“. . . No matter your sanctions, no matter your rhetoric and foreign policy . . .” (Jehan Bseiso)

women-gza
BARCELONA, SPAIN – SEPTEMBER 14: Women show their support for two sailing boats with only female activists on board, before they set off for the Gaza Strip (Photo: The Middle East Monitor – MEMO)

❶ Israeli forces carry out airstrikes on Gaza Strip, target 3 alleged Hamas sites
❷ World Bank: Israeli restrictions ruining Palestinian economy
❸ POETRY by Jehan Bseiso

  • Background from journal Middle East Policy (lengthy excerpt)

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI FORCES CARRY OUT AIRSTRIKES ON GAZA STRIP, TARGET 3 ALLEGED HAMAS SITES
Ma’an News Agency
Sept. 15, 2016
Israeli forces carried out several airstrikes on the besieged Gaza Strip during predawn hours on Thursday after a rocket was launched from Gaza and exploded near the border with Israel.
___The Israeli army had said the rocket hit an area near the Eshkol.
___According to locals, Israeli forces targeted empty agricultural lands northwest of Beit Lahiya in the northern region, reportedly striking a site used by the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement. Israeli forces also shelled another site northwest of Beit Lahiya in the area of al-Shayma also allegedly used by Hamas, causing a fire to break out in the area.       MORE . . .
RELATED  Israeli military cleared on Wednesday its occupation forces of war crimes in incidents of killing civilians during Israeli major offensive on the coastal enclave in 2014. RELATED  Photos: ‘The Women’s boats to Gaza’ prepare to set sail

bobm
Israel’s air force hit the Gaza Strip early Thursday (Photo: Sept 15, 2016 (Agence France‑Presse)

❷ WORLD BANK: ISRAELI RESTRICTIONS RUINING PALESTINIAN ECONOMY
The Palestinian Information Center
Sept. 15, 2016
The prolonged period of slow economic growth has resulted in persistently high unemployment and stagnation in the average income of Palestinian citizens, according to the latest World Bank report on the Palestinian economy.
[. . . .]
Donor aid remains key for improving the humanitarian situation in Gaza. Out of the US$3.5 billion pledged at the Cairo Conference for rebuilding Gaza (2014-2017), 46 percent has been disbursed, which means it is US$1.3 billion behind schedule. Critically, only 16 percent of the total Gaza recovery needs outlined in the detailed assessment that was prepared after the 2014 war have been addressed.   MORE . . .

“GAZA,  2009,”  BY  JEHAN  BSEISO

No matter white flag.

No matter medicine.
No matter civilian.

No matter international community.

No matter your international waters.

No matter your sanctions, no matter your rhetoric and foreign policy.

Only 62 years’ status quo.
Every day, every day Nakba.
Subsidized settlements.

Even more walls.

Children on the ICRC bus, visiting Babas in your prisons ―
Matter.

Food and medicine rotting at every border ―
Matter.
From the shadows, the silent majority watch water go on fire.

Jehan Bseiso is a Palestinian poet, researcher and aid-worker currently based in Cairo. Born in Los Angeles, she grew up in Jordan and studied in Lebanon.
From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.

  • Zunes, Stephen. “The Gaza war, Congress and international humanitarian law.” Middle East Policy 17.1 (2010): 68+.FULL ARTICLE

[….]
The large-scale killing of civilians during Israel’s three-week assault on the Gaza Strip in 2008-09 received widespread condemnation from human-rights advocates and international legal scholars the world over. In both Europe and North America, public reaction to the grossly disproportionate Israeli response to Hamas rocket attacks was the most negative ever expressed against an Israeli military action. In Israel itself, soldiers who had witnesses some of the atrocities joined Israeli peace activists in exposing war crimes committed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF). However, the U.S. Congress, under the leadership of the Democratic Party, overwhelmingly defended the Israeli offensive, even to the point of attacking leading defenders of international humanitarian law.

[. . . .]     On November 6, Israel tightened its siege of the Gaza Strip, prompting Human Rights Watch to note, “Israel’s severe limitations on the movement of nonmilitary goods and people into and out of Gaza, including fuel and medical supplies, constitutes collective punishment, also in violation of the laws of war.” Despite this, congressional leaders of both parties continued to defend the sanctions. . . .  Despite the congressional leadership’s support for Israel’s rejection of such efforts to salvage the ceasefire, which could have prevented further rocket attacks into Israel, they subsequently would claim that Israel had “no choice” but to launch its massive assault on the Gaza Strip in retaliation.
[. . . .]     . . . some members of Congress went so far as to simply deny that large-scale attacks against civilian targets were taking place. For example, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) . . . insisted that. . . . “The Israeli response has been a series of targeted strikes against Hamas militants, aimed directly at those who are launching the attacks on Israeli civilian population centers” and that “the Israeli military is taking extreme caution to limit civilian casualties.”
[. . . .]     . . .  the goal of Congress appears to be to protect war criminals from prosecution. U.S. support for human rights and international law has always been uneven, but never has Congress gone on record by such an overwhelming margin to discredit these universal principles so categorically. Indeed, it may be a means of preventing the kind of precedent that could serve as a deterrent to subsequent violations of international humanitarian law by the United States in its “global war on terrorism.” By essentially going on record that mass killing of civilians is legitimate as long as you are fighting “terrorists,” this provides a blank check for U.S. forces to commit future atrocities. . . .
[. . . .]
Of greatest concern for the U.S. Congress, however, was the mission organized by the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC), headed by the distinguished South African jurist Richard Goldstone. The Goldstone Commission report cited a series of war crimes by both Hamas militia and Israeli forces, called on both Hamas and the Israeli government to bring to justice those responsible, and recommended that, in the absence of credible investigations by their respective governments, the case be referred to the International Criminal Court (ICC) for possible prosecution. . . .
[. . . .] That the report examined violations of international humanitarian law by both sides did not alter these senators’ insistence of bias since, according to the letter, “the vast majority of the report focuses on Israel’s conduct, rather than that of Hamas.”
[. . . .]

“. . . When the faces of the judges peer down on us . . .” (Muhammad al-As’ad)

israeli_tanks_at_gaza_borders_file_2008
Israeli Tanks Invade Border Areas Near Central Gaza Strip, April 22, 2010 (Photo IMEMC)

Israeli forces detain 47 Palestinians in major East Jerusalem, West Bank raids
❷ Israeli [alleged] murderer of Dawabsheh family released
❸ Israeli Army Invades Palestinian Agricultural Lands in Central and Southern Gaza
❹ Opinion/Analysis: WHICH  JERUSALEM?  ISRAEL’S  LITTLE-KNOWN  MASTER  PLANS
❺ POETRY by Muhammad al-As’ad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  47  PALESTINIANS  IN  MAJOR  EAST  JERUSALEM,  WEST  BANK RAIDS
Ma’an News Agency
June 1, 2016
Israeli forces detained at least 47 Palestinians in overnight raids in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources told Ma’an.
___Israeli police carried out a major detention campaign in the al-Tur and al-Suwwana neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, detaining at least 29 Palestinian men and teenagers, locals told Ma’an [. . . .]
___Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police and border guard officers detained 33 Palestinians across East Jerusalem on Tuesday night.  MORE . . .  

The Fourth Geneva Convention establishes a high standard for detaining a civilian, whether in occupied territory or in the territory of a party to the conflict. . . .
___The rule is slightly different for occupying powers in occupied territory. In that case, “if the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security”  [. . . .]
___Israel has two laws that authorize it to conduct security detentions―an emergency powers law and an “incarceration of illegal combatants” law. Under both laws, a detainee may have his detention reviewed by a court. The Government of Israel views itself as being in an ongoing armed conflict with Palestinian terrorist organizations operating from Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip [. . . .]
___Under Israel’s emergency powers law, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) may detain a person during a “state of emergency” when the Minister has “reasonable cause to believe that reasons of state security or public security require “. . . . The proceedings are not public, and may depart from the regular rules of evidence.

  • Deeks, Ashley S. “Administrative Detention in Armed Conflict.” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 40.3 (2009): 403-436.      MORE. . .

❷ ISRAELI  [ALLEGED]  MURDERER  OF  DAWABSHEH  FAMILY  RELEASED
Palestine News Network – PNN
June 1, 2016
The top Israeli terror suspect, Meir Ettinger (20) who [allegedly] led the arson attack on the Dawabsheh home in Duma village was released after 10 months of administrative detention on Wednesday morning.
___Ettinger, the grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, was detained following the murder of the Dawabsheh family last July, in which baby Ali Dawabsheh and both his parents were killed.       MORE . . .

master plan
Jerusalem’s Har Homa Jewish Settler neighborhood in 2008. (Photo: Haaretz/Emil Salman)

❸ ISRAELI  ARMY  INVADES  PALESTINIAN  AGRICULTURAL  LANDS  IN  CENTRAL  AND  SOUTHERN  GAZA
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 1, 2016
Several armored Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded, on Wednesday morning, Palestinian agricultural lands, close to the border fence, in the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip.
___Several tanks and bulldozers, stationed in the Kissufim military base, east of Khan Younis, invaded Palestinian lands, northeast of al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, while three tanks were positioned behind sand hills, across the border fence.     MORE . . .  
. . . RELATED   Israeli navy injures one Palestinian fisher, kidnaps four others, in Gaza waters   
. . . RELATED   Gaza commemorates 6th anniversary of the freedom flotilla attack

If it cannot be established that the objective (intention) of the closure [of Gaza] regime was to deny the civilian population of Gaza objects essential for its survival then the closure regime will still be unlawful if . . . ‘the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade’. A blockade cannot be therefore deployed if the damage to the civilian population is expected to be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage [. . . .]
. . . even if the Israel-Hamas armed conflict could be internationalised and thus regarded as an international armed conflict, the blockade would still be unlawful because, on 31 May 2010, the blockade was not deployed in accordance with the principle of proportionality. . . Israel’s blockade of Gaza on 31 May 2010 cannot be regarded as lawful. As a state cannot lawfully enforce an unlawful blockade Israel cannot rely upon international humanitarian law to override its obligations under the law of the sea . . .

  • Buchan, Russell. “The International Law of Naval Blockade and Israel’s Interception of the Mavi Marmara.” Netherlands International Law Review (Cambridge University Press) 58.2 (2011): 209-241

Opinion/Analysis: WHICH  JERUSALEM?  ISRAEL’S  LITTLE-KNOWN  MASTER  PLANS
Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
Nur Arafeh
May 31, 2016
It is the year 2050 and Israel has fulfilled its vision for Jerusalem: Visitors will see a largely Jewish high-tech center amid a sea of tourists, with a minimal Palestinian presence. To achieve this vision, Israel is working on three master plans; one is well-known but two remain under the radar [. . . .]
___The best known of the three Israeli master plans for the city is the Jerusalem 2020 Master Plan, which has not been deposited for public view even though it was first published in 2004. The least known are the Marom Plan, a government-commissioned plan for the development of Jerusalem, and the “Jerusalem 5800” Plan, also known as Jerusalem 2050, which is the outcome of a private sector initiative and is presented as a “transformational master plan for Jerusalem” (see below).      MORE . . .

. . . Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-day War and in 1980 declared the whole city, both the western part and the eastern occupied part, to be the “eternal and united” capital of the Jewish State. Nonetheless, the international community has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and Palestinians still claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. This is the reason why the main Israeli effort since the 1967 annexation has been to strengthen de facto its control over the whole city; the aim being to create “urban facts” which would make any future division of the city practically impossible. As Michael Romann and Alex Weingrod state, “the overall policy had as its main axiom the prevention of any possible future attempts to again divide the city or to cut off the occupied East Jerusalem territory from sovereign Israeli control.” 9

  • Chiodell, Francesco. The Jerusalem Master Plan: Planning into the Conflict. Jerusalem Quarterly 51 (2012): 5-20.  MORE. . .

(The footnotes to above article are below)

“SINGERS,” BY MUHAMMAD AL-AS’AD

A deep plunge into the darkness
Merits golden birds
Red roses
And a band all ready to play.
But we the singers in the Arab night
The night of low-profile stars
And eternal sands
We scorn the reward
And cannot take it in.
When the faces of the judges peer down on us
We weep a botanical pain
Picked up in meadows, weep
The blue of waters
And the beauty of deer
Running in our valleys.
When sentence is passed down
In our absolute absence
We will be content with a smile
Or perhaps a sneer.
We are
Not of
This
Kingdom.
Who comprehends the bewilderment
of the last bird
In a blazing forest.
―Translated by May Jayyusi and Jack Collom

About Muhammad al-As’ad
From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

8 The international resolutions about Jerusalem by the General assembly and Security Council of the United Nations are available at http:// unispal.un.org  . For a summary, see Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem Statistical Yearbook No 13 (Ramallah: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2011), 49-60).
9 Michael Romann and Alex Weingrod, Living Together Separately. Arabs and Jews in Contemporary Jerusalem (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 54. The words of Golda Meir (Prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974 . . .) are very elucidatory: “Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be. This city will not be divided – not half and half, not 60–40, not 75–25, nothing” (Golda Meir, “Middle East: Getting almost all Points of View”, The Times, February 19, 1973).

“. . . I stumbled across Solitude in my house. . .” (Yousef Abdul-Aziz)

(See “NEW: Calendar” above for listing of events of interest.)

Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of Knesset, Israel (Timesofisrael)
Dr. Basel Ghattas, Member of Knesset, Israel (Timesofisrael)

From MA’AN NEWS ANGENCY
MK GHATTAS: THE FLOTILLA IS PEACEFUL, LET THEM REMOVE MY IMMUNITY
June 24, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Arab MK Basel Ghattas said this week that threats by fellow Israeli lawmakers to remove his parliamentary immunity will not affect his decision to take part in the Freedom Flotilla III.
____The Israeli Knesset Committee reportedly voted in favor Tuesday of stripping Ghattas. . . of his immunity from prosecution for joining the protest flotilla.
____The Flotilla is the third of its kind to attempt to access the Gaza Strip by sea since 2010 . . .
(More. . .)
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE CHRONICLE
THE DRONE EATS WITH ME: DIARIES FROM A CITY UNDER FIRE
Vacy Vlazna
Jun 23 2015

“We prepare the suhoor. We all sit around five dishes: white cheese, hummus, orange jam, yellow cheese, and olives. Darkness eats with us. Fear and anxiety eat with us. The unknown eats with us. The F16 eats with us. The drone, and its operator somewhere out in Israel, eat with us.”

____I read The Drone Eats With Me: Diaries from a City Under Fire by Atef Abu Saif in almost one sitting . . . . These beautifully written searing diaries recounting each of the horrific 51 days of Israel’s monstrous war on the people of Gaza sweeps the reader into Atef’s anguished experience. . . simultaneously personal and collective.
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
SONIC YOUTH FRONTMAN THURSTON MOORE CANCELS CONCERT IN ISRAEL IN SUPPORT OF BDS
June 24, 2015
Thurston Moore, founding member of the 90’s rock band Sonic Youth, has confirmed his support for the cultural boycott of Israel, following the cancellation of his performance in Tel Aviv earlier this year . . .
____The renowned singer-songwriter and guitarist made the remarks in an article written by British-Palestinian musician Samir Eskanda, and published this week by online music magazine The Quietus. The piece, ‘I’m One Of 1000 UK Artists Boycotting Israel. Here’s Why’, makes the case for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS). . . .
(More. . .)

“. . . I eventually arrived at the personal conclusion that to perform with my band in Israel was in direct conflict to my values.” (Photo: Chris Owyoung)

From PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
ISRAELI AUTHORITIES HALT VILLAGE IMPROVEMENT
June 24, 2015
Israeli authorities yesterday handed down an order to Menizel village council, near Hebron city, to halt all building work on pipes and water tanks feeding water into the village.
____Coordinator of Popular Resistence Committee, Rateb al-Jabour, told the official agency that the Israeli authorities presented . . . a notice of an order to halt the development of water pipes and tanks around the village.
(More. . .)

From THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
ISRAELI GOV’T SEEKS TO SEIZE PALESTINIAN LANDS NEAR BETHLEHEM
The Israeli government has submitted anew a request to the high court to officially take over private Palestinian lands in order to legalize an unauthorized settlement outpost near Bethlehem, according to Peace Now.
____The request was again in response to a Peace Now petition to demolish 17 settlers’ homes, which were built on Palestinian-owned lots in the illegal settlement of Derech Ha’avot near Bethlehem. . . is located within the illegal settlement block of Gush Etzion, which is now home for more than 54,000 Jewish settlers
(More. . .)

“THE BOOK OF DOUBT,” BY JOUSEF ABDUL-AZIZ
Tonight
I stumbled across Solitude in my house.
Not only wearing my best shirt
and drinking my coffee
but also
smoking my tobacco
it was thrashing about the pages
of what looked like my manuscript.
It sat in my chair like a queen
and from its hands
rose an enchanted fog. . .
Still cloaked in my dreams I stood close by
trembling like a branch of the night
raining down bitter
questions:
What is woman?
In which storm
may my heart play?
Where did I bury the fire?!
As though I were a ring on its finger
it didn’t give me much thought.
Unfazed by my stiff shadow at the door
Solitude went on
with a sneer
scrambling pages
tearing them out of the manuscript.
I saw myself cast out to blind lands
and I hollered;
I saw before me a sphere of water
rising up in the wind
and above, a cracked moon,
and slain butterflies
strewn around me.
I’m sure
you will wrap up this farce! I yelled.
Solitude glanced at me with its two eyes of a gazelle—
my own eyes.
And it handed me
the book of doubt—it was my own book.
— Translated by Juana Acock

— From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.
— Yousef Abdul-Aziz was born in Jerusalem and studied in Amman and Beirut. He is a teacher, a committee member of the online journal Awraq, and recipient of literary awards, including the (Jordanian) Arar prize.

Activists aboard a flotilla of boats are set to sail for Gaza in a fresh bid to break Israel's blockade of the territory, five years after a similar attempt ended in a deadly raid by Israeli soldiers.
Activists aboard a flotilla of boats are set to sail for Gaza in a fresh bid to break Israel’s blockade of the territory, five years after a similar attempt ended in a deadly raid by Israeli soldiers.