“. . . Fear encloses the sweet basil and the alley’s mint . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ EU provides €317,000 to support West Bank farmers
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) UNRWA chief says US aid cut “most severe crisis in agency’s history”
. . . . . ❶― (ᴃ)  Dear Mr Trump, we’re facing a humanitarian disaster

  • Background: “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise of ‘Ruin’ and ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History

❷ Arab FMs meet again over US Jerusalem decision
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) AL-Malki: Arab response to US Jerusalem decision decides peace future
❸ Seven more healthcare centres in Gaza shut down
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Israeli airstrikes target sites in northern Gaza
❹ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
EU  PROVIDES  €317,000  TO  SUPPORT  WEST  BANK  FARMERS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Feb. 2, 2018 ― The European Union announced on Friday its contribution of about €317,000 to the Palestinian Authority to support Palestinian farmers and agro-businesses in the West Bank.
___A statement by the EU representative office in Jerusalem said the eligible beneficiaries are farmers and agro-businesses in the West Bank directly affected by the Israeli occupation, and particularly farmers in Area B and C.    MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶―  (ᴀ)  UNRWA  CHIEF  SAYS  US  AID  CUT  “MOST  SEVERE  CRISIS  IN  AGENCY’S  HISTORY”
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 2, 2018 ― Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl said on Thursday that the recent US aid cut represents the most severe crisis in the agency’s history.
___Krähenbühl’s comments came during his speech at the meeting of Arab Foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss the Arab action in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___The UN official said the agency is facing an unprecedented financial crisis because of the US decision to reduce its contribution to UNRWA, adding that he has been travelling around the world to call for mobilization to help UNRWA overcome this crisis.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶―  (ᴃ)    DEAR  MR  TRUMP,  WE’RE  FACING  A  HUMANITARIAN  DISASTER
Al Jazeera English
by Mays Abu Ghosh
Feb. 1,  2018 ― Dear President Trump, Every evening, my grandmother sits us down and tells us stories about a piece of heaven on earth, a place called “Imwas”. She describes every little detail about this place – the water spring, the lavish trees and the flowers that bloom throughout the year. She tells us about the beautiful old stone houses, the fig trees and the cactus plants.
___Imwas is a village situated southeast of the town of Ramleh, where my grandfather owned a plot of land. After my grandfather passed, my father inherited the land. One day, my nine siblings and I will inherit this land from our father. We’ll build our home there, and we’ll harvest the crops of our field.     ___But for now, we live in a small apartment in the Qalandia refugee camp . . .    MORE . . .

Abreek-Zubiedat, Fatina.
“THE  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEE  CAMPS:  THE  PROMISE  OF  ‘RUIN’  AND  ‘LOSS’.”
RETHINKING  HISTORY
, vol. 19, no. 1, Mar. 2015, pp. 72-94
[. . . .] According to the political theorist Hannah Arendt, a ‘refugee’ is a ‘stateless’ or ‘non-citizen’ person who threatens the nation-state system. Consequently, countries have acknowledged the need for a solution to the refugee problem, whose status is considered temporary, with two possible options: return to the homeland or country of origin, or naturalization in the host country. Historically, both solutions have failed. Arendt views the refugee camp as a ‘final solution’ involving the incarceration of refugees after denying their citizenship. Only then do they become homo sacer in the sense implied by ancient Roman law: destined to die, with their life defined as ‘bare.’
[. . . .]  Exclusion and the definition of modes of belonging and non-belonging and marking populations as ‘outside’ are sovereign acts that cannot be thought of independently of the actor which performed them. These acts are . . .  ‘nothingness acts’ which gain an inherent nihilistic relationship: ‘It is in one guise, a promise of creative destruction. In another, it can work to the opposite end; turn to sheer destruction, annihilating the very context of creativity’. . .  Nihilistic actions not only delineated the creation and development of the camps, but are themselves processes that led to paradoxical situations, veritably positioning the camps on the borderline between the ‘private’ and the ‘public’ spheres.
[. . . .] The refugees’ adherence to the idea of return was very strong. Their various architectural activities which left their mark on the region undermined the abnormal basis of the camp and created an opening for discussing refugee–camp relations, while emphasizing the idea that any attempt to dismantle a camp would only prove successful if citizenship were achieved. Through the many architectural practices discussed above, the refugees succeeded in rewriting the binary layout articulated in the language of planning, which defined a ‘private’ versus ‘public’ sphere. They knew how to dismantle this language through practices designed to negotiate the complexities of discourses about this same sphere, revealing contrasts, struggles, and conflicts reflected in the camp’s appearance, and the impossibility of a single, exclusive discourse with which to describe the harsh duality of camp existence.     SOURCE . . .   ..

ARAB FMS MEET AGAIN OVER US JERUSALEM DECISION
The Palestinian Information Center    
Feb. 2, 2018 ― The Arab League, chaired by Djibouti foreign minister, Mahmoud Ali Yusuf, on Thursday held an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the US decision to recognize Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___The meeting, which was attended by Arab foreign ministers or their representatives, was a follow-up to the previous sessions in December and January on Washington’s capital announcement as well as its declared intent to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.
___The attendees discussed the repercussions of US president Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and the implementation of the Arab League’s ministerial resolution on September 9, 2017, which stipulated that the Arab League should convene another meeting within a month to evaluate the situation and agree on future measures . . .   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  AL-MALKI:  ARAB  RESPONSE  TO  US  JERUSALEM  DECISION  DECIDES  PEACE  FUTURE   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 1, 2018 – Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Riyad al-Malki affirmed on Thursday that the shape of the Arab countries’ response to the US decision on Jerusalem will determine the future of peace and stability, based on an end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
___Al-Malki’s comments came during his speech at the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo during which they discussed the Arab action in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___“The shape and level of the Arab [countries’] response will determine the future of peace and stability, based on an end of Israeli colonization of all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. . . .   MORE . . .
❸  SEVEN  MORE  HEALTHCARE  CENTRES  IN  GAZA  SHUT  DOWN
Days of Palestine
Huge amounts of fuel needed to operate electricity generators to compensate lack of electricity caused by Israeli siege.
Feb. 01 2018 ― Gaza is heading to real disaster as seven more healthcare centres in Gaza Strip closed their doors on Thursday due to tightening 11-year-old Israeli siege.     ___According to the Palestinian ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, fuel ran out in seven more healthcare centres in different areas across Gaza.
___“This problem, which is a result of the Israeli sieged, happened due to the lack of fuel needed to operate electricity generators,” a statement by the ministry said.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  AIRSTRIKES  TARGET  SITES  IN  NORTHERN  GAZA      Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 2, 2018     Israeli forces carried out airstrikes targeting several sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday before dawn.
___Locals told Ma’an that the strikes hit targets near the al-Nada Towers in northeastern Beit Lahiya. No injuries were reported.     ___The Israeli army had reported earlier that rockets coming from the Gaza Strip had landed in an Israeli town outside around Gaza.   MORE . . .

“THE  EXILE,”  BY  IBRAHIM  NASRALLAH
Silence becomes solid in bones,
in a bird’s song,
in he meaning of a word,
spreading over all of the greenery
and swallowing up the town squares,
creeping like a desert snake
and dwindling the horses’ neighing.
Blossoming in my woman’s embrace,
in the song’s pale light
and in the flowers on the balconies.
I gather myself to lift dry clouds from my body
and prayers from my soul.
I see God’s sun, my face, and my hand: three doves.
The time that’s passed is more than age can carry
and my undulations are in restraints.
The spikes of my soul do not reach the horse’s back,
an angle overlaps another angle . . . within an angle,
this body of mine.
Poets surround me like the fruit of regret.
My mother says: White is laughter’s waterfall.
So we laugh till our blood explodes.
Fear encloses the sweet basil and the alley’s mint.
My love’s tough on my forehead is like a runaway train.
The wind on my shoulders is like a dead horse,
the Sea far away.
Time is a coffin, while nakedness is the daily news.
For thirty three years
I have been digging tunnels
so I might emerge from this cold womb. . .

From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN  INSIDE:  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Barnes and Noble.
Interview with Ibrahim Nasrallah.

“. . . watched him accept the silent homage of water . . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

❶ Arab League aims to nullify Trump’s Jerusalem move
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Egypt [news] hosts ‘told to convince viewers’ over Jerusalem
❷ Arrests, interrogation writs reported in dawn sweep by Israeli army
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian injured during clashes in Birzeit
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israel accused of using live ammunition against West Bank civilians

  • Background: “Jewish-Muslim Veneration at Pilgrimage Places in the Holy Land.” Religion & the Arts

Custos of the Holy Land marks baptism of Christ at Jordan River
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ARAB  LEAGUE  AIMS  TO  NULLIFY  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  MOVE   
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 7, 2018 ― Arab foreign ministers are calling for international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, aiming to nullify a controversial US decision on the holy city’s status.
___Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, hosted a committee of officials from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Palestine in Amman on Saturday to discuss the Arab League’s response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month.
___The committee – created at an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on December 9, just days after Trump’s declaration – is hoping to reverse the decision and “to assert that it has no legal effect”, Safadi told reporters at the summit.     MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  EGYPT  [NEWS]  HOSTS  ‘TOLD  TO  CONVINCE  VIEWERS’  OVER  JERUSALEM
Al Jazeera English 
Jan. 7, 2018 ― A report by the New York Times has said that while Egypt’s government was publicly condemning a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a state intelligence officer was asking influential TV hosts in the country to persuade their viewers to accept it.
___The newspaper reported on Saturday that it had obtained audio recordings in which Ashraf al-Kholi, the intelligence officer, can be heard telling the hosts that Egypt, like its “Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter”, but that “after that, this thing will become a reality”.
___”Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war,” added Kholi, according to the New York Times. “We have enough on our plate as you know.”    MORE . . . 
❷ ARRESTS,  INTERROGATION  WRITS  REPORTED  IN  DAWN  SWEEP  BY  ISRAELI  ARMY  
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Sunday arrested a number of Palestinians and summoned others to questioning.
___Israeli army troops rolled into al-Arroub refugee camp, north of al-Khalil province, and kidnapped 22-year-old Palestinian youth Safi al-Titi from his family home.
___The occupation forces also ransacked the home of the slain Palestinian protester Khaled Jawabra, in al-Arroub camp, and seized cash from the home of prisoner Nidhal Shahada.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  PALESTINIAN  INJURED  DURING  CLASHES  IN  BIRZEIT      Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 7, 2018 ― Israeli soldiers on Sunday injured one Palestinian and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, near the western entrance of Birzeit University, north of Ramallah, in central West Bank.
___Medical sources said the young man suffered a moderate injury, after the soldiers shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his abdomen, while many others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
___The soldiers installed a military roadblock near the western entrance of the university, and attacked many Palestinians, who protested the invasion.    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷ ―  (ᴃ)  ISRAEL  ACCUSED  OF  USING  LIVE  AMMUNITION  AGAINST  WEST  BANK  CIVILIANS
Palestine News Network – PNN    Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has accused the Israeli army of deliberately increasing the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians through sniper attacks during peaceful demonstrations.
___“The number of casualties, including fatalities, proves that the Israeli forces are deliberately intending to have as many victims as possible from among Palestinian protesters,” the Centre said on Thursday.
___It cited the case of Musab Firas Al-Tamimi, aged just 17, from Deir Netham village north-west of Ramallah. The boy was shot by an Israeli soldier from a distance of 30 metres when he approached a military vehicle in an attempt to help a young man who was arrested earlier.     MORE . . .    ..

Berger, Pamela.
“JEWISH-MUSLIM  VENERATION  AT  PILGRIMAGE  PLACES  IN  THE  HOLY  LAND.”
RELIGION  &  THE  ARTS, vol. 15, no. 1/2, Mar. 2011, pp. 1-60.  

[. . . .] We do not know when the tradition of compiling un-illustrated accounts or “lists” of these holy sites began. Among Christians we have the fourth-century travel writings of an anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux, France. . . Among Muslims, one of the earliest is surely Al-Muqaddasi (c. 945–1000), who provides a good deal of valuable information about the places he visits. Starting in the twelfth century, Jewish travelers from the Arab lands write about numerous sacred tombs in their ziyara, “visits, or travelogues” in Arabic. These Jews, writing and speaking Arabic, were familiar with the local Arab residents’ mentality, since they spoke the same language. Un-illustrated “ziyara” lists of holy places, drawn up by Arabic-speaking Jews, are known from the thirteenth century; texts of western Jewish travelers have come down to us from the first half of the twelfth century. . .  Muslim illustrated itineraries, which are not the subject of this essay, have survived from around the same time.
___It is a normal human need to hope that a holy figure or sage can help one in times of trouble. The material gathered in this essay demonstrates how Muslims and Jews shared that hope, and indeed how, until the middle of the twentieth century, Jews and Muslims shared a reverence for so many of the same Biblical and Quranic figures, and must have felt comfortable venerating those figures at the same holy sites. Since for the most part the Muslims living on the land were in charge of the sites, we will see that many Jewish travelers comment on how the Arabs guarding the holy places treated the Jewish pilgrims with respect, allowing them to pray there without harassment. . . .
  SOURCE . . .

❸  CUSTOS  OF  THE  HOLY  LAND  MARKS  BAPTISM  OF  CHRIST  AT  JORDAN  RIVER 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Custos of Holy Land  Francesco Patton of the Latin Church, Sunday led the procession that commemorated what the denomination refers to as the baptism of Jesus Christ at the Jordan River, on the Palestine-Jordan border.
___The procession was received by local government figures, including Governor of Jericho Mjaed al-Fetyani, Mayor of Jericho Salem Ghrouf, head of the Jericho intelligence department Belal Hloub, as well as representatives of police and security services and Muslim clerks.    MORE . . .    ..

“THE  SERMON  ON  THE  MOUNT,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH
I followed him,
married my frailty to his virtue, and
helped him reveal himself.

On the lisping hill, long waited for
by the dull arms of drowsy Kinnereth
(like a couple of tears the cheeks expect,
that cling to feeble eyes), I shared the meal
of the thick-necked multitude. Well-fed,
they hailed him Lord and rolled down after him.
Alone I lay upon the hill, watched him
accept the silent homage of water
amid the crow-like shrieks of his elect.
Alone I lay, waiting for his return.

I knew he would return.
Cold crumbs and fish (though by a mother’s hands
wrapped and with a mother’s blessings salted)
left me starved. Water-turned-to-wine
tasted water to my lips. The mud,
that cleared Bartimeus’ eyes of mud, made mine
unsatisfied with what they feasted on.
The call that once restored to life the lad
of Nain, left my mother in black. Upon
the fertile hill, and the candle-like
corn, by the lake, wherein the sleepless fish
make weary passes at the blushing corn
I starved.
I too was tempted, in no wilderness.

And he came.
Divinities of love spring out of sea.
He came and talked (some say he prayed, and some
he sang). Did others hear? I thought he talked
only to me. He called me not, and I
came forth. He broke no loaves, and touched no jars,
baskets were full again; the wedding guests,
unconscious, conscious sipped the better wine.

Tawfiq Sayigh 
From AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN ARABIC POETRY. Selected, Edited, and Translate by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1974.   Available from Amazon.

 

“. . . Next to the great room we call our country . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Palestinians across the West Bank, Jerusalem protest Trump’s decision
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Over 50 injured, 9 with live ammunition, in clashes across Palestinian territory
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Israeli arrest campaign waged in anticipation of ‘day of rage’
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israeli Soldiers Isolate Kufur Qaddoum
❷ Israel to construct 14,000 settlement units in Jerusalem

  • Background: “Divided We Rise: Politics, Architecture and Vertical Cityscapes at Opposite Ends of Jerusalem.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

❸ REACTIONS TO TRUMP’S DECISION
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIANS  ACROSS  THE  WEST  BANK,  JERUSALEM  PROTEST  TRUMP’S  DECISION  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and East Jerusalem marched in protest of US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the US embassy.
___The protestors headed to Israeli checkpoints in several districts to express condemnation and rejection of the illegal move. In Ramallah district, hundreds gathered after the Friday prayer and marched to al-Bireh’s northern entrance, where clashes erupted with Israeli soldiers.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)  OVER  50  INJURED,  9  WITH  LIVE  AMMUNITION,  IN  CLASHES  ACROSS  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY   
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 7, 2017 ― The number of injured Palestinians continues to climb on Thursday as clashes with Israeli forces continue to escalate across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___Palestinian and world leaders warned Trump against making the announcement, for fear of instability and violence across the region that is now expected to continue in the days to come.
___9 injured with live ammunition [. . . .]   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶―  (ᴃ)  ISRAELI  ARREST  CAMPAIGN  WAGED  IN  ANTICIPATION  OF  ‘DAY  OF  RAGE’   
The Palestinian Information Center
Dec. 8, 2017 ― The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) launched at dawn Friday a large-scale raid and arrest campaign in West Bank and Jerusalem as Palestinians declare a day of rage over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___Local sources affirmed that at least 16 Palestinian were detained in occupied Jerusalem, while ten others were arrested in Issawiya town after being brutally attacked.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶― (ᴄ) ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  ISOLATE  KUFUR  QADDOUM 
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC  
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Earlier Friday, dozens of Israeli soldiers surrounded and isolated Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, ahead of the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies.
___The army stopped and searched dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians, while inspecting their ID cards.
___Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the army is trying to prevent the Palestinians, along with Israeli and international peace activists, from marching.   MORE . . .
ISRAEL  TO  CONSTRUCT  14,000  SETTLEMENT  UNITS  IN  JERUSALEM
The Palestinian Information Center 
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Israeli government is considering pushing ahead with plans to build around new 14,000 settler units in the city.
___Under the plan, pursued by Israeli housing minister Yoav Galant, 5,000 units would be built in the northern parts of the city and just outside Ramallah, Israeli media reported Thursday night.
___There would be 1,000 units built in East Jerusalem, while the remaining 8,000 units were to be built in the city’s western neighborhoods.   MORE . . .

Rosen, Gillad and Igal Charney.
“DIVIDED  WE  RISE:  POLITICS,  ARCHITECTURE  AND  VERTICAL  CITYSCAPES  AT  OPPOSITE  ENDS  OF  JERUSALEM.”
TRANSACTIONS OF THE INSTITUTE OF BRITISH GEOGRAPHERS, vol. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 163-174.
[. . . .] Since 1967 Palestinian East Jerusalem is to a large extent a construct of Israeli power and political domination. To strengthen control over annexed lands in East Jerusalem, Israel has been manipulating planning policies and procedures. . .  decisions are highly political and reflect the state’s power to . . .  determine what is acceptable and what is not, and direct which forms of informality will thrive and which will disappear.
___For almost 50 years, Israel has enforced a discriminatory planning regime that has systematically delegitimised Palestinian development rights, restricting the growth of Palestinian communities. Planning policies and practices in these areas have been largely subordinated to the ethno-national aspirations and geopolitical territorial claims of Israel, which have intentionally ignored the development needs of Palestinians. A Palestinian planning rights advocate explained this reality: ‘Palestinians do not exist for the Israeli planning system in Jerusalem . . . they are neither partners nor participants in planning agendas and procedures’, thus making them practically invisible to the Israeli planning authorities.
___Permissive approaches to tall-building development in West Jerusalem and in Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem make discrimination against Palestinians even blunter. It is nothing but preposterous to apply the anachronistic limit of four to six storeys to most Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem. . . .  As a planner from a human right advocacy group explained, this situation is actually ‘another tool of Israeli occupation which exploits and marginalises the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem’.   [. . . .]  SOURCE . . .    ..

REACTIONS  TO  TRUMP’S  DECISION
Arab League says Trump’s decision on Jerusalem inflames tension   MORE . . .    ..
Ambassador: EU will not transfer embassy to Jerusalem   MORE . . .    ..
Pakistan condemns US move, calls it violation of Security Council’s resolutions MORE . . .
South Africa: US Unilateral Decision Undermines Middle East Peace Process    MORE . . .
Norway warns of increased instability following Trump’s decision     MORE . . .
Abbas meets King Abdullah II to discuss Jerusalem developments     MORE . . .
‘If these decisions go into effect my life here will become like a prison’: Palestinians in Jerusalem respond to Trump    MORE . . .

“IN THE NEIGHBORING ROOM,” BY MOURID BARGHOUTI
Next to
our nation’s bedroom,
Next to
the 5 a.m. orchestra, when
upright and in a hurry
the farm-worker goes out
and the 5 p.m. flute, when

bent and dumb
he comes back

Next to
the room of hope and despair,
the family prayers,
the silence of nurses
and the dry branch,
motionless on clean sheets

Next to
the poet’s room
where words are dogs
or birds:
with his stick
he drives the assaulting dogs away,
his hand opens
to throw barley to the birds
and he waits

Next to
the interrogation room
packed with the stupidity of screams
and the cunning
of the iron chains

Next to
the grandmother
squatting near the clay oven
watching the interaction between
a loaf of bread
and the flames

Next to
the maternity ward

He sits
with strong muscles
and tools and weapons
ready to help:
he thinks of us a lot
he looks after us
like an indispensable
head of the family

Next to
the great room we call our country

Death
stays up, active
for our sake.

From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.  A biographical essay about Mourid Barghouti.

“. . . ravaged by conspiracies of enemies and friends . . .” (Abu Salma)

1-palfest-2016
PalFest Literary Festival participants travel through the Qalandiya checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah, May 21, 2016. (Photo: Rob Stothard, from Electronic Intifada)

❶ Arab League rejects Israel’s nomination as chair of UN legal committee
❷ Israel Detains 6 Palestinians, Sunday’s Arrests Hit 16
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  TO  ISRAEL,  BEING  “FROM  GAZA”  IS  A  CRIME
❹ POETRY by Abu Salma
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ARAB  LEAGUE  REJECTS  ISRAEL’S  NOMINATION  AS  CHAIR  OF  UN  LEGAL  COMMITTEE
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
June 13, 2016
The Arab League has rejected the nomination of Israel as chair of the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee, its general-secretary announced.
___Elaraby made the announcement during a meeting with representatives of the Western European and Others Group (WEOG) which nominated Israel for the position.
___According to the UN: “The Sixth Committee is the primary forum for the consideration of legal questions in the General Assembly,” Elaraby said it was unreasonable for Israel to head the committee, as it regularly commits illegal acts [. . . .]     MORE . . .  

[UN Security Council Resolution 242]
“1. Affirms that the fulfilment of Charter principles requires the establishment of a just and lasting peace in the Middle East which should include the application of both the following principles:
(i) Withdrawal of Israeli armed forces from territories of recent conflict;
(ii) Termination of all claims or states of belligerency and respect for and acknowledgement of the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of every state in the area and their right to live in peace within secure and recognized boundaries free from threats or acts of force …”
___While no one could cavil over the meaning of the preamble ‘Emphasizing the inadmissibility of the acquisition of territory by war’, there were different interpretations of the withdrawal clause. A majority of Security Council members had wanted insertion of the definite article, the territories, to specify a complete withdrawal. These were nine: Argentina, Brazil, Bulgaria, Ethiopia, France, India, Mali, Nigeria and the USSR. Those that refrained from expressing a specific view on the extent of withdrawal were six: Canada, China (Taiwan), Denmark, Japan, the United Kingdom and the United States. (In the absence of any alternative, the UK would also have supported an explicitly full withdrawal and others of the six might also have done so.)

  • McDOWALL, DAVID. “Clarity or Ambiguity? The Withdrawal Clause of UN Security Council Resolution 242.” International Affairs 90.6 (2014): 1367-1381. SOURCE.

[An American “Neocon”/Israeli Perspective]
[. . . .]  By its countless one-sided resolutions and numerous “investigations” of Israel with predetermined results; by providing a global infrastructure for the movement to boycott, divest from, and sanction Israel; and by UNRWA, which sustains the idea of the “right of return,” the UN has served systematically to challenge Israel’s legitimacy and weaken its global position—a damaging and malign role entirely at odds with the UN’s founding purposes.

  • Muravchik, Joshua. “The UN and Israel. A history of discrimination.” World Affairs 176.4 (2013): 35-46.  ARTICLE.

❷ ISRAEL  DETAINS  6  PALESTINIANS,  SUNDAY’S  ARRESTS  HIT  16
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 13, 2016
Israeli forces Monday detained six Palestinians from the West Bank districts of Hebron and Qalqilia, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).  [. . . .]
___This brings the total number of Palestinians Detained since overnight Sunday from across the West Bank and Jerusalem to 16.      MORE . . .

The Palestinian narrative is that of suffering, reconstructed on the basis of liv- ing memory, oral history, a continued exilic existence, and the more tangible effects such as property deeds, faded photographs, and keys to homes they can no longer return to. These narratives are read backward through the prism of con- temporary hardships, in the occupied territories where residents are subjected daily to house demolitions, sudden arrests, expulsions, and more recently to daily atrocities committed by the Israeli army; and in exile where they are subjected to the whims of their host countries and in some instances denied even their most basic civic and human rights. Through this prism, Zionism or Israel has come to represent absolute evil, and the ultimate victimizer [. . . .]
___The following paradox, then, has to be resolved: the recognition that the refugee problem is at the heart of the conflict while acknowledging that for the stronger party in the conflict it is a nonstarter in any future peace negotiations. Solving the paradox necessitates, apart from strong pressure on the victimizer, engaging with his fears of the past. The most difficult part of Israel’s encounter with history is the Jewish  State’s  need  to  recognize  the  cardinal  role  it  played  in  making   the Palestinians into a community of suffering.

  • Pappe, Ilan. “Historiophobia or the Enslavement of History: The Role of the 1948 Ethnic Cleansing In the Contemporary Peace Process.” Arab Studies Quarterly 38.1 (2016): 402-417.    SOURCE.

❸ Opinion/Analysis:  TO  ISRAEL,  BEING  “FROM  GAZA”  IS  A  CRIME
The Electronic Intifada
Ahmed Masoud
June 6, 2016
I was invited to take part in this year’s PalFest literary festival as a Palestinian writer talking about my novel Vanished and my theater work. I traveled to Palestine as a British citizen with my red passport. Everyone in my group was waved through at the Israeli-controlled Allenby crossing between Jordan and the occupied West Bank. Except me.
___Far worse than not being allowed to enter Palestine was the fact that Israel denied me entry because I am from Gaza.
___Not only did Israeli soldiers deny me entry but they were shocked to see someone like me trying to visit the rest of Palestine.      MORE . . .

“WE  SHALL  RETURN,”  BY  ABU  SALMA

Beloved Palestine, how can I sleep
when phantoms torture my eyes?
In your name I greet the wide world,
but caravans of days pass,
ravaged by conspiracies of enemies and friends.
Beloved Palestine, how can I live
away from your plain and hills?
The valleys call me and the shores
cry out, echoing in the ears of time!
Even fountains weep as they trickle, estranged.
Your cities and villages echo the cries.
Will there be a return, my comrades ask,
a return after such long absence?
Yes, we’ll return and kiss the moist ground,
love flowering on our lips.
We’ll return some day, while generations listen
to the echoes of our feet.
We’ll return with raging storms,
holy lightning and fire,
winged hope and songs,
soaring eagles,
the dawn smiling on the deserts.
Some morning we’ll return riding the crest of the tide,
our bloodied banners fluttering
above the glitter of spears.
―Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

Abu Salma (Abdelkarim Al-Karmi) was born in 1907 in Haifa. He studied law and worked in Haifa until April 1948 when the Israelis occupied the city. He then moved to Akka. Shortly he moved from Akka to Damascus. Abu Salma kept the keys to his house and office in Haifa hoping to return. Abu Salma died in 1980.
From  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

“. . .Do not pay your last respects with laurel and a royal display. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

“I need symbols . . . like the Twin Towers in New York,” General Gershon Hacohen. (AP photo)
“I need symbols . . . like the Twin Towers in New York,” General Gershon Hacohen. (AP photo)

❶ From MONDOWEISS
ISRAELI GENERAL LIKENS ATTACK ON GAZA TOWERS TO 9/11 ATTACK, AS ‘SYMBOL’
Dan Cohen
July 27, 2015
An Israeli general likened Israel’s bombing of three landmark towers in the Gaza Strip last year to the 9/11 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center. . . Major General (ret.) Gershon Hacohen said:

“I need symbols, I’m talking about symbols. It is no simple matter. Because if I destroyed three towers in Gaza towards the end of Operation Protective Edge, and inflicted not only pain in the economic sense but also a symbol, and like the Twin Towers in New York were a symbol, what is significant is not only the physics but the significance of the matter.”

____. . . Israeli warplanes [bombed] Zafer Four tower, the Italian Compound, the Basha tower, and a four-story mall in Rafah. The mass destruction left hundreds of families homeless and struck a heavy blow to Gaza’s already crippled economy. These attacks were carried out when the ceasefire was imminent.
(More . . .)

❷ From PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAELI ARMY KILLS PALESTINIAN YOUTH IN COLD BLOOD OUTSIDE JERUSALEM
July 27, 2015
Israeli soldiers shot and killed in cold blood a Palestinian youngster during a raid before dawn Monday on Qalandia refugee camp . . . .
____Sources said an Israeli army force broke into the camp in the early morning hours and raided the house of Mohammad Abu Latifa, 20 . . . The soldiers. . . attempted to detain Abu Latifa and shot at his legs when he reportedly attempted to flee the premises, causing him serious injuries before he died of his wounds hours later.
____However, family sources [said] the Israeli soldiers shot him in the legs before they tied his hands with electric wires and detained him alive. Hours later, the family said, their son was handed over a dead body to the Red Cross. . . .
(More)

❸ From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ARAB LEAGUE MINISTERS TO MEET AFTER AQSA CLASHES
July 27, 2015
Cairo (AFP) ― Arab League foreign ministers will meet in Cairo early next month to discuss clashes involving Israeli police at the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem, a senior Palestinian official said Monday.
____Sunday’s incident saw Israeli police enter the mosque, one of Islam’s holiest sites, as they clashed with Palestinians angered by Jews’ access to the compound on an annual day of Jewish mourning.
____Chief Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat told reporters that foreign ministers from 15 Arab states will meet on August 5 to discuss what he called the “dangerous development” in Jerusalem.
(More. . .)
(More. . .)
(Background)

Arab League Ministers, 2012.  EPA Photo - KHALED ELFIQI
Arab League Ministers, 2012. EPA Photo – KHALED ELFIQI

❹ From THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
CHILD AMONG 4 PALESTINIANS KIDNAPPED BY IOF FROM AL-KHALIL
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday kidnapped four Palestinian citizens from the southern West Bank province of al-Khalil.
____According to local sources, large IOF patrols rolled into al-Khalil city at the crack of dawn and . . . they kidnapped the youngsters Rami Farouk al-Awiwi and Baha Abu Shkheidam. Both were dragged to an unidentified destination shortly afterwards.
____The IOF also raided al-Khalil’s northern town of Surif, nabbed the Palestinian citizen Haj Omar Ghneimat, and transferred him to an unknown location after they confiscated an agricultural tractor of his own.
____Sources based in Beit Ummar village, in northern al-Khalil, said the campaign culminated in the abduction of the 16-year-old minor Hamza Abu Hashem.
(More. . .)

❺ Opinion
From +972 MAGAZINE
NO, JESUS WOULD NOT BE A SETTLER — HE’D PRACTICE SOLIDARITY
Ryan Rodrick Beiler
July 27, 2015
Former Israeli ambassador to the U.S. Michael Oren has been saying a lot of obnoxious things lately. His recent book angered Jewish-American journalists . . . and he may have crossed the line from belligerence to blasphemy with his latest remarks. While preaching to the choir of the Knesset’s Christian Allies Caucus, Oren took the name of Jesus in vain, using it to defend the settler enterprise.
____“Jesus, Mary, and John the Baptist would today be considered Jewish settlers in Bethlehem,” said Oren, according to The Jerusalem Post.
[. . . .]
____ [Is Oren] really ignorant of what makes a settler a settler? According to international legal consensus, shared by virtually every other nation except Israel, all settlements are illegal.
____This is what makes settlements illegal. It’s not because they’re Jewish. It’s because they’re colonies built on occupied land outside of the state of Israel.
(More. . .)

“HE WHISPERED BEFORE HE TOOK HIS FINAL BREATHS,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
Don’t honor me with a monument
and song!
Of all the sad songs,
I prefer my mother’s sadness.

Do not pay your last respects
with laurel and a royal display!
Of all the tender wreaths
I prefer my mother’s palm.

Don’t glorify me by giving my name
to a city square
or a street and public garden!
I’d rather a grapevine be planted
(in my name)
and grow into a vineyard and farm!

Do not preserve my memory
by giving a speech each year in my honor!
I’d rather a fine machine
pounding away in a factory
speak in my name.

Tell my mother―
tell her what you plant in my name,
tell the factory’s machine
that I loved life, from the bottom of my heart,
and therefore took my final breaths
at peace and happy.

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER THAN WATER. New and Selected Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.
Available from Amazon
Samih Al-Qasim Obituary, August 20, 2014

BETHLEHEM, mural adorns the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem. ActiveStills photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler.
BETHLEHEM, mural adorns the Israeli separation wall in Bethlehem. ActiveStills photo by Ryan Rodrick Beiler.

“. . .the song veering from relevance to insanity. . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

(Beginning today, the last article posted will always be an opinion piece.)

Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel
Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of Palestinian territories in 1967, over 700,000 Palestinians have been detained by Israel

From INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
ARMY KIDNAPS FOUR CHILDREN IN OCCUPIED JERUSALEM, TWO IN HEBRON
June 28, 2015
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, late on Saturday and on Sunday at dawn, at least four Palestinian children after the army invaded various neighborhoods in occupied East Jerusalem. Soldiers also kidnapped two children near the southern West Bank city of Hebron.
____Media sources in Jerusalem said the soldiers invaded various neighborhoods in the occupied city, stormed and ransacked several homes, and kidnapped at least four children after assaulting them.
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
ARAB LEAGUE CALLS FOR RELEASE OF PALESTINIAN DETAINEES HELD WITHOUT CHARGE
June 26, 2015
The regional organization, Arab League, has condemned acts of torture and ill-treatment of Palestinian prisoners at Israeli jails, calling for the release of all inmates who have been held without charge, Press TV reports.
____The Arab body, consisting of 22 member states, said Wednesday that Israel should release all Palestinian detainees who have been held hostage for extended periods of time without being able to defend themselves, including Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan. . .
____The bloc further called on the international community to take effective measures to help secure the release of Adnan as well as a spokesman for the group.
(More. . .)

Egypt Hostst Arab League summit on March 28-29
Egypt Hosts Arab League summit on March 28-29

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
LAWYER: NO DEAL BETWEEN ISRAELI AUTHORITIES AND KHADER ADNAN
June 27, 2015
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — No deal has been reached between the Israeli authorities and Palestinian prisoner Khader Adnan who on Saturday entered his 54th day on hunger strike, his lawyer said.
____”(Israel) is seeking to end Adnan’s hunger strike in a way that avoids them a feeling of crushing defeat,” the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society’s chief lawyer Jawad Bolous said at a press conference in Ramallah on Saturday.
____”On the other hand,” he added, “what Adnan seeks is very clear: either to be released or tried. . .
(More. . .)

From +972 MAGAZINE ONLINE
A YEAR SINCE PROTESTS, DETAINED ASYLUM SEEKERS HINT AT NEW STRATEGY
Oren Ziv
June 27, 2015
[Introduction of one of the asylum seekers]. . . when hundreds of asylum seekers detainees in Holot decided to up and leave the detention facility and march toward the Egyptian border, demanding that they be allowed to leave Israel.
____They had lost hope of being recognized as refugees in Israel, they were unwilling to resign themselves to indefinite detention in the Israeli desert, and thought just maybe they could raise some international awareness. They hoped they could push the United Nations to address their refugee claims.
(More. . .) 

From PALESTINECHRONICLE
IS BDS REPLACING IRAN AS ISRAEL’S BLACKMAIL CARD?
Alan Hart
Opinion
Jun 27 2015
My headline question was provoked by an Uri Avnery article with the headline “BDS, the new enemy”. After noting that Netanyahu’s whole career has been based on fear mongering and in recent years his promotion of fear of a nuclear-armed Iran, Avnery wrote this:
“But Netanyahu saw with growing anxiety that the Iranian threat was losing its edge. The US, so it seems, is about to reach an agreement with Iran, which will prevent it from achieving the Bomb… What to do?
“Looking around, three letters popped up: BDS. . .
(More. . .)

“DETENTION,” BY MAJID ABU GHOUSH
In my mind
the sea is wider
bluer

In my mind the
sun is warmer
kinder

In my mind
the roads are longer
they flow like water

In my mind
passion is painful
a bonfire of moths

the moon, like your eyes
(night and magic as they die)
yearns for morning:

a moon weary of night
of too much crying
drunken song and poetry

a theater of landmines
fencing life from death
the song veering

from relevance to insanity
the Universe
from which

you are ready
to be plucked
as am I
―translated by Ellen McAteer

Majid Abu Ghoush (b. Amwas) is a prolific poet, a member of the Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers, and a founding member of Poets Without Borders Palestine. (Reading one of his own poems.)
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.
The book’s blog. A year ago, 1,000 African asylum seekers marched out of the Holot detention facility toward the Egyptian border, hoping to draw the world’s attention to their plight. Since then, thousands have been pressured to leave Israel. As protests appear ineffectual, two asylum seekers discuss what comes next. (Photo by Activestills.org)
A year ago, 1,000 African asylum seekers marched out of the Holot detention facility toward the Egyptian border, hoping to draw the world’s attention to their plight. Since then, thousands have been pressured to leave Israel. As protests appear ineffectual, two asylum seekers discuss what comes next. (Photo by Activestills.org)