“. . . At night, we wait for dreams, dressed up as priestesses of fog. . .” (Sami Muhanna)

Al-Aqsa Mosques (NE exposure)
Al-Aqsa Mosques (NE exposure)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
JEWISH RIGHTISTS TOUR AL-AQSA COMPOUND, ASSAULT PALESTINIAN WOMEN
Sunday, March 22, 2015

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Dozens of ultra-Orthodox Jews toured the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on Sunday morning under the protection of Israeli forces, while Israeli police detained Palestinians even as groups of settlers reportedly assaulted worshipers nearby.

A spokesman for the Jerusalem office of the Palestinian Ministry of Endowments told Ma’an that 127 “extremist Jewish settlers” entered the compound via the Moroccan Gate in groups.
[. . . ]
One of the settlers tried to “tear off his clothes inside the compound before security guards intervened and stopped him,” said an eyewitness, who told Ma’an he believed the act was part of religious ritual.

Israeli police officers, who entered the compound to protect the settlers, chased Palestinian worshipers including children and women.
[. . . ]
Settlers also assaulted a group of Palestinian women outside the Chain Gate who were unable to access the compound after an Israeli court decision banned them from visiting the Al-Aqsa mosque compound. [See next item for background.]
(More. . . . )

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL COURT BANS 4 WOMEN FROM ENTERING AQSA COMPOUND
Thursday, February 26, 2015

JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — An Israeli court on Thursday banned four Palestinian women from entering the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound for periods of between 10 and 60 days, a lawyer said.

The women were detained on Wednesday as they were leaving the holy site and taken for interrogation at a local police station, lawyer Ramze Kteilat told Ma’an.
[. . . ]
It is unclear why the women were banned.
(More. . . )

Israeli Soldiers blockading entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque
Israeli Soldiers blockading entrance to Al-Aqsa Mosque

from PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
PALESTINIANS DECRY ISRAELI COURT’S RULING TO UPHOLD JEWISH PRAYER IN AL-AQSA COMPOUND
JERUSALEM,
March 4, 2015
Palestinian organizations criticized the Jerusalem Magistrate’s Court ruling which ostensibly backs claims that Jews are allowed to pray in al-Aqsa Mosque compound.

While Jewish extremists praised the ruling and considered it a “historic victory” as Israeli media sources reported, al-Aqsa Foundation for Islamic Waqf and Heritage published a report claiming that the move aims to legalize Jewish control over the Islamic site.

On Sunday, Judge Malka Aviv said the police ban on far-right extremist Yehudah Glick visiting the compound was issued “without appropriate consideration, was arbitrary, and only out of concern for the consequences of the broadcast.”
[. . . ]
The extremist Glick, who is known for his regular attempts to legalize prayer at the compound, was banned by the Israeli police from entering the compound and attempting to pray there, as the action will “inevitably” trigger Palestinians.
[. . . ]
And the judge insisted that Jews have a right to pray in the compound. Following the ruling, Glick’s lawyer said, “Starting from today, all Jews are allowed to pray on the Temple Mount. There is no longer any crime in prayer itself.” While Jews considered the ruling as a first step that will eventually allow all Jews to pray in the compound, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has “committed to upholding the so-called status quo” in November 2014.
(More. . . )

from THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
Opinion/Editorial
THE MESSAGES FROM ISRAEL’S ELECTION
Ilan Pappe
Friday, March 20, 2015
Those of us who know the nature of the beast could not have been surprised by the results of the Israeli election.

Like many of my friends, I was also relieved that a liberal Zionist government was not elected. It would have allowed the charade of the “peace process” and the illusion of the two-state solution to linger on while the suffering of the Palestinians continues.

As always, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu himself provided the inevitable conclusion when he declared the end of the two-state solution — inviting us all to the long overdue funeral of an ill-conceived idea that provided Israel with international immunity for its colonialist project in Palestine.

The power of the charade was on show when the world and local pundits unrealistically predicted a victory for liberal Zionism, an Israeli ideological trend that is near extinction — embodied by the Zionist Union list headed by Isaac Herzog and Tzipi Livni.
(More. . . )

from THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
JERUSALEM OF THE SPIRIT: SUFISM, MYSTICISM, AND THE SUBLIME
Dr. Ali Qleibo
Issue #203, March 2015
The mere name, Al-Quds, triggers an emotional, affectional upsurge in every Muslim heart and mind, wherein nostalgia, piety, and the love of God and his prophet Mohammed meet. Pilgrimage to Jerusalem in the footsteps of the Prophet Muhammad is a spiritual journey leading to a process of religious transformation, and touching the deepest aspects of the human spirit. It is a mystical rite of passage that promotes one’s personal connection with God.

The lore of Jerusalem as the axis mundi –the symbolic center of the world where the four compass directions meet– reverberates throughout Islamic history. Inspired by Prophet Mohammad’s Night Journey to Jerusalem to connect with God, the pious believe that travel and correspondence between Heaven and Earth, between the higher and lower realms, is possible at Al-Aqsa Mosque. Communication from the lower realms may ascend to the higher ones, and blessings from the higher realms may descend to the lower realms. Jerusalem functions as the omphalos (navel), the world’s point of beginning, inflaming Muslim passion with yearning for the holy city.
(More. . . )
Dr. Ali Qleibo is an anthropologist, author, and artist. A specialist in the social history of Jerusalem and Palestinian peasant culture, he is the author of Before the Mountains Disappear, Jerusalem in the Heart, and Surviving the Wall, an ethnographic chronicle of contemporary Palestinians and their roots in ancient Semitic civilisations. Dr. Qleibo lectures at Al-Quds University.


“RHYTHMS OF THE NIGHT,” BY SAMI MUHANNA

At night the heavens come closer
to wolves.
At night, quiet is transparent,
treads on the carpet of the horizon of contemplation,
sees nothing but the breadth of its imagination.
At night, we listen to breaking hearts,
we grieve with the spirit’s dove,
we embrace our dreams.
At night, we remember and visualize,
mix colours into a paste of old wishes.
At night, we hear our true voice.
Night listens for childhood, in case it returns
and for love on the cusp of desire.
Night is the pulpit of our silence.
At night, directions don’t work.
At night, we lessen leaving
to the width of windows.
At night, we wait for dreams, dressed up
as priestesses of fog.
At night, details, distance and secrets encompass
the realm of infatuation.
Night writes
Without the restrictions
Of rhyme.

Translated by Katherine Sowerby
From A Bird Is not a Stone
Sami Muhanna is a poet and lawyer, and president and founder of the Arab Writers Union in Haifa. He is active in Palestinian political and academic affairs inside Israel.

Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform traditional Friday prayers in a street outside the Old City in east Jerusalem on October 17, 2014. The Israeli government has restricted access to the mosque for men under 50 years of age.
Israeli security forces stand guard as Palestinian Muslim worshipers perform traditional Friday prayers in a street outside the Old City in east Jerusalem on October 17, 2014. The Israeli government has restricted access to the mosque for men under 50 years of age.

“. . . Gaza is pregnant with people and no one helps with the labor. . .” (Nathalie Handal)

from GLOBAL POST
WHAT DO ISRAELI VOTERS SAY ABOUT GAZA? NOT A LOT.
Laura Dean
March 15, 2015

With media fixated on where Netanyahu falls in the polls, you don’t hear much about last summer’s war that left more than 2,100 Gazans dead.

Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Israeli-Arab party Balad, running for reelection. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/30/israeli-arab-flotilla-election
Haneen Zoabi, a member of the Israeli-Arab party Balad, running for reelection. http://www.theguardian.com/world/2012/dec/30/israeli-arab-flotilla-election

TEL AVIV, Israel — The first election in Israel since Operation Protective Edge will take place on March 17.

But while media has made much of the fact that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party is behind in the polls, one thing you don’t hear much about is the 51-day war last summer, which left more than 2,100 Gazans dead.

The war sparked an international outcry as the death toll rose and rose. Meanwhile, as Hamas and other armed groups in Gaza launched rockets at Israel, domestic support for the campaign grew ever stronger.

Seven months later, large swathes of the Gaza Strip still look as though an earthquake hit days before.

Yet across the border in Israel, with election campaigns in full swing, the war — Israel’s longest and by far its most violent with Gaza — is hardly mentioned. (More. . .)

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SOLDIERS OPEN FIRE ON HOMES, LANDS, IN SOUTHERN GAZA
by IMEMC & Agencies
March 15, 2015

Israeli soldiers, stationed across the border fence, fired on Monday morning rounds of live ammunition at Palestinian homes, and farmlands, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border, east of Khuza’a town to the east of Khan Younis, fired smoke bombs and a number of live rounds, causing property damage.

WAFA added that the farmers fled their lands following the shooting; no injuries were reported.

The army frequently attacks farmers and workers, in Palestinian lands and areas close to the border fence in the northern and eastern parts of the coastal region, and prevents them from entering their lands. (More. . .)


gaza injured child

from THE PALESTINE CHRONICLE
INJURED GAZANS RALLY TO SUPPORT VICTIMS OF ISRAELI OFFENSIVE
March 12, 2015

Hundreds of Palestinians injured during Israel’s summer offensive on the Gaza Strip on Thursday protested in Gaza City against what they say is official inaction for Palestinians disabled by Israeli warfare.

Participants in the protest called upon officials to form committees specializing in the affairs and rights of the wounded and to improve Palestinians’ access to medical care and medications, which are severely limited by the Israeli blockade of Gaza.

Protester Rami Dabbour told Ma’an that the number of injured Palestinians in Gaza reaches into the tens of thousands, estimating that around 74,000 Gazans live with some form of physical injury or disability as a result of Israeli attacks on the enclave of 1.8 million people. (More. . .)

from MONDOWEISS
NEOCON METEOR SEN. COTTON IS FUNDED BY ABRAMS, ADELSON AND KRISTOL AND LOVES WAR A LITTLE TOO MUCH –
Philip Weiss
March 11, 2015

. . . . The [Salt Lake City] Tribune labels Arkansas Senator Tom Cotton an “uber-hawk.” The letter is sure to define his career, and not in a good way. The Kansas City Star says:

On Tuesday, Tom Cotton, the freshman senator from Arkansas who started the letter, defended it and said he wasn’t a traitor.

The liberal Zionist group J Street says that Cotton was scripted by neoconservative Bill Kristol. Street is reveling in the letter because it is sure to drag the neoconservative rightwing Israel lobby down politically, marginalize the greater-Israel lobby in the far right wing of the Republican Party. Just as the Netanyahu speech has hurt Netanyahu and the Likud wing of the lobby, the Cotton letter is turning out to be an own-goal, scored by the neoconservatives. (More. . .)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL PREPARES TO EVICT PALESTINIAN FAMILY IN JERUSALEM
March 16, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an)

Israeli forces surrounded a Palestinian home in the Old City of Jerusalem on Monday in preparation to evict the family from the property, the owners told Ma’an.

Rafat Sub Laban told Ma’an that Israeli forces surrounded the property in the Old City early Monday and ordered the family to leave the house.

The family refused, and Israeli forces brought in equipment to remove the front door.

The family’s lawyer managed to delay the eviction for two hours in order to obtain a court order to halt the evacuation.

The Sub Laban family rented the property in 1956 from the Jordanian government and since that time have been paying rent as “protected tenants,” Rafat said.

Following the Israeli occupation in 1967, rental contracts with the Jordanian government were taken over by the Israeli authorities, specifically the Custodian of Absentee Property. These contracts are renewed annually until the Custodian objects. (More. . .)

from MADE IN PALESTINE (May 3 through October 23, 2003)
By NATHALIE HANDAL

Gaza City
I sit in a gray room on a bed with a gray blanket
and wait for the muezzin to stand up.
The chants enter my window and I think of all
those men and women bowing in prayer, fear escaping
them at every stroke, a new sadness entering
their spirit as their children line up in the streets
like prisoners in a death camp.
I walk towards the broken window
my head slightly slanted and try to catch a glimpse
of the city of spirits—those killed
who pass through the narrow opening of their tombs.
My hands and the side of my right face
against the cold wall, I hide like a slut, ashamed.
I pull the collar of my light blue robe so hard
it tears, one side hanging as everyone’s lives hang here.
My fingers sink deep into my flesh,
I scratch myself, three lines scar my chests,
three faiths pound in my head and I wonder
if God is buried in the rubble. Every house is a prison,
every room a dog cage. Debke is no longer part of life,
only funerals are. Gaza is pregnant
with people and no one helps with the labor.
There are no streets, no hospitals, no schools,
no airport, no air to breathe.
And here I am in a room behind a window,
helpless, useless.
In America, I would be watching television
listening to CNN saying the Israelis demand,
terrorism must stop. Here all I see is inflicted terror,
children who no longer know they are children.
Milosevic is put on trail, but what about Sharon?
I finally get dressed, stand directly in front of the window
and choke on my spit as the gun shots start,
the F-16 fighter jets pass in their daily routine.

More about Nathalie Handal. . .
nathalie handal