“. . . my people’s tragedy Has turned to farce . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Japan deplores Israel’s approval of 3000 settlement units in West Bank

  • Background: “The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Germany Warns of ‘One-state Reality’, Slams Israel Settlement Expansion
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Grants to Israeli settlements could breach UK law, Charity Commission warns
❷ Extremist settlers attack residents in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida, threaten to close [YOUTH AGAINST SETTLEMENTS] office
❸ Israel to demolish homes in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
JAPAN  DEPLORES  ISRAEL’S  APPROVAL  OF  3000  SETTLEMENT  UNITS  IN  WEST  BANK  NEIGHBORHOOD
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA    
Oct. 22, 2017   The Government of Japan deeply deplored Israel’s approval of plans for the construction of about 3,000 housing units in settlements in the West Bank despite repeated calls from the international community including Japan for freezing such activities, foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama said in a press release.
___The release was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build almost 3000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.   MORE . . .

Reuveny, Rafael.
“The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.”
Independent Review 12.3 (2008): 325-374.
During the past five hundred years, three primary types of colonies have been established: colonies of exploitation, colonies of settlement, and colonies of contested settlement. Colonies of exploitation, the large majority, overworked natives in labor intensive sectors and did not include many settlers. In colonies of settlement, the settlers became the majority and gained full control. In Spanish America, for example, settlers intermarried with the local elites, killed many natives, and enslaved others, and in British North America and Australia, settlers ousted the natives and decimated them demographically, turning them into a small minority in the land they had previously inhabited. Some of these settler societies also imported slaves from Africa. In colonies of contested settlement in Africa and Asia, many settlers went to live in the colonized lands, but they remained a minority rejected by the natives.
[. . . .] Recent settler actions in the West Bank city of Hebron and the former settlement of Homesh provide additional insight. Seeking to gain control over Hebron’s old city, settlers have attacked Palestinians since 2001, playing a key role in driving out 15,000 to 20,000 Palestinian residents and 1,500 to 1,700 Palestinian businesses from the city. Settlers also have often attacked verbally and physically the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel sent to enforce order. In early 2007, settlers took over a large Palestinian house in Hebron and returned to Homesh, from which the government had removed them during 2005.
[. . . .]  In line with historical colonial examples, Israeli settlers have often built settlements, so-called outposts, without state approval. By 2007, some two thousand settlers lived in about one hundred outposts, seizing 75 percent of their lands from Palestinians. Some Israeli governments have promised to remove outposts and have even removed a few, but all the governments have essentially accepted them after the fact.  FULL ARTICLE.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)  GERMANY  WARNS  OF  ‘ONE-STATE  REALITY’,  SLAMS  ISRAEL  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION
The Palestine Chronicle
Oct 20 2017   The German government has condemned the latest steps taken by Israeli authorities to expand settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
___In a statement released by the German Foreign Office yesterday, Berlin noted how “plans to construct almost 3,000 additional housing units in the West Bank were adopted this week”.
___The German government stated it “would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the fact that it will not recognize any changes to the June 4, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) GRANTS  TO  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS  COULD  BREACH  UK  LAW,  CHARITY  COMMISSION  WARNS 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Ben White
Oct. 22, 2017   The Charity Commission has warned that making grants to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) could potentially constitute a breach of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, in a significant hardening of the Commission’s approach to the issue.
___It is understood to be the first time that the Charity Commission has specifically cited the 1957 Act in communication with a charity regarding Israel and oPt.
___The new statement from the Commission comes in response to questions about UK Toremet, a charity which, as revealed by Middle East Monitor in September 2015, is acting as a conduit for donations to Israeli settlements in the oPt.
___Settlements are considered a serious violation of international law, a position held by the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the British government, among others.   MORE . . .
❷ EXTREMIST  SETTLERS  ATTACK  RESIDENTS  IN  HEBRON’S  TEL  RUMEIDA,  THREATEN  TO  CLOSE  YAS  OFFICE  

Palestine News Network – PNN
Oct. 22, 2017   Israeli settlers on Sunday attacked the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida in the old city of Hebron, where they raided Palestinian’s properties under claims that an Israeli settler was injured last night by a stone.
___The settlers attacked residents of the neighborhood, destroyed the property of the citizens and their homes, where they threw rocks, broke the windows, threatened residents and were cussing them.
___The settlers renewed demands to close the YOUTH AGAINST SETTLEMENTS HEADQUARTERS in the area, accusing the movement of being the main instigator of the attacks on settlers [. . . .] Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian journalists from the Palestinian and international media from covering settler attacks. A group of Israeli soldiers prevented journalists and threatened them to make them leave the area.   MORE . . .
❸ ISRAEL  TO  DEMOLISH  HOMES  IN  JERUSALEM’S  SILWAN  NEIGHBORHOOD      Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 22, 2017 Israeli forces on Sunday notified a number of Palestinians from Silwan neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, about their intention to demolish their homes, according to local sources.
___WAFA correspondent said staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem backed by a police escort broke into Silwan and handed over notices to a number of local citizens informing them about the municipality’s intent to demolish their homes, under the pretext of construction without a permit.
___Over the years, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has demolished hundreds of Palestinian-owned homes in the city for lack of a construction permit. The municipality claims that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities.   MORE . . .

“A  HOMELAND,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While nothing remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samih Al-Qasim
From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.

“. . . In which storm may my heart play? . . .” (Yousef Abdul-Aziz)

zzzzzzsilence1
Israeli left-wing activists march to protest the recent incitement against “Breaking the Silence” and other left wing NGOs, in central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

❶ 5 East Jerusalem youth indicted for ‘terrorist’ activities
❷ Israeli forces raid Duheisha refugee camp, tear gas residents
❸ Hundreds march in Tel Aviv against growing right-wing incitement
❹ Analysis: Israel and UN incitement against Palestinian resistance
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The  Occupation  Cannot  Hold  Back  the  Palestinians  Forever
❻ Poetry by Yousef Abdul-Aziz
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
5  EAST  JERUSALEM  YOUTH  INDICTED  FOR  ‘TERRORIST’  ACTIVITIES
Dec. 21, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Five Palestinian youths from occupied East Jerusalem were indicted Monday for a range of “terrorist attacks,” the Israeli police said.
___Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the findings came after investigations by Israeli police in cooperation with Israel’s international security agency, Shin Bet.
___Al-Samri said that the “large number of local terrorist attacks included throwing rocks, fireworks, and Molotov cocktails at security forces and Jews” in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood and near the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.  More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  3  PALESTINIANS  ON  FRIDAY
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  RAID  DUHEISHA  REFUGEE  CAMP,  TEAR  GAS  RESIDENTS
Dec. 21, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces early Monday stormed the Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank during an arrest raid, locals said.
___Locals told Ma’an that snipers deployed on rooftops as groups of soldiers surrounded the home of 24-year-old Salih Jueidi. . . .
___Jueidi’s home was searched before Israeli soldiers detained him. Locals across the camp told Ma’an that they came under heavy tear gas fire as well as live ammunition when military vehicles and undercover forces that raided the camp remained in the area following the arrest.
___Several residents of Duheisha were evacuated to the hospital following tear gas inhalation. . . .  More . . .  
Related . . .
ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  19  PALESTINIANS  FROM  ACROSS  WEST  BANK

zzzzzzgaza tires
Palestinians burn tires and throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces after Friday prayer in Gaza city, Gaza on December 18, 2015.

+972 MAGAZINE
HUNDREDS  MARCH  IN  TEL AVIV  AGAINST  GROWING  RIGHT-WING  INCITEMENT
Haggai Matar
Dec. 20, 2015
Over a thousand Israelis marched Saturday night in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against incitement and occupation, and in support of Israeli human rights organizations, peace, equality, and social justice.
___The protest was organized by the group “Omdim Beyachad” (Standing Together) in response to the recent incitement by far-right group Im Tirzu and government ministers against Breaking the Silence and other human rights organizations last week.  More . . .
Related . . . WATCH:  INCITEMENT  AGAINST  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT  JUST  GOT  A  LOT  SCARIER
Related . . . WHY  DO  SO  MANY  ISRAELIS  HATE  “BREAKING  THE  SILENCE?”
Analysis
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
ISRAEL  AND  UN  INCITEMENT  AGAINST  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE
Ramona Wadi
Dec. 17, 2015
While Israel continues with its premeditated and systematic oppressive policies, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement which, as is typical of the organisation, is devoid of both coherence and context . . . . the statement seeks to disguise the organisation’s feigned ignorance with rhetorical ambiguities.
___While the refusal to recognise the Palestinian uprising is the primary and recurring error in every official UN statement, the latest omission has depicted a historical turning point as a merely untenable situation which, although precarious, is no longer of concern to the international community.  More . . .
Related . . . ISRAEL  THREATENS  TO  REVOKE  JERUSALEM  RESIDENCY  FOR  230,000  PALESTINIANS
Opinion/Analysis
THE NEW ARAB
THE  OCCUPATION  CANNOT  HOLD  BACK  THE  PALESTINIANS  FOREVER
Vijay Prashad
Everything is known of the everyday indignities of living under the Israeli occupation: the checkpoints, the separation wall, the embargo, the settlers, the IDF raids . . . .
___Much has been written about individual acts of violence and inconvenience. The fundamental immobility of the Palestinians is not often underlined. Palestinians in Gaza are cut off from this in the West Bank, who are themselves not allowed into Israel proper. . . .
___This is the myth of the IDF and Mossad:: that they are invincible and legendary. Each retelling affirms the Israeli project. The Palestinian movement is tossed into purgatory.
___Nothing is further from the truth.
___Israeli occupation is a failure. The arrogance and anxiety of the IDF at the checkpoints shows their tenuous hold on power.  More . . .

“THE  BOOK  OF  DOUBT,”  BY  YOUSEF  ABDUL-AZIZ

Tonight
I stumbled across Solitude I 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 soon 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 Adcock

From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).
— 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.

“. . . the remains of a forgotten village and a cross . . .” (Sami Al-Jundi)

IMG_2982 - Copy
The forgotten Jerusalem Palestinian village of Lifta, one of the few villages where the buildings remain. It is about to be “restored” to a fashionable Jewish district. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

❶ EU expresses ‘deep concern’ over Israeli demolitions in Area C
❷ 2 Palestinians shot dead near Ramallah after alleged attacks
❸ Soldiers Injure Seven Palestinians in Jerusalem, Kidnap One Child
❹ Analysis: SPATIAL  DEVELOPMENT  OF  BETHLEHEM  AND EAST  JERUSALEM:  A  BLEAK  FUTURE?
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  DOES  IT  SAY  WHEN  THE  IDF  IS  THE  SANEST  VOICE  IN  ISRAEL?
❻ Poetry. “Take Me to AL-QASTAL,” by Sami Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
EU  EXPRESSES  ‘DEEP CONCERN’  OVER  ISRAELI  DEMOLITIONS  IN  AREA C
Dec. 4, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — European Union missions on Friday reiterated a call for Israel to meet its obligations to Palestinians living in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where several demolitions have taken place in recent weeks.
___The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed “deep concern, once again” for the violations in the Israeli-controlled area, a statement said.
___On Thursday, Israeli authorities confiscated 10 tents donated to residents of al-Hadidiya village by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
___The tents had been donated after Israel’s civil administration and military forces demolished Palestinian structures in the in the northern Jordan Valley.  More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
2  PALESTINIANS  SHOT  DEAD  NEAR  RAMALLAH  AFTER  ALLEGED  ATTACKS
Dec. 4, 2015
BETHLEHEM ― Two Palestinians were shot dead near Ramallah on Friday after separate alleged attacks targeting Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s army and Palestinian officials said.
___A Palestinian was shot and killed near the illegal Ofra settlement north of Ramallah after ramming his car into a group of Israeli soldiers, according to the Israeli army.
___The army confirmed that two soldiers were injured in the incident. Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom said that paramedics treated two Israelis around 20 years of age who sustained minor injuries. More . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SOLDIERS  INJURE  SEVEN  PALESTINIANS  IN  JERUSALEM,  KIDNAP  ONE  CHILD
Dec. 04, 2015
Palestinian medical sources in occupied Jerusalem have reported, Friday, that Israeli soldiers shot and injured seven Palestinians, while dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, in Jabal al-Mokabber town, in the city. The army also kidnapped one child in Silwan, and handed five demolition orders of residential and commercial structures.
___The soldiers used excessive force against dozens of Palestinians, holding a nonviolent protest, demanding the Israeli authorities to transfer the bodies of Palestinians, who were killed by the military, back to their families for proper burial ceremonies.
[. . . . ]
___On Friday evening, the soldiers kidnapped a child, identified as Mohammad Sufian al-Atrash, 15, after repeatedly beating and kicking him, in the Central Neighborhood in Silwan. More . . .

jerusalem_protest_12_4_2015
Demonstration in East Jerusalem fired on by Israeli soldiers. (Photo: Silwan IC, Dec. 4, 2015)

Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
SPATIAL  DEVELOPMENT  OF  BETHLEHEM  AND  EAST  JERUSALEM:  A  BLEAK  FUTURE?
Ahmad El-Atrash
December 2015
Bethlehem, like Jerusalem, is considered a sacred city for the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Until 1967 – before the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory that included the occupation of East Jerusalem – Bethlehem was developing and spatially growing, maintaining an organic connection with Jerusalem city. Since the occupation . . . the Bethlehem City-area has witnessed an ever-changing flexible frontier with Jerusalem and thus, the long established socio-cultural, economic, and above all spiritual lifeline between the Bethlehem City-area and Jerusalem has been undermined by the Israeli matrix of control . . .  More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+ 972 MAGAZINE
WHAT  DOES  IT  SAY  WHEN  THE  IDF  IS  THE  SANEST  VOICE  IN  ISRAEL?
Yoni Mendel
Dec. 4, 2015
“A nation in uniform,” “an army that has a state,” “a democracy of army bases.” In academic research of the critical kind, Israel is understood as a militaristic state.
[. . . . ]
___This past month has seen a great number of examples that show how . . . the IDF, has begun to be viewed by the Israeli leadership . . . as outdated, irrelevant, ignorant, and deceitful.
[. . . . ]
___This began with the violence and stabbings in October 2015. The propagandists of the Israeli government announced openly that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ incitement was behind the uprising. The demagoguery quickly became the prominent message, with the media quickly adopting the words “incitement” and “Abbas” as inseparable. . . .
___The [IDF’s Intelligence] Corps released the following two professional assessments: “Abbas is not inciting in order to harm Israelis,” and “Abbas is considered a very moderating force in Judea and Samaria.” How did Education Minister Naftali Bennett respond? “The security establishment is wrong.”  More . . .

“TAKE  ME  TO  AL-QASTAL,”  BY  SAMI  AL-JUNDI

There, in the cradle of yearning
Where the birds circle in cheerless skies
in the pine forests,
There rest the souls of the ancients
Did you ask the Swallow, my friend,
About Al-Qastal?

From a hill looking over Deir Yassin
Where love was first born
Thousands of years ago
Before the birth of Christ
Before the budding of jasmine
By the cradle of the goldfinch
Be sure to ask about Al-Qastal.

A deep valley
A mystifying magic and a nectar of secrets
A flock of pigeons and a nightingale
And the remains of a forgotten village and a cross
Ruins of a Babylonian minaret
There, where the moon is near
And our first concern is
Love and Al-Qastal.

Take me to Al-Qastal
Take me to the beautiful grave
Take me to my last home
And load me up with the tragedies of the Arabs
And all the fragrance of the ancestors
My home is the prettiest
My grave is the largest
My path is to Al-Qastal.
—Translated by Amal Eqeiq

About Sami Al-Jundi, author of The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker.
From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND:  PALESTINE ISRAEL  POETS  RESPOND  TO  THE  STRUGGLE.  Ed. Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from Barnes and Noble

003a
Christmas Lutheran Church in the busy city center of Bethlehem. Not an “historic” landmark, but part of the cultural life of the city that is in jeopardy. (Photo: Harold Knight, Aug. 2008)