“They’ve grown to become trees plunging deep roots. . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)


Israeli army detains three youths from villages near Ramallah, seizes surveillance cameras

August 24, 2019
The Israeli army detained early this morning three Palestinian youths from villages near Ramallah and seized street surveillance cameras in these villages, according to local sources. . . .
· · · · The sources said the soldiers seized tapes from the street surveillance cameras installed by shop and homeowners in these villages.
· · · · The arrests and seizure of the cameras are believed related to the Israeli army investigation into the explosion from yesterday near the village of Ein Arik that killed one Israeli settler and injured two others.   More . . . .   

Israeli settlers attack Palestinian citizens in West Bank cities

Groups of Israeli settlers on Friday rioted and attacked Palestinian citizens in al-Khalil and Nablus districts in the West Bank.
· · · Local sources reported that hordes of Israeli settlers gathered near Road 60 east of al-Khalil City and hurled rocks at Palestinian vehicles. More . . . .

In one East Jerusalem neighborhood, summer vacation has become a war zone

For children in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiya, summer vacation means dodging rubber bullets and watching their fathers and brothers arrested and humiliated every day.
+972 Magazine
August 22, 2019
At the entrance to Issawiya in East Jerusalem, eight children are laughing as they chase one another in circles. I take out a camera and a few of them begin to gather around me. The oldest of the group is 13 years old, and tells me that they are playing “Jews and Arabs.” Do you know it? She asks. There are two teams: the Jews shoot at the Arabs and the Arabs throw rocks. The game ends when one of the teams wins.
I look on as they play but cannot really seem to make out the rules. It’s a bit like tag, only that instead of tagging one another, they pretend chase, detain, and shoot each other. The children’s home is just across the road. . . .   More . . . .


The Future of the Two-State Solution and the Alternatives — A View from Gaza

Palestine-Israel Journal
Vol. 24 No. 1, 2019
By Husam Dajni
. . . . This article will address the following questions: What are the indicators of the erosion of the two-state solution? What are the chances the Palestinian leadership and the international community can keep this solution viable? What are possible alternatives to the two-state solution? And what is Hamas’s vision for the two-state solution and its alternatives, given the new reality?  More . . . .
(The Palestine-Israel Journal is a non-profit organization, founded in 1994 by Ziad AbuZayyad and Victor Cygielman, two prominent Palestinian and Israeli journalists, and was established concurrently with the first phases of the Oslo peace process to encourage dialogue between civil societies on both sides and broaden the base of support for the peace process.)

The East Jerusalem Municipality (Amanat al-Quds): History and Horizons

This Week In Palestine
Issue: 256, Aug 2019
By Walid Salem
The Jerusalem municipality was established by the Ottomans in 1863. At that time, it was composed of five members: three Muslims, one Christian, and one Jew. The British Mandatory Period began in 1917. . . . The Israeli occupying authorities dissolved this council on June 21, 1967, and began to enforce Israeli law in East Jerusalem whilst extending the responsibilities of the Israeli municipality to include East Jerusalem. Nevertheless, the 1963 elected city council continued operating and still represents East Jerusalem in Arab, Islamic, and international federations of capitals and cities today. . . .
· · · During President Mahmoud Abbas’s term, an amended Law No. 10 of 2005 was passed regarding the election of local authorities. Article 69 of the law stipulates that “members of the Municipal Council shall be selected in accordance with the Law of the Municipality of the Capital (Amanat al-Quds Law).”
· · · In January 2012, President Mahmoud Abbas issued a second decree appointing a new municipality for Jerusalem.    More . . . .
(In December 1998, Turbo Design put out the first issue of an English-language magazine called This Week in Palestine (TWiP). Twenty-one years later, the magazine is now considered to be a major Palestinian success story and, unfortunately, remains the only English-language magazine in Palestine. TWiP essentially promotes and documents Palestine. . . .)



They’re only boys
who used to frolic and play
launching rainbowed kites
on the western wind,
their blue-and-green kites
whistling, leaping,
trading easy laughter and jokes
dueling with branches, pretending to be
great heroes in history.

Suddenly now they’ve grown,
grown more than the years of a normal life,
merged with secret and passionate words,
carried love’s messages like the Bible or the Quran,
to be read in whispers.
They’ve grown to become trees
plunging deep roots into the earth,
stretching high towards the sun.
Now their voices are ones that reject,
that knock down and build anew.
Anger smouldering on the fringes of a blocked horizon,
invading classrooms, streets, city quarters,
centering on squares,
facing sullen tanks with streams of stones.

Now they shake the gallows of dawn
assailing the night and its flood.
They’ve grown more than the years of a life
to become the worshipped and the worshippers.

When their torn limbs merged with the stuff of our earth
they became legends,
they grew into vaulting bridges,
they grew and grew, becoming
larger than all poetry.
Translated by Naomi Shihab Nye

From ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.


“. . . And gagging on disaster, My sad city choked. . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)


(Articles generally in chronological order. The first of several such single-subject postings.)

National Public Radio (NPR)
Heard on All Things Considered, January 19, 2018.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:   President Trump has recognized Jerusalem as the capital Israel, but that doesn’t change Palestinian aspirations for a capital in part of the city. One thing that could strengthen these Palestinian claims would be national political institutions. NPR’s Daniel Estrin looks at how Israel has worked for decades to limit those institutions, whether they’re offices for leadership or even performances in theaters.   DANIEL ESTRIN, BYLINE: This used to be the Palestinian headquarters in Jerusalem – an old, stone mansion called the Orient House. Foreign diplomats were received here. The Palestinian flag used to fly. But Israel closed it in 2001 during a wave of Palestinian bombings. Israeli authorities deliver a new closure order every six months. It’s on the door for everyone to see.   More . . .

Asharq Al-Awsat.
February 3,2018
The Israeli authorities decided on Friday to shut down a number of Palestinian institutions operating in the occupied city of East Jerusalem.   ___Internal Security Minister Gilad Erdan extended the order against a number of Palestinian institutions, including the Orient House, in East Jerusalem due to their affiliation to the Palestinian Authority.   ___The Israeli decision anticipated an expected decision from the PA to announce the city of Jerusalem as the capital of the Palestinian State.   ___Israeli sources said on Friday that Erdan’s order does not only involve political institutions, but also include a number of vital civil institutions, the East Jerusalem Chamber of Commerce, the Supreme Council for the Arab Tourism Industry, the Center for Palestinian Studies, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club, and the Office for Social and Statistical Studies.
More . . .    Related . . .


Ma’an News Agency.
March 14, 2017.
Israeli authorities sealed off and shut down the Mapping and Geographic Information Systems Department of the Arab Studies Society in occupied East Jerusalem on Tuesday, with police detaining the center’s director, Khalil Tufakji, during the raid.
___PLO Secretary-General Saeb Erekat denounced the closure and “the illegal detention” of Tufakji, describing the man as “a distinguished scholar from Jerusalem.”
___Erekat said in a written statement that Israeli forces also seized the documents, computers, and equipment from the office.
More . . .

The New Arab.
July 15, 2018.

Anger has spurred over Israel shutting down two Palestinian education facilities in occupied East Jerusalem, as Israeli plans to annex the territory continue.
___Israel closed down Hind al-Husseini College and Al-Quds University’s College of Art – both of which are located in the Sheikh Jarrah neighbourhood – until further notice after banning an academic conference taking place and detaining 15 participants.
___The conference was due to take place on Saturday at al-Quds University’s College of Arts.
___The two-day conference was organised by the Jerusalem Islamic Waqf and Heritage Reservation Society and was supposed to discuss the status of Muslim endowment and property, as well as the protection of Islamic and Christian heritage in the occupied city.
___The move was also condemned by the president of the Arab American University, Ali Abu Zuhri, who said Israel was taking exceptional measures to disrupt the Palestinian education system, according to Palestinian Authority news agency WAFA.
More . . .   Related . . .

Daphna Golan.
July 26, 2018.

As Israeli students are finishing their final exams, Palestinian students in the occupied territories don’t know whether their institutions will be opening for the coming academic year or if their lecturers will continue to teach, as dozens of lecturers with European and American citizenship are being expelled.
___Around half the foreign lecturers at Palestinian universities started receiving letters last November, saying their requests to have their residency visas extended had been refused because they’ve been “living in the area for more than five years.”
More . . .



Ylenia Gostoli.
May 20, 2017.

[. . . .] According to the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, more than 30 Palestinian institutions and organisations have been shut down in the city since the 2001 closure of Orient House. Six-month closure orders have been continuously renewed ever since, in defiance of recommendations made in the 2003 Road Map drawn up by the Middle East Quartet as part of the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.
___”Targeting NGOs is targeting the presence of Palestinians in East Jerusalem. NGOs are the main body providing services, because according to Oslo [the interim accords signed by Israel and the Palestinians in 1993 and 1995], the Palestinian Authority is not allowed to be in Jerusalem,” Zakaria Odeh, executive director of the Civic Coalition for Palestinian Rights in Jerusalem, told Al Jazeera. “All policies, including house demolitions and residency revocations, have the goal to alter the demographic structure of Jerusalem as a whole.”
More . . .

Middle East Monitor
February 17, 2014.
A Palestinian human rights organisation has revealed that the Israeli occupation authorities have closed more than 120 Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem since it completed its occupation of the city in 1967. Around 88 were closed down completely, while the others had to transfer their operations from occupied Jerusalem to the occupied West Bank.
___In a press statement, the Almakdasi Foundation said that the Israeli authorities have now closed-down the Islamic Club and Salwan Charity Foundation for a period of 30 days under the pretext of them receiving funding from Hamas and conducting activities on its behalf. This is despite the fact that both foundations have appropriate licences and Salwan presented evidence to prove its independence.
___The Almakdasi statement said, “These closures, along with all the others last year and every year since 1967, are part of Israel’s policy since the occupation began. The Israeli occupation authorities are trying to obliterate Palestinian identity and institutions.” The first to go was the Arab Jerusalem Municipality which was closed by the Israelis in 1967.
More . . .


(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)

The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gagging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri

From  BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND:  PALESTINE  ISRAEL  POETS  RESPOND  TO  THE  STRUGGLE.  Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.

“… They are . . . the twenty revolutions that will eternalize this cell…” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Israeli Checkpoint. (Photo: Native News, Tumblr, 21 May 2015)

❶ Massive Israeli Settlement Plan to be implemented
❷ Israel Issues Administrative Detention Orders against 34 Palestinians
.. ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli Navy Detains Three Fishermen off Gaza
.. ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli Forces Detain 16 Palestinians from West Bank
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 7, 2016
Israel is reportedly planning to build over 15,000 new settlement units on the site of an unused airport between the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
___According to Press TV/Al Ray, the units are scheduled to be constructed on the site of Atarot airport, located in northern al-Quds [. . . .]
___A member of the Israeli Knesset, Nachman Shai, warned on Sunday that the expansion would draw a fresh wave of international condemnation.
___Israel’s planning committee chair Meir Turgeman, however, said he didn’t “see a problem, from a political standpoint.”       MORE…

Note: The article from which this paragraph comes is a detailed description of Israel as the last colonial power in the world by the author’s understanding of that idea.

In colonies of contested settlement in Africa and Asia, many settlers went to live in the colonized lands, but they remained a minority rejected by the natives.
___Metropoles [settlers] often assisted their settlers in various ways, particularly in colonies of contested settlement. The colonial state provided them with subsidies, loans, grants, housing, low taxes, transport, and land; it also employed them and developed their infrastructures. Settlers lived in relatively nice quarters, owned businesses, and held high paying jobs. Natives lived in wretched conditions and had few sociopolitical rights. The two societies were segregated and faced a dual system of law, one applying to settlers and the other to natives. Natives required permission from the state to engage in various daily affairs. The colonial state defended settlers, fought their wars against natives, and seized lands and resources from natives and transferred them to settlers. Having lost the main source of their livelihood, many natives had to work for the colonizers in menial and low paying jobs, and at times they were forced to do so. The land seizures were often effected behind a pseudolegal facade, declaring the state as the owner of unclaimed lands, but settlers also took the law into their own hands, seizing native lands and properties.  [. . . .]
___The Israeli case exhibits almost all of these features.

  • Reuveny, Rafael. “The Last Colonialist: Israel in the Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review 12.3 (2008): 325-374.   Full article.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders to 34 Palestinian detainees, placing them in jail without a charge or trial, Wednesday reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).
___11 of the detainees received administrative detention orders for the first time, while the remaining 23 others received renewed administrative orders, the organization added.
___Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six-month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.      MORE… 

Through motions for equal citizenship and access to its associated rights Arab citizens are repeatedly asking for recognition from the state . . . thus posing an existential threat to the state . . .  the state of Israel establishes bureaucracies of admission and expulsion in an attempt to maintain its Judaized dominance and sovereign power, and in doing so, reinforces its borders upon and against the Palestinian community. Although there are significant differences between the political, military, and legal measures employed by Israel against Palestinians within its formally recognized borders and those in . . .  the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the fundamental sovereign performance remains similar . . . human rights organizations reported trends of arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as inhumane treatment of Arab citizens in custody, reflective of the exact measures faced by those in the OPT, thus highlighting the military, political, legal, and conceptual parallels between the Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian citizens and those formally under occupation in the Palestinian territories.
___Perhaps most reflective of the paradox lived by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship is Salter’s contention of a citizen that is “always already and never fully inscribed as part of the population.” As Israeli citizens they are uprooted as non-Jews, both in the conceptual and political sense, and simultaneously defined as a threatening other to the state.

  • MOLAVI, SHOURIDEH C. “Stateless Citizenship and the Palestinian-Arabs in Israel.” Refuge 26.2 (2009): 19-28.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli navy on Wednesday detained three Palestinian fishermen while they were sailing offshore Gaza, according to local sources.
___WAFA correspondent said that several Israeli naval boats attacked with gunfire a number of fishing boats while sailing offshore the coast of Gaza, before they detained three of them. They were taken to Ashdod seaport in southern Israel.      MORE… 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli forces Wednesday detained 16 Palestinians, including at least a minor, mostly during overnight raids into a number of West Bank districts, said Palestine Prisoner’s Society and security sources.
___Five Palestinians were detained from Ramallah and al-Bireh districts, three others from Jenin district, another from Qalqilia, two others from Jerusalem, two others from Bethlehem and three others from Hebron.      MORE . . .  

gaza fishermen
Israeli naval forces detain two Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast for allegedly heading beyond the designated nine-nautical-mile fishing zone. (Photo: Truth Human Rights Research Center NGO/ April 9, 2016)

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Melhem
The Israeli army will make improvements at military checkpoints in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Yoav Mordechai announced May 26. But not everyone sees that as good news.
___On his Facebook page, titled “The Coordinator,” Mordechai posted in Arabic, “It has been decided to renew and improve checkpoints in the West Bank, [to] increase the number of Palestinian workers allowed to pass through to their workplaces in Israel, improve waiting conditions and adopt advanced technology at all checkpoints” [. . . .]
___But what Israel calls improvements are viewed by Palestinians as an entrenchment of the occupation.
___Fatah official spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi told Al-Monitor, “The real improvements Israel could provide for us [would be] for [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government to recognize Palestinian rights and remove every last soldier, camp and settlement from the West Bank.”       MORE . . .  


Beloved, you ask me
Of life in this prison, this cell
what of the chains
chafing my wrists
what of my food and drink
and the comrades of my cell?

Beloved, let me tell you:
Our clouds are indeed heavy
But our being here
is a smile of spring,
The shock of thunder
in autumn, after drought.
We are not defeated
Like our jailers.

Life in this prison, this cell
is a palm tree impregnated
at the dawn.
My chains are the round
echo of a muezzin,
Their clank is the ringing
of my people’s bells.

Beloved, you ask me
of the meaning of my food
Here beloved
we grow like the wild flowers.

And what of
my comrades
in this cell? You ask
They are the twenty candles
lighting the darkness of this cell
The twenty songs
shaking the walls of this cell
The twenty revolutions
that will eternalize this cell
And we, beloved
we shall not be stopped.  (June, 1970)

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