“. . . But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying . . .” (Blake Alcott)

World_Israel_Mar_Saba_Monas
Great Lavra of St. Sabas, Bethlehem. (Photo: St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY     
| ARMED  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  SAINT  SABA  MONASTERY  NEAR  BETHLEHEM    Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided Saint Saba Monastery (Mar Saba) area, near the al-Ubeidiya village east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on predawn Tuesday.    ___Security sources told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
~~ SCORES  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
About 71 Jewish settlers, including soldiers, desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning under security guard by police forces.    ___According to Quds Press, 71 settlers escorted by police officers entered the Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards.    ___Three of those settlers were identified as police officers wearing civilian clothing.    ___According to the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police, as always, closed al-Maghariba Gate. . .  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLER  VANDALISM  OF  PALESTINIAN  PROPERTY,  WRITING  HATE  SLOGANS  CONTINUE  UNABATED
Vandalism by Israeli settlers of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank continued unabated on Tuesday when settlers sneaked into the village of Yasouf, east of the city of Salfit in the north of the occupied West Bank, slashed tires of several vehicles and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village, witnesses said.    ___They said the settlers wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the wall of the village’s mosque such “I will not sleep when blood is shed here,” and “Jews wake up.”    ___Settlers’ raids into Palestinian villages and terrorizing the local population as well as attacks on West Bank roads has become almost a daily occurrence in light of the Israeli government and military’s sanctioning of these attacks and their failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.    More . . .
| PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHED  FOR  LACK  OF  BUILDING  PERMIT 
Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkaber, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, according to witnesses.    ___Israeli police cordoned off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house owned by Moath Aqil, which was in its last stage of construction.  More . . .
~~ ISRAEL  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  ANOTHER  PALESTINIAN  HOUSE  PART  OF  ITS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, the Israeli military government informed the family of Khalil Jabarin on Tuesday that it intends to demolish its house in the town of Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank.    ___The military said Jabarin, 16, stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in the south of the West Bank in September before he was shot and killed by an Israeli passerby.    ___Local and Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the army informed the Jabarin family of its plan to demolish its home as a punishment for the act of its son.     More . . .
|  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  24  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  WOMAN,  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces detained 24 Palestinians from across districts of the occupied West Bank, including the wife of a former prisoner, on predawn Tuesday.    ___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Mutaz Abu Sil, 19, from the al-Arroub refugee camp.    ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; PPS identified them as Muhammad Nassim Sbeih and Hadi Azab Salah. . . .    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL  ‘OCCUPY’?  
By  BLAKE  ALCOTT 
In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?    ___Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.    ___When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“FROM  THE  DOORSTEP  TO  HEAVEN,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-MAGHUT **

Now,
With the sad rain
Drenching my sad face,
I dream of a ladder of dust,
Collected from hunched backs
And hands clinging onto knees,
To mount to highest heave
And discover
What becomes of our prayers and sighs.

O my beloved,
All the prayers and sighs,
All the laments and cries for help,
Springing from
Millions of lips and hearts,
Through thousands of years and centuries,
Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
Like clouds.
And maybe
These words of mine
Are now close to those of Jesus.
So let us await the tears of heaven,
O beloved.

(**Sources disagree about Maghut’s birthplace. Some say he was Syrian. This poem, however, is appropriate regardless.)

–From AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY. Translated by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. University of California Press, 1974. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . cover with sawdust the blood of our massacred people . . .” (Fawaz Turki)

1-funeral
Mourners carry the body of Haitham Saada, shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, during the boy’s funeral in Hebron on 6 February. (Photo: Wisam Hashlamoun/APA images)

❶ Israeli forces shoot, kill 2 armed Palestinians near Damascus Gate
❷ Israeli forces shoot, injure 28 Palestinians during Ramallah-area clashes
❸ Palestinian teen shot dead after alleged stabbing attempt near Bethlehem
❹ Israeli forces shoot five Palestinian children [yesterday 6 dead, total]
❺ Opinion/Analysis: THE WILD BEAST OF ISRAELI RACISM
. . . . . ❺―(ᴀ) PM: INTERNATIONAL FORCES NEEDED TO PROTECT PALESTINIAN LIVES
❻ Poetry by Fawaz Turki
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  SHOOT,  KILL  2  ARMED  PALESTINIANS  NEAR  DAMASCUS  GATE
Feb. 15, 2016
Two Palestinians armed with guns were shot dead Sunday by Israeli forces near Damascus Gate in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, Israeli police said . . . .
___Police forces opened fire on and killed the young man when he pulled an automatic weapon from the bag and directed it at forces, the spokesperson said. A second Palestinian was then shot dead by police after he opened fire in their direction . . . .
___No Israelis were injured during the incident.
___The incident was the third deadly shooting by Israeli forces during alleged Palestinian attacks on Sunday, leaving five Palestinians killed.    More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES SHOOT,  INJURE  28  PALESTINIANS  DURING  RAMALLAH-AREA  CLASHES
Feb. 15, 2016
At least 28 Palestinians were shot and injured with live bullets and rubber-coated steel rounds during clashes in Ramallah’s al-Amari refugee camp on Monday, local sources told Ma’an.
___Locals said clashes erupted when Israeli forces entered the camp, surrounding a home.
___It was unclear if the home was slated for demolition or a raid, but locals said Palestinian youth in the area “tried to defend” the home, throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces, who responded with live and rubber-coated steel bullets, as well as tear gas.    More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  TEEN  SHOT  DEAD  AFTER  ALLEGED  STABBING  ATTEMPT  NEAR  BETHLEHEM
Feb. 14, 2016
___Israeli forces shot and killed a 17-year-old Palestinian on Sunday after the teen allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier at a checkpoint north of Bethlehem, official Palestinian sources said.
___The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the teen as as Naim Ahmad Yousif Safi from the town of al-Ubediya, just east of Bethlehem.
___Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld initially told Ma’an that a young Palestinian man approached the Mazmoria checkpoint near the illegal Israeli settlement of Har Homa and took out a knife.    More . . .

shot
Israeli forces have killed over 170 Palestinians since October 2015. Suspected attacks by Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis since October 2015. A total of six teens killed yesterday, and one in critical condition in the hospital. (Photo: still from video on Alternative Information Center)

ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
ISRAELI  FORCES  SHOOT  FIVE  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN
Yesterday, Israeli forces shot five Palestinian children and killed four; the sole surviving child is hospitalized and in critical condition . . . .
___Late Sunday night, two more Palestinians were killed. Israeli forces shot two Palestinian men near Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, bringing the total number of Palestinian lives lost yesterday to six. . . . .
___Israeli forces have killed over 170 Palestinians since October 2015. Suspected attacks by Palestinians have killed 25 Israelis since October 2015.     More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
THE  WILD  BEAST  OF  ISRAELI  RACISM
Asa Winstanley
Feb. 13, 2016
This week the prime minister of Israel slandered Arabs in disgustingly racist terms. This was nothing new for the man who, during the last election, warned the Israeli people that “the Arabs” were turning out to vote “in droves”. But the terminology he used was a notable new low, even for him.
___Touring a new border fence between part of present-day Israel and Jordan, Benjamin Netanyahu said: “In our neighbourhood, we need to protect ourselves from wild beasts.     More . . .
. . . . . ❺―(ᴀ) PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
PM:  INTERNATIONAL  FORCES  NEEDED  TO  PROTECT  PALESTINIAN  LIVES
The Palestinian Prime Minister, Rami Hamdallah on Monday reiterated the urgent need for international forces to protect Palestinian lives in the West Bank and Gaza to a visiting British Parliamentary delegation.    More . . .

“THE  SEED  KEEPERS,”  BY  FAWAZ  TURKI
A recital

Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of our imprisoned patriots,
destroy,
destroy
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
destroy every city and every town
every tree and every home
every book and every law,
flatten with your bombs
every valley,
erase with your edicts
our past
our literature
our metaphor,
denude the forests
and the earth
till no insect
no word
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more,
I do not fear your tyranny.
I guard one seed
of a tree
my forefathers have saved
that I shall plant again
in my homeland.

Fawaz Turki (b. 1940) was born in Haifa, Palestine. He is a poet and the author of prose accounts of his life as a Palestinian in exile. He has published several books in English. He was writer-in-residence at the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, a professor at the State University of New York in Buffalo, and a frequent speaker at conferences on the Middle East.    About Fawaz Turki
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.