“. . . We wait for the promise of July And the joyous dance . . .” (Jabra Ibrahim Jabra)

IMG_3102 - Copy - CopyFrom the  WALL  MUSEUM  in Bethlehem.
(Photo: Harold Knight, November 6, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
PALESTINIANS  GEARING  UP  FOR  ANTI-OCCUPATION  PROTESTS  AT  GAZA  BORDER 
The Higher National Commission of the March of Return and Breaking the Siege has called on the Palestinian masses to take part in the large-scale protests set to be staged on Friday along Gaza’s borderlands.    ___The Higher Commission said in a statement that the peaceful protests make part of Palestinians’ struggle to liberate their land, lift the siege on Gaza, and thwart the US-drafted deal of the century.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israel returns fishing boats, tools to Gaza
. . . . Related  Gaza hospitals overwhelmed by wounded in Israeli violence: Report
. . . . Related  Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (22 – 28 November 2018)
CHRISTMAS  2018  PREPARATIONS  WELL  UNDERWAY  IN  BETHLEHEM:  “A  FEAST  OF  PEACE,  HOPE  AND  JUSTICE”
Preparations for Christmas 2018 are well underway according to the Press Conference held at the Bethlehem Peace Center today. With the world’s spotlight beaming down this December on the city – the birthplace of Jesus Christ – the municipality of Bethlehem announced that the theme of this Christmas is ‘Being and Existence’.    ___The mayor of Bethlehem, Anton Salman, explained that this Christmas is a time to show the world that the Palestinian people “are rooted in this land, just as the trees are”. The Palestinian people “are one community, regardless of different religions”, the mayor said, squelching any notion that the occupation had spread of the oppression of Palestinian Christians by its Muslim majority.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Bethlehem Prepares to Celebrate Christmas 2018
| ASHRAWI  URGES  EBU  NOT  TO  BROADCAST  EUROVISION  IN  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS
Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee Member, Hanan Ashrawi, called upon the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) to respect the Palestinian people’s rights by not broadcasting any Eurovision Song Contest events in Israel’s illegal settlements.    ___Ashrawi said, in a statement, that giving Israel the privilege of hosting the 2019 Eurovision amounts to rewarding it for and helping it to conceal its decades-old military occupation and grave violations of Palestinian national and human rights.    [. . . . ] Last week, three Manchester, UK-based pro-Palestine groups called on European artists and performers to Boycott Eurovision 2019 hosted by Israel, while over 140 artists, including musicians, writers, actors, directors, novelists and poets had signed a letter calling for the event’s boycott.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Japan funds project to enhance water quality in West Bank town
. . . . Related  Palestinian Forum in Britain Organizes Largest Palestinian Festival in London
. . . . Related  Alray International Media Watch from Alray Palestinian Media Agency (Nov. 29, 2018)

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| ZIONISM:  CYCLES  OF  TRAUMA  AND  AGGRESSION  IN  THE  SERVICE  OF  SETTLER  COLONIALISM
By Yoav Litvin
The origins of Zionism are profoundly misunderstood by many. This is not coincidental and can be seen largely as the result of propaganda, which opportunistically and erroneously asserts that Zionism is the natural expression of Judaism.    ___In fact, Zionism gained traction among some Jews only in the late 19th  century in response to antisemitism and romantic European nationalist movements. Zionists syncretized many white supremacist, antisemitic, messianic and fascistic racialized dogmas and were thus overwhelmingly unpopular among most Jews, who viewed the ideals of the enlightenment–emancipation, equality and integration – as their target.    [. . . .] In response to antisemitism, Zionists embraced their fear and contempt of their abusers to produce defensive aggression, reinventing identity in a reactionary attempt to ensure survival and restore  pride. The reward of violence–power-quickly enticed Zionist leaders to morph what began as a defensive strategy into an offensive one that culminated with a settler colonialist vision of a homeland in Palestine at the expense of its Indigenous population, the existing Palestinian people.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli journalist lectures against ‘Zionist racism’ in Prague

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“IN  THE  DESERTS  OF  EXILE,”  BY  JABRA  IBRAHIM  JABRA
Spring after spring,
in the deserts of exile,
What are we doing with our love,
When our eyes are full of frost and dust?

Our Palestine, green land of ours;
Its flowers as if embroidered of women’s gowns;
March adorns its hills
With the jewel-like peony and narcissus;
April bursts open in its plains
With flowers and bride-like blossoms;
May is our rustic song
Which we sing at noon, in the blue shadows,
Among the olive trees in our valleys,
And in the ripeness of the fields we wait for the promise of July
And the joyous dance amidst the harvest.

O land of ours where our childhood passed
Like dreams in the shade of the orange grove,
Among the almond trees in the valleys―
Remember us now wandering
Among the thorns of the desert,
Wandering in rocky mountains;
Remember us now
In the tumult of cities beyond deserts and seas;
Remember us with our eyes full of dust
That never clears in our ceaseless wandering.
They crushed the flowers on the hills around us,
Destroyed the houses over our heads,
Scattered our torn remains
Then unfolded the desert before us,
With valleys writhing in hunger
And blue shadows
Scattered into red thorns
Bent over corpses left as prey for falcon and crow.

Is it from your hills that the angels sang to the shepherds
Of peace on earth and goodwill among men?
Only death laughed when it saw
Among the entrails of beasts
The ribs of men,
And through the guffaw of bullets
It went dancing a joyous dance
On the heads of weeping women.
Our land is an emerald,
But in the deserts of exile,
Spring after spring,
Only the dust hisses in our face.
What then, what are we doing with our love,
When our eyes and our mouth are full of frost and dust?

–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.
(“Jabra Ibrahim Jabra’s Baghdad Home Destroyed; 
The End of an Era?”)

“Under the yoke of our mornings . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

ISRAELI DESTRUCTION of Palestinian business in Nilin Town. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, April 7, 2016)
ISRAELI DESTRUCTION of Palestinian business in Nilin Town. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, April 7, 2016)

❶ Israeli forces continue demolition campaign across West Bank
❷ Premier Office: Israel’s Movement Restrictions Violate 4th Geneva Convention
❸ Japan Donates $7M to Support UNICEF Interventions in Palestine
❹ Palestinian hunger-striker’s health worsens as Israel moves another [prisoner] to solitary
❺ Opinion/Analysis: THE  FICTION  OF  AUTONOMY  IN  RAMALLAH  IS  MAKING  THE  OCCUPATION  STRONGER
❻ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  CONTINUE  DEMOLITION  CAMPAIGN  ACROSS  WEST  BANK
Ma’an News Agency
April 7, 2016
Israeli forces demolished structures across the occupied West Bank in Nilin, Khirbet Tana, and Khan al-Ahmar on Thursday according to local sources and the United Nations.
___An industrial structure and a slaughterhouse were demolished in the village of Nilin in the central West Bank district of Ramallah.
___Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces demolished a structure for painting vehicles in Nilin belonging to Khalid and Yassir Isteih, employing some 15 Palestinians.   MORE . . .

❷ PREMIER  OFFICE:  ISRAEL’S  MOVEMENT  RESTRICTIONS  VIOLATE  4TH  GENEVA  CONVENTION
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 7, 2016
Increasing Israeli checkpoints in the occupied Palestinian Territories punish the entire Palestinian population, which is a form of collective punishment, and therefore violate the Fourth Geneva Convention, the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) said in a statement Thursday.
___The statement said: “In addition to the 85 fixed checkpoints in the West Bank, hundreds of “flying” checkpoints were erected each month, making travel between Palestinian towns and villages almost impossible.”       MORE . . .  

During rush hour, Dec. 3, 2015, Israeli forces set up “FLYING” CHECKPOINTS at all entrances to occupied al-Khalil, resulting in endless queues of Palestinians on their way to visit family over the weekend, Dec. 4 & 5. (Photo: International Solidarity Movement, Dec. 7, 2015)
Dec. 3, 2015, Israeli forces set up “FLYING” CHECKPOINTS at all entrances to occupied al-Khalil, resulting in endless queues of Palestinians on their way to visit family over the weekend. (Photo: International Solidarity Movement, Dec. 7, 2015)

JAPAN  DONATES  $7M  TO  SUPPORT  UNICEF  INTERVENTIONS  IN  PALESTINE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 7, 2016
The Government of Japan has donated $7 million in support of UNICEF’s humanitarian and development response to children in Palestine.
___This new grant will enable UNICEF and partners to implement interventions which are critical for children’s well-being and protection from violence, and to ensure their access to basic services such as education, water and sanitation, protection or health and nutrition.      MORE . . .  

❹  PALESTINIAN  HUNGER-STRIKER’S  HEALTH  WORSENS  AS  ISRAEL  MOVES  ANOTHER  [PRISONER]  TO  SOLITARY
Ma’an News Agency
April 7, 2016
The health of hunger-striking Palestinian prisoner Sami al-Janazreh has begun to seriously deteriorate after 36 days without food, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Thursday.
___Meanwhile, The Palestine Prisoners’ Center for Studies reported on Thursday that Israeli prisons services moved prisoner Adib Muhammad Jamal Mafarjeh into solitary confinement to pressure him to end his open-ended hunger strike.      MORE . . .  

Opinion/Analysis:  THE  FICTION  OF  AUTONOMY  IN  RAMALLAH  IS  MAKING  THE  OCCUPATION  STRONGER
+972 Magazine
By Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
April 6, 201
A nearly averted shootout outside Abbas’s house in Ramallah has led to renewed talks about restoring Palestinian autonomy in parts of the West Bank. But outside the framework of a peace process, such steps only help the occupation endure.      MORE . . .   

“HOMELAND,”  BY  IBRAHIM  NASRALLAH

Under the yoke of our mornings

the sun crumbles

and in the darkness of our steps

our panting breath is on fire

these incomplete homelands

in which we appear to be

nothing more than prisoners of war

Reproduced from WORLD POETRY MOVEMENT 
About IBRAHIM NASRALLAH
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“. . . there’s still some hope, behind that nearby dune . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

2015: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala celebrated Palm Sunday with palms and flowers before joining the local Catholic Church for a procession through Beit Jala. (Photos: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Website)
2015: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala celebrated Palm Sunday with palms and flowers before joining the local Catholic Church for a procession through Beit Jala. (Photos: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Website)

❶ Unidentified assailants set fire to home of 2015 Duma arson witness
❷ 850 Gaza Christians receive permits to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem
❸ Shanti: Gaza suffers from a serious water crisis
❹ Japan Deplores Israel’s Decision to Expropriate Thousands of Dumuns in Jericho
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ECONOMIC POLICIES ENTRENCH ISRAELI OCCUPATION
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
UNIDENTIFIED  ASSAILANTS  SET  FIRE  TO  HOME  OF  2015  DUMA  ARSON  WITNESS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
20 Mar. 2016
Unidentified assailants on Saturday night set fire to a house in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank, targeting the only witness of an arson attack that killed a Palestinian family last year.
___.  . .  unidentified attackers threw Molotov cocktails at the house of Ibrahim Dawabsha at 2 a.m. and broke a window while he and his family were sleeping. . . .  Dawabsha was the only witness of the deadly arson attack carried out by extremist Israeli settlers on the home of Saad and Riham Dawabsha in the northern West Bank village on July 30 last year.      MORE . . .

850  GAZA  CHRISTIANS  RECEIVE  PERMITS  TO  CELEBRATE  EASTER  IN  JERUSALEM
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
19 Mar. 2016
Hundreds of Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip will travel to celebrate Easter in Bethlehem and occupied East Jerusalem after the Israeli authorities agreed to grant them permits, a Palestinian Authority official said Saturday.
___Muhammad al-Maqadma, a public information officer for the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs, told Ma’an that Israel had granted around 850 permits to Gaza Christians of different ages to travel to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.       MORE . . .
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SHANTI:  GAZA  SUFFERS  FROM  A  SERIOUS  WATER CRISIS
THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
20 Mar. 2016
The water authority in Gaza has warned that the besieged enclave suffers from a severe water shortage in its coastal aquifer, which is the primary source for getting water.
___This came during “an interview with an official,” which was organized on Sunday by the government’s information office in Gaza City in the presence of a reporter from the Palestinian Information Center (PIC). Head of the water authority Yaser al-Shanti described the water situation in Gaza as very dangerous.      MORE . . . 

JAPAN  DEPLORES  ISRAEL’S  DECISION  TO  EXPROPRIATE  THOUSANDS  OF  DUMUNS  IN  JERICHO
PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
20 Mar. 2016
The Government of Japan Sunday deplored the Israeli government’s decision to expropriate nearly 2,342 dunums near the West Bank district of Jericho, under the pretext of being classified as ‘state land’.
___“The announcement by the Government of Israel clearly contradicts the ongoing efforts by the international community toward a two-state solution,” said the statement . . . .      MORE . . .

OPINION/ANALYSIS:   ECONOMIC  POLICIES  ENTRENCH  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
Nassar Ibrahim
20 Mar. 2016
The Palestinian economy has not been independent in centuries. Like the economies of other Arab countries, the Palestinian economy was subject to foreign control and looting for four centuries under Ottoman rule. Next, British colonial rule lorded over Palestine, until the Nakba uprooted Palestinians from their land in 1948. Following Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Israeli colonial powers took control of the Palestinian economy. All of this made the already weak Palestinian economy an easy target for manipulation and destruction. Israeli management of the Palestinian economy has created deep structural disparities in Palestinian society.       MORE . . .

“OASIS,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Behind this dune we have an oasis. Leave me alone.
Leave me to rinse myself off in a bit
of its mirage. I’m tired of running after myself
to catch myself before I die.
Take―old friends and my companions―my body,
the shadow of its body’s shadow,
and hold it for a while, so I can reach my time in time.
Behind this dune we have an oasis.
Sustain your longing with dates and water,
without despair.
Listen with me to the songs of the girls
beneath the palms, but do not follow
the voice of my silence.
We have, friends, the right to die as we desire.
But there’s still some hope, behind that nearby dune.
And we have the right to make the stranger
a stranger’s friend, and we have an oasis―
and a bit of rest in the house
of the loved one who left us.
He will come from behind this dune.

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  NEW  AND  SELECTED  POEMS.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Amazon
Samih al-Qasim Obituary,
August 20, 2014
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