“. . . An Arab who has protested at the suffering of his people . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

Destruction of home of Murad Hushema in Wadi Qadum, East Jerusalem. (Photo: Palestine News Network, Dec. 8, 2018)

Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 33 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including two structures provided as humanitarian assistance, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in its report covering the period from November 20th to December 3rd.    ___OCHA’s biweekly “Protection of Civilians” report said that Israeli settler violence and vandalism in the West Bank have been on the rise since the beginning of 2018, with a weekly average of five attacks resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of three in 2017.     More . . .
. . . . Related  Rain and Israeli tunnels [under homes] cause land cave-in in Silwan
. . . . Related  Israel commits 24 violations against journalists in November
. . . . Related  Settlers, led by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, charge into Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday overnight launched a campaign of raids and arrests in cities all over the occupied West Bank.    ___IOF raided Balata and Askar refugee camps in Nablus, northern West Bank, where they arrested four men, including ex-prisoners. Israeli army patrols also stormed Salem, Asira, Al-Lubban towns in the vicinity of the city.    ___In addition, Israeli settlers, under under the protection of the Israeli army, have stormed the area of ​​Sada Al-Fahs in Hebron [. . . .]    More . . .
. . . . Related  Citizens rally in al-Khalil in solidarity with female prisoners
The National Committee for Breaking Gaza Siege has announced the launch of the 19th maritime rally on the coast and in Gaza waters on Monday.    ___A spokesman for the Committee told a news conference on Sunday morning that the rally would be staged under the slogan “Resistance to freedom” to confirm the Palestinian people’s adherence to all forms of resistance.    ___The spokesman called on all citizens in Gaza to participate in the rally in order to send a message to the international community, the US administration and the Israeli occupation state stating that “the Palestinian people’s resistance of the occupation is legitimate.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  Egyptian security delegation to visit Gaza
. . . . Related  Former Israel PM ordered targeting densely populated areas in 2008 Gaza war

Ten years ago, United States federal prosecutors shut down what was then the biggest Muslim charity in the country, a foundation supporting Palestinians refugees. Authorities seized all of the Holy Land Foundation’s assets and put five of its leaders in prison.    ___ Over the past decade, the case has set into motion a broad and powerful effort to criminalize and sanction Palestine advocacy in the United States. It created a chilling effect that forces many Americans to think twice before supporting Palestinian or Muslim charities to this day.    More . . .
By  Imprisoned  Humanitarian  Activist  Shukri  Abu  Baker  of  The  Holy Land  Foundation (Dallas, Texas, USA)
Sick, is all I’d been feeling on that cold Monday night. Some hours earlier, the ominous air in that courtroom, the timid gestures, the awful anticipation, the dreadful verdicts… all was too much to stomach. I cringed every time the judge’s voice rang “guilty” in my head; his gloating only amplified by the claustrophobic compactness in my prison cell.    More . . .
. . . . And  Who  Is  Not  Special?   [. . . .] This is why it’s wrong to spew insults at others from a place of power just because one can. . .    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .


I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering
of his people
Who has carried with him the hope
of a just peace
Who has spoken out against death
at every corner
Who has called for and has lived
a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

From: El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from biblio.com

“. . . Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass. . .” (S.V. Atalla)

A weekly publication of cultural news from Palestine.

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This week’s edition is titled “Then and Now.”
It includes “Music in Palestine, Then and Now,” by Amira Gabarin.

Each week the e-magazine includes on the home page the announcement:

We DEMAND that the Israeli army return out computers confiscated from our office during the army’s raid on our premises on 22 Jun 2014.

The Palestine Youth Orchestra
The Palestine Youth Orchestra


poetry-arab-womenThe Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology. Ed. Nathalie Handal. Northampton, MA: Interlink Pub Group (December 2000). Available through Amazon.

From the introduction at Poetry.org:

“This recent volume showcases the work of over 80 accomplished and emerging Arab women poets. With the exception of Oman and Sudan, every Arab country is represented here, as are Arab women in exile or living in non-Arab countries and women poets of Arab descent from Europe and North America.

Individual poets represented here include Etel Adnan, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sabah al-Kharrat Zwein.

A helpful 30-page introduction, with a focus on geography and history, helps to contextualize the poetry. Biographical notes of the poets and translators–as well as a listing of poets by country–are also useful, and will ideally lead readers to more in-depth explorations of individual poets.”

One of the poets represented in the anthology is the Palestinian-American
S.V. Atalla. She was born in New York, completed high school in Amman, Jordan, and now lives in Southern California where she teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1992 she obtained an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She is best-known for her translations of Arabic short stories and poems.

Atalla’s poems in The Poetry of Arab Women are “Diaspora” and “Visitng the West Bank.” Her poem “Story” was published in The Painted Bride Quarterly 47 (1992).

“Story,” by S.V. Atalla

Splitting seeds
in her teeth she spits out
the years like spelling,
one letter after the other.

Bits of Jerusalem
are chips of blue tile.
Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass,
slender, stoppered.

When she says, Jaffa
the iris of each eye is a dark fruit;
her knuckles knot
high in her rustling hair.

Excerpted from “Death by Immolation vs. Death by Isolation,” by Shukri Abu Baker of the Holy Land Foundation

The savage immolation of Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath Kasasbeh by Isis, once again demonstrated how ugly events can turn amidst a paradoxical war. Isis claims to be a genuine “Islamic State” while it has . . .[committed] some of the most prohibited acts in Islam. . . I have always had a problem with those who use the cloak of Islam as an outfit for all bodies of ugliness, and I find it hard to fathom how any Muslim could capriciously violate the teachings of his own religion in the name of the religion itself. . . Isis’s actions don’t represent Islam any more than Israel’s actions represent Judaism; thus, holding Muslims responsible for the crimes of the ‘Islamic State” is as wrong as holding Jews responsible for the crimes of the “Jewish State” Israel claims to be.

It is strangely quizzical,  how the international community, including a number of Arab regimes, have come together to destroy Isis because of its barbarism when last year, for 51 days, the world including Arab states stood idle, and  some actually grinned, as Israel unleashed its demonic forces onto Gaza taking 2,150 lives, 520 of them children. . .