“You bereaved me from the light . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Entrance to Ofer Prison, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015.


SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
   

ISRAEL  TO  BUILD  650  NEW  SETTLEMENT  UNITS  IN  WEST  BANK
The Israeli government decided on Tuesday to build 650 new settlement units, for the benefit of expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, one of the biggest settlements, located in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.   ___A Hebrew-language news outlet reported that the Israeli government decided to build the 650 new settlement units along with another 296 units, which had been previously approved for Beit El.   ___The Israeli government reportedly justified the illegal Israeli settlement expansion as a “compensation” to Israeli settlers who were removed from their settlement outposts of Olbana in 2012 and Darinov in 2015.   More. . .
AFTER  SLAYING,  ARABS  BLAME  APATHETIC  POLICE  IN  ISRAEL
Rasha Abou Jalal
Protests continue in the Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in northern Israel, with citizens accusing Israeli police of neglecting their duty to protect citizens there. Demonstrations began Aug. 11 when one or more unidentified assailants killed local businessman Ahmad Athamneh, 40, and wounded another man.     ___Since Athamneh’s shooting, residents demonstrated for the third time Aug. 17 in front of a mosque to protest the prevalence of crime in their city. The protesters demanded that the Israeli police do their job: Arrest the perpetrators and fight violence in the Arab community.    More. . .
CAMPAIGN    FORCES    ISRAEL’S    ZIM    TO    HALT    SHIPMENTS    TO    TUNISIA        Ali Abunimah 
Palestinians are hailing a campaign that has led Israel’s Zim shipping line to halt its routes to Tunisia.   ___“Zim was forced to indefinitely suspend its services to the Tunisian port of Radès following a popular and trade union boycott campaign in Tunisia and the Arab world,” the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) said on Sunday.   ___The BNC is the steering group for the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to pressure Israel to end its violations of Palestinian rights.   ___The BNC called this “the first victory of its kind in the Arab world.”   More. . .
PALESTINIAN  PRISONER  STATISTICS,  JULY  2018.
Total number of political prisoners – 5820. Administrative detainees – 446.  Child prisoners – 270.  More. . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION

SAMIDOUN  SOLIDARITY  STATEMENT  WITH  THE  U.S.  NATIONAL  #PRISONSTRIKE
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with the National Prison Strike launching on 21 August in jails across the United States. This important struggle, involving work stoppages, sit-ins, boycotts and even hunger strikes, is a critical confrontation of racism, capitalism and oppression taking place in the center of the U.S. prison system.   ___The dates of the strike are not accidental; instead, they underline the political legacies that have inspired and continue to push forward the movement. August 21 marks the 47th anniversary of the assassination of imprisoned revolutionary and Black Panther George Jackson.  More. . .

NO  POWER,  NO  SUPPLIES,  NO  WAY  OUT:  A  YEAR  WITHOUT  THE  RIGHT  TO  HEALTH  IN  THE  GAZA  STRIP  (Mar 02, 2018)
Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP)
[. . . .] Instead of advancing, medical care and access in the Gaza Strip is moving backwards, against time. Ten years of Israel’s air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip has played a strong hand in this de-development, bottlenecking the entering stream of both material and human resources into a weak trickle.   ___Current best practice may not even be in reach in the Gaza Strip, where the blockade has seen shelves wiped clean of some pharmaceutical drugs and supply cupboards sit empty. Even during periods of easement, goals often only reach as high as restocking, replacing parts of worn out equipment, or rebuilding bombed buildings.   More. . .

IT TOOK ME THREE DECADES TO DRIVE ONE HOUR FROM GAZA TO JERUSALEM     Abier Almasri
Earlier this year, the Israeli army gave me a permit to leave the 11-by-40 kilometer Gaza Strip for the first time in my life and travel to the United States for work. Last month, I left again – this time, to see the rest of Palestine and Israel. The one-hour trip from the Israel-Gaza crossing to Jerusalem felt like a journey to a distant world.   ___I have always dreamed of smelling Jerusalem’s air and hearing the call to prayer ring from its mosques. When the prospect of traveling there was still a distant dream, I told a colleague, “I just hope to have the chance to pray in al-Aqsa Mosque before I die.”    More. . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS   

EYEWITNESS  PALESTINE:  JOURNEYS  FOR  JUSTICE  WITH  PALESTINIAN  AND  ISRAELI  PEACE-BUILDERS
UPCOMING DELEGATIONS
   There’s only one way to truly understand the realities of Palestine/Israel – through the eyes of those who live there. Palestinians and Israelis welcome us into their homes, offices, and places of worship to learn from them about their lives. Are you ready for an unforgettable journey for justice?   More. . .

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL  ASMAR

You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April 1970)

–From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON.  KNOW Books, 1973.

“. . . Nowhere to live and now/ No quiet place to die . . .” (Jehan Bseiso)

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Demonstrators carry Palestinian flag at the rally to mark the 69th anniversary of Nakba Day in Ramallah. (Photo: Alaa Badarneh, european pressphoto agency, May 15, 2017)

❶ Israeli border police ‘volunteer’ sentenced to 7 months for 2013 killing of Palestinian

  • Background article from International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies    

❷ Palestinian fisherman Mohammed Majid Bakr killed and six more fishermen seized by Israeli occupation naval forces
❸ Palestinians injured in Nakba day clashes with Israeli forces near Ramallah
❹ POETRY by Jehan Bseiso
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAELI BORDER POLICE ‘VOLUNTEER’ SENTENCED TO 7 MONTHS FOR 2013 KILLING OF PALESTINIAN      
Ma’an News Agency       
May 15, 2017
An Israeli court in the city of Kfar Saba, south of Haifa in northern Israel, sentenced a “volunteer” of the Israeli border police to seven months in prison for killing a Palestinian worker in 2013.     ___Israeli news website Ynet reported that the “volunteer,” David Arik Bibi Rubi, 43, agreed to a plea bargain with the prosecution, which will also include an additional four months of probation following his release from prison.
___Rubi shot and killed 23-year-old Antar Aqra, from the Nablus-area village of Qabalan, for not having an Israeli-issued work permit during “a joint police operation to identify and arrest illegal Palestinian workers,” according to Ynet.     MORE . . .  

Note: This excerpt is longer than usual, and the article is a somewhat technical discussion. However, the gist of the article should be discernable here.

Cohen, Shuki J. “BREAKABLE  AND  UNBREAKABLE  SILENCES:  IMPLICIT  DEHUMANIZATION  AND  ANTI-ARAB  PREJUDICE  IN  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS’  NARRATIVES  CONCERNING  PALESTINIAN  WOMEN.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies, vol. 12, no. 3, Sept. 2015, pp. 245-277.
(Cohen is Assistant Professor, Department of Psychology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice.)
[. . . .]
[This study] was done in order to examine the dehumanization of Palestinians by the Israeli military in the (relative) absence of realistic concerns for their safety . . . .  consistent with this study’s contention that dehumanization of Palestinians by Israelis is a borderline level defense-mechanism that is activated independently of the realistic level of threat that they pose can be seen in two common IDF practices in the occupied territories, namely “Confirmation of Killing” (“Vidu Hariga” – whereby soldiers are required to riddle the body of a fallen Palestinian in bullets to ensure that they won’t pose any further threat) . . . .  and the destruction of property, which is often justified on grounds of security even when the potential threat from the property is most likely imaginary . . . . The ambiguous utility of such practices is intimately linked to the borderline-level vagueness in the boundaries between realistic and imaginary (or projected) appraisal of the imminent danger that lifeless bodies, pickle jars and the like might pose. . . . these boundaries in the sense of reality shift in tandem with the anxiety level of the situation, which in turn . . .   is a complex interplay of individual, communal and politically-motivated induced anxieties.
[. . . .]
Examination of the most frequent themes and words that were distinctly. . . suggests that one of the most prominent components of the complex psychodynamic conflict surrounding their dehumanization is the communication barrier between Israelis and Palestinians . . . . Testimony suggests that the ability to communicate with the Palestinian chipped at the dehumanization defense mechanism and led to an emotional flooding that loomed large over the narrator’s conscience for a long time.
[. . . .]
[I]t would also seem a simplistic mistake to view the soldiers’ pervasive dehumanization of the Palestinian civilians as a uniquely individual characteristic . . . . Rather, the role of the Israeli government and army in maintaining a matrix of power in which dehumanization seems to be the . . .  mechanism of defense (against real and/or manufactured threats . . .) should be routinely incorporated into the psychodynamic understanding of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict on its individual, communal and national determinants . . . . ARTICLE SOURCE

PALESTINIAN  FISHERMAN  MOHAMMED  MAJID  BAKR  KILLED  AND  SIX  MORE  FISHERMEN  SEIZED  BY  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  NAVAL  FORCES
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
May 15, 2017
Palestinian fisherman Mohammed Majid Bakr, 28, was killed by Israeli occupation naval forces this morning, Monday, 15 May as he fished in his family boat when it was attacked by naval forces besieging the Gaza Strip. He was shot in the chest and died hours later in the Israeli Barzillai hospital.
___Mohammed Majid Bakr was a Palestinian refugee from the Shati refugee camp from a large fishing family in Gaza.. . . [three others] were seized by occupation naval forces and taken to an unknown location, while their fishing boats were confiscated.
___Israeli gunboats also attacked more fishers in the northern Gaza strip on Monday morning, 15 May, firing on fishing boats and the fishery of Amin Abu Warda, seizing three more Palestinian fishers . . .  within three nautical miles from the Gaza shore.       MORE . . .

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Gaza fisherman, Mohammad Majed Bakr, 25, killed by Israeli fire. (Photo: IMEC News, May 15, 2017)

❸ PALESTINIANS  INJURED  IN  NAKBA  DAY  CLASHES  WITH  ISRAELI  FORCES  NEAR  RAMALLAH   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 15, 2017
Seven Palestinians were injured Monday during clashes with Israeli forces at Beit El military checkpoint, on the northern entrance to Ramallah, according to local sources.
___WAFA correspondent said soldiers attacked a march commemorating the 69th anniversary of the Palestinian catastrophe, the Nakba.
___The march started from Ramallah following a rally in the city center marking the Nakba.
___When it reached the Beit El checkpoint, soldiers fired rubber bullets and tear gas at them, injuring at least seven people.     MORE . . .

“RE: CEMETERIES  IN  PALESTINIAN  CAMPS  SHORT  ON  SPACE/DAILY STAR/16.05.12,” **  BY  JEHAN  BSEISO

And so, the cemeteries are full –
In Lebanon, Jordan, Syria, and Gaza.
We will soon bury Palestinians above ground.
Nowhere to live and now,
No quiet place to die, with dignity.
Raise high the beams – carpenters, death architects.
Soon your wall will reach the sky.

** An actual news headline

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME.  Poetry by Samah Sabawi, Ramzy Baroud, Jehan Bseiso. Edited by Vacy Vlazna.  European Union, Novum Publishing Co. Uk., 2016.  Available from Amazon. 

Born in Los Angeles of a Palestinian mother, Jehan Bseiso grew up in Jordan and has been active in Palestinian rights issues. Since 2008 she has worked for Doctors Without Borders in several countries in the Mideast.

“. . . Mr. Friedman has been a pioneer philanthropist and builder of Jewish institutions and housing projects in Judea and Samaria . . .” (Baruch Gordon)

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View of Ramallah from Beit-El, with the buffers between the two. The first building with the red roof on the right hand side of the photo next to a parking lot with cars is the PA Ministry of Health. Nov. 1, 2010 (Photo by Rhonda Spivak)

(Note: please see Towering Trump blog for more information on Friedman’s association with and ideas about Israel.)

❶ . US President-elect Donald Trump donated $10,000 to Beit El in the West Bank in 2003
❷ . Group  [Friends of Beit El Settlement]  headed by Trump’s Israel envoy pick sued for war crimes
❸ . Beit El Institutions expresses its warmest blessings to David Friedman in his new position
❹ . Molotov cocktails burn down house in illegal settlement of Beit El in Palestine
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . US  PRESIDENT-ELECT  DONALD  TRUMP  DONATED  $10,000  TO  BEIT EL  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  IN  2003
Jerusalem Post Israel News‎ 
Dec. 18, 2016 – US President-elect Donald Trump donated $10,000 to Beit El in the West Bank in 2003, according to documents uncovered by The Jerusalem Post Sunday.
___A Trump Foundation tax form from 2003 shows Trump gave the sum to American Friends of Beit El. Other Jewish organizations the Trump Foundation donated to that year are UJA-Federation, American Jewish Committee and American Jewish Historical Society.   [. . . .]  A decade later, Trump’s choice for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, would become president of the organization, which is the settlement’s fund-raising operation, bringing in about $2 million annually.      More . . .
❷ . GROUP   [FRIENDS OF BEIT EL SETTLEMENT]   HEADED  BY  TRUMP’S  ISRAEL  ENVOY  PICK  SUED  FOR  WAR  CRIMES  
The Electronic Intifada
Ali Abunimah
Dec. 16, 2016 – President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for US ambassador to Israel is the head of an organization that is being sued by Palestinians for its role in the theft of their land for settlements and other Israeli war crimes.
___Announcing the nomination, the Trump transition team said that David Friedman would serve from Jerusalem . . . the new administration intends to move the US embassy to the city from its current location in Tel Aviv.
___Friedman is being described as “more extreme” even than the Israeli government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
[. . . .]    Friedman is president of American Friends of Bet El Yeshiva Center, a nonprofit organization that raises about $2 million a year, mostly for the Beit El settlement, north of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank.
[. . . .]  ___The lawsuit argues that directly supporting Israeli settlements with tax-exempt charitable funds amounts to money laundering and tax fraud and aids and abets crimes including theft of Palestinian property, home demolitions, maiming, murder, ethnic cleansing and even genocide.       More . . . 

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A view of the Israeli settlement of Beit El with the neighboring Palestinian city of Ramallah in the background. (Photo: Michael Omer-Man)

❸ . From  American  Friends  of  Bet  El  Yeshiva  Center’s  Facebook  Page
BET  EL  INSTITUTIONS  EXPRESSES ITS WARMEST BLESSINGS TO DAVID FRIEDMAN IN HIS NEW POSITION as US Amb to Israel. In his position as President of Bet El Institutions, Mr. Friedman has been a pioneer philanthropist and builder of Jewish institutions and housing projects in Judea and Samaria (AKA the West Bank) and throughout the country. His vital and valorous role in the rebuilding of Israel has earned him the trust and respect of the Israeli People, a key factor which will enable him to best fulfill his duties in representing US interests in Israel. Bet El Institutions is proud to be closely associated with Mr. Friedman and wishes him much success in strengthening the historic ties between the United States and the state of Israel.     -Baruch Gordon, Director of Development for Bet El Institutions and IsraelNationalNews.com.          More . .
❹ . MOLOTOV  COCKTAILS  BURN  DOWN  HOUSE  IN  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENT  OF  BEIT  EL  IN  PALESTINE        
Al Bawaba News
Nov. 12, 2016 – An Israeli home in the illegal Beit El settlement, located in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh, was left completely burned down late Thursday night after a group of Palestinian youth threw Molotov cocktails into the settlement, according to Palestinian sources.
___According to locals, several youths threw the Molotov cocktails at the house, which was located on the outskirts of the settlement. The house then caught on fire and burned to the ground.   More . . .
RELATED:
Israeli soldiers open fire on Palestinians near [Beit El] settlement, hitting one, Israeli media says   Ma’an News Agency   Oct. 23, 2016    More . . .  
Settlement buildings bulldozed in Israel [Beit El Settlement], but Netanyuhu calls for more construction   Los Angeles Times      Jul. 29, 2015    More . . .
Israel to build 800 new housing units in West Bank   
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO    July 30, 2015    More . . .  
PA slams plans for 90 new homes in Beit El settlement   Jerusalem Post    Feb. 11, 2013
More . . .  

“. . . Son, be careful, hypocrisy has a whole cast of actors . . .” (Mai Sayigh)

hasan-yousef
Sheikh Hassan Yousef
(born in 1955, Ramallah) is one of the leaders of Hamas in the West Bank. He is not to be confused with his son Mosab Hassan Yousef who became an undercover agent for Israel and is now living under political asylum in the United States.

❶ 20 Palestinians detained in Jerusalem amid lockdown on West Bank, Gaza
. . . ❶ ― (a) Israeli forces detain eight Palestinians in West Bank
. . . ❶ ― (b) Israel issues 46 administrative detention orders against Palestinian detainees

  • Background: news articles regarding Hassan Yousef

❷ IOF storms Qabatia, clashes with Palestinians
. . . ❷ ― (a) Israeli soldiers open fire on Palestinians near settlement, hitting one, Israeli media says
❸ POETRY by  Mai Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
20  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED  IN  JERUSALEM  AMID  LOCKDOWN  ON  WEST  BANK,  GAZA
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 23, 2016
Israeli forces detained 20 Palestinians — including five minors — from across occupied East Jerusalem during predawn raids Sunday, amid a widespread crackdown on Palestinians in the city over the Jewish High Holiday season, as Israeli authorities also shut down crossings in the occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.
___Local sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces, accompanied by a helicopter flying overhead, raided the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Silwan, Issawiya, Jabal al-Mukabbir, and the Shufat refugee camp, where they ransacked several homes and detained 20 “youths.”     More . . .     
. . .― (A) ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  EIGHT  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 23, 2016
Israeli forces detained 23 Palestinians during night and predawn raids across the West Bank districts, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
___Israeli soldiers detained an 18-year-old Palestinian from the Tulkarem area. They also detained another Palestinian in Qalqilia.
___A third Palestinian was detained in the Ramallah area, whereas five others were detained in Jenin.     ___PPS noted that 12 Palestinians, including a female, were detained by Israeli forces from across the West Bank in the past two days.     ___To be noted, 20 Palestinians were also detained by Israeli police in the Jerusalem area on Sunday.      More . . .
. . .― (B) ISRAEL  ISSUES  46  ADMINISTRATIVE  DETENTION  ORDERS  AGAINST  PALESTINIAN  DETAINEES
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 23, 2016
Israeli authorities issued 46 administrative detention order against Palestinian detainees, including a member of the Palestinian Legislative council (PLC), Sunday said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
___A PPS lawyer said forces renewed the administrative detention of PLC member, Hasan Yousif, for the third consecutive time. To be noted Yousif was sentenced several times to jail, amounting to 18 years in total, including actual sentences and under administrative detention, the last of which was on October, 20th, 2015.
___The lawyer noted that the detention orders, without charge or trial, included 13 new orders, whereas the rest received renewed sentences.     More . . .

[Note: actual researched writing about Hassan Yousef is difficult to find. A few random news items about him are here.]

Israel  releases  Palestinian  MP  Hassan  Yousef
Middle East Eye
June 25, 2015
Israel on Thursday released Hassan Yousef, a Hamas-affiliated member of Palestine’s parliament, the Islamist movement said.
___Yousef’s release comes a year after his arrest along with dozens of other Hamas leaders during a search campaign for three missing Israeli teenagers.   More . . .

Detained  Legislator  Facing  Deteriorating  Health  Condition
AL-Qassam Brigades – Palestine
Mar. 10, 2012
The family of Sheikh Hasan Yousef, an elected Palestinian Legislator of the Change and Reform Bloc of the Hamas movement, stated that Yousef is facing a deteriorating health condition in an Israeli prison.
___Yousef’s wife told the Media Department of the Change and Reform Bloc that her husband was moved to the Hadassah Israeli hospital in Jerusalem to determine the causes of the latest sharp deterioration in his health condition.     More. . .

(An Israeli view) Hassan  Yousef  is  not  the  problem,  and  Israel  knows  it 
The Times of Israel
Oct. 20, 2015
Every year or so a familiar ceremony take place. Sheikh Hassan Yousef, one of the top Hamas political leaders in the West Bank, is arrested by Israeli security forces and held for six months in administrative detention. Then he’s released and, after some time passes, rearrested.
___ The reason given this time for Monday’s arrest of Yousef is “incitement to violence.”
___Yousef’s incitement in the past few days consisted of warnings that if the Palestinian Authority continues to suppress the “intifada,” it will lead to an internal Palestinian clash.     More. . .

IOF  STORMS  QABATIA,  CLASHES  WITH  PALESTINIANS
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Oct. 23, 201
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed on Sunday morning the town of Qabatia, south of Jenin, which led to the outbreak of confrontations between Palestinians and the IOF.     ___Witnesses said that dozens of Israeli soldiers raided the town from Janzour Street and stationed near Al-Ashab Gas Station, Barham sweets, AL Zakarna quarter and Alsabaana estate.     ___Palestinian citizens said that the IOF raided the house of Soliman Al-Khashani, put all the family members in one room, snipers spread at the house windows and monitored the movements of citizens from inside the house.     More . . .   

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Palestinian youths clash with Israeli security forces in Qabatiya, near Jenin in the northern West Bank, on February 4, 2016. (Photo: Jaafar Ashtiyeh/AFP via The Times of Israel)

. . .― (A) ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  OPEN  FIRE  ON  PALESTINIANS  NEAR  SETTLEMENT,  HITTING  ONE,  ISRAELI  MEDIA  SAYS
Ma’an News Agency    
Oct. 23, 2016
Israeli forces reportedly fired at three Palestinians, hitting one, with rubber-coated steel bullets on Saturday as they approached a fence surrounding the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to Hebrew-language news sites, however a spokesperson from the Palestinian Red Crescent told Ma’an they were not aware of the incident.     More . . .   

“FROM  BEIRUT  UNDER  SIEGE,”  by  Mai  Sayigh
Son!
This war breaks the heart
steals lives,
halts the stars in their orbits,
extinguishes day.
I beg you to remain a witness
to this siege.

Son!
Beirut, that fortress in the flames,
will not succumb to fire’s touch.
She lives like a cactus flower.
Pomegranate blossoms unfurl from her wounds,
and birds build new homes.

Son!
Fire baptizes our awakening!
I would not object if one day soon
you wake up to find my martyred face
on a poster.
But in the darkness of the grave I shall wait
for a new red bullet from your gun
to reunite us.
I won’t forgive you if you dally
or throw your hands up to fate.
Son, be careful,
hypocrisy has a whole cast of actors,
as do compromise and caution.
But you are meant for danger,
winds and rains
smearing the sky with spring
and martyrs.
Then the moon shall rise
over our savage night
Son, beware!

War gobbles the heart,
rips life from my hands,
halts the stars in their orbits,
extinguishes day.
I urge you to resist, to remain witness.
I urge you to join your brothers
and resist the siege.
Son, please!
–Translated by Lena Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye

Mai Sayigh was born in 1940 in Gaza. She graduated from the University of Cairo. In 1971 she was elected President of the Union of Palestinian Women. She has published three volumes of poetry and an account of the 1982 Israeli siege of Beirut.
From: ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.
More poetry by Mai Sayigh in THE POETRY OF ARAB WOMEN: A contemporary anthology. 2001. Handal, Nathalie, editor. Interlink Books USA.

“. . . is it my country or the source of my exile? . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

ramallah
Israeli forces activated all military checkpoints around Ramallah — many of which are normally open with no soldiers present — in addition to new flying checkpoints set up throughout the area. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Israeli forces kill Palestinian youth near Tulkarem
❷ Israeli forces tighten grip on Ramallah as closure continues
❸ Analysis: Reflections on Food Security under the Conditions Prevalent in Area C
❹ Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Ten Palestinians in the West Bank
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHEN  EQUALITY  IS  THE  BIGGEST  EXISTENTIAL  THREAT  OF  ALL
❻ Poetry by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  PALESTINIAN  YOUTH  NEAR  TULKAREM
Feb. 1, 2016
A Palestinian youth was shot dead by Israeli forces on Monday after he allegedly attempted to stab an Israeli soldier south of Tulkarem.
___Palestinian medical sources identified the teenager as 19-year-old Ahmad Hassan Tuba from the village of Kafr Jammal near Tulkarem.
___An Israeli army spokesperson told Ma’an that Israeli forces found Tuba near the illegal settlement of Salit, south of Tulkarem, adding that Tuba “drew a knife and attempted to stab” an Israeli soldier.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  TIGHTEN  GRIP  ON  RAMALLAH  AS  CLOSURE  CONTINUES
Feb. 1, 2016
Israeli forces continued their blockade on Monday of the central West Bank city of Ramallah and its neighboring villages and towns for the second consecutive day, after a shooting attack at a military checkpoint on Sunday.
___Israeli forces initiated the blockade hours after the shooting near the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El north of Ramallah, in which a Palestinian Authority staff sergeant shot and injured three Israeli soldiers before being killed at the scene.   More . . .

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A Palestinian citizen of Israel waves a Palestinian flag during a protest against the police killing of Khir Hamdan in Umm al-Fahm. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

ANALYSIS
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
REFLECTIONS  ON  FOOD  SECURITY  UNDER  THE  CONDITIONS  PREVALENT  IN  AREA  C
Roubina Bassous Ghattas
Feb. 1, 2016
Although it is difficult to ascertain the exact size of the Palestinian population that resides in Area Ci due to the large number of communities whose boundaries overlap areas A, B, and C, it is estimated that, as of 2015, as many as 40,245 Palestinians, 1.4 percent of the West Bank population, live. . . in Area C. . . .
___. . . the farmers and herders who live in Area C tend to experience worse conditions than the general population because they usually live in small communities located in remote areas that are under-served not only with respect to public services (such as education, water and sanitation, and health care) but also in terms of infrastructure. . . . struggle for access to basic assistance and services such as water/sanitation, primary education, and basic safe shelter.    More . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  TEN  PALESTINIANS  IN  THE  WEST  BANK
Feb. 01, 2016
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Monday at dawn, at least ten Palestinians, in numerous invasions and searches of homes, in different parts of the occupied West Bank. One Palestinian was kidnapped on Sunday evening.
Several army vehicles invaded the northern West Bank city of Nablus, searched homes, and kidnapped two Palestinians . . . .
In addition, dozens of soldiers invaded the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, broke into and ransacked many homes, and kidnapped four Palestinians. . . .     More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
WHEN  EQUALITY  IS  THE  BIGGEST  EXISTENTIAL  THREAT  OF  ALL
Natasha Roth
Jan. 31, 2016
In these days of entrapping human rights activists and blacklisting ‘traitors,’ the concept of equality has become as radical as it gets — and a threat to everything the governing regime stands for.
Last week Israeli lawmakers had the opportunity to take a first step towards enshrining equality in the law. They rejected this opportunity, voting down Joint List MK Jamal Zahalka’s proposed amendment to include a clause on equality in Israel’s Basic Law: Human Dignity and Liberty.
___ The vote was taken on a preliminary reading of Zahalka’s bill, meaning that it was shot down before it even left the starting blocks.    More . . . 

“NAME  OF  THE  SOIL,”  BY  ZUHAIR  ABU  SHAIB

what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be
when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awarq.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

“. . . I emerge from a wound opened by a shell in the heart of a wall . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

❶ Israeli forces storm al-Quds University, seize documents
❷ Palestinian shot dead, 3 Israeli soldiers injured in shooting attack
WHOSE  SECURITY?
❹ Israeli Occupation Force raids homes, arrests citizens in W. Bank
❺ Opinion/Analysis: THE  COST  OF  FREEDOM
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  STORM  AL-QUDS  UNIVERSITY,  SEIZE  DOCUMENTS
Jan. 29, 2016
Hundreds of Israeli soldiers stormed Abu Dis’ al-Quds Open University early Friday and confiscated equipment and documents belonging to its student union, staff members told Ma’an.
___Hassan Dweik, the university’s deputy head, said that up to 300 soldiers stormed the campus, holding six security guards in a room and preventing them from leaving for two and a half hours.
___He said the soldiers raided the university’s Islamic studies department, as well as its student union offices after smashing their way through their doors.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  SHOT  DEAD,  3  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  INJURED  IN  SHOOTING  ATTACK
Jan. 31, 2016
A Palestinian was shot dead after shooting and injuring three Israeli soldiers at an Israeli military checkpoint around the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, witnesses told Ma’an.
___Witnesses said a Palestinian vehicle approached the Israeli checkpoint and stopped for inspection. When an Israeli soldier approached the driver’s window, the driver opened fire, immediately shooting the soldier.    More . . .
Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
WHOSE  SECURITY?
Gerard Horton
Representatives of the international community frequently describe a two-state solution as “a secure state of Israel alongside a viable Palestinian state.” This terminology has become so commonplace that it is easy to overlook the inherent imbalance these words contain – words that appear to assume that either Palestinians already have security, or that security for Palestinians is simply irrelevant – “viability” being sufficient . . . .
___A good place to start when considering the security dynamic is a report published by UNICEF in 2013 on children held in Israeli military detention.    More . . .
THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  FORCE  RAIDS  HOMES,  ARRESTS  CITIZENS  IN  W. BANK
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) carried out last night and at dawn Sunday arrests and raids on homes in some West Bank areas, mainly in al-Khalil province. Local sources in al-Khalil said that Israeli soldiers stormed and ransacked the house of Mahmoud al-Qawasmi, who works as a sports announcer at al-Khalil radio, before kidnapping him . . .
___The IOF also raided the house of ex-detainee Yusri al-Awiwi in al-Khalil . . . . Another house belonging to Fawwaz Qufaisheh was ransacked . . . .   More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
THE  COST  OF  FREEDOM
Majed Bamya
Feb. 1, 2016
“Come on Majed, we do criticize Israeli behavior and ask for proportionate response and inquiries into allegations of misbehavior by Israeli soldiers and into settlers’ violence, but you know that when it comes to Israel’s right to security, our position will always be firm.”
___This is what a diplomat said to me as I was telling him about extra-judicial killings of Palestinians, these repeated filmed murders in the streets, and the collective punishment, including home demolitions and the massive arbitrary arrests. I had asked him why his country does not condemn such actions. . . .    More . . .

“DESCENT,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
I emerge in the rain
I emerge in the blue lightning
In the breeze, in the hurricane
I emerge from a wound opened by a shell
in the heart of a wall
I emerge from the unquenched thirst of the wells
I emerge from an arch solid
in the face of the wind
From an almond plant erect
in the face of the fire
I emerge from the governor’s signature
at the tail of a permit visa
From the shadow of the policeman’s billy club, I emerge
From a handkerchief that has only known tears
From the grass of the stolen land
From the hatred of burnt lips
From a spontaneous demonstration
From the throwing of bottles and stones
in the face of the blasting wind
I emerge from the anger of a friend
I have known in his hour of sorrow
From your skin . . . I emerge
From your fear . . . I emerge
In what god after today will you seek refuge?
(1969)

From WHEN  THE  WORDS  BURN:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY:  1945-1987. Trans. and ed. by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988. Available from Barnes and Noble.
About Samih Al-Qasim