“. . . made of two threads from the sacks of relief flour . . .” (Khaled Abdallah)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
| OCHA:  ‘ISRAELI  FORCES,  SETTLERS’  RAIDS  INTO  PALESTINIAN  SCHOOLS  INCREASED’ 
The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the Occupied Palestinian Territory confirmed, that since the beginning of 2018 there has been a significant increase in incidents involving the entry of Israeli forces and settlers into Palestinian schools.    ___In OCHA’s biweekly Protection of Civilians Report covering the period from 6th to 19th of November, it said that in the West Bank, 63 Palestinian children and nine adults were injured by Israeli forces during four separate raids into schools, one of which also involved Israeli settlers.   More . . .
. . . . Background  [. . . .] ISRAEL signed the Geneva Conventions on 6 July 1951, and the Additional Protocol III (relating to the Adoption of an Additional Distinctive Emblem, 2005) on 22 November 2007. Moreover, it became SIGNATORY  TO  THE  CONVENTION  FOR  THE  RIGHTS  OF  THE  CHILD  (CRC) on 3 October 1991, and signed the Optional Protocol to the CRC on 18 July 2005. All 8 fundamental ILO conventions have been ratified by Israel.
. . . . Related  Over 700 road obstacles control Palestinian movement within the West Bank: OCHA
| WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (14  –  21  NOVEMBER  2018) 

  • Israeli forces continue systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) (14 – 21 November 2018)
  • Israeli Forces Killed a Fisherman in the Northern Gaza Strip
  • Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip
  • 113 civilians, including 25 children, 3 women, 3 journalists, and 6 paramedics were wounded. More . . .

. . . . Related  Israeli Soldiers Abduct Two Palestinians In Hebron
. . . . Related  Four Protesters Injured at Kafr Qaddoum
. . . . Related  Israeli Soldiers Injure Fourteen Palestinians In Gaza
. . . . Related  Israeli settlers vandalize mosque, spray racist slogans in Beit Iksa
| HAMAS  PUBLISHES  IMAGES  OF  ‘ISRAELIS  INVOLVED  IN  GAZA  COVERT  UNIT’  
The armed wing of the Hamas group has published photos of what it says are members of an Israeli covert operations unit that infiltrated the Gaza Strip on November 11.    ___The Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades posted pictures of eight alleged members of the Israeli force, including two women, on its official website, as well as pictures of two vehicles used by the force during the botched operation.    ___In a statement, the group called on Palestinians to communicate to them any information they might have regarding the persons but provided no further details on the identities of those pictured.    ___Israel’s army censor issued a statement shortly afterwards calling on the public and news media not to distribute the photos or information relating to them.  “Hamas is attempting to understand and analyse the incident. . .    More . . .
. . . . Related  How  Hamas’  rocket  barrage  affects  Israeli  defense  policy
. . . . Related  Is  Russia  full-on  supporting  Hamas?
. . . . Related  Unease  and  apprehension  lie  over  Gaza  following  Israeli  truce

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
GAZA  (YASSER  ARAFAT)  INTERNATIONAL  AIRPORT:  20  YEARS  LATER  
By Zakaria al-Madhoun
On this day, 20 years ago, the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat inaugurated Gaza International Airport in Rafah, the most southern point in the Gaza Strip.     ___That day was not like any other day, recalled Mohammad el-Baz, who covered the event live for Palestine TV. “Inaugurating the airport was not a normal development for the Palestinian people and leadership represented by Yasser Arafat.”    ___Gaza International Airport, also called Yasser Arafat Airport, had one runway 3080 meters long and 60 meters wide. Construction on the airport started in January 1996 when Arafat laid the foundation stone for the airport.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“MINT,”  BY  KHALED  ABDALLAH
I walk barefoot into my mother’s talk,
the dusty square, the garden chair, the dancer’s kerchief, the wind,
eyes from windows opposite, a moon dangled between two palm
fronds and another moon at the window.
The dancer has a bird’s fluttering heart that no chest can contain.
A jug sprinkles water to settle the dust.
The flute’s lip is wet with its player’s saliva. Like children’s saliva
on the throat of a balloon. This time your heart’s demons will keep it
like the color of your first school uniform. But if the accordion went mad
the women who believe in luck will say this boy is jinxed.
They would prepare a necklace for him made of two threads from the sacks
of relief flour and the bones of extinct animals and yellow
fangs. I return barefoot to mother’s talk. “Another moon at the window”
“Build some corners in your heart, my love, and hide your mint
plants among them.”

—Translated by Khaled Mattawa
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.

 

 

“. . . when Mother Earth runs out of room for you and me . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA
Illustrative: Smoke from Gaza City after Israeli aircraft bombed it on November 30, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|     ISRAEL  CARRIES  OUT  CAMPAIGN  OF  AIRSTRIKES  ACROSS  GAZA
Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrikes’ campaign across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday.   ___Local sources said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles towards a military site belonging to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah district, in southern Gaza.    ___Sources confirmed that Israeli warplanes targeted a site in Khan Younis district, also in southern Gaza.    ___Israeli warplanes also targeted a site in al-Shiekh Zayid City, in northern Gaza.    ___No injuries were reported, however, the airstrikes led to extensive material damages in the targeted areas.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli forces shoot, injure 8 Palestinians in Gaza
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (18–24  OCTOBER  2018)     Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip:   ___A Palestinian youngster was killed in eastern Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.   342 civilians, including 60 children, 4 women, 6 journalists and 3 paramedics, were wounded; 14 of them sustained serious wounds.    ___Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 6 others in the West Bank.    ___Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the protestors and wounded two of them.   More . . .
|    ISRAEL  TO  CONFISCATE  THOUSANDS  OF  DUNUMNS  THROUGH  EXPANDING  BYPASS  ROAD
Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) on Wednesday approved the expansion of bypass road 60, which runs between Jerusalem and Hebron.    ___Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijiya told WAFA news agency that Israeli Minister of Communications Yisrael Katz gave orders to start expanding the street according to a plan to surround Al-Arroub refugee camp. . .     More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  seize  house  after  forcing  Palestinian  owners  to  leave  at  gunpoint

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|   EMBRACING  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDUCATION:  A  STORY  OF  HOPE,  DETERMINATION,  AND  SUCCESS
Paula Malan
It all started 25 years ago when  Mr.  Heikki  Kokkala,  a  senior  education  specialist  from  Finland,  and the late Mr. Khalil Mahshi, then director general of external relations at the Ministry of Education in Palestine, met at a UNESCO conference on education. This was a time when educationists globally had started to pay more attention to the effectiveness of education systems and to the assessment of learning outcomes.    ___In Palestine, work had already started on developing the first-ever unified national curriculum which would replace the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula used in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.  [. . . .] At the same time, the Finnish government was looking for ways to support the newly established Palestinian Authority and decided to direct its support to the education sector.    ___Thus, Mr. Kokkala and Mr. Mahshi, with their many colleagues, began to design the  first  cooperation  project  between  Finland  and  Palestine.    More . . .

EDUCATION  IN  EAST  JERUSALEM
– There are 87,277 students enrolled in schools, including basic education (grades 1 to 10) and secondary education (grades 11 and 12).
– Approximately 4,300 children are not enrolled in any educational institution.
– Thirty-three percent of children in East Jerusalem fail to complete a full 12 years of schooling.
– Provision of education is fragmented across five different providers: the Palestinian Ministry of Education operating under the Jordanian Islamic Awqaf umbrella, the private sector, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, and the contractor’s schools that are financed by the Israeli Authorities.
– There is a chronic shortage of classrooms, estimated at around 2,200, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 3 to 4 percent.
– The area available in class for every student is approximately 0.5 square meters, less than the international standards that recommend at least 1.25 square meters.
– Twenty percent of students and teachers and 40 percent of school staff cross a checkpoint on a daily basis to access their schools.
Source: 2016 Jerusalem Directorate of Education Statistics/Geo-mapping Data

. . . . Related    ‘A  cruel  choice’:  Why  Israel  targets  Palestinian  schools

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“LULLABY,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD
I’ll etch your name
on a secret star
we’ll both go there
on frightful nights

when Mother Earth
runs out of room
for you and me

I’ll hold you tight
and sing you songs
of a distant land
beyond the stars

and watch you grow
between my heart
and the highest high

I’ll draw your face
on a single seed
and hold your palm
to face the sun

when you’re awake
and call out my name
don’t moan or cry

I’ll return
to raise your hand
at a shooting star
and with for you

another day
another sun
another world

where Palestine
is a mountain top
of soil and air
and a purple sky

For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.

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

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

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

  • Background from journal Middle East Policy (lengthy excerpt)

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

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

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

“GAZA,  2009,”  BY  JEHAN  BSEISO

No matter white flag.

No matter medicine.
No matter civilian.

No matter international community.

No matter your international waters.

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

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

Even more walls.

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

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

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

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

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

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