“Here we shall stay, sing our songs. . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Selected News of the Day

Israeli forces seal off main roads west of Ramallah following suspected attack

August 23, 2019
Israeli forces today sealed off main roads leading to the western Ramallah district in the West Bank following a suspected attack that resulted in the killing of a settler, confirmed local sources.
· · · · Forces deployed heavily and blocked major roads leading to a cluster of Palestinian villages west of Ramallah, particularly the Wadi al-Dilb Road and Ein Ayyoub junction. They also blocked the roads leading to Kafr Ni’ma and Ras Karkar villages, where they ransacked several homes and stores.
· · · · Soldiers set up roadblocks at the northern entrance to Ramallah city and at Ein Siniya junction, north of Ramallah, inspecting Palestinian vehicles and inspecting the IDs of passengers. They also raided Beituniya and Ein Arik towns, west of Ramallah.
· · · · The closure is conducted as part of a manhunt for a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli settler and wounding two others in an attack at Ein Bunin natural spring near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev, near Ras Karkar village.  More . . . .

  • Al-Shoroq: The activist farmers resisting Israeli annexation in Beit Ummar. IMEMC News & Agencies. August 21, 2019. More . . . .
  • Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, but at What Cost? The Palestine Chronicle. August 22, 2019. More . . . .   

Displacement In Gaza And Israel’s Demographic Obsession

Days of Palestine
August 22, 2019
The statements made by a senior Israeli political source, which is likely to be Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, published in Israeli media, including Haaretz on 20 August regarding Israel taking practical steps to displace Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, reminds us of what Israel calls the demographic threat. This involves ensuring a Jewish majority in the country, which has been a concern since the establishment of the Zionist colonial settlement project. Why displace Gazans? Why now? Is there a real possibility for its implementation?
· · · · Israel has used all forms of displacement, including ethnic cleansing, in order to reduce the number of Palestinians in Palestine as much as possible and achieve Zionism’s top goal, i.e. imposing a Jewish majority in Palestine, where its indigenous people have been living for many many years. This method on its own did not achieve the desired results, so Israel attracted tens of thousands of Arab and non-Arab Jews in order to successfully establish the state of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian people in 1948. However, the demographic danger continued to pose a threat to Israel after occupying and controlling the Palestinians in 1967.   More . . . .   

  • Living in fear of the bulldozers. Electronic Intifada, August 22, 2019. More . . . .

Israeli Police Kidnaps Seven Jerusalemites From Bab Al-Rahma

Two young girls and three children among the detainees
Days of Palestine
Aug 22 2019
The Israeli occupation police on Thursday afternoon kidnaped seven Palestinian citizens, including two young girls and three children, from the Bab al-Rahma prayer area of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
· · · According to eyewitnesses, police forces stormed the Bab al-Rahma area and rounded up Aqsa guard Bader al-Rajbi along with three children, two girls and one young man. More . . . .

Anti-Semitism’ vs. ‘Islamophobia’: How language creates hierarchies of discrimination and whitewashes bigotry

Timo Al-Farooq
August 22, 2019
From the ivory towers of academic knowledge production to the lowlands of cracker-barrel Stammtisch-culture, tactical language is omnipresent in everyday political discourse. . . . language manipulation is a key modus operandi for the powers that be in stifling critical thought and thus consolidating their grip on potentially subversive populaces.
· · · One such example of strategic linguistic flexibility, taken straight from our fiction-turned-fact and prophesy-fulfilled Orwellian times: someone who hates Jews is known as an “anti-Semite”, but someone who hates Muslims is merely an “Islamophobe”, a person afraid of Islam? . . . .
· · · · So my question is: why is an anti-Semite not called a “Semitophobe?” And an Islamophobe not an “anti-Muslim?” And what is that even supposed to mean, “afraid of Islam?” As if the heterogeneous beliefs of 1.8 billion people were a Freddy Krueger-like serial killer coming to murder you in your sleep. More . . . .

 Poem of the Day

“HERE WE SHALL STAY” by Tafiq Zayyad

In Lidda, in Ramla, in the Galilee,
we shall remain
like a wall upon your chest,
and in your throat
like a shard of glass,
a cactus thorn,
and in your eyes
a sandstorm.

We shall remain
a wall upon your chest,
clean dishes in your restaurants,
serve drinks in your bars,
sweep the floors of your kitchens
to snatch a bite for our children
from your blue fangs.

Here we shall stay,
sing our songs,
take to the angry streets,
fill prisons with dignity.

In Lidda, in Ramla, in the Galilee,
we shall remain,
guard the shade of the fig
and olive trees,
ferment rebellion in our children
as yeast in the dough.

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND. ED. Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler. Lost Horse Press. 2002.

“. . . Next to the great room we call our country . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Palestinians across the West Bank, Jerusalem protest Trump’s decision
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Over 50 injured, 9 with live ammunition, in clashes across Palestinian territory
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Israeli arrest campaign waged in anticipation of ‘day of rage’
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israeli Soldiers Isolate Kufur Qaddoum
❷ Israel to construct 14,000 settlement units in Jerusalem

  • Background: “Divided We Rise: Politics, Architecture and Vertical Cityscapes at Opposite Ends of Jerusalem.” Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers.

❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Thousands of Palestinians across the West Bank and East Jerusalem marched in protest of US President Donald Trump’s recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and plans to move the US embassy.
___The protestors headed to Israeli checkpoints in several districts to express condemnation and rejection of the illegal move. In Ramallah district, hundreds gathered after the Friday prayer and marched to al-Bireh’s northern entrance, where clashes erupted with Israeli soldiers.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 7, 2017 ― The number of injured Palestinians continues to climb on Thursday as clashes with Israeli forces continue to escalate across the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, in response to U.S. President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___Palestinian and world leaders warned Trump against making the announcement, for fear of instability and violence across the region that is now expected to continue in the days to come.
___9 injured with live ammunition [. . . .]   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center
Dec. 8, 2017 ― The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) launched at dawn Friday a large-scale raid and arrest campaign in West Bank and Jerusalem as Palestinians declare a day of rage over US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___Local sources affirmed that at least 16 Palestinian were detained in occupied Jerusalem, while ten others were arrested in Issawiya town after being brutally attacked.   MORE . . .
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC  
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Earlier Friday, dozens of Israeli soldiers surrounded and isolated Kufur Qaddoum town, east of the northern West Bank city of Qalqilia, ahead of the weekly protest against the Annexation Wall and colonies.
___The army stopped and searched dozens of cars, and interrogated many Palestinians, while inspecting their ID cards.
___Morad Eshteiwi, the coordinator of the Popular Committee against the Annexation Wall and Colonies in Kufur Qaddoum, said the army is trying to prevent the Palestinians, along with Israeli and international peace activists, from marching.   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center 
Dec. 8, 2017 ― Emboldened by US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, the Israeli government is considering pushing ahead with plans to build around new 14,000 settler units in the city.
___Under the plan, pursued by Israeli housing minister Yoav Galant, 5,000 units would be built in the northern parts of the city and just outside Ramallah, Israeli media reported Thursday night.
___There would be 1,000 units built in East Jerusalem, while the remaining 8,000 units were to be built in the city’s western neighborhoods.   MORE . . .

Rosen, Gillad and Igal Charney.
[. . . .] Since 1967 Palestinian East Jerusalem is to a large extent a construct of Israeli power and political domination. To strengthen control over annexed lands in East Jerusalem, Israel has been manipulating planning policies and procedures. . .  decisions are highly political and reflect the state’s power to . . .  determine what is acceptable and what is not, and direct which forms of informality will thrive and which will disappear.
___For almost 50 years, Israel has enforced a discriminatory planning regime that has systematically delegitimised Palestinian development rights, restricting the growth of Palestinian communities. Planning policies and practices in these areas have been largely subordinated to the ethno-national aspirations and geopolitical territorial claims of Israel, which have intentionally ignored the development needs of Palestinians. A Palestinian planning rights advocate explained this reality: ‘Palestinians do not exist for the Israeli planning system in Jerusalem . . . they are neither partners nor participants in planning agendas and procedures’, thus making them practically invisible to the Israeli planning authorities.
___Permissive approaches to tall-building development in West Jerusalem and in Jewish neighbourhoods in East Jerusalem make discrimination against Palestinians even blunter. It is nothing but preposterous to apply the anachronistic limit of four to six storeys to most Palestinian areas of East Jerusalem. . . .  As a planner from a human right advocacy group explained, this situation is actually ‘another tool of Israeli occupation which exploits and marginalises the Palestinian population of East Jerusalem’.   [. . . .]  SOURCE . . .    ..

Arab League says Trump’s decision on Jerusalem inflames tension   MORE . . .    ..
Ambassador: EU will not transfer embassy to Jerusalem   MORE . . .    ..
Pakistan condemns US move, calls it violation of Security Council’s resolutions MORE . . .
South Africa: US Unilateral Decision Undermines Middle East Peace Process    MORE . . .
Norway warns of increased instability following Trump’s decision     MORE . . .
Abbas meets King Abdullah II to discuss Jerusalem developments     MORE . . .
‘If these decisions go into effect my life here will become like a prison’: Palestinians in Jerusalem respond to Trump    MORE . . .

Next to
our nation’s bedroom,
Next to
the 5 a.m. orchestra, when
upright and in a hurry
the farm-worker goes out
and the 5 p.m. flute, when

bent and dumb
he comes back

Next to
the room of hope and despair,
the family prayers,
the silence of nurses
and the dry branch,
motionless on clean sheets

Next to
the poet’s room
where words are dogs
or birds:
with his stick
he drives the assaulting dogs away,
his hand opens
to throw barley to the birds
and he waits

Next to
the interrogation room
packed with the stupidity of screams
and the cunning
of the iron chains

Next to
the grandmother
squatting near the clay oven
watching the interaction between
a loaf of bread
and the flames

Next to
the maternity ward

He sits
with strong muscles
and tools and weapons
ready to help:
he thinks of us a lot
he looks after us
like an indispensable
head of the family

Next to
the great room we call our country

stays up, active
for our sake.

From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.  A biographical essay about Mourid Barghouti.

“. . . I’m unfamiliar with settlements. Are some of those people good? . . .” (Marwan Makhoul)

❶ European conference on settlement declares Israel ‘apartheid regime’

  • Background: “Spatial Changes in Palestine: From Colonial Project to an Apartheid System.” African & Asian Studies.

❷ Israel encourages settlers to move to Jordan Valley settlements
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Netanyahu is redefining ethnic cleansing not pursuing genuine peace
❹ POETRY by Marwan Makhoul
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Days of Palestine
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Representatives from 24 European countries, including parliamentarians, legal experts, journalists and activists, met in Brussels, have declared Israel of establishing an “apartheid regime” in the West Bank.
___In a press release, the recommendations of the first European conference on Israeli settlement activity were named the Brussels Declaration, and included the following:
1. Israel, the occupying power of the Palestinian territories since 1967 continues its policy of confiscating and judaising Palestinian land and building settlements over it. These settlements have turned, with the passage of time, into an incubator for settler’s “terrorist organisations” such as HiiltopYouth, Paying the Price and Revenge.
2. With this premeditated policy of settlement expansion, it is, therefore, inappropriate to talk about dismantling political or security settlements, but rather, see this movement as a structure colonial policy that was able to colonize a large part of the West Bank not less than 60 percent of its size. This policy has, in fact, established an Apartheid regime, which violates the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 . . .        MORE . . .

Al-Rimmawi, Hussein.
African & Asian Studies,
vol. 8, no. 4, Nov. 2009, pp. 375-412.
[. . . .] After the 1967 war, Israel began to strip Palestinian land from its Palestinian owners . . . . settlements penetrated deeply inside the occupied land like spears, with the purpose of dividing the Palestinian land in the West Bank into three main Bantustans, north, and central and south.
___At present, Israel continues to construct its Apartheid Wall which would guarantee that the confiscated land be on the Israeli side of the border . . .  The Wall is planned and implemented in a way which results in residential and territorial discrimination. Palestinian workers may be allowed to work in Israel but will not be allowed to reside in the same place . . . .
___Palestinian cultural heritage, both tangible and intangible, is being destroyed by Israeli bulldozers. The Apartheid Wall is destroying archeological sites, shrines, monuments and historical buildings. The establishment of this wall is represented by ‘spatial and socio-side’. The Wall also has a significant impact on Palestinian wild life and biodiversity. For example, heavy equipment destroys plant coverage and degrades the soil. Flora and fauna are endangered and some species will disappear.
[. . . .] The whole Zionist plan evolved through different phases which reflected itself on the space through the settlements, the creation of the State of Israel, the evolution of Israel to become an occupying power in Arab lands and the present apartheid system. Through the acquisition of territory and the building of the Annexation Wall, Israel aims at eliminating the possibility of Palestine as a viable political entity. Palestinians cannot fully exercise their human rights, including their freedom of expression, travel from one place to another, and different laws are applied to them than those used for Israeli settlers. At present, they are prisoners inside their own cities, villages, and refugee camps. . .  It seems that Israelis are not capable of transferring the soul of settlement movement into a real and consolidated state.   SOURCE . . .

The Palestinian Information Center 
Nov. 11, 2017 ― The National Office for Defending Land and Resisting Settlement on Saturday said that the Israeli government is planning to double the number of Jewish settlers in the Jordan Valley area.
___The Office explained in its weekly report that the Israeli government plans to launch a marketing campaign aimed at encouraging settlers to move to the Jordan Valley, adding that it also has vowed to transfer funds to the settlement councils that host the newcomers. Preference will be given to the settlements that set fewer conditions to host settlers.
___Hebrew media sources have unveiled a plan presented by the Israeli Housing Minister, Yoav Galant, to strengthen the Jewish presence in the Jordan Valley, one-quarter of the West Bank.   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center
Kamel Hawwash    [ Kamel Hawwash is Professor in the School of Civil Engineering at Birmingham University, and Immediate Past President of the European Society for Engineering Education.]  
Nov. 11, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is not known for missing an opportunity to push peace further into the distant future. [. . . .] Netanyahu took to the air to absolve Israel of any fault for the lack of progress towards peace. Israel is in a difficult neighbourhood and therefore its security needs are such that meeting these is almost incompatible with a Palestinian state.
___In an interview . . .  he trotted out the usual talking points. Israel, he said, “stands out as a beacon of democracy, a beacon of self-restraint in a sea of trouble”. As for the Israeli army, “there is no more moral army in the world,” he said. The settlements “are an issue but I don’t think they are the issue”. Instead he believes the issue “is the 100-year-old refusal of the Palestinian leadership to recognise a Jewish state in any boundary”.  Netanyahu took issue with Marr regarding the settlements, saying “the idea that Jews cannot live in Judea [the West Bank] is crazy”. When challenged that it is Palestinian territory, which the UN says is a flagrant violation of international law, he said that it is “disputed territory”.  MORE . . .

I’m unfamiliar with refugee camps.
Is that the ultimate in giving up?
Or are they tents I’ve been told are white
with guy ropes at the corners to hold them up
that hold me up?

I’m unfamiliar with tear gas.
Is it a weapon whose used bears the radiance of defeat?
Or is it his disappointment at the pathos of my tears
when I cry

I’m unfamiliar with settlements.
Are some of those people good?
Sure, completely. Like I walk
on my hands,
and the sand sings?

I’m unfamiliar with my mother too.
Is she the one who suckled me?
Or is she the one bereft, standing in my doorway,
or a window on belonging?

I’m unfamiliar with UNRWA.
Is it a shipment I once chanced upon?
Or did I direct its driver
when he asked the way to Rafah?

I’m unfamiliar with the “cause”.
Is it a fiancée searching in the rubble
for her finger to put the ring on?
Or is half the whole of a fifth?

I’m unfamiliar with the truth.
Am I lacking something?
Or does my blood course within me
but not as my nerves would wish?

Personally, I’m unfamiliar with myself.
Am I the one now in my body?
Or am I that one I wrote about
the day I became my neighbor?
―Translated by Raphael Cohen   

Marwan Makhoul was born to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother in 1979 in the village of Boquai’a in the Upper Galilee region of Palestine. He currently lives in the village of Maalot Tarshiha. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Mustaqbal College. His first book of poetry was published in 2007 in both Beirut and Baghdad by Al-Jamal Publishers. That same year a second edition of the book was published in Haifa by Maktabat Kul Shai’ Publishers. In 2009 he won the prize of best playwright in The Acre Theatre Festival for his first play. (An interview with Marwan Makhoul )


“. . . silence my argument with chains . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Poland to equip the Palestinian rapid intervention team
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) Ireland describes Israeli settlement expansion as provocative

Background: “Apartheid in the Holy Land: Theological Reflections on the Israel And/Or Palestine Situation from a South African Perspective.” Hervormde Teologiese Studies

❷ How Israel engages in ‘water apartheid’
❸ Israeli forces detain 66 Palestinians, majority teenagers, in overnight raids
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Joint report reveals that 431 Palestinians were arrested in September 2017
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct, 23, 2017 ― The Palestinian International Cooperation Agency (PICA) signed on Monday a cooperation agreement with the Polish representative to Palestine in which the latter will contribute to equipping PICA’s team for rapid intervention [“first responders”].
___PICA director Imad Zuhairi signed the agreement with the Polish representative to Palestine, Aleksandra Bukowska, who welcomed it and considered it the beginning of growing cooperation between Poland and Palestine that would later include various sectors.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Oct. 23, 2017 ― Ireland condemned last week Israel’s settlement expansion in the occupied Palestinian territories describing them as provocative.
___“I condemn decisions this week by the Israeli authorities approving the construction of thousands of housing units in Israeli settlements in the West Bank,” said Irish Minister for Foreign Affairs and Trade Simon Coveney.
___“This week’s announcements include construction in areas such as Hebron, which are far from the 1967 border, and which could never be included in any possible agreed land swap between the parties. The relentless expansion of settlements, especially in such sensitive areas, break up the land area on which a Palestinian state is to be established.’   MORE . . .
Days of Palestine
Mersiha Gadzo
Oct. 22, 2017 ― World Health Organisation says that an illegal Israeli settler in West Bank consumes three times more water than a legal Palestinian resident.
___Jordan Valley, Occupied West Bank – Water is not scarce in the Jordan Valley, known as the traditional “breadbasket of Palestine” – yet Palestinian farmers struggle to survive, with little water to nourish their crops. They say the amount of water that Israeli authorities allocate to them has been decreasing daily since the Second Intifada.
___Meanwhile, neighbouring settlements consume copious amounts of water. They grow produce, such as bananas, requiring large amounts of water, which is mostly pumped from wells in the occupied West Bank, and they export a rich variety of fruits, vegetables, flowers and spices to Europe and the United States.
___In the village of Ein al-Beida, barbed wire divides a field in two.
___On one side are rows of orange trees covered in lush green leaves, grown by Israeli settlers from a nearby illegal settlement; on the other is barren land allocated for Palestinians, where nothing grows except stiff stalks of yellow grass, long dried out due to  the lack of water.   MORE . . . 

Pillay, Jerry.
“Apartheid in the Holy Land: Theological Reflections on the Israel And/Or Palestine Situation from a South African Perspective.”
Hervormde Teologiese Studies, vol. 72, no. 4, Oct. 2016, pp. 1-9.
[Jerry Pillay, Department of Church History and Church Polity, Faculty of Theology, University of Pretoria, South Africa.]
The word ‘apartheid’ comes from an Afrikaans word meaning ‘apartness’ or ‘separateness’. . .  it is actually an official policy of racial segregation, involving political, legal and economic discrimination against ‘non-white’ people. It is a policy or practice of separating or segregating groups. This policy separated white and non-white people in South Africa from 1948 to 1994. . . During the 19th century. . . [t]his became the paradigm for the foundation of the Israeli state which exists up to this day with great cost to human rights and lives. The Palestinians continue to fight for their independence in the face of Israel’s continuation to take Palestinian land. Hence, the analogy between Israel and apartheid1 entails a comparison between Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians and South Africa’s treatment of non-white people during its apartheid era. . .
[. . . .] Justice is a very significant theological theme in the context of the Israel-Palestine situation – as much as it was, and still is, in the South African context.
[. . . .] An investigation into the meaning of justice (tsedeq and tsedaqah) in the Old Testament shows that, in the context of creation, it has wider meaning. Justice for Israel, like all its neighbours in the ancient Near East, manifests itself in the right and harmonious order of creation. In order to understand the peculiar nature of ancient Near Eastern conceptions of justice, it is important to realise that creation does not primarily refer to the origin of the world at the beginning but to a process by which cosmos, order, replaces chaos, not only in nature but in society as well. Creation therefore encompasses two realms, which for us are usually quite distinct: the realm of nature and the realm of society.   MORE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 23, 2017― Israeli detained at least 66 Palestinians during overnight raids Monday in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian and Israeli sources.
[. . . .] According to United Nations documentation, Israeli forces conducted 121 search and arrest operations across the West Bank and arrested 205 Palestinians, including nine children, between September 26 and October 9.
[. . . .] Israeli police forces raided the neighborhood of al-Issawiya overnight and detained 51 Palestinians after searching dozens of homes in the area.
[. . . .] Lawyer of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affair Muhammad Mahmoud, who visited detainees at different detention centers, said that he followed up on the cases of 27 of the detainees, who he said were all teenagers between the ages of 15 to 18.   MORE . . .  

Addameer  Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association
Oct. 8, 2017 ― A joint, monthly report released by Adameer, The Prisoner’s Club, and Al Mezan Center for Human Rights has revealed that 431 Palestinians were arrested by the occupation forces in the month of September 2017.
___Of these 431, 98 were children, 11 were women, and 3 were journalists.
___133 were arrested from Jerusalem governate, 60 from the Hebron governate, 45 from the Nablus governate, 40 from the Ramallah governate, 38 from Jenin governate, 28 from Bethlehem governate, 15 from Tubas governate, 10 from Salfeet governate, 9 from Tulkaram governate, 7 from Jericho governate, and 6 from Gaza.      MORE . . .

Talk about exile―I defy
silence my argument with chains
and a foolish prison cell
I defy

Turn plague and sadness against me
I remained defying
cut my wrist
with my bloody chest I defy
cut my leg
I mount the wound and walk
and with my violence I defy
with my forehead I defy
and with my teeth
and the teeth of songs―I defy

and kill me―I defy
I kill death
and come to you a defying God

All that I own of my father’s and grandfather’
inheritance is to defy!

All that I understand from the
wind and the secrets of erased villages
and the songs of springs
on dying grass
a concealed sob
the roots of the tree
memorize it for me
a sob: To defy

All the eyes of children living within me
in bloody exile
All that I live of my absent country
in name and deed
a scream bruising me―to defy!

My anger drips oil and honey
my pain bears almonds, flouts and roses
so jail my piece of bread
I defy

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.   Available from Amazon.
About Samih Al-Qasim.

“. . . 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
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
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.

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 . . .
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 . . .

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 . . .

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.

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

A general view of the Israeli settlement of Givat Zeev near the West Bank city of Ramallah, on April 14, 2016 (AFP Photo/Thomas Coex)

❶ Netanyahu vows to occupy the West Bank forever

  • Background: “Israel-Palestine through the Lens of Racial Discrimination Law: Is the South African Apartheid Analogy Accurate?” King’s Law Journal

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Japan deplores advancing plans of settlements construction in West Bank
❷ Israel’s renewal of law restricting family unification condemned as ‘apartheid’
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Rights groups condemn Israel’s lethal use of force against Palestinian protesters
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
+972 Online Magazine      
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
June 13, 2017         Benjamin Netanyahu last week promised that Israel will never relinquish security control over the West Bank, even as part of a two-state peace deal, which is to say that the Israeli army will occupy the Palestinian territory forever.      __“[I]n any agreement, and even without an agreement, we will maintain security control over the entire territory west of the Jordan River,” the prime minister said.
[. . . .]  . . . the Israeli prime minister, who regularly blames the Palestinians for the lack of progress toward peace, has openly admitted — again — that he is unwilling to end the occupation. Without ending the occupation there can be no Palestinian sovereignty. Without Palestinian sovereignty there can be no Palestinian state, and no national self-determination.
___Without Palestinian national self-determination and statehood, the Palestinian people are left living as subjects under a military regime with no civil rights, no suffrage.    MORE . . .

Wintemute, Robert. “Israel-Palestine through the Lens of Racial Discrimination Law: Is the South African Apartheid Analogy Accurate, and What If the European Convention Applied?” King’s Law Journal, vol. 28, no. 1, Apr. 2017, pp. 89-129.
[. . . .] It is likely that the occupation would have ended long ago (because it would have been much harder to justify a refusal to allow a State of Palestine in Gaza and the West Bank, including East Jerusalem), but for Israel’s illegal and stubbornly pursued policy of settlement-building. . . . This was spelled out in the 1978 ‘Drobles Plan’ [that]  the state-owned lands and.…uncultivated barren lands in Judea and Samaria ought to be seized right away. . .  our intention to hold on to Judea and Samaria forever is by speeding up the settlement momentum in these territories. . . . Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said at a press conference on 11 July 2014: ‘there cannot be a situation, under any agreement, in which we relinquish security control of the territory west of the River Jordan.’
[. . . .]  . . . those who reject the South African apartheid analogy should respond to it in a rational way, pointing to the relevant objective facts that make it inaccurate, rather than in an emotional way: dismissing the possibility of apartheid in Israel-Palestine because it is too painful to contemplate. . . and attributing malice to the person making the claim. . .  In my view, it should . . .  replace the current concept of occupation, which is itself an analogy, inviting the public to compare the situation in Israel-Palestine with other occupations. The occupation analogy is misleading, because almost every occupation one can think of is or was of much shorter duration (eg, the USA’s occupation of Japan, 1945–52), or has become a de jure annexation (internationally recognised or not), with citizenship and the right to vote (if it exists) granted to the occupied territory’s residents (eg, China–Tibet, Indonesia–West Papua, India–Kashmir. . .  etc). The reason why a shift from an occupation analogy to an apartheid analogy could make a difference, in generating international pressure on Israel to change, is that occupation is common and does not shock.
___Absence of genuine democracy (because there is one-party rule or the same party always wins) is common and does not shock. But racial discrimination in access to citizenship and the right to vote (apartheid) is rare, does shock and has become taboo.      SOURCE . . .

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
June 12, 2017         The Government of Japan deeply deplored on Tuesday Israel’s approval of plans to construct housing units in settlements in the West Bank, despite repeated calls from the international community including Japan for freezing such activities.     MORE . . .

The West Bank settlement of Efrat is seen on September 1, 2014.

Ma’an News Agency 
June 13, 2017         Israel’s parliament, the Knesset, renewed the controversial “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” law, which sets severe limitations on Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territory married to Israeli citizens, for the 14th year on Monday, as Palestinian members of parliament denounced the move as “racist” and a show of “apartheid” against Palestinian citizens of Israel.
[. . . .] The law applies to Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip, and foreign nationals from Iran, Lebanon, Syria, and Iraq — and can apply to other nationalities originating from countries the Israeli government deems a security threat.
___However, the law has primarily affected Palestinian citizens of Israel, making up 20 percent of the Israeli population, who often marry Palestinians from the occupied West Bank.        MORE . . . 
Ma’an News Agency  
June 13, 2017          Israeli and Palestinian human rights organizations released statements this week condemning Israeli forces’ excessive use of force against Palestinians, particularly protesters, which in many cases resulted in death.
___Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a statement Monday highlighting the case of Saba Abu Ubeid, a 22-year-old Palestinian from the central occupied West Bank district of Salfit, who was shot dead by Israeli forces last month during a protest in the Ramallah-area village of Nabi Saleh.       MORE . . . 


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.


And so the Trump/Friedman assault begins

PLEASE NOTE: This blog will resume its coverage of news from Palestine shortly. However, today it is important to begin to make clear the drastic shift in American policy toward Israel that will take place on January 2o. Thank you.

Senators Threaten to Cut Worldwide Embassy Security If U.S. Doesn’t Move Its Israeli Embassy to Jerusalem

___In 1995, Congress passed a law requiring the federal government to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama all campaigned on relocating the embassy and executing this law. But once in office, every one of them invoked a waiver in the law that allows them to hold off on the move if they deem it necessary to the national security interests of the United States to do so.       ___Moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem would be seen as a green light to some Israeli government officials, such as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who seek to make Jerusalem the undivided capital of the state of Israel. That, in turn, would preclude the Palestinians from establishing a state that includes East Jerusalem. Most international observers believe that this would render the two-state solution impossible and thus be damaging to peace.       More . . .
Call to direct action for [American] readers

Act Now

We need you to ACT NOW to push back against illegal Israeli settlements! Congress has spent its first two days in session trying to back away from decades of U.S. policy on illegal settlements.
___Yesterday, the House and the Senate introduced legislation that would object to United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334 “as an obstacle to Israeli-Palestinian peace.” H.R. 11 & the yet un-numbered Senate companion bill are unfounded and unwise criticisms of the Obama administration for abstaining from the UNSC resolution which condemned Israel for its settlements in the occupied West Bank.
___Contrary to what these bills (H.R. 11 & S.R. X) say, they do NOT aim to support the peace process. That was made even more clear when Rep. Peter King [R-NY-2] introduced an amendment that would DELETE any reference in the House bill to a two-state solution, which is a shocking abandonment of core U.S. policies. Simply put, these bills are about Congress trying to protect Israel from any criticism of illegal settlements.
More-including form for contacting members of Congress.
(Please forward to your American friends.)

Trump’s Pick for Israel Ambassador Is No Diplomat

David A. Graham
Dec. 16, 2016
David Friedman, a bankruptcy lawyer, believes Israel can annex and settle in the West Bank, wants to move the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem, and called a liberal American Jewish group “worse than kapos.”
___There was a time when Donald Trump’s statements on Israel rattled hardliners who were concerned he would be too friendly to Palestinians. In February, when Joe Scarborough asked him who was to blame for the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, the Republican candidate replied, “I don’t want to get into it for a different reason, Joe, because if I do win, there has to be a certain amount of surprise, unpredictability. Let me be sort of a neutral guy, let’s see what—I’m going to give it a shot. It would be so great.”     ___Those days are long gone, a fact made clear by President-elect Trump’s decision to appoint David Friedman, an extreme hard-liner on the right, as his ambassador to Israel. Friedman, like many of Trump’s picks for Cabinet jobs, does not have any directly relevant experience, and the two men previously worked together when Friedman, a bankruptcy attorney, represented him in past bankruptcy proceedings.
___But Friedman advised Trump on Israel policy during the campaign and has left behind a long trail of statements indicating his views, including equating liberal Americans Jews to “kapos” who assisted Nazis in ghettos; labeling President Barack Obama an anti-Semite; and suggesting Israel should annex the West Bank.    More . . .



“. . . Burdened, Weighed down with death and defeat. . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

A bulldozer is seen next to a new housing construction site in the Israeli settlement of Har Homa in Israeli-annexed east Jerusalem, on March 19, 2014. (Photo: AHMAD GHARABLI / AFP )

❶ Egypt condemns Israeli settlement building as ‘killing the hopes of Palestinians’

  • background from Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers

❷ EU : Israel’s decision to build in settlements threatens the viability of the two-state solution
❸ Netanyahu Rejects American And European Condemnations Of New Settlements’ Plan
❹ From European Journal Of International Law: “Apartheid, International Law, And The Occupied Palestinian Territory.”
❺ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 7, 201
The Egyptian Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned on Thursday the Israeli government’s decision to build hundreds of housing units in illegal settlements in occupied East Jerusalem.
___The ministry slammed Israel’s continuous building of settlements in occupied Palestinian territory — in contravention of international law — and obstruction of the peace process.
___The Egyptian government urged the Israeli government to “cancel the decision and put an end to the policy of escalation, which kills the hopes of Palestinians.”   MORE . . .

From Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers
Whether looking at the ‘security’ or at the ‘socio-cultural’ definitions of gated communities as they appear in the geographic and sociological literature, it is difficult to think of a more explicit example of a community featuring social cohesion based on shared values on the one hand, and self-isolation with the help of fences and a stress on the ‘security of the community’ on the other.
[. . . .] . . . the West Bank is not just an aggregate of 124 ‘legal’ gated communities and a similar number of ‘illegal outposts’, but rather a single, contiguous gated community gating, in turn, Palestinian ‘islands’ within it. This assertion might sound puzzling: the sum total of built-up areas in the settlements amounts to less than 2 per cent of the West Bank’s territory; the settlers’ number (including East Jerusalem) amount to less than 15 per cent of the West Bank’s population; and the total area occupied directly by the settlement complex. . .  amounts to circa 42 per cent of the West Bank’s territory. These figures seem to make it difficult to claim that the settlements constitute a single, contiguous, gated and gating community.
[. . . .]  Establishing a chain of small settlements situated at strategic distances from each other – sufficiently close to enable connection on the one hand, but sufficiently far apart to enable efficient dispersion on the other – is an efficient way of seizing large areas in a short time and with relatively few resources.
[. . . .] . . . settlements had not been built with a premeditated intention of restricting Palestinian movement, but mainly in order to restrict Palestinian construction and to prevent the establishment of an independent Palestinian entity . . . .

  • Handel, Ariel. “Gated/Gating Community: The Settlement Complex In The West Bank.” Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers 39.4 (2014): 504-517.  SOURCE.  

Palestine News Network – PNN
July 6, 2016
In a statement send  by an EU Spokesperson on Israel’s announcement of new settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank the  EU said its threatens the viability of the two-state solution.
___He added that :” Israel’s decision on Sunday to advance several hundred new settlement units in East Jerusalem and the West Bank threatens the viability of the two-state solution and calls into question Israel’s commitment to a negotiated agreement with the Palestinians.       MORE . . .   

Illegal settlement with settler-only road and Apartheid Wall, March 20, 2014 (Photo: Thomas Manning)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
July 7, 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu rejected American and European ‘condemnations’ of a new plan to build hundreds of colonialist units, in illegal Israeli colonies in the occupied West Bank, including Jerusalem.
___In a press conference with the Rwanda’s President Paul Kagame, on Wednesday, Netanyahu claimed that what is preventing peace in the region “is not the settlements,” but what he called the “ongoing incitement against Israel.”               MORE . . . 

European Journal Of International Law
John Dugard and John Reynolds.

[NOTE: this article is a point by point examination of the situation in the Occupied Territories of Palestine in light of the International Convention on Apartheid.]

[. . . .] Article 2 of the Apartheid Convention provides the most detailed list of practices that are discrete human rights violations in themselves, but that may further amount to acts of apartheid when committed in a systematic fashion for the purpose of maintaining domination by one racial group over another:
(a) Denial to a member or members of a racial group or groups of the right to life and liberty of person:
(i) By murder of members of a racial group or groups;
(ii) By the infliction upon the members of a racial group or groups of serious bodily or mental harm, by the infringement of their freedom or dignity, or by subjecting them to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment or punishment;
(iii) By arbitrary arrest and illegal imprisonment of the members of a racial group or groups;
(b) Deliberate imposition on a racial group or groups of living conditions calculated to cause its or their physical destruction in whole or in part;
(c) Any legislative measures and other measures calculated to prevent a racial group or groups from participation in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country.
[. . . .]
Article 2(f) of the Apartheid Convention relates to the persecution of organizations and persons who oppose a prevailing system of apartheid. Persecution in this context entails the deprivation of fundamental rights and freedoms. While law condones the deprivation of rights in some cases in defense of state security, regimes of racial domination are typically exemplified by illegitimate acts of repression that go beyond what can be justified by reference to national security. Cases of extra-judicial killings, torture, and mass imprisonment of Palestinians . . . fall into the latter category, as do restrictions of freedom of expression and association within the meaning of Article 2(c). The systematic targeting
of Palestinian political leaders, community activists, and human rights defenders can be understood as persecution . . . .  Dugard, John, and John Reynolds. “Apartheid, International Law, And The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” European Journal Of International Law 24.3 (2013): 867-913.     COMPLETE ARTICLE.

(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)

The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gaging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri 

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.
Obituary for Fadwa Tuqan, 2003.

“. . . My country, you are seeds of hope . . .” (Abu Salma)

Church of the Condemnation: Roman Catholic Church on Via Dolorosa. According to tradition, this was the site where Jesus took up his cross after being sentenced. http://www.biblewalks.com/Sites/Condemnation.html

❶ Knesset extends ‘racist’ emergency provision on Family Unification Law for 13th year

  • “Israel’s Palestinian Minority In The Two-State Solution: The Missing Dimension”

❷ The Minister of Internal Security agrees to release the detained bodies of Jerusalemite Martyrs and the police will decide where to bury them
❸ Israel to build 258 illegal settlement units in Jerusalem
. . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Key Muslim and Christian Holy Sites Erased From “Old City” Map

  • “Israel: The New South Africa?”

❹ POETRY by Abu Salma
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 13, 2016
Israel’s parliament, the Knesset voted on Monday evening to re-extend Israel’s “Citizenship and Entry into Israel” provision, which prohibits Palestinians from the occupied West Bank and the besieged Gaza Strip from automatically obtaining legal status in Israel or East Jerusalem through family unions.
___The law was passed 65 in favor, 14 against, according to press release published by the Knesset on Tuesday.        MORE . . . 

At present, there are approximately 1.3 million Palestinian citizens of Israel, comprising about 20 percent of Israel’s total population and about 12 percent of Palestinians worldwide.  This Palestinian population has been almost completely ignored by the international community. For decades, [in]international discussion . . . The Palestinian minority in Israel has received little, if any, attention [. . . .]
___A widespread and longstanding disregard for the Palestinian minority in Israel has been reflected in all of the accords, initiatives, conferences and summits aimed at achieving Israeli-Palestinian peace . . . . Not only has the Palestinian minority consistently been ignored; it has always been excluded from participating in the peace process itself. . . .  The reason for this omission lies in the prevailing view of the “Palestinian problem” as one primarily concerning Palestinians in the Occupied Territories and, secondarily, those in the Diaspora.
___This view, however, is too narrow. More than ever before, the “Palestinian problem” goes beyond the demand for statehood by Palestinians in the territories . . . the growing ethno-national conflict within Israel today between Israeli Jews and Palestinian Arabs should be viewed as part of the larger conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.
[. . . .]
___Only a . . . solution that also involves improving the status and rights of the Palestinian minority within Israel can really resolve the century-long conflict between Zionism and Palestinian nationalism.

  • Waxman, Dov. “Israel’s Palestinian Minority in the Two-State Solution: The Missing Dimension.” Middle East Policy 18.4 (2011): 68-82.   ARTICLE.

Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan
June 13, 2016
The Minister of Internal Security and public prosecution agreed to release the bodies of Palestinian bodies without setting any deadlines.
___Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud explained that the public prosecution responded today to the appeal he had submitted to the Supreme Court saying that after the Minister of Internal Security and police discussed all the procedures that came with releasing Martyrs’ bodies, they agreed to release the bodies to their families on conditions. . . . Another condition was also added which gives the police the option to choose the Islamic cemetery where the bodies will be buried.      MORE . . .

Al-Issawiya, where new illegal settlements will be built in occupied East Jerusalem, has come under restrictions. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Oct. 21, 20150)

The Palestinian Information Center
June 14, 2016
Reports have recently been released by Israeli pro-settlement groups on an Israeli plan to build 258 illegal settlement units in Occupied Jerusalem.
___These groups, one of which is affiliated with the Israeli army, said the planning committee in Occupied Jerusalem will discuss a scheme on Thursday June, 22 to build 258 settlement units on Palestinian lands in the villages of al-Issawiya, al-Tur, and Lefta.
___734 dunums of Palestinian lands have been confiscated by the Israeli occupation authorities to establish the projected Jewish settlement outpost.     MORE . . .
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 13, 2016      MORE . . .

[. . . .] In reality, Palestinian citizens were discriminated against in all areas of public life since the early years of the young state, decades before Netanyahu’s government flooded the Knesset with racist bills.
___The 2010 report from Adalah, the Legal Centre for Arab Minority rights in Israel, identified over 30 laws that discriminate directly or indirectly against Palestinian citizens in terms of citizenship issues, the right to political participation, land and housing rights, educational, cultural and language rights, religious rights, and during detention on security charges . . . .
___If we look at the Law of Return (1950) and the Citizenship Law (1952), both are fundamentally discriminatory and serve to bolster the Jewish nature of the state . . . two laws allow Jews to immigrate freely to Israel from any part of the world and to gain citizenship, but exclude Palestinians who were forced to flee their homes between 1947-52, denying them any internationally recognised legal rights.
___In 2003, the government in Tel Aviv enacted the Citizenship and Entry into Israel Law, publicly known as the ‘family unification law’. This law denies the right to Israeli residency or citizenship status to Palestinians from the Occupied Palestinian Territories, even if they are married to citizens of Israel (Jewish or Arab).
___Since 1948, the state of Israel has passed a series of laws that allowed it to systematically confiscate and transfer Palestinian-owned land to the state . . . .  Today, Palestinian citizens, who constitute a fifth of Israel’s population, own only 3-3.5% of the land, compared to 48% under Palestinian ownership in 1948. This massive land confiscation and its transfer to Zionist organisations was executed through two laws from the early 1950s . . .     ARTICLE.



Rub your face in the dust, say: This is my land!
Each particle sings that it is holy,
Free hearts lie buried in it,
How can I not make it my bed?
Stand at the Yarmuk, and look. Do you see,
The procession of history, with hope at its head?
The dust-trails rising from beyond the hill,
On the plains, cavalry ranked in rows?
The songs of victory are heard even now,
The chants of love from every valley rise.
Or do you see the Yarmuk bathed in tears,
Hitting far, far beyond the hosts?
My country, you are seeds of hope,
Watered by the tears of my heart.
What has wounded you?
Speak! The ruses of your sons, or of your foes?
Do not say that this is dead ground,
For it embraces those who were truly alive.
Protect that generation in the womb of your earth,
For free blood still calls, and is heard.



“. . . scattered forever in the light of the impossible . . .” (Sulafa Hijjawi)

Residents of al-Walaje survey the destruction following the demolition of three homes in the village overnight on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. (Photo: +972 Magazine, April 14, 2016)
Residents of al-Walaje survey the destruction following the demolition of three homes in the village overnight on Tuesday, April 12, 2016. (Photo: +972 Magazine, April 14, 2016)

❶ Jerusalem demolishes Palestinian homes beyond the wall for first time
❷ EU Missions Concerned at Re-launching of Work on Separation Barrier
❸ ‘Peace Now’ and Israeli gov’t go head to head over new settler units
❹ Settlers Prevent Palestinian Farmer from Accessing his land near Bethlehem
❻ POETRY by Sulafa Hijjawi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
+972 Blog
Aviv Tatarsky
April 14, 2016
Israeli authorities destroy three homes in al-Walaje, a village that was partially annexed to Jerusalem, yet has been totally neglected by the municipality. . . .
___The demolitions in al-Walaja may have far-reaching consequences . . . . Ever since the beginning of the construction of the separation wall . . . Israel refrained from demolition homes there.      MORE . . .  

View of Ein Karem village, West Jerusalem, pre-1947. From BEFORE THEIR DIASPORA: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE PALESTINIANS 1876-1948. Commentary by Walid Khalidi. Washington, D.C. Institute for Palestine Studies, 2010.
View of Ein Karem village, West Jerusalem, pre-1947. From BEFORE THEIR DIASPORA: A PHOTOGRAPHIC HISTORY OF THE PALESTINIANS 1876-1948. Commentary by Walid Khalidi. Washington, D.C. Institute for Palestine Studies, 2010.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 16, 2016
The EU Missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed deep concern over the re-launching of works for the construction of the separation barrier in the Cremisan valley . . .  said a statement issued on Friday by the EU press office.
___The statement noted that once built, the barrier will severely restrict access of almost 60 Palestinian families to their agricultural land, profoundly affecting their livelihoods.
___“EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah recall the EU’s strong opposition to Israel’s settlement policy and actions taken in this context, such as building the separation barrier . . . .      MORE . . .  

Ma’an News Agency  
April 15, 2016
Israeli settlement watchdog ‘Peace Now’ has rejected Israeli government claims that more than 200 settler homes approved this week were already built, saying the approval will go toward new housing units.
___The watchdog reported Wednesday that the Israeli government had given the green light to another 267 homes in Israel’s Jewish-only settlements, bringing the total number of new units approved this year to 941.      MORE . . .   

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 16, 2016
Israeli settlers Saturday denied a Palestinian farmer access into his farmland near al-Khader town, south of Bethlehem, said security sources.
___A group of settlers from Neve Daniyyel, an illegal Israeli settlement to the southwest of Bethlehem, denied Ibrahim Salah access into his land and farmed it.
___Al-Khader is an agricultural town known for its grape vines. Israel has seized thousands of acres of the town’s land and uprooted olive trees for settlement, bypass road and wall construction.      MORE . . .   

The Palestinian Information Center
Khalid Amayreh
Like apartheid South Africa did to justify its repulsive approach toward its majority black citizens, Israel is making all sorts of similarly despicable arguments to justify its decades-old evil occupation and systematic persecution of Palestinians . . .  the apartheid South African regime had argued that black South Africans ought to be grateful to the White regime for giving them employment and enabling them to have a semblance of decent life. . . .
___What is wrong with this argument is that it doesn’t really distinguish between humans and animals. In the final analysis, humans, unlike animals, don’t live by bread alone. They are also entitled to freedom and dignity.      MORE . . .

Ein Karem as it is today, an upscale Jewish suburb nestled in the hills in southwest Jerusalem. An example of re-population of Palestinian villages. By Gila Brand, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4059455
Ein Karem as it is today, an upscale Jewish suburb nestled in the hills in southwest Jerusalem. An example of re-population of Palestinian villages.
By Gila Brand, CC BY 2.5, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=4059455


At night, orders came to the soldiers
to destroy our lovely village, Zeita.***
Zeita! Bride of trees,
of blooming tulips,
spark of the winds!

The soldiers came in the dark
while the sons of the village
the trees and field and flowerbuds
clung to Zeita
hugging her for shelter . . .

“Orders demand that all of you depart
Zeita will be destroyed before the night ends.”

But we held tight, chanting:
Zeita is the land, the heart of the land,
and we her people are its branches.

That’s how people fall―
a few moments of resistance,
so Zeita remains an eternal embrace across the nights
In moments she was rubble,
not a single bread oven remained.
Men and stones
were pasted and powdered by enemy tractors,
scattered forever in the light of the impossible.

Now in the evenings
in the song of our wind,
Zeita arises, igniting its scarlet spark
upon the plains
And by morning
Zeita returns to the fields
as tulips do.

Night is morning in Zeita,
Night is morning.
―Translated by May Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye

*** Zeita was depopulated during the 1948 Arab-Israeli War, July 17–18, 1948. Its inhabitants became refugees, ending up the West Bank and Gaza Strip. All that remains of the village structures is the well that served as its main water source.

Sulafa Hijjawi, Palestinian poet and researcher, was born in Nablus, 1934. She lived in Iraq and married Iraqi poet Kazim Jawad. She has published several studies and translations, most importantly, Poetry of Resistance in Occupied Palestine (1982).
From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.