“. . . 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

“. . . Don’t ask me to abandon . . . the memory of my childhood . . .” (Fouzi El Asmar)

settlers
Settlers break into Palestinian apartments in Hebron (Photo: Elisha Ben Kimon)

❶ Palestinian family of 7 in Hebron Hills faces imminent displacement by Israel
. . . ❶― (ᴀ) Israeli court rejects appeal against [Hebron district] home demolition of Palestinian attacker’s family

  • Background: “The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review

❷ Israeli occupation plans to build new settlement units in Hebron
❸ POETRY by Fouzi El Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PALESTINIAN FAMILY OF 7 IN HEBRON HILLS FACES IMMINENT DISPLACEMENT BY ISRAEL
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 21, 2016
Seven Palestinians face imminent displacement after Israeli forces delivered a demolition warrant for their home on Sunday, which is located inside the official village limits of al-Tuwani in the vulnerable Southern Hebron Hills region of the occupied West Bank. ___Al-Tuwani village council head Nasser al-Adra told Ma’an that Israeli forces notified Kamil Mousa al-Rabai and his family for a second time that their 120-square-meter house would be demolished [. . . .]
___“This would be the first time Israeli forces demolish a house located within the official community master plan,” al-Adra told Ma’an. “This new policy is a dangerous escalation against al-Tuwani and its neighboring villages and hamlets.”       MORE . . .    

. . . ❶― (ᴀ) ISRAELI COURT REJECTS APPEAL AGAINST [Hebron district] HOME DEMOLITION OF PALESTINIAN ATTACKER’S FAMILY 
Ma’an News Agency 
Aug. 22, 2016
The family of Palestinian prisoner Muhammad Abd al-Majid Omaireh, who Israel accused of being an accomplice in a shooting attack last month which left one Israeli settler dead, said on Monday that an Israeli court decided to demolish their family home in the village of Dura in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron.      MORE . . .  

❷ ISRAELI OCCUPATION PLANS TO BUILD NEW SETTLEMENT UNITS IN HEBRON 
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 22, 2016
The Israeli occupation authorities (IOF) plan to build new settlement units in the Jewish settlement amid Hebron southern the West Bank, Haartez newspaper reported.  ___The newspaper reported on Monday that the plan is scheduled to be ended these days, noting that the former Army Minister, Moshe Yaalon, has issued a statement to build the settlement unit on h2 area under Israeli sovereignty.      MORE . . .       RELATED . . .

  • Reuveny, Rafael. “The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review 12.3 (2008): 325-374.  FULL ARTICLE.  

During the past five hundred years, three primary types of colonies have been established: colonies of exploitation, colonies of settlement, and colonies of contested settlement. Colonies of exploitation, the large majority, overworked natives in labor intensive sectors and did not include many settlers. In colonies of settlement, the settlers became the majority and gained full control. In Spanish America, for example, settlers intermarried with the local elites, killed many natives, and enslaved others, and in British North America and Australia, settlers ousted the natives and decimated them demographically, turning them into a small minority in the land they had previously inhabited. Some of these settler societies also imported slaves from Africa. 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.
[. . . .]
Recent settler actions in the West Bank city of Hebron and the former settlement of Homesh provide additional insight. Seeking to gain control over Hebron’s old city, settlers have attacked Palestinians since 2001, playing a key role in driving out 15,000 to 20,000 Palestinian residents and 1,500 to 1,700 Palestinian businesses from the city. Settlers also have often attacked verbally and physically the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel sent to enforce order. In early 2007, settlers took over a large Palestinian house in Hebron and returned to Homesh, from which the government had removed them during 2005. Because they had done so without approval. Defense Minister Amir Peretz from the Labor Party sought to evacuate them, but the World Council tor Saving the People and the Land of Israel, a settler body, warned him not to intervene. IDF evacuated the settlers from Homesh, but they have since returned several times. In Hebron, the settlers reportedly presented forged documents to prove their ownership of the house and have refused to leave.
[. . . .]
In line with historical colonial examples, Israeli settlers have often built settlements, so-called outposts, without state approval. By 2007, some two thousand settlers lived in about one hundred outposts, seizing 75 percent of their lands from Palestinians. Some Israeli governments have promised to remove outposts and have even removed a few, but all the governments have essentially accepted them after the fact.

kelly-demolition
Homes Demolished in the South Hebron Hills, Feb. 12, 2016 (Photo: Cassandra Dixon/antiwar.com blog)

“TO  A  JEWISH  FRIEND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
Don’t ask me
the impossible
Don’t’ ask me
to hunt stars,
walk to the sun.
Don’t ask me
to empty the sea
to erase the day’s light
I am nothing but a man.

Don’t ask me
to abandon my eyes, my love,
the memory of my childhood.

I was raised
under an olive tree,
I ate the figs
of my orchard
drank wine from
the sloping vineyards
Tasted Cactus fruit
in the valleys
more, more.

The nightingale has sung
in my ears
The free winds of fields and cities
always tickled me
My friend
You cannot ask me
to leave my own country.  (March 1971)

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