“. . . Soldiers stalk a pharmacy: big guns, little pills . . .” (Naomi Shihab Nye)

SELECTED  NEWS  OF  THE  DAY. . .

ISRAEL  ORDERS  KHAN  AL-AHMAR  RESIDENTS  TO  EVACUATE  BEFORE  OCTOBER
The Israeli Civil Administration ordered on Sunday the Bedouin residents of Khan al-Ahmar village, east of Jerusalem, to demolish their homes and to evacuate the area before the start of October.  ___According to local sources, staff members of the Israeli Civil Administration under the protection of Israeli forces stormed Khan al-Ahmar and handed evacuation notices to the residents, ordering them to demolish their homes and evacuate the village within the given timeframe.   ___Sources said that Israeli forces threatened the residents in case of non-implementation of the notices, the Israeli army would demolish the village.   More .
Related . . .  ISRAEL  NOTIFIES  TO  DEMOLISH  7  HOMES  NEAR  JERICHO

34  [U.S.]  SENATE  DEMOCRATS  URGE  TRUMP  TO  RESTORE  AID  TO  THE  PALESTINIANS     Lawmakers warn president’s ‘strategy of forcing PA to negotiating table by withholding humanitarian assistance from women and children is misguided and destined to backfire.’
Two-thirds of Democrats in the Senate and a third of the entire body signed a letter to US President Donald Trump urging him to reinstate assistance to the Palestinians. . .   ___“Eliminating funds for programs that provide clean water, food, education, and medical services for Palestinians will exacerbate poverty, fuel extremism, further reduce the chance of a future peace agreement and threaten Israel’s security,” said the letter sent Friday [. . . .] The letter was initiated by Sens. Chris Van Hollen, Diane Feinstein and Chris Coons.  JEWISH  SIGNATORIES  include Feinstein, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Sen. Brian Schatz.   More . . .

IOF  PREVENT  MINISTER  OF  EDUCATION  FROM  PASSING  THROUGH  CHECKPOINT
Israeli occupation authorities on Sunday morning prevented Minister of Education and Higher Education, Dr. Sabri Saidam from entering Beit Iksa checkpoint to inspect the educational process in the town.   ___The Ministry of Education said in a press statement that the minister and his delegation . . . considering that this prohibition comes as part of a deliberate campaign against Minister Siddam and the educational leadership.    More .

COMMENTARY  AND  OPINION. . . .

THE  HOLOCAUST,  VENGEANCE  AND  THE  PALESTINIANS
Philip Weiss
For Jews 50 and older, there is only one collective memory. It was given to me when I was little, when my mother told me about the Jews hiding . . .   It did not matter that the actual memory was not my mother’s or mine. This had happened to us, the Jews. She’d been a girl when the news had broken in the U.S. The memory was fresh, and ours to carry.   [. . . .] I went to Warsaw. Actually seeing the scene of the boots and the scant memorials to its existence was disturbing; and when I got home I began reading Warsaw memoirs. [. . . .] One surprise of these memoirs was a simple one that probably should have been obvious. The remnant of Jews who survived the ghetto liquidation in 1942 and who undertook the noble doomed uprising in 1943 had an overriding motivation: They wanted revenge.   More . . .

HOW  THE  SPANISH  COURTS  BECAME  A  BATTLEGROUND  FOR  ISRAEL’S  ANTI-BDS  EFFORTS
On 4 September, a Spanish district court annulled a resolution to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. The resolution had been put forward by the municipal council of Ayamonte, a small town situated on the border with Portugal, and advocated for a ban on any association with Israeli companies or organisations.    [. . . .]   So why the about-turn? One thread tying the above three cases together is ACOM, or Acción y Comunicación sobre Oriente Medio (Action and Communication on the Middle East). ACOM describes itself as a “non-denominational and independent organization that aims to reinforce the political relationship between Spain and Israel by working with governments, political parties, the media and civil society.” . . .  ACOM has been on the front line of Israel’s efforts to quash support for BDS, embroiling the Spanish courts in a tug of war in the process.   [. . . .] links with right-wing NGOs and the Israeli political elite have placed ACOM at the forefront of Israel’s anti-BDS war.   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

FRIENDS  OF  SABEEL  NORTH  AMERICA    Prophetic  Action:  Christians  Convening  for  Palestine – September 27, 2018 to September 28, 2018
FOSNA
is a nonprofit, tax-exempt Christian ecumenical organization seeking justice and peace in the Holy Land through nonviolent advocacy and education. Sabeel is an international peace movement initiated by Palestinian Christians, who seek a just peace as defined by international law and existing United Nations resolutions. “Join us for Prophetic Action: Christians Convening for Palestine. . . in concert with this year’s US Campaign for Palestinian Rights conference in St. Paul, Minnesota. Prophetic Action will be one of the largest ecumenical gatherings of Christian leaders and activists for Palestinian rights.”  Information . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“JERUSALEM,”  BY  NAOMI  SHIHAB  NYE

“Let’s be the same wound if we must bleed.
Let’s fight side by side, even if the enemy
is ourselves: I am yours, you are mine.”
—Tommy Olofsson, Sweden

I’m not interested in
who suffered the most.
I’m interested in
people getting over it.

Once when my father was a boy
a stone hit him on the head.
Hair would never grow there.
Our fingers found the tender spot
and its riddle: the boy who has fallen
stands up. A bucket of pears
in his mother’s doorway welcomes him home.
The pears are not crying.
Later his friend who threw the stone
says he was aiming at a bird.
And my father starts growing wings.

Each carries a tender spot:
something our lives forgot to give us.
A man builds a house and says,
“I am native now.”
A woman speaks to a tree in place
of her son. And olives come.
A child’s poem says,
“I don’t like wars,
they end up with monuments.”
He’s painting a bird with wings
wide enough to cover two roofs at once.

Why are we so monumentally slow?
Soldiers stalk a pharmacy:
big guns, little pills.
If you tilt your head just slightly
it’s ridiculous.

There’s a place in my brain
where hate won’t grow.
I touch its riddle: wind, and seeds.
Something pokes us as we sleep.

It’s late but everything comes next.

—From Naomi Shihab Nye,  THE  RED  SUITCASE.  BOA Editions, Ltd. (1994).

 

 

“. . . I have not seen a dragon in the land . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

Birzeit University Cast of "The House of Bernarda Alba,” a play written by Spanish Dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca and directed by Fathi Abdul Rahman. (Photo: Birzeit.edu)
Birzeit University Cast of “The House of Bernarda Alba,” a play written by Spanish Dramatist Federico Garcia Lorca and directed by Fathi Abdul Rahman. (Photo: Birzeit.edu)

❶ Birzeit University Theatre Wins Five Theatre Festival Awards
❷ Netanyahu: Israeli army to continue incursions in Area A
❸ Israeli Soldiers Beat up Palestinian near Nablus
❹ HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH report slams ‘discriminatory’ Israeli closure of Palestinian quarries
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHY NETANYAHU IS DOUBLING DOWN ON THE GOLAN HEIGHTS
❻ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY  THEATRE  WINS  FIVE  THEATRE  FESTIVAL  AWARDS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 21, 2016
Birzeit University’s Theatre Group, Mawasem Masrahyeh, have won five awards for their performance in “The House of Bernarda Alba” play in the 12th Philadelphia Arab Universities Theater Festival, held in Philadelphia University- Amman, Jordan.
___Produced by the Deanship of Students Affairs at Birzeit University and directed by Fathi Abdel Rahman, the play “The House of Bernarda Alba”, was inspired by the work of the Spanish writer and poet Federico Garcia Lorca, which displayed the plight of women in their societies.      MORE . . . 

NETANYAHU:  ISRAELI  ARMY  TO  CONTINUE  INCURSIONS  IN  AREA  A
Ma’an News Agency
April 21, 2016
In spite of recent talks with Palestinian officials, Israeli armed forces will continue to intervene in parts of the occupied West Bank under full Palestinian Authority (PA) control, high-ranking Israeli officials said on Wednesday.
___During a meeting of the Israeli security cabinet, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon, and Israeli army Chief of Staff Gadi Eizenkot “made it clear that the IDF (Israeli army) maintains the possibility of entering Area A, and anywhere necessary, according to operational needs,” a statement read.      MORE . . .  

ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  BEAT  UP  PALESTINIAN  NEAR  NABLUS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 21, 2016
Israeli soldiers last night assaulted and beat up a Palestinian youth . . . .  Ahmad Bassam Mohammad, 21 years old from the village of Asira al-Qibilia in Nablus district, while he was attempting to enter Israel for work. [He] was transferred to Rafidia public hospital in Nablus for medical treatment [. . . .]
___According to Israeli human rights group B’Tselem, “Most cases involve a “small dose” of ill-treatment . . .  or degrading treatment. These acts have become an integral part of Palestinian life in the Occupied Territories. From time to time, however, cases of severe brutality occur,” the group has remarked.       MORE . . . 

A quarry in the southern West Bank town of Beit Fajjar stands empty on April 5, 2016, after Israeli forces shut it down. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)
A quarry in the southern West Bank town of Beit Fajjar stands empty on April 5, 2016, after Israeli forces shut it down. (Photo: Human Rights Watch)

❹ HRW  REPORT  SLAMS  ‘DISCRIMINATORY’  ISRAELI  CLOSURE  OF  PALESTINIAN  QUARRIES
Ma’an News Agency
April 21, 2016
Israeli authorities’ closure of 35 Palestinian quarries in the occupied West Bank since March is threatening the livelihoods of 3,500 workers and may constitute “collective punishment,” a HUMAN RIGHTS WATCH REPORT revealed on Thursday.
___The Civil Administration, a subsection of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) . . .  closed down the quarries in late March and confiscated millions of dollars’ worth of equipment, a move which HRW said highlighted “the discriminatory nature of Israeli rules for Palestinian quarries.”      MORE . . .

❺ Opinion/Analysis:  WHY  NETANYAHU  IS  DOUBLING  DOWN  ON  THE  GOLAN  HEIGHTS
+972 Blog
Shemuel Meir
April 21, 2016
What led Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to wake up one fine day and declare, during a highly publicized but insignificant reserve duty exercise in the Golan Heights (and without the army Chief of Staff present, as is customary) that “we struck Syria dozens of times” . . . . __Despite the military terminology and context of Netanyahu’s performance in the Golan, the answer to this riddle can be found on the diplomatic front [. . . .]
___ It appears Netanyahu was trying to take advantage of the civil war and disintegration of Syria in order to gain international recognition for redefining Israel’s borders.      MORE . . .

“NORMAL  JOURNEY,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI

I have not seen any horrors,
I have not seen a dragon in the land,
I have not seen the Kraken* in the sea,
nor a witch or a policeman
at the outset of my day.
Pirates have not overtaken mu desires,
thieves have not broken down the door of my life,
my absence has not been long,
it only took me one lifetime.

How come you saw scars
on my face, sorrow in my eyes,
and bruises in my bones and in my heart?
These are only illusions.
I have not seen any horrors,
everything was extremely normal.
Don’t worry,
your son is still in his grave, murdered,
and he’s fine.

*a legendary sea monster of large proportions

Interview with Mourid Barghouti  
From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008.  Available from Amazon.   
BDS FINAL LOGO_v5WEB_URL_side

“The chairs outside the cafes are taken by Western tourists. . .” (Samih Mohsen)

BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.
BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.

(A special post about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.)

From MONDOWEISS
THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AND DIVESTMENT
Marc H. Ellis
June 16, 2015
In less than two weeks the General Synod of the United Church of Christ will be meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the resolutions includes a divestment resolution regarding Israel-Palestine: “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”
____The resolution and the accompanying theological justification for it is quite interesting on a variety of levels. In many ways the resolution and theological justification is revolutionary. The advance is clear and substantive. Yet there are areas that warrant further attention. The question the resolution poses is important: Whether the UCC wants to remain where it has been, a liberal light that is also a minor bench player, or a trailblazer that might change the internal and public church debate on Israel-Palestine.
(More. . .)
The Accompanying Theological Statement

From MONDOWEISS
TUTU ENDORSES UCC DIVESTMENT: ‘IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE TO REMAIN SILENT’
Mondoweiss Editors
June 17, 2015
Today Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu issued a statement supporting the resolution [calling for the UCC to divest funds from Israel].
My dear sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ,
____Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom we share work and witness on behalf of God’s love and God’s justice.
____I write to endorse, “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Resolution #4, which will be put to the vote at your 30th General Synod later this month in Cleveland, Ohio.
____We grieve over Israel’s decades long oppression of Palestine and Palestinians. . .
(More. . .)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

From +972 MAGAZINE
INTERVIEW: THE MAN BEHIND THE BDS MOVEMENT
Rami Younis
June 14, 2015
Omar Barghouti is one of the most infamous names in pro-Israel and Israeli government circles at the moment. Officials have portrayed this Palestinian human rights activist and leader of the BDS movement — which he co-founded a decade ago and now leads — as a threat to the State of Israel. How big of a threat? Well, just last week the country’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, featured a front-page story about him, dubbing him “Explosive Omar.” And if he and his boycott movement are giving both Zionist officials and their media a panic attack, one can only assume he is doing something right.
(More. . .)

❹ From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
AVOIDING WEST BANK SETTLEMENT GOODS ISN’T BOYCOTT – IT’S THE LAW
According to int’l law – by which the State of Israel was established and recognized – the settlements are stolen lands, which is a war crime, and abetting war criminals, such as by financing them, is a crime, too.
By B. Michael
Jun. 10, 2015
The boycott issue is once again in the headlines, and I wish to make a confession: I don’t buy products made in the settlements. This isn’t, heaven forbid, a boycott, and it obviously isn’t a call to others to boycott. It’s forbidden to boycott. There’s a law. And I’m a law-abiding citizen. Always. Even when I don’t like the laws.
____And that’s precisely why I don’t buy products made over the Green Line: the law. Because in my view, international law is also law.
(More. . .)

From +972 MAGAZINE
WHY NOT BOYCOTT IRAN?
Haggai Matar
June 15, 2015
The fact that there are human rights abusers worse than Israel should not obscure the fact that the Palestinian-led BDS movement is asking for one thing: solidarity.
____One of the most common claims one hears against the BDS movement is that it is hypocritical. “Why don’t they boycott Iran/Syria/Hamas/ISIS?” is a question that comes up quite often.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
RIVLIN: ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS AGAINST ISRAEL ARE FIRST-RATE STRATEGIC THREAT
President meets with university heads to weigh the impact of the boycott movement and discuss strategies to fight it.
Jonathan Lis and Yarden Skop
May 28, 2015
President Reuven Rivlin yesterday described academic boycotts against Israel as a “strategic threat of the first order.”
____During a discussion of the issue at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities, Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie, said it was still possible to stop the snowball effect of the movement, but warned that “we are at the 90th minute.” Lavie, who attended the meeting together with fellow university heads, called for “strategic action” to stop the boycott movement in Europe and the United States.
____“Anti-Israel student organizations were once very few; now they are at all the leading universities. We are appealing to you to place the issue on the agenda,” Lavie said, addressing Rivlin.
____During the meeting university heads noted a number of results of the boycott movement, including a significant decline in collaborative scientific research. . .
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE CHRONICLE
BIBI BOOSTS BDS – ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION PROVES IT IS NECESSARY
Ben White
Jun 14 2015
In his speech to AIPAC last year, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu referred 18 times to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. A year on, and it is clear that for Bibi, BDS is the new public enemy number one. Denounced as an antisemitic “strategic threat,” the Palestinian-led, global campaign to pressure Israel into ending systematic rights violations is now very much in Tel Aviv’s cross-hairs.
____Ironically, it is during Netanyahu’s time in office that BDS has made considerable headway. His ambiguity over Palestinian statehood (in public, veering between rejection and unreliable endorsement) is exacerbated by the unambiguous views of his hard-right ministers and coalition partners. Then there was the unprecedented bombardment of Gaza, also under Bibi’s watch, and a slew of anti-democratic, hyper-nationalist legislative initiatives.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
IT’S ISRAELIS, NOT BDS, WHO MUST END THE OCCUPATION
If anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
Iris Leal
Jun. 16, 2015
It’s easy to give in to the sense that the increasing deterioration in Israel’s international standing is some kind of cosmic punishment being imposed on the right-wing government for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral victory. Easy, but foolish. There clearly is a concerted boycott campaign against Israel, but if anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
(More. . .)

“LAMENTATION,” BY SAMIH MOHSEN

At Manger Square, at midday,
The chairs outside the cafes
Are taken by Western tourists, in September
They sip at their longing for God
The streets teem with passers-by
And foreign languages
We tread on the shadow
Of an old man stretched out on the pavement
With his arm and a tattered shoe for a pillow
His mattress was a story. . .
We pass by his wounds without seeing
Beer tickles our bellies to laughter
And telling inane anecdotes
We try to release the child within us
We stand in Manger Square
And mimic the dance-steps of Zorba the Greek
We step
We laugh
We step into the ring of lamentation.
–translated by Henry King

Samih Mohsen was born in the village of Naqour in Nablus, Palestine (Occupid Territories) in 1953, and has published two collections of poetry, _Exiting the Narrow Rooms_ and _Kingdoms & Peril_.
From a book review of A Bird is not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Palestinian Poetry in which this poem is published:
“It is poignant and grimly amusing to read of the Western tourists who ‘sip at their longing for God’ in Manger Square and ignore ‘an old man stretched out on the pavement’ (‘Lamentation’ by Samih Mohsen, trsl. Henry King). It is hard not to feel something of a tourist oneself when reading a book of poems like this written, as it were, from Emily Dickinson’s ‘great pain’. As Iain Crichton Smith wrote in his long essay about the Hebrides: ‘Real people in a real place’; the Palestinians are also real people in a real place. And the land itself which is the subject at the heart of most of these poems, guarding the bones of their relatives and ancestors, is sacred to them.” From the online magazine, “The Bottle Imp.”
boycott_divestment_sanctions_560