“. . . checking over my shoulder to see if I am shadowed. . .” (Yousef Abu Loz)

Apartheid Wall: Jenin
Apartheid Wall: Jenin

❶ from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ABU KHDEIR’S NAME REMOVED FROM TERROR VICTIMS’ LIST
April 22, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — The Israeli authorities removed Muhammad Abu Khdeir’s name from an Israeli list of terror victims following demands by his family.
___Abu Khdeir’s father told Ma’an that the family called the Israeli National Insurance Institute on Tuesday demanding that Muhammad’s name be removed from the list located in Mount Herzl. They later received a call from the institute telling them that his name was removed from the list.
___Muhammad, 16, was burned to death in July 2014 by Jewish Israelis in a suspected revenge attack for the murders of three Israeli teenagers in the occupied West Bank. . .
___Muhammad’s family said that Israel only added his name to “improve its image to the world” after the gruesome murder which shocked residents of occupied East Jerusalem.
(More. . .)
(Background. . .)

❷ from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAELI FORCES DETAIN SIX PALESTINIANS FROM JENIN VILLAGE
April 22, 2015
Israeli forces Wednesday detained five Palestinians from Tura village to the southwest of Jenin, said local security sources.
___Forces stormed the village where they proceeded to detain five locals after breaking into and ransacking their families’ houses. The detainees were identified as Mu‘taz Qabha, 22, ‘Abdullah Sami, 23, Ayham Fayez, 22, Muhammad Subhi, 26, and ‘Abdullah Ahmad, 23.
(More. . .)

Abu Kheider's Father
Abu Kheider’s Father

❸ from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
PALESTINIAN KIDNAPPED IN AL-AQSA MOSQUE; ISRAELI EXTREMISTS STORM MOSQUE COMPOUND
April 22, 2015
As dozens of Israeli extremists stormed the yards of the Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied Jerusalem, chanting and raising Israeli flags, and trying to raise the flags on the mosque, Israeli soldiers kidnapped a young Palestinian man.
Media sources said the soldiers kidnapped Omar Odeh, from Qalansawe, in the Southern Triangle Area.
___Odeh was beaten and cuffed, before being moved to an Israeli police station in Jerusalem’s Old City.
___The abduction took place after scores of Israeli fanatics stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, through the al-Magharba gate, on Wednesday morning, and conducted provocative tours under heavy police and army protection.
___Several fanatic groups called for massive marches into the mosque compound, Wednesday and Thursday to mark “Israel’s Memorial Day.”
(More. . .)
(A simplistic explanation of the importance of Al-Aqsa)
(A different understanding of the importance of Al-Aqsa)

❹ from MONDOWEISS (Scholarly article)
TERRORISM AND THE ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN CONFLICT: AN ARGUMENT
Jerome Slater
April 21, 2015
As I wrote in my blog of March 18, “Israeli Terrorism: Does Evidence Matter?” I have been unable to place the long article on which the blog was based in any professional journal. I have decided to end that quest, and instead publish the full version here, for whatever interest it may hold for scholars, journalists, and interested general audiences. . .
___My central argument is that contrary to the standard mythology, especially in Israel, Israeli terrorism has been significantly worse than that of the Palestinians. A refutation of this mythology is important for a number of reasons. First, of course, ascertaining historical truth is important for its own sake. Second, the truth might make Israelis less blind to their own behavior and therefore less intransigent in seeking a compromise settlement of their conflict with the Palestinians
(More. . .)

❺ from +972 (Opinion)
WHY I’M THINKING OF LEAVING ISRAEL
By Somow Younis
April 22, 2015
I don’t feel a sense of belonging in the place where I was born. I want to live in a place where my right to vote is not seen as a threat to the regime, where my ethnicity doesn’t hold me back and where my language is not a barrier. One day I will leave, but it won’t be by choice.
. . . So far in my adult life I’ve searched for a sense of belonging by attempting to rule places out: in my childhood village of Arara, in Haifa, in Tel Aviv, and most recently, in Jerusalem. One feeling has followed me to all of those places — being foreign. The sense of foreignness penetrates and permeates inside of me and I fight it in my daily battle for survival. What does it mean to feel like you belong?
. . . I sigh and I ponder. One can’t speak about the Nakba in the past tense. It is ongoing and continues. There it is, I’m done. Lightyears separate reality and my dreams of being recognized as an ethnic majority in a state that defines itself first and foremost as a nation-state, dreams of being granted full cultural autonomy, of realizing even the simplest dreams, without obstacles and limitations.
Somow Younis is a lawyer and social activist.
(More. . .)
Also by Somow Younis

“LAST OF THE CENTURY,” BY YOUSEF ABU LOZ

Knowing my country is far
I pack my cases and fly
always checking over my shoulder
to see if I am shadowed, always
looking around: paranoid

I hasten my wings, oh
wait for me, my country, I am lost
in the century. I swoon and swoop
with the invaders’ hot breath
on my neck and even though
I rush past a decade of years
they still beat me to her.

I’ve become older, I know my life
is behind me. Where I cannot fly.

Translated by Ryan Van Winkle

Yousef Abu Loz’s collection Fatima Goes to the field early received the Arab Writers Union Award. Born in Jordan, he has worked in education and culture across the Arab world.

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

Somos Younis
Somow Younis

“. . . I have prepared my poems And reclaimed my hand . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

from MONDOWEISS
NETANYAHU FLAILS AGAINST INT’L CONSPIRACY, AS LIBERAL ZIONISTS SEEK ORANGE REVOLUTION AGAINST ‘FADING STRONGMAN’
Israel/Palestine
Philip Weiss
March 13, 2015
Israel’s illusion that it is at the center of the known universe is now shared by a lot of American commentators. The mood is even more intense because liberal Zionists sense a historic election in which Benjamin Netanyahu goes down and is replaced by the center-left. Haaretz’s Barak Ravid is mocking the prime minister’s statements about outside influence:

Netanyahu says “Scandinavia” is trying to topple him. Yes – you heard me – Scandinavia

Gershom Gorenberg explains that Netanyahu has accused European governments, especially Scandinavian ones, of funding campaign to depose him. Gorenberg:

Last refuge of the fading strongman: accuse outside agitators, foreign govts. (More. . .)

The Choir of the Custody of the Holy Land with members of the Sant Angela Choir of Budapest
The Choir of the Custody of the Holy Land with members of the Sant Angela Choir of Budapest

from THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
Artist of the Month
THE CHOIR OF THE CUSTODY OF THE HOLY LAND (Roman Catholic)
March, 2015
The Magnificat Choir of the Custody of the Holy Land was founded in 1850 by a number of clerics in Jerusalem. After the establishment of the Terra Sancta Boarding School in 1870, the choir expanded and graduates of the school began volunteering their services to the choir. These included Augustine Lama, a choir conductor and organist, and later, organist Salvador Arnita. During the late 1950s, the Franciscan priests took charge of conducting the choir. Among the most famous were Father Teofilo Ciardini and Father Antonio Foley, who developed the Parish Choir. Over the course of time, these two choirs combined and began singing both in Latin and in Arabic throughout the churches of the Holy Land. (More. . .)

from PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
‘ISRAEL’ PLANS TO BUILD NEW SEPARATION WALL ALONG JORDANIAN BORDER
PNN/Jerusalem
March 14, 2015
Following the completion of a security fence on the border with Egypt, ‘Israel’ plans to build a new separation wall on the border with Jordan to protect ‘Israel’ from a possible infiltration by “global Jihadists”, Israeli media reported on Thursday.

The Israeli government said that the first section of the wall will stretch for 30 km and will be equipped with security cameras and watch towers. The wall is part of a broader defence plan to secure the Timna region prepared by the Israeli army in the wake of the geo-strategic changes in the region.

The Israeli security forces fear the Iraqi and Syrian jihadists who were reported to have entered Jordan in huge numbers and it is possible that they’ll find their way to ‘Israel’. A senior Israeli officer said they do not have intelligence about the activities of ISIS elements in Jordan.
(More. . .)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
HAMAS LAUNCHES #ASKHAMAS INFORMATIONAL TWITTER CAMPAIGN
March 14, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Hamas launched a campaign on Twitter Friday aimed at improving transparency and reaching out to English social media users.

The movement said its English-language initiative #AskHamas was designed so officials could answer questions from social media users.

The campaign was timed to coincide with the deadline for a European Union appeal against removing the group from the EU’s terror list, Hamas said.

A European court in December ordered the removal of Hamas from the bloc’s terror list, but the European Union said it would appeal the decision within three months.

“The #AskHamas campaign … will begin Friday and continue for five days,” said an Arabic-language statement posted on Hamas media official Taher al-Nunu’s Facebook page.
(More. . .)

from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
KEEPING PALESTINIAN IDENTITY ALIVE IN HEBRON
Narjas Zatat
March 13, 2015
Once a thriving marketplace, Hebron’s Shuhada street has been closed to Palestinians for the past twenty-one years.

Israel used the 1994 massacre at the nearby Ibrahimi Mosque — during which the extremist American settler Baruch Goldstein killed 29 worshippers — as a pretext to tighten its control over the occupied West Bank city.

Today, Jewish-only settlements have surrounded Hebron and taken over parts of the city. These settlements are illegal under international law.

The closure of Shuhada Street is vigorously opposed by Palestinians. The organization Youth Against Settlements (YAS) both documents human rights abuses carried out by the Israeli military and takes direct action against Hebron’s suffocation.

In a symbolically important move, the group has succeeded in setting up a kindergarten on Shuhada Street. (More. . .)

Ibrahim Nasrallah
Ibrahim Nasrallah

“ABSENCE,” BY IBRAHIM NASRALLAH
Who loves the winter as you do?
And is fascinated by trees that resist the wind as you do?
And who like you perfects life
With such innocent joy?
God!
If only you were with me now
I have prepared everything
The chestnuts and the fire,
I have pulled back the blinds
And raised my prayer to the gypsy rain
Pleaded that it persist in its discord
And eternal rites
God!
If only you were beside me now!
I have prepared my poems
And reclaimed my hand
From the combat of the street
From the merchants
And the brokers
And the guardsmen,
And a frost that has tried so often
To squeeze you out of my heart
From bullets that have repeatedly aimed
To swallow up the ring of your voice
As you commune with the buds
Or kindle the fire
God! Had you been with me
We would have sung our song now
The one which the wind almost uproots from my voice
Each time I sing it alone

–Translation by Ibrahim Muhawi
Ibrahim Nasrallah (born 1954 in Amman, Jordan, in Wihdat refugee camp) is a Jordanian-Palestinian poet, novelist, professor, painter and photographer.
He studied in the UN agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) schools and at the UNRWA Teacher Training College in Amman. He taught in Saudi Arabia for 2 years in the Al Qunfudhah region and worked as a journalist between 1978 and 1996. Nasrallah then returned to Jordan and worked at Dostur, Afaq and Hasad newspapers. He is in charge of cultural activities at Darat-al-Funun in Amman. He has published 14 books of poetry, 13 novels and two children’s books. In 2009 his novel The Time of White Horses was shortlisted for the International Prize for Arabic Fiction. Biography from “Poem Hunter.com.”

FOCUS ON GAZA “. . . A chronic, dizzying nausea permeates the air . . .” (Asma Shaker)

This posting draws together articles from reliable sources readily available on the internet. All are concerning the Israeli bombardment of Gaza last  year. (Note: this posting begins the series of “Featured Poet” in which a poem by a Palestinian poet will be included in each post.)

FROM
haaretz
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL’S ACTIONS IN GAZA

Getting the head of the UN panel fired won’t change the outcome of its probe into possible war crimes committed in Gaza — unless his replacement is either a racist or a liar.

By Gideon Levy | Feb. 5, 2015
What a huge diplomatic achievement: Israel has succeeded in getting the Canadian law professor William Schabas to resign from his post as head of a UN inquiry panel into potential war crimes in Gaza. (Article printed in full at end of this post)
________________________________________________
FROM
Washington-Post-Logo
WAR PUNISHES GAZA
February 12, 2015
Half a year after devastating hostilities, life in the region seems worse than ever. Thousands remain displaced, internal violence is increasing – and Hamas is preparing for battle. (Illustrated article here.)
________________________________________________

EYEWITNESS TO GAZA, CONVERSATION WITH  MAURINE AND BOB TOBIN
In December 2014 Robert and Maurine Tobin traveled to Gaza to witness and report on the horrible bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Military in July of that year. They were devastated by what they saw: houses, apartment buildings, schools, factories, the zoo and children’s playgrounds were all destroyed. 250,000 people are now homeless and 10,895 are wounded and 2,191 were killed. Maurine says, what is common knowledge in Israel and that is “Gaza is used as a testing ground for the Israeli Military hardware”. (Their conversation here.)
maurine and bob

__________________________________________________

FROM
wrmeaorgbannerlogo7

Special Report
CEASE-FIRE FOLLOWS CEASE-FIRE BUT GAZA REMAINS A PRISON
By Rachelle Marshall
October 2014

Israel began the process of dismantling Gaza’s economy almost as soon as it captured the strip of territory from Egypt in 1967. Most of Gaza’s inhabitants were refugees from Palestine who had been forced off their land in 1948 when Israel became a state. Once in Gaza they built up a thriving fishing industry and an international market for their fruits and vegetables, but after 1967 Israel’s export restrictions and diversion of Gaza’s water to settlers did so much damage to the economy that by 2006 Gaza’s annual per capita gross domestic product was down to $600, a fraction of what it had been before the occupation. (Full article here.)
_________________________________
FROM
nsnewlogo_2014
LIFE AMONG THE RUINS: TEN DAYS INSIDE THE GAZA STRIP
By Donald Macintrye.
13 August 2014
The grossly asymmetrical casualties inflicted on the Palestinians have obscured another important question: how far have they even been worth it from Israel’s point of view? (Full article here.)
________________________________
FEATURED POET

AN IMAGINARY RAID
by Asma Shaker

Everything shakes – the floor, the door, even the plastic on the windows. A chronic, dizzying nausea permeates the air during every raid.
A formation of F16 planes flies over: right there – just above us. It marks a dead-straight line of smoke, tearing up the whiteness of the clouds.
‘It’s a pretend raid,’ says my father, as we tremble like we’re sitting on little earthquakes.
‘They’re just messing about. I reckon they’re just little planes training…don’t be scared.”
Then a different type of bombardment: successive tremors, air pressure and noise making everything convulse…the sound of explosion after explosion, it can’t be…it definitely can’t just be the wind.

Asma Shaker was born in Libya in 1987. She returned to Gaza with her family in the late 1990s. She studies journalism at the Islamic University of Gaza, and has worked as a literary correspondent for several publications, both Palestinian and pan-Arab. She currently works as a writer on visual arts for Aljazeera’s documentary site. Her stories have been published in regional and pan-Arab newspapers and magazines.
_________________________________
(Complete article from above.)

THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL’S ACTIONS IN GAZA
Getting the head of the UN panel fired won’t change the outcome of its probe into possible war crimes committed in Gaza — unless his replacement is either a racist or a liar.
By Gideon Levy | Feb. 5, 2015

What a huge diplomatic achievement: Israel has succeeded in getting the Canadian law professor William Schabas to resign from his post as head of a UN inquiry panel into potential war crimes in Gaza.

Through persistent surveillance, Israel’s intelligence and propaganda branches revealed that Schabas had once received a $1,300 fee from the PLO. Conclusion: he sold his soul to the devil. The ref sucks. Q.E.D.

One needs a great deal of chutzpah and arrogance to dig anew into the pasts of Israel’s critics in an effort to assassinate their character, as in the case of Richard Goldstone, merely because they dared to criticize the state. As far as Israel is concerned, the fate of anyone who criticizes the country is sealed. He’s an anti-Semite, anti-Israeli, greedy or driven by ulterior motives.

In Israel’s eyes there’s no such thing as conscientious individuals who are genuinely and truly shocked by its acts, even without being paid $1,300 from the PLO. As far as Israel is concerned, there are no justice-seeking people of law, or simply decent ordinary people, who were aghast at what it did in the Gaza Strip last summer. If they were shaken – they’re either anti-Semites, or receive money from the PLO. There’s no other possibility.

But the truth is just the opposite. Those who weren’t shocked deserve to be condemned, have their character assassinated and their past scrutinized. They either live in blindness, denial and repression, or their moral standards are fundamentally distorted and flawed.

It was impossible not to be appalled by what the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza last summer — unless you’re a propagandist, a liar or a racist. In any case, it’s impossible to support Israel in view of what it is doing to the Palestinians. Nor is there a way to be an international law expert and sympathize with what Israel is doing. Schabas’ sin is that he doesn’t. He should be proud of it.

Only an inquiry panel for the Anti-Defamation League, the Micronesian government or Habayit Hayehudi party would not have castigated the IDF’s rampage in the Gaza Strip, which was more brutal and savage than any of its previous rampages. A B’Tselem report released last week (“Black Flag: the legal and moral implications of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014”) recounted what had so rapidly been forgotten: war crimes.

B’Tselem investigated 70 cases of bombarding residential buildings, in which 606 people were killed in their homes or near them, over 70 percent of them children, women and elderly people. The mind boggles. The most moral army in its most immoral spectacle yet, with the missiles aimed at buildings’ rooftops and all its “warnings.”

The victims’ blood is crying out. But not in Israel. Here the propaganda and media have done their job. In the election campaign there’s no mention of the most important event in the outgoing government’s term. Even the opposition dares not mention it. The Zionist Camp knows it would have done the same (“in the war on terror there’s no coalition and opposition,” Isaac Herzog said last week).

Even the fate of 20,000 people who still remain homeless, about half a year after the bombardment, in Gaza’s winter, is of no concern to anyone here. They’re Palestinians. Besides, they fired Qassam rockets and hid in residential buildings and only Hamas is to blame. And all the buildings that were bombed – they were Hamas outposts and situation rooms, and all the people killed were terrorists or children of terrorists.

Soon the report of the panel without Schabas will be released. It won’t be “balanced,” as Israeli propaganda is demanding, because the situation is far from being balanced. The five Israeli citizens and 67 soldiers who were killed will likely be mentioned in it, as will the thousands of rockets fired at Israelis. But even with the panel’s new, “balanced” head, the report will mention that in the summer of 2014 Israel committed atrocities beyond all proportion in the Gaza Strip. There’s just no other fair way to describe it.