scores of Palestinians marched in protest at the US deal of the century, raised Palestine flags and burned car tires, local sources reported.
    – – – – The IOF attacked them with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters. Dozens suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas.    More . . . .


Searching for Lost Sons and Daughters: Statistics on Palestinians in the Diaspora
This Week In Palestine
Issue #262, Feb 2020
By: Ola Awad
Satistical data indicate that on the eve of the 1948 war, the population in Palestine had reached 2.1 million, 1.45 million of which were Palestinians. Varying estimates and divergent figures have been circulated by different sources regarding the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from their homes during this war. The Israeli occupation took over 774 Palestinian cities and villages, 531 of which were completely demolished, whereas the others were subjugated to the Israeli occupation and its regulations, eventually to be incorporated into the Israeli state. . . . The most modest estimates of Palestinian refugees counted around 736 thousand individuals, more than 50 percent of the Palestinian population. They were moved to refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the neighboring countries Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. . . .
. . . . At the beginning of the current century, PCBS took the initiative of listing Palestinians who live in the diaspora in order to build a database that may serve as the basis for efforts to bridge existing gaps between the Palestinian people in their homeland and in the diaspora in order to connect them. . . . This catalogue will be the tool by which data are collected and monitored, providing as well an agreed-upon list of indicators. The database will be updated whenever possible. Palestinian embassies and representative offices in places around the world where Palestinians live constitute the main source of data and serve as focal points and PCBS’ link to Palestinian diaspora communities.    More . . . .


“HELLO, PALESTINE” — Naomi Shihab Nye

Hello, Palestine
In the hours after you died,
all the pain went out of your face.
Whole governments relaxed in your jaw line.
How long had you been away
from the place you loved best?
Every minute was too much.
Each year’s bundle
of horror stories: more trees chopped,
homes demolished, people gone crazy.
You’d turn your face away from the screen.
At the end you spoke to your own blood
filtering through a machine:
We’ll get there again, friend.
When you died, your long frustration
zipped its case closed. Everyone in a body
is chosen for trouble and bliss.
At least nothing got amputated,
I said, and the nurses looked quizzical.
Well, if only you had seen his country.

From Transfer, by Naomi Shihab Nye, BOA editions, 2011.
Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . My voice echoes a rocket rage . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Palestinian ‘extrajudicially executed’ by Israelis laid to rest

  • Background: “Lack of Security for Palestinians.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Bodies of 5 Palestinian fighters found in Gaza tunnel, bringing death toll to 12
❷ Army Attacks the Weekly Protest in Nil’in
❸ Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (26 October – 01November 2017)
❹ Mahmoud Darwish to have a statue in Bucharest
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 4, 2017 ― Palestinians on Friday evening laid to rest 26-year-old Muhammad Moussa in his home town of Deir Ballout, near Salfit in the central occupied West Bank, shortly after receiving his body from Israeli authorities on Friday afternoon.
___Moussa was shot and killed on Tuesday morning near the illegal Halamish settlement north of Ramallah, after Israeli forces opened fire on his vehicle as he was passing a flying checkpoint set up in the area.
[. . . .] Israeli forces routinely shoot Palestinians, oftentimes killing them, during these alleged attacks on Israelis, even if the Palestinian could be detained through nonlethal means. This Israeli practice has prompted rights groups to accuse Israel of carrying out extrajudicial executions on Palestinians.   MORE . . .

Elrahim, Amira Abd. “Lack of Security for Palestinians.”
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 2, Nov. 2015, pp. 28-35.
[. . . .] Israel is trying to exterminate Palestinians from their homeland. They are attempting to Judaize Palestine by erasing its Palestinian and Muslim identity entirely under claims of historical belonging and their search for evidence that was never found. They are only trying to find justifications for all their cruel acts. Even Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is trying to rewrite history by saying that the Holocaust wasn’t Hitler’s idea and pointing his finger at a Palestinian leader. Maybe this is why it didn’t surprise us when we watched videos of Israelis and Israeli soldiers placing weapons next to dead Palestinians to justify their murder.
___Palestinians who were accused of attacking Israelis were shot directly, either by Israeli military forces or by settlers who may have just felt insecure or threatened with or without reason. Most of the martyrs would not be liable for a death sentence in a state of law. The homes of these Palestinian martyrs are being demolished in violation of international law, and their families are threatened with loss of residency. While raids on Palestinian homes and schools continue, the theft of Palestinian land and spree of barbaric extrajudicial killings are all being buoyed by the cheers of the masses, media incitement and the encouragement of the Israeli government and the Zionist far-right extremists.
___Israelis have a government and weapons. They are protected by an army that stands behind them. Recently the Israeli government set up metal detectors at the entrances of the Old City of Jerusalem so that Palestinians aren’t allowed to go through with any metal objects, while Israeli settlers pass through with their guns!! The Israelis are asked to keep their weapons with them at all times!!! Could you think for yourself what do Palestinians have, who is there to protect them or care about their lost livelihoods. They are paralyzed and fed up with injustice, racism, the denial of rights practiced by the Israeli government and the ignorance of the Palestinian Authority. The Palestinians are the only people on this earth who are asked to guarantee the security of their occupier, while Israel is the only country that calls for defense from its victims.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 3, 2017 ― The al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad movement, released a statement on Friday declaring that five missing fighters belonging to the group in Gaza were dead.
___The five fighters had gone missing inside tunnels between southern Gaza and Israeli territory, after Israeli forces conducted explosions on the tunnels.   MORE . . .
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC    
Nov. 4, 2017 ― Israeli soldiers attacked, Friday, many Palestinian, Israeli and international peace activists, holding the weekly nonviolent procession against the Annexation Wall and Colonies, in Ni’lin village, west of Ramallah, in central West Bank.
___The procession started in the afternoon hours, when many locals, and the peace activists, marched towards the Annexation Wall and the isolated Palestinian lands, especially olive orchards, before the soldiers attacked them.
___ Mohammad Amira, a member of the Popular Committee against the Wall and Colonies, said the soldiers resorted to excessive force against the nonviolent protesters, and fired many gas bombs and concussion grenades.   MORE . . .
Palestine Center for Human Rights
Nov. 2, 2017 ― A Palestinian civilian shot dead and his sister was wounded by Israeli settlers, northwest of Ramallah.     12 Palestinian civilians, including 4 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.       Israeli forces conducted 52 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one into the southern Gaza Strip.      70 civilians, including 9 children and 3 women; one of whom a journalist, were arrested in the West Bank.     12 of them, including 2 women, were arrested in Jerusalem and its suburbs.      An old and abandoned house was demolished in ‘Erq al-Ras area, southeast of Nablus.       350-gram jewellery was stolen from a house belonging to the family of Malek Hajeh in Kenar neighbourhood in Dura.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA    
Nov. 4, 2017 ― The Romanian capital Bucharest will soon have a statute of the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, the Palestinian embassy announced on Saturday.
___Palestine’s ambassador to Romania Fouad Kokaly held a meeting with the Daniel Tudorache, the mayor of District One in Bucharest, where the Palestinian ambassador asked the mayor to approve the building of a statue for Darwish in his town.
___Tudorache welcomed the ambassador’s request and added that he will be proud to have the statute of the late Palestinian poet.
___Mahmoud Darwish was a Palestinian poet and author regarded as the Palestinian national poet. He won numerous awards for his works.     SOURCE . . .

Rome was burnt, O crazy man
Rome is more durable than Nero
Rome will not grasp your poems
She can recite them by heart
Rome will slice your strings
My tunes arise from my heart
Your voice echoes a miserable past
My voice echoes a rocket rage
Your path is long
I shall not tire
Yehuda** sold you
I shall not be crucified
My ancestors were cremated in Auschwitz
My heart is with them
Pull out the wires from my skin
And the wounds of yesterday?
A shameful scar―in the face of the executioner over there
What do you carry in your head
A little wheat
What’s in your chest?
A picture of a wound
Your face reflects a rancor color
My face reflects the color of the earth
Then convert your sword into plowshare
You did not leave me land to plow
You criminal!
I did not steal―did not kill―didn’t oppress
You Arab! You are a dog!
O man, may God cure your soul
Why don’t you try the taste of love
Why don’t you make way for the sun!!

** The Israeli town of Or Yehuda was established in 1950 on the lands of the depopulated Palestinian villages of Saqiya and Kfar ‘Ana. Jews from Iraq and North Africa settled there.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.
Available from Amazon.
Mahmoud Darwish Obituary