“. . . But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying . . .” (Blake Alcott)

World_Israel_Mar_Saba_Monas
Great Lavra of St. Sabas, Bethlehem. (Photo: St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY     
| ARMED  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  SAINT  SABA  MONASTERY  NEAR  BETHLEHEM    Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided Saint Saba Monastery (Mar Saba) area, near the al-Ubeidiya village east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on predawn Tuesday.    ___Security sources told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
~~ SCORES  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
About 71 Jewish settlers, including soldiers, desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning under security guard by police forces.    ___According to Quds Press, 71 settlers escorted by police officers entered the Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards.    ___Three of those settlers were identified as police officers wearing civilian clothing.    ___According to the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police, as always, closed al-Maghariba Gate. . .  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLER  VANDALISM  OF  PALESTINIAN  PROPERTY,  WRITING  HATE  SLOGANS  CONTINUE  UNABATED
Vandalism by Israeli settlers of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank continued unabated on Tuesday when settlers sneaked into the village of Yasouf, east of the city of Salfit in the north of the occupied West Bank, slashed tires of several vehicles and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village, witnesses said.    ___They said the settlers wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the wall of the village’s mosque such “I will not sleep when blood is shed here,” and “Jews wake up.”    ___Settlers’ raids into Palestinian villages and terrorizing the local population as well as attacks on West Bank roads has become almost a daily occurrence in light of the Israeli government and military’s sanctioning of these attacks and their failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.    More . . .
| PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHED  FOR  LACK  OF  BUILDING  PERMIT 
Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkaber, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, according to witnesses.    ___Israeli police cordoned off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house owned by Moath Aqil, which was in its last stage of construction.  More . . .
~~ ISRAEL  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  ANOTHER  PALESTINIAN  HOUSE  PART  OF  ITS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, the Israeli military government informed the family of Khalil Jabarin on Tuesday that it intends to demolish its house in the town of Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank.    ___The military said Jabarin, 16, stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in the south of the West Bank in September before he was shot and killed by an Israeli passerby.    ___Local and Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the army informed the Jabarin family of its plan to demolish its home as a punishment for the act of its son.     More . . .
|  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  24  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  WOMAN,  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces detained 24 Palestinians from across districts of the occupied West Bank, including the wife of a former prisoner, on predawn Tuesday.    ___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Mutaz Abu Sil, 19, from the al-Arroub refugee camp.    ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; PPS identified them as Muhammad Nassim Sbeih and Hadi Azab Salah. . . .    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL  ‘OCCUPY’?  
By  BLAKE  ALCOTT 
In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?    ___Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.    ___When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“FROM  THE  DOORSTEP  TO  HEAVEN,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-MAGHUT **

Now,
With the sad rain
Drenching my sad face,
I dream of a ladder of dust,
Collected from hunched backs
And hands clinging onto knees,
To mount to highest heave
And discover
What becomes of our prayers and sighs.

O my beloved,
All the prayers and sighs,
All the laments and cries for help,
Springing from
Millions of lips and hearts,
Through thousands of years and centuries,
Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
Like clouds.
And maybe
These words of mine
Are now close to those of Jesus.
So let us await the tears of heaven,
O beloved.

(**Sources disagree about Maghut’s birthplace. Some say he was Syrian. This poem, however, is appropriate regardless.)

–From AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY. Translated by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. University of California Press, 1974. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . and wish for you another day another sun . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

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Sarah Algherbawi with her husband and son, Khalil. (Photo: Mondoweiss, Dec. 14, 2018, courtesy of the family)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .     
|  ISRAELI  ARMY  SHATTERS  THE  ILLUSION  OF  NORMALCY  IN  RAMALLAH
Living in Ramallah is thought of as trendy these days, and to a certain extent, represents a relatively luxurious life. Restaurants and cafes are packed, there are clubs and parties on weekends, there are sports and cultural activities, art galleries, and concerts.   ___Yet that assumption, that life is good as long as you are inside Ramallah, is not always reflective of reality. Israeli forces raid the city of regularly, entering a neighborhood in the dead of night, taking over an entire home or building, and leaving at dawn with whomever they came to capture.    ___This week, with Christmas approaching, Israel didn’t just invade one neighborhood, it put the entire city under military closure . . . .     More . . .
|  GAZA  TEACHER  AMONG  50  FINALISTS  FOR  ‘WORLD’S  BEST  TEACHER’  PRIZE
The Palestinian Ministry of Education announced on Friday that a teacher from Gaza has been nominated as one of 50 finalists for the “world’s best teacher prize”.    ___Maths teacher Rana Ziadeh is to compete for the prize as part of a competition organized by global education charity The Varkey Foundation, Safa news agency reported.    More . . .    
~~ TWO  SCHOOLS  EVACUATED  AS  SETTLER  OPENS  GUNFIRE  OUTSIDE
An Israeli settler opened gunfire on Sunday outside two schools on the entrance to the village of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, to the south of Nablus in the West Bank, as other settlers rampaged through the street under the protection of Israeli forces, local sources said.   ___The shooting terrified the students and teachers of the two schools, and were forced to leave the schools to a safe haven.    More . . .
~~ STUDENTS  SUFFOCATE  FROM  TEARGAS  FIRED  BY  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  IN  HEBRON
Dozens of students suffocated on Sunday from teargas inhalation after Israeli soldiers fired teargas canisters at them in a school in Hebron City, southern West Bank, a local source told WAFA.     More . . .
|   ISRAEL  DELIVERS  DEMOLITION  NOTICE  TO  FAMILY  OF  PALESTINIAN  PRISONER
Israeli forces delivered a demolition notice to the family of 16-year-old Khalil Jabbarin, in Yatta City in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, on Sunday.    ___Jabbarin, was shot, injured and imprisoned by Israeli forces, in September, after he had carried out a stabbing attack reportedly killing an Israeli settler.    ___The Israeli commander of the Israeli military central command approved an order for the demolition of the Jabbarin family’s apartment . . .  [. . . .] Israel demolishes family homes of Palestinians, who were involved in attacking Israelis as part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people.     More . . .
~~ SETTLERS  START  EXPANSION  OF  SETTLEMENT  NEAR  HEBRON
Israeli Jewish settlers on Sunday proceeded to expand the illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yair, to the south of Hebron city in the southern West Bank.    ___Rateb Jabour, coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in Hebron, told WAFA that Israeli settlers started razing lands and installing caravans in the settlement in order to expand it.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
ISRAEL’S  ASSASSINATION  OF  PALESTINIAN  CHILDHOOD
Israeli soldiers continue to practice terrorism and murder against Palestinians; the latest of which was with the shooting of four-year-old child Ahmed Yassen Abu Abed, when an Israeli sniper fired an internationally forbidden bullet at his head.    ___The child Ahmed Yasser Abu Abed died of wounds sustained a week ago east of Khan Younis.    [. . . .] Defense for Children International, Palestine said the Israeli occupation forces killed 52 children in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, since the beginning of this year, 46 of them were in the Gaza Strip.    More . . .
~~ HOW  IT  FEELS  TO  HAVE  A  CHILD  IN  AN  UNINHABITABLE  PLACE
Sarah Algherbawi
I just had my first baby, a boy named Khalil, last month. From the first moment I held my child in my arms, I was flushed with emotions. I was extremely happy and blessed, but also worried and confused.    [. . . .] When I thought of the coming year, I could not help but think of the UN report that warns my home in the Gaza Strip will be uninhabitable” by 2020.    [. . . .] It’s not only the fear of war that dominates every parent in Gaza. We also lack stability. When I lost my job on July because of the punitive measures the Trump administration took against Palestinians I became like one-third of Gaza: unemployed.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
DEFENCE  FOR  CHILDREN  INTERNATIONAL  (DCI)  is a worldwide movement for children’s rights with more than 37 national sections and associated members across the globe. DCI-PALESTINE WAS CREATED IN PALESTINE in order to promote and defend children’s rights. Therefore, several actions are undertaken in the following priority issues . . .     Donate . . .    ..

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“LULLABY,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD
. . . For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

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

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.

“. . . We know you have abandoned us . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

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Israeli settlers storm the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency.)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

ISRAEL  TO  DEMOLISH  PALESTINIAN  HOME  AS  PUNISHMENT
Israeli forces raided the family home of 17-year-old Khalil Youssef Ali Jabarin, on predawn Monday, in the southern occupied West Bank city of Yatta. . . .  thoroughly searched the house, destroyed the family’s belongings and damaged most of the furniture.    ___Jabarin had carried out a stabbing attack on Sunday near the illegal Israeli settlement of Gush Etzion, in the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, due to which one Israeli settler died and another sustained serious injuries.   ___Jabarain was shot and injured by Israeli forces and immediately detained.   More . . .
Related . . .    ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  19  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  MINORS

INJURIES  AMONG  PALESTINIANS  AS  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  JOSEPH’S  TOMB  IN  NABLUS
At least 10 Palestinians were injured on Monday during clashes with Israeli forces who were providing cover for extremist settlers during the latter’s raid of Joseph’s Tomb, to the east of the city of Nablus in the occupied West Bank  . . .    More . . .
Related . . .   114  EXTREMIST  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BREAK  INTO  AQSA  MOSQUE
Related . . .   DOZENS  OF  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BLOCK  MAIN  ROAD,  DAMAGE  VEHICLES

ASHRAWI  CONDEMNS  US  ADMINISTRATION’S  DECISION  TO  REVOKE  VISAS  OF  PLO  ENVOY  AND  HIS  FAMILY
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi condemned the Trump administration’s decision to revoke the visas of the family of Head of the PLO General Delegation to the U.S. as ‘being vindictive and cruel’.   ___On Tuesday, the U.S. administration informed staff at the PLO General Delegation Office in Washington D.C. of the guidelines for closing down the office.  [. . . .] On this most recent outrageous development, PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi said: “As if the announcement that the U.S. would close our office in Washington D.C. was not enough, this vindictive action by the Trump administration is spiteful. The U.S. has taken its attempts to pressure and blackmail the Palestinians to a new level.”   More . . .
Related . . .   US  CUTS  AID  TO  ‘PALESTINE-ISRAEL’  CONFLICT  RESOLUTION  PROGRAMS

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

WHEN  SUPPORT  FOR  ISRAEL  MEANS  ABANDONING  UNIVERSAL  VALUES
Udi Aloni
On a recent trip to Germany, Jewish Israeli filmmaker Udi Aloni finds himself defending the Palestinians’ right to resist Israeli apartheid and occupation. Before pledging unconditional loyalty to Israel, he says, people should ask themselves what values they are helping promote.  [. . . .] ___In a time of weakness and confusion, in which the right wing appropriates our human rights discourse, political correctness and identity politics are crucial to refresh the stagnant left. How is it that crucial strategies become perversely transformed, only to be thrown back in our face as racist ideologies while the white-supremacist crowd applauds? And how can I stand up to these brutal attacks and not fall into them?  More . . .

ON  THIS  DAY:  THE  JERUSALEM  INTIFADA  (SEPT.  15,  2015)
Rebecca Stead
On 13 September 2015, the eve of Rosh Hashanah (Jewish New Year), a number of Jewish Israelis visited the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound. The Israeli Minister of Agriculture, Uri Ariel, entered Al-Haram Al-Sharif escorted by heavily armed Israeli soldiers. Palestinians gathered in the compound to protest the visits, since Israelis are prohibited from praying on the site under the status quo agreement. Israeli forces dispersed the protesters with violence, using tear gas and rubber bullets.  [. . . .] According to the UN’s OCHAoPt, “2015 recorded the highest number of casualties among West Bank Palestinians since 2005, when OCHA began documenting incidents”. Hundreds of Palestinians died from tear gas inhalation, rubber bullets and from live ammunition shot by Israeli forces. Thirty children were killed by Israeli forces and settlers, the highest number recorded since 2006.   ___Some commentators believe that this “third intifada” never really ended.   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

UNRWA USA is an independent nonprofit that supports the humanitarian and human development work of the  UNITED  NATIONS  RELIEF  AND  WORKS  AGENCY  for Palestine Refugees through fundraising, education, and advocacy.  UNRWA USA aims to promote a life of dignity and human development for Palestine refugees. Due to the United States government’s recent decision to cut all funding to UNRWA, the Agency faces an unprecedented funding crisis.  HELP FUND UNRWA’S WORK.

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“WE  FEAR  FOR  A  DREAM,”  by  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

We fear for a dream: don’t believe our butterflies.
Believe our sacrifices if you like, believe the compass of a horse, our
. . . need for the north.
We have raised the beaks of our souls to you. Give us a grain of
. . . wheat, our dream. Give it, give it to us.
We have offered you the shores since our coming to the earth born of
. . . an idea or of the adultery of two waves on a rock in the sand.
Nothing. Nothing. We float on a foot of air. The air breaks up within
. . . ourselves.
We know you have abandoned us, built for us prisons and called them
. . . the paradise of oranges.
We go on dreaming. Oh, desired dream. We steal our days from those
. . . extolled by our myths.
We fear for you, we’re afraid of you. We are exposed together, you
. . . shouldn’t believe our wives’ patience.
They will weave two dresses, then sell the bones of the loved ones to
. . . buy a glass of milk for our children.
We fear for a dream, from him, from ourselves. We go on dreaming
. . . oh, dream of ours. Don’t believe our butterflies!

– – – From VICTIMS  OF  A  MAP:  A  Bilingual  Anthology  of  Arabic  Poetry.
Trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari. London: Saqi Books, 1984 & 2005.