NEWS OF THE DAY
Israeli settlers storm northern Jordan Valley villages
Feb 21 2020
Thousands of Israeli settlers today stormed the northern Jordan Valley villages of al-Burj and Umm al-Qaba.
– – – – Aref Daraghmeh, a local activist, confirmed that Israeli forces escorted a convoy of buses packed with some 4,000 settlers into the two villages, where they stayed for over four hours. This came after Israel sealed off the main checkpoint of Tayaseer, east of Tubas city, in a prelude to the settlers’ encroachment into the villages.
– – – – The Jordan Valley, which is a fertile strip of land running west along the Jordan River, is home to about 65,000 Palestinians and makes up approximately 30% of the West Bank. Since 1967, when the Israeli army occupied the West Bank, Israel has transferred at least 11,000 of its Jewish citizens to the Jordan Valley. Some of the settlements in which they live were built almost entirely on private Palestinian land. More . . . .
Archbishop Hanna: “We Urge All Churches Globally To Reject Deal Of The Century”
Feb 20 2020
Archbishop of Sebastia Diocese Of the Greek Orthodox Church in occupied Jerusalem, Attallah Hanna, welcomed a delegation of the World Council of Churches at the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and the adjacent cathedral, and urged them, along with all churches, to denounce the so-called “Deal of the Century” and the ongoing historical injustice inflicted on the Palestinian people in their occupied homeland.
– – – – Archbishop Hanna called on the World Council of Churches to take clear Christian standards, based on the holy bible, humanity, morality, and dignity, to stand firm against this so-called deal, and not to surrender to pressure from the Zionist lobby which is acting against basic the principles of justice and freedom.
– – – – “What is the benefit of having a World Council of Churches if it becomes a political organization serving certain interests against the other, and if it continues to be hesitant about taking obvious stances against occupation, oppression, and injustice targeting the Palestinian people,” Archbishop Hanna said. More . . . .
Bereaved Mother of Palestinian Prisoner Denied Visit to her Other Son in Israeli Prison
The Palestine Chronicle
Feb 20 2020
The mother of a Palestinian prisoner in Israel was denied today the right to visit her son in prison, reported WAFA correspondent.
– – – – Israeli soldiers manning a checkpoint northwest of Ramallah stopped Amneh Abu Diak, from Silat al-Daher village, near Jenin, and told her that she could not proceed with the visit.
– – – – Her other son, Sami, DIED FROM CANCER last November in an Israeli jail due to medical negligence. From the prison, his last message was: “I want to be in my last days and hours beside my mother and my loved ones, and I want to die in her arms.” More . . . .
BACKGROUND / OPINION
Palestinian Prisoner Khalida Jarrar in her own Words: The Age of Freedom Will Come
The Palestine Chronicle
Feb 19 2020
Khalida Jarrar is a Palestinian feminist, a lawyer, educator and an elected parliamentarian. Over the years, she came to symbolize Palestinian popular resistance in the occupied West Bank, enraging the Israeli occupation authorities that arrested her repeatedly. . . .
– – – – After her release from prison in February 2019, she was rearrested in October, and is currently held under a precarious Israeli law known as ‘administrative detention’. This law is inconsistent with international law and the most basic requirements of fair trial in democratic countries, as prisoners are incarcerated for prolonged periods, without charge or due process.
– – – – Between her release and re-arrest, Jarrar contributed a Foreword. . . . Below are excerpts of Jarrar’s Foreword. . . . “Prison is not just a place made of high walls, barbed wire and small, suffocating cells with heavy iron doors. . . . No, prison is more than all of this. It is also stories of real people, daily suffering and struggles against the prison guards and administration. Prison is a moral position that must be made daily, and can never be put behind you. More . . . .
POEM OF THE DAY
“TAKE ME TO AL-QASTAL,” BY SAMI AL-JUNDI
There, in the cradle of yearning
Where the birds circle in cheerless skies
in the pine forests,
There rest the souls of the ancients
Did you ask the Swallow, my friend,
From a hill looking over Deir Yassin
Where love was first born
Thousands of years ago
Before the birth of Christ
Before the budding of jasmine
By the cradle of the goldfinch
Be sure to ask about Al-Qastal.
A deep valley
A mystifying magic and a nectar of secrets
A flock of pigeons and a nightingale
And the remains of a forgotten village and a cross
Ruins of a Babylonian minaret
There, where the moon is near
And our first concern is
Love and Al-Qastal.
Take me to Al-Qastal
Take me to the beautiful grave
Take me to my last home
And load me up with the tragedies of the Arabs
And all the fragrance of the ancestors
My home is the prettiest
My grave is the largest
My path is to Al-Qastal.
—Translated by Amal Eqeiq
About Sami Al-Jundi, author of THE HOUR OF SUNLIGHT: ONE PALESTINIAN’S JOURNEY FROM PRISONER TO PEACEMAKER.
From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from Barnes and Noble.