“How long had you been away from the place you loved best?” – Naomi Shihab Nye


Palestinian territories stable after Trump plan, but for how long?

Feb 20 2020
A relative calm has returned to the West Bank after a brief outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers on the outskirts of cities and contact points after US President Trump announced his so-called deal of the century for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Jan. 28.
– – – – Confrontations on the West Bank in early February went beyond Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces to include deadly clashes involving gunfire, a car-ramming attack and resisting the demolition of a home. In Gaza, Palestinians launched more than 20 rockets and hundreds of incendiary balloons toward Israeli communities. In response, the Israeli army decided on Feb. 6 to send reinforcements to the border with Gaza and to the West Bank.
– – – – In a speech at the UN Security Council on Feb. 11, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We will not resort to violence and terrorism, no matter the aggression against us. We believe in peace and fighting violence. We are ready to cooperate with any country to combat terrorism, and we will fight with peaceful popular resistance.”    More . . . .

‘We gave up on historic Palestine in exchange for nothing’

Bassem Tamimi, who has led popular protests in Nabi Saleh for more than a
decade, says the two-state solution is ‘no longer an option.’
Feb 19 2020
“We need to wake up and change our strategy, to unite our struggle,” says Bassem Tamimi, a veteran Palestinian activist and father of Ahed Tamimi, as he sits in his Nabi Saleh home in the occupied West Bank. Tamimi, who was born in 1967 and has only ever known military occupation, was jailed during the First Intifada and has been among the leaders of the village’s popular protests over the past decade. Now, however, he has given up on the two-state solution. “It’s no longer an option,” he says.
– – – – The Tamimi family, and their village, made global headlines in late 2017 when Ahed slapped an Israeli soldier who had entered her family courtyard during a Friday demonstration. Earlier that day, a soldier had shot a 15-year-old relative in the head. A few days later, soldiers arrested Ahed, then 16, from her home in the middle of the night. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested shortly after her daughter for filming the slapping incident. Both spent eight months in prison.    More . . . .

  • Israeli court approves demolition of homes of five Palestinian detainees
    Feb 20 2020
    The Israeli Supreme Court today gave the go-ahead to demolish the Ramallah-area family homes of five Palestinian detainees allegedly involved in the killing of a settler in late August 2019.
    – – – – Israeli media reported that the Israeli court unanimously approved the demolition despite multiple petitions filed by the prisoners’ families against the demolition.
    – – – – The court explained its approval by the need to “establish credible deterrence against attacks.” Israel commenced in January the trial of the five prisoners, who were detained in December purportedly for being responsible for the killing of an Israeli settler. . . .  More . . . .
  • IOF shoot Palestinian youth east of Khuza’a town
    Feb 20 2020
    Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
    – – – – Media sources said the soldiers shot the young man near the perimeter fence, inflicting moderate wounds before he was rushed to the European Hospital for treatment.
    – – – – The Israeli army claimed that sharpshooters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad fired rounds at military vehicles and soldiers across the fence and that the soldiers fired back.    More. . . .
  • Dozens of Palestinians choke by IOF tear gas during clashes in West Bank
    Feb 19 2020
    Dozens of Palestinian citizens on Tuesday choked on tear gas fired by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) during confrontations in Tulkarem and Ramallah in the West Bank.
    – – – – In Tulkarem, scores of Palestinians marched in protest at the US deal of the century, raised Palestine flags and burned car tires, local sources reported.
    – – – – The IOF attacked them with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters. Dozens suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas.    More . . . .


Searching for Lost Sons and Daughters: Statistics on Palestinians in the Diaspora
This Week In Palestine
Issue #262, Feb 2020
By: Ola Awad
Satistical data indicate that on the eve of the 1948 war, the population in Palestine had reached 2.1 million, 1.45 million of which were Palestinians. Varying estimates and divergent figures have been circulated by different sources regarding the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from their homes during this war. The Israeli occupation took over 774 Palestinian cities and villages, 531 of which were completely demolished, whereas the others were subjugated to the Israeli occupation and its regulations, eventually to be incorporated into the Israeli state. . . . The most modest estimates of Palestinian refugees counted around 736 thousand individuals, more than 50 percent of the Palestinian population. They were moved to refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the neighboring countries Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. . . .
. . . . At the beginning of the current century, PCBS took the initiative of listing Palestinians who live in the diaspora in order to build a database that may serve as the basis for efforts to bridge existing gaps between the Palestinian people in their homeland and in the diaspora in order to connect them. . . . This catalogue will be the tool by which data are collected and monitored, providing as well an agreed-upon list of indicators. The database will be updated whenever possible. Palestinian embassies and representative offices in places around the world where Palestinians live constitute the main source of data and serve as focal points and PCBS’ link to Palestinian diaspora communities.    More . . . .


“HELLO, PALESTINE” — Naomi Shihab Nye

Hello, Palestine
In the hours after you died,
all the pain went out of your face.
Whole governments relaxed in your jaw line.
How long had you been away
from the place you loved best?
Every minute was too much.
Each year’s bundle
of horror stories: more trees chopped,
homes demolished, people gone crazy.
You’d turn your face away from the screen.
At the end you spoke to your own blood
filtering through a machine:
We’ll get there again, friend.
When you died, your long frustration
zipped its case closed. Everyone in a body
is chosen for trouble and bliss.
At least nothing got amputated,
I said, and the nurses looked quizzical.
Well, if only you had seen his country.

From Transfer, by Naomi Shihab Nye, BOA editions, 2011.
Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . when we are strong about our suffering, you call it ‘Resilience’ . . .” (Jehan Bseiso)

Palestinians gather around the remains of a building that was destroyed by an Israeli air strike, in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip
Palestinians gather at the ruins of a building destroyed by an Israeli air attack in Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip. (Photo: SUHAIB SALEM/REUTERS)

|   7  AL-QASSAM  FIGHTERS  KILLED,  INCLUDING  SENIOR  MEMBER,  IN  ISRAELI  AIRSTRIKES     Seven members of the Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the armed wing of the Hamas movement, were killed late Sunday evening, including a senior member during a campaign of Israeli airstrikes over Khuzaa town, in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.    ___Local sources said that Israeli warplanes carried out airstrikes targeting southern Gaza, attacking Palestinians, who exposed an Israeli undercover unit that entered Gaza in an apparent attempt to abduct al-Qassam fighters.    ___Hebrew-language news outlets reported that violent armed clashes broke out between the Israeli unit and the al-Qassam fighters, which resulted in killing one Israeli soldier and critically injuring another.    ___Israeli warplanes intervened by launching airstrikes over the area, immediately killing seven Palestinians and variously injuring more than seven others, according to the Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza.    More . . .
. . . . Related  GAZA  PROTESTS:  ALL  THE  LATEST  UPDATES    Since protests began on March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 214 Palestinians and wounded more than 18,000.
   OFFICIAL:  ISRAEL,  US  BLOCKING  ATTEMPTS  BY  FRANCE,  RUSSIA  TO  MOVE  PROCESS  FORWARD          The United States and Israel are blocking attempts by France and Russia to move forward the Middle East political process, a senior Palestinian official said on Monday.    ___Nabil Shaath, advisor to President Mahmoud Abbas on Foreign and International Affairs, told the official Voice of Palestine radio that there are attempts by France and Russia to move the political process forward through a multilateral international framework in accordance with the initiative the President had presented to the United Nations . . .   [. . . .] He said that Israel is seeking to establish a state in Gaza that will be under continuous Israeli siege, threats and extortion, while it plans to keep the West Bank and Jerusalem under its control and prevent any attempt at establishing a Palestinian state.     More . . .
|    BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY  RECEIVES  PRESTIGIOUS  YASSER  ARAFAT  ACHIEVEMENT  AWARD      Birzeit University has won the prestigious Yasser Arafat Achievement Award for 2018 in a special ceremony commemorating the fourteenth anniversary of the passing of the late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat.    ___The award honors institutions and personalities who are distinguished by their exceptional work and recognizes real achievements in national, cultural, social, economic, scientific, or academic work.   More . . .

|    ISRAELI  TARGETED  KILLINGS  IN  GAZA  AND  BEYOND:  A  TIMELINE    The latest Israeli killing fits a pattern of targeted assassinations of Hamas commanders and affiliates.    ___Israeli forces killed at least seven Palestinians, including a high-ranking Hamas official, in the besieged Gaza Strip late on Sunday in a ground operation that is expected to significantly boost tensions.  [. . . .]  An Israeli soldier was killed when an exchange of fire erupted during the operation, the Israeli army said.    [. . . .] The latest killing fits a pattern of targeted assassinations of individual Hamas commanders and members of affiliated groups. . . .  Here is a timeline of key assassinations targeting Palestinian military commanders and individuals with ties to Hamas, the group that governs the Gaza Strip.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .


To the children who lost their lives, and the parents who had to bury them**

Bring your camera.
Bring your candles and spotlights to highlight.
Bring your focus to hashtag anniversary.

Everyday Gaza.

Bring your reporters, your journalists, your moving infographics.


“Abu Muhammad sits on the balcony, cradling the head of Muhammad.”
“The photo of the head of head of Muhammad.”

Talk about bomb shelters and war sirens in Siderot and Tel Aviv.
Call it, “Neutrality.”

Talk about your 5 dead and your iron dome.
Call it “Objective Reality.”

Bring your billion dollar pledges and your aid caravans
Your exel sheets, monitoring reports and donor requirements.
Call it “Accountability.”


“Abu Muhmmad sits on the balcony hopelessly, smokes a hope-
less cigarette talks about lack of hope.”

This one is a human interest story.

And when we invite you into our rubble homes for tea and bread
you call it “Generosity.”

And when we are strong about our suffering, you call it “Resilience.”


51 days.
2,000 dead.
10,000 wounded.

Abu Muhammad says:

My boys took a ball to the beach.
Came back bodies.

How can we remember what we can’t forget?

**Four Gazan cousins were killed on the beach by Israeli rocket fire, July 16, 2014. The poem imagines the father of one of the boys, Ismail Mohammed Bakr, age 9.
From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  POETRY  BY  SAMAH  SABAWI,  RAMZY  BAROUD,  JEHAN  BSEISO.  Vacy Vlazna, editor. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from publisher.

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

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

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
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 . . .
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

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 . . .

– 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. . . . 

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.

“. . . Remember us now/ In the tumult of cities beyond deserts and seas . . .” (Jabra Ibrahim Jabra)

THREE FIGURES (oil on canvas), 1946. Jabra Ibrahim Jabra.


A 16-year-old Palestinian succumbed to his wounds on Saturday night that he had sustained during “The Great March of Return” protests in Khan Younis in the southern besieged Gaza Strip over a month ago.    [. . . .]  Suhaib was shot and injured by Israeli forces during protests on August 3rd east of Khan Younis.   ___Meanwhile, mass protests continued on Saturday in various places in the Gaza Strip.   More . . .

The United Nations Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, Nikolay Mladenov, expressed his concern on Sunday at the intention of Israeli authorities to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan al-Ahmar, east of Jerusalem.     ___Mladenov said in a statement “I am concerned at the intention of the Israeli authorities to demolish the Bedouin village of Khan Al-Ahmar . . .  [. . . .] Mladenov concluded “Such actions are contrary to international law . . .”    More . . .


Yakov Hirsch
[Report of Senator Booker’s breaking the taboo] . . . because of the taboo associated with the Palestinians’ side of their conflict with Israel—the taboo associated with BDS.   ___This taboo is reflective of Israeli and Diaspora discourse right now. It dismisses attempts to portray Palestinians—or people critical of the Israeli government—as making decisions about what to support based on rational criteria. Instead, people are reduced to ideas, to symbols of ancient Jew hatred. “BDS is a modern version of an irrational hatred of the Jewish people,” says Jonathan Greenblatt of the ADL.    More . . .

The fierce campaign to cajole, bully and shame the UK Labour Party into adopting a controversial definition of anti-Semitism produced by the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance (IHRA) . . .  has been waged all summer long by pro-Israel lobby groups inside and outside the party. . .   [. . . .] One of the most insidious tactics employed by Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) and the Jewish Labour Movement (JLM) – the two organized vocal Zionist campaign groups inside the Labour Party – has been to claim it is an innocuous and uncontroversial document.  [. . . .] This lie has been repeated time and again.   More . . .


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. . . .

Jabra Ibrahim Jabra, “Self Portrait.” Oil on canvas, 1946

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?”)

“. . . we will continue our prayers and conjure new seasons for our lives . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ PRCS: 1,090 Palestinians injured by Israeli forces over course of 10 days

Background: “Al-Aqsa Mosque: Do Not Intrude!” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli forces level lands near southern Gaza border
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli navy opens gunfire at fishermen off Gaza
❸ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency  
July 24, 2017.   The Palestinian Red Crescent Society (PRCS) released a statement Monday detailing the casualties of the past 10 days, ever since Palestinians in occupied East Jerusalem launched a civil disobedience campaign in the city in protest of increased Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___Hundreds of Palestinians have been injured over the past week during violent clashes and demonstrations against new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___On Monday evening, a Palestinian was shot in the head during clashes in the Jerusalem-area town of Hizma, with the Palestinian Ministry of Health reporting him to be in critical condition.     MORE . . .

Abu Sway, Mustafa. “AL-AQSA  MOSQUE:  DO  NOT  INTRUDE!”  Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 20/21, no. 4/1, Dec. 2015, pp. 108-113.
“Verily, ‘Al-Aqsa’ Is a name for the whole mosque which is surrounded by the wall, the length and width of which are mentioned here, for the building that exists in the southern part of the Mosque, and the other ones such as the Dome of the Rock and the corridors and other [buildings] are novel (muhdatha).”  (Mujir Al-Din Al-Hanbali, Al-Uns Al-Jalil fo Tarikh Al-Quds wal-Khalil, vol.2, p.24.)
More than 500 years ago, when Mujir Al-Din Al-Hanbali offered the above definition of Al-Aqsa Mosque in the year 900 AH/1495, there were no conflicts, no occupation and no contesting narratives surrounding the site. Not only do the Israeli occupation authorities prevent freedom of movement and freedom of worship, they interfere in defining Al-Aqsa Mosque by restricting the meaning of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the southernmost building, Qibli Mosque, father than all 144 dunums or 36 acres. The Israeli occupation authorities consider the open yards within Al-Aqsa Mosque as belonging to public parks, with no jurisdiction for the Waqf. In doing so, the Israeli occupation authorities justify their own role in permitting and protecting extremist Israelis’ and others’ entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound against the will of the Waqf administration.
[. . . .]  It should be known that all policies, actions and “facts on the ground” created by the Israeli occupation are null apd void; they are in violation of international and humanitarian laws. Only Muslims have the right to define their own religious space and what to do with it, for they have exclusive rights to it.
[. . . .]  Places of worship are meant to be exclusive. Those in authority should never be blinded by their own powers to the degree they infringe on the religious space of the other. When invited by Patriarch Sophronius to pray at the Holy Sepulchre Church, Caliph Umar Ibn Al-Khattab declined politely, citing his fear that future Muslim generations might claim this as a right.  This is true leadership. This should be the prevailing ethos between those in power and the religious space of the other. It might help the powerful to show some humility if they could learn from history, and the history of Jerusalem in particular, that power could shift.     COMPLETE ARTICLE . . . 

Ma’an News Agency
July 25, 2017.   Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers crossed the border into the besieged Gaza Strip on Tuesday morning, where they leveled lands in the “buffer zone” of southern Gaza.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that six bulldozers under heavy military protection leveled lands in the outskirts of al-Qarara, north of the city of Khan Yunis in the southern Gaza Strip.
___According to the witnesses, Israeli drones hovered over the area during the incursion. No gunfire was reported. . . .
___An Israeli army spokesperson said they were looking into reports.
___Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone,” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.   MORE . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  GUNFIRE  AT  FISHERMEN  OFF  GAZA   Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
July 25, 2017.   Israeli fishermen early Tuesday morning opened machine gunfire at Palestinian fishermen while sailing offshore Gaza city, causing damage to one of their boats.
___WAFA correspondent said Israeli naval boats attacked the fishermen with gunfire while the latter were sailing at less than four miles from the shore, causing damage to one of their boats.    MORE . . .

Farah, we will begin our prayers
amid this bloody sorrow
and among the lonely pine.
What makes the mountains this morning much kinder,
the sun more glamorous,
the wind a song that celebrates the heights?
What makes our beloved jasmine
more pure than we imagined
and more disobedient than we had thought?
What makes these mountains
and these trees that we allowed to be taller than us
much shorter than us now?
Farah, we will continue our prayers
and conjure new seasons for our lives,
new rivers to flow in our veins
and a new place for the world’s singing.
We will continues our prayers
and when love is total,
when our fingers shyly and tenderly come together
like beads of the fig’s milk,
we will climb the mountain to bless all creatures
and together whisper: Amen . . . amen.

About Ibrahim Nasrallah
From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN INSIDE: SELECTED POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.

“. . . Let the oppressor review his account Before the turn of the wheel . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Dar al-Aytam al-Islamiyya dates back to the Circassian Mamluk and Ottoman periods, and includes an Islamic orphanage and  secondary school. (Photo: Archnet)

❶ Israeli forces kill Palestinian teen in Beit Ummar, Hebron for alleged rock-throwing

  • Background: “International Law And The Occupied Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Israeli forces raid Palestinian orphanage for 5th time
❸ Israeli Soldiers Open Fire On Farmers In Southern Gaza, Navy Attacks Fishers In Northern Gaza
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency    
Oct. 20, 2016
Israeli forces Thursday evening shot and killed a 15-year-old Palestinian near the Beit Ummar junction in the northern part of the village of Beit Ummar in the occupied West Bank district of Hebron. Israeli authorities have claimed an Israeli soldier shot the teenager dead in response to a rock-throwing incident.
___Local activist Muhammad Ayyad Awad told Ma’an that he saw the body of a young Palestinian on the ground near the entrance of Beit Ummar. The young Palestinian, later identified as Khalid Bahr Ahmad Bahr, 15, was reportedly shot by Israeli forces in the back, with the bullet exiting through his chest.     More . . .       

  • Weiss, Peter. “International Law And The Occupied Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 96-101.   Source.

There is virtually unanimous international agreement that Israel’s presence in the West Bank constitutes an occupation within the meaning of Section III of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals with the protection of civilian persons in times of war. . .
* The settlements are illegal because, under Article 49, “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”;
* Under Article 3, “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” are prohibited, as well as violence to life and person, in particular murder and torture”
[. . . .]
As with international law generally, the law of war [is] based on moral principles rather than formal treaty. . . .
* Article 1: “A place, district, or country occupied by an enemy stands, in consequence of the occupation, under the Martial Law of the invading or occupying army. . . .”
* Article 4: “Martial Law is simply military authority exercised in accordance with the laws and usages of war. Military oppression is not Martial Law . . . it is incumbent upon those who administer it to be strictly guided by the principles of justice, honor, and humanity
[. . . .]
All Palestinians living in the West Bank are protected persons under the law of occupation. They do not lose that status by killing settlers or committing other war crimes; they only become protected persons who remain entitled to due process and humanitarian treatment.
[. . . .]
The difference between a war crime and a crime against humanity is that the former can be committed as an isolated act constituting a serious violation of the law of war, while the latter requires that it be part of a widespread or systematic attack directed against the civilian population. . . . . The most recent definition of both types of crimes is found in the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court, which entered into force in 2002.
[. . . .]
Article 7 lists the following as crimes against humanity: murder, extermination, enslavement, deportation, imprisonment in violation of international law, torture and other sexual crimes, persecution, enforced disappearance, apartheid, other inhumane acts of a similar character intentionally causing great suffering or serious injury to body or to mental or physical health.
___The situation is paradoxical: Israel, not being a party to the ICC, may not, as a matter of international law, be bound by certain crimes enumerated in the Rome Statute, such as rape, while Palestinians are. Many of these would, of course, be crimes under domestic or military law or under customary humanitarian law. However, it is troubling that, when Israeli officials speak about these non-treaty obligations, they do so in terms of Jewish values or IDF values, rather than universal values, as if the universal values . . .  do not necessarily apply to Israel.

Days of Palestine
Oct 20, 2016
Israeli forces kidnapped teen orphan following fifth raid on  Palestinian orphanage   in Old City of occupied Jerusalem.
___Seventeen-year-old orphan Mp’az Khalil was kidnapped after the orphanage was raided for the fifth time in ten days. He had been interrogated after being accused of throwing stones at Israeli occupation forces.
___The orphanage’s administrative board evacuated it before the end of the day to prevent any clashes with the Israeli occupation forces, sources said.
___On Monday, the Israeli occupation forces kidnapped the Director of the Palestinian Ministry of Education Samir Jibril.   More . . .    

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
October 21, 2016
Israeli soldiers opened fire, on Friday morning, targeting Palestinian farmers in their own lands, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, while navy ships opened fire on fishers in northern Gaza.
___Eyewitnesses said the soldiers, stationed on military towers across the border fence, fired many live rounds into Palestinian agricultural lands, forcing the farmers out in fear of additional army fire.
___They added that the attack was carried out while military vehicles were seen heavily driving across the border fence, while many army sharpshooters were deployed across the border fence.   More. . .


It is a thousand times easier
For you
To pass an elephant through the needle’s eye
To catch fried fish in the Milky Way
To plow the sea
To teach the alligator speech, a thousand times easier
Than smothering with your oppression
The spark of an idea
Of forcing us to deviate
A single step
From our chosen march.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain in Lydda, Ramlah, and Galilee.

Here upon your chests
We shall remain
Like the glass and the cactus
In your throats
A fiery whirlwind
In your eyes.

Here we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We wash dishes in the hotels
And serve drinks to the masters.
We mop the floors in the dark kitchens
To extract a piece of bread
From your blue teeth
For the little ones.

Here, we shall remain
A wall on your chests.
We starve,
Go naked,
Sing songs
And fill the streets
With demonstrations
And the jails with pride.
We breed rebellions
One after another.
Like twenty impossibles we remain
In Lydda, Ramlah, Galilee.

Here, we shall remain.
You may drink the sea;
We shall guard the shade
Of the olive tree and the fig,
Planting ideas
Like the yeast in the dough.
The coldness of ice is in our nerves
And a burning hell in our hearts.
We squeeze the rock
To quench our thirst
And if we starve
We eat the dirt
And never depart
Or grudge our blood.

Here―we have a past
―a present
―and a future.
Our roots are entrenched
Deep in the earth.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain.

Let the oppressor review his account
Before the turn of the wheel.
For every action there is a reaction:
Read what is written in the Book.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain―in Lydda, in Ramlah
And Galilee.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE.  Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.
Available from Amazon.
About Tawfiq Zayyad 

“. . . as if his look could order the rubble to become a house, could restore . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

[NOTE: the background article today is somewhat more technical than usual, but it explains in detail the problem of “collective punishment” and the Israel Supreme Court’s inconsistent rulings on the question. The poetry by Barghouti is one small section of his important major work. The entire poem is available only in the book noted.]

The apartment of Amjad Ilaiwi in Nablus after Israeli forces demolished it, Oct. 11, 2016. (Photo: Ayman Noubani/WAFA)

❶ Israeli forces demolish Nablus home of shooting attack ‘mastermind’

  • Background: “When Does A Court Systematically Deviate From Its Own Principles? The Adjudication By The Israel Supreme Court Of House Demolitions In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Leiden Journal Of International Law

❷ Israel Army Targets Abu Sbeih Family, Their Homes And Stores
❸ IOF demolish agricultural facility in Yatta, level lands in Salfit
❹ IOF opens fire at Palestinian houses, fishermen in Gaza
❺ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 11, 2016
Israeli forces raided the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank early Tuesday morning and demolished the home of Amjad Aliwi, who Israeli intelligence accused of being one of the masterminds of a shooting attack on Oct. 1, 2015 which left two Israeli settlers dead.
___Local sources told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli soldiers stormed a three story building in the Khallat al-Eiman neighborhood in southern Nablus where Aliwi’s family lived.      ___Aliwi was one of six men accused in the deadly drive-by shooting, and was sentenced by an Israeli court to two life sentences with an additional 30 years in prison in June.       More . . .

  • HARPAZ, GUY. “When Does A Court Systematically Deviate From Its Own Principles? The Adjudication By The Israel Supreme Court Of House Demolitions In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Leiden Journal Of International Law 28.1 (2015): 31-47.   Source . . .

Anti-terrorist measures may be pursued for the purposes of pre-emption, retribution, deterrence, and pressure. . .  measures adopted for general deterrence purposes are problematic because they treat the subject matter of the measures as a means rather than as an end. Thus even if deterrence can serve as a justification for severe security measures, the required evidentiary-data threshold of the net benefit stemming from security measures should arguably be higher than the one applicable to a measure aimed at pre-emption. Yet in dealing with HD [Home Demolition] measures aimed at general deterrence, the Court faces a greater challenge than when it deals with pre-emptive measures aimed at particular individuals. The question of whether or not a proposed sanction effectively promotes general deterrence does not lend itself easily to strict evidentiary requirements.
[. . . . ] Had the Court adopted its traditional approach on issues of international law, collective punishment, and security necessity, it would have been forced to conclude that HD measures are illegal per se, especially in cases of suicide terrorists whose family members are not at fault. Yet such a result is incompatible with the Court’s own record in security petitions submitted by Palestinians at times of security instability, when the Court has been strongly disinclined to allow petitioners to win through a final Court disposition. Instead the Court has been inclined to exert pressure on the parties to settle, granting the petitioners partial relief and avoiding the need to issue a coercive order which would bring the petitioners into direct, overt conflict with the state.
[. . . .]  When courts are faced with deterrent measures employed in periods of severe security threats and strongly supported by the political establishment and by the public, they may find it difficult to play a counter-majoritarian role and to abide by their own judicial doctrines and principles, particularly when there has been a consistent series of their own verdicts upholding the legality of the proposed measures.

ISRAEL  ARMY  TARGETS  ABU SBEIH  FAMILY,  THEIR  HOMES  AND  STORES       International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Oct. 11, 2016
Since the death of Misbah Abu Sbeih, who was killed by Israel army and police fire after carrying out a fatal shooting attack in which an Israeli police officer and an Israeli woman were killed, the family, their homes and stores became the target of the Israeli army, police and security forces.
___The soldiers started repeatedly invaded the family’s homes and stores, in the al-Ram town and Kafr Aqab, in occupied Jerusalem, since Misbah was killed after carrying out a drive-by shooting attack, near the Light-Rail stop, close to the Police headquarters, in Jerusalem.     More . . .    

Soldiers conduct military training in front of home in Masafer Yatta (Photo: Christian Peacemakers Teams, Jan. 1, 2016)

Palestine News Network – PNN 
Oct. 10, 2016
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Monday morning have demolished acricultural facility in Masafer Yatta, southern Hebron Hills, and bulldozed lands in Salfit, northern West Bank.
___Coordinator of the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee, Rateb Jabour, told PNN that IOF demolished the facility, and handed the owner a notice to halt building his home on his property, claiming that the land was “State Property” and he had no permission to build.
___At the same time, Israeli bulldozers and jackhammers were bulldozing, leveling Palestinian lands to the west of Salfit in order to expand Ariel illegal settlement, as reported by PIC.     More . . .    
The Palestinian Information Center
Oct. 11, 2016
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) opened fire at Palestinian houses east of Khuzaa town east of Khan Younis to the south of Gaza Strip Monday evening. According to the PIC reporter, Israeli forces opened their machine gun fire at Palestinian homes and agricultural lands near Shuhada School in Khuzaa town.     More . . .  

Excerpt  from  “MIDNIGHT,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI  (pages 86-90)

My grandfather’s cloak gets hooked
on the bulldozer’s teeth.

The bulldozer retreats a few metres,
empties its load,
comes back to fill its huge shovel,
and never has its fill.
Twenty times, the bulldozer
comes and goes,
my grandfather’s cloak still hooked on it.
After the dust and smoke
have cleared from the house that once stood there,
and as I stare at the new emptiness,
I see my grandfather wearing his cloak,
wearing the very same cloak ―
not one similar to it,
but the same one.
He hugs me and maintains a silent gaze,
as if his look
could order the rubble to become a house,
could restore the curtains to the windows,
and my grandmother to her armchair,
as if it could retrieve her coloured medicine pills,
could lay the sheets back on the bed,
could hang the lights from the ceiling,
and the pictures from the walls,
as if his look could return the handles to the doors,
and the balconies to the stairs,
and persuade us to resume our dinner,
as the world had not collapsed,
as if Heaven had ears and eyes.
He goes on staring at the emptiness.
I say:
what shall we do when the soldiers leave?
What will he do when the soldiers leave?
He slowly clenches his fist,
recapturing a boxer’s resolve in his right hand,
his coarse bronze hand,
the hand that tames the thorny slope,
the hand that holds his hoe lightly
and with ease,
the hand which, with a single blow,
splits a tree stump in half,
the hand that opens in forgiveness,
the hand that closes on candy
with which he surprises his grandchildren,
the hand that was amputated
many years ago.

From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Amazon.


“. . . When the faces of the judges peer down on us . . .” (Muhammad al-As’ad)

Israeli Tanks Invade Border Areas Near Central Gaza Strip, April 22, 2010 (Photo IMEMC)

Israeli forces detain 47 Palestinians in major East Jerusalem, West Bank raids
❷ Israeli [alleged] murderer of Dawabsheh family released
❸ Israeli Army Invades Palestinian Agricultural Lands in Central and Southern Gaza
❺ POETRY by Muhammad al-As’ad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 1, 2016
Israeli forces detained at least 47 Palestinians in overnight raids in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank, Palestinian and Israeli sources told Ma’an.
___Israeli police carried out a major detention campaign in the al-Tur and al-Suwwana neighborhoods of East Jerusalem, detaining at least 29 Palestinian men and teenagers, locals told Ma’an [. . . .]
___Israeli police spokeswoman Luba al-Samri said in a statement that Israeli police and border guard officers detained 33 Palestinians across East Jerusalem on Tuesday night.  MORE . . .  

The Fourth Geneva Convention establishes a high standard for detaining a civilian, whether in occupied territory or in the territory of a party to the conflict. . . .
___The rule is slightly different for occupying powers in occupied territory. In that case, “if the Occupying Power considers it necessary, for imperative reasons of security”  [. . . .]
___Israel has two laws that authorize it to conduct security detentions―an emergency powers law and an “incarceration of illegal combatants” law. Under both laws, a detainee may have his detention reviewed by a court. The Government of Israel views itself as being in an ongoing armed conflict with Palestinian terrorist organizations operating from Judea and Samaria and the Gaza Strip [. . . .]
___Under Israel’s emergency powers law, the Ministry of Defense (MOD) may detain a person during a “state of emergency” when the Minister has “reasonable cause to believe that reasons of state security or public security require “. . . . The proceedings are not public, and may depart from the regular rules of evidence.

  • Deeks, Ashley S. “Administrative Detention in Armed Conflict.” Case Western Reserve Journal of International Law 40.3 (2009): 403-436.      MORE. . .

Palestine News Network – PNN
June 1, 2016
The top Israeli terror suspect, Meir Ettinger (20) who [allegedly] led the arson attack on the Dawabsheh home in Duma village was released after 10 months of administrative detention on Wednesday morning.
___Ettinger, the grandson of the slain far-right activist Meir Kahane, was detained following the murder of the Dawabsheh family last July, in which baby Ali Dawabsheh and both his parents were killed.       MORE . . .

master plan
Jerusalem’s Har Homa Jewish Settler neighborhood in 2008. (Photo: Haaretz/Emil Salman)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 1, 2016
Several armored Israeli military vehicles and bulldozers invaded, on Wednesday morning, Palestinian agricultural lands, close to the border fence, in the southern and central parts of the Gaza Strip.
___Several tanks and bulldozers, stationed in the Kissufim military base, east of Khan Younis, invaded Palestinian lands, northeast of al-Qarara town, northeast of Khan Younis, while three tanks were positioned behind sand hills, across the border fence.     MORE . . .  
. . . RELATED   Israeli navy injures one Palestinian fisher, kidnaps four others, in Gaza waters   
. . . RELATED   Gaza commemorates 6th anniversary of the freedom flotilla attack

If it cannot be established that the objective (intention) of the closure [of Gaza] regime was to deny the civilian population of Gaza objects essential for its survival then the closure regime will still be unlawful if . . . ‘the damage to the civilian population is, or may be expected to be, excessive in relation to the concrete and direct military advantage anticipated from the blockade’. A blockade cannot be therefore deployed if the damage to the civilian population is expected to be excessive in relation to the anticipated military advantage [. . . .]
. . . even if the Israel-Hamas armed conflict could be internationalised and thus regarded as an international armed conflict, the blockade would still be unlawful because, on 31 May 2010, the blockade was not deployed in accordance with the principle of proportionality. . . Israel’s blockade of Gaza on 31 May 2010 cannot be regarded as lawful. As a state cannot lawfully enforce an unlawful blockade Israel cannot rely upon international humanitarian law to override its obligations under the law of the sea . . .

  • Buchan, Russell. “The International Law of Naval Blockade and Israel’s Interception of the Mavi Marmara.” Netherlands International Law Review (Cambridge University Press) 58.2 (2011): 209-241

Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network.
Nur Arafeh
May 31, 2016
It is the year 2050 and Israel has fulfilled its vision for Jerusalem: Visitors will see a largely Jewish high-tech center amid a sea of tourists, with a minimal Palestinian presence. To achieve this vision, Israel is working on three master plans; one is well-known but two remain under the radar [. . . .]
___The best known of the three Israeli master plans for the city is the Jerusalem 2020 Master Plan, which has not been deposited for public view even though it was first published in 2004. The least known are the Marom Plan, a government-commissioned plan for the development of Jerusalem, and the “Jerusalem 5800” Plan, also known as Jerusalem 2050, which is the outcome of a private sector initiative and is presented as a “transformational master plan for Jerusalem” (see below).      MORE . . .

. . . Israel occupied East Jerusalem in 1967 during the Six-day War and in 1980 declared the whole city, both the western part and the eastern occupied part, to be the “eternal and united” capital of the Jewish State. Nonetheless, the international community has never recognized Israel’s annexation of East Jerusalem and Palestinians still claim East Jerusalem as the capital of their future state. This is the reason why the main Israeli effort since the 1967 annexation has been to strengthen de facto its control over the whole city; the aim being to create “urban facts” which would make any future division of the city practically impossible. As Michael Romann and Alex Weingrod state, “the overall policy had as its main axiom the prevention of any possible future attempts to again divide the city or to cut off the occupied East Jerusalem territory from sovereign Israeli control.” 9

  • Chiodell, Francesco. The Jerusalem Master Plan: Planning into the Conflict. Jerusalem Quarterly 51 (2012): 5-20.  MORE. . .

(The footnotes to above article are below)


A deep plunge into the darkness
Merits golden birds
Red roses
And a band all ready to play.
But we the singers in the Arab night
The night of low-profile stars
And eternal sands
We scorn the reward
And cannot take it in.
When the faces of the judges peer down on us
We weep a botanical pain
Picked up in meadows, weep
The blue of waters
And the beauty of deer
Running in our valleys.
When sentence is passed down
In our absolute absence
We will be content with a smile
Or perhaps a sneer.
We are
Not of
Who comprehends the bewilderment
of the last bird
In a blazing forest.
―Translated by May Jayyusi and Jack Collom

About Muhammad al-As’ad
From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

8 The international resolutions about Jerusalem by the General assembly and Security Council of the United Nations are available at http:// unispal.un.org  . For a summary, see Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, Jerusalem Statistical Yearbook No 13 (Ramallah: Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics, 2011), 49-60).
9 Michael Romann and Alex Weingrod, Living Together Separately. Arabs and Jews in Contemporary Jerusalem (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1991), 54. The words of Golda Meir (Prime minister of Israel from 1969 to 1974 . . .) are very elucidatory: “Arab sovereignty in Jerusalem just cannot be. This city will not be divided – not half and half, not 60–40, not 75–25, nothing” (Golda Meir, “Middle East: Getting almost all Points of View”, The Times, February 19, 1973).

“. . . we will continue our prayers and conjure new seasons for our lives . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ Analysis: The end of normalcy for Israeli settlements?
❷ Israeli forces seize Palestinian vehicles, equipment in Jordan Valley
❸ Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds in Gaza
❹ Jerusalem court slams police over arrests of left-wing activists
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The Israeli government is as responsible for Duma murders as those who threw the firebomb
❻ Poetry by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
January 29, 2016
The United States appears to be following the European Union in taking symbolic steps to challenge the aura of normalcy with which Israel has cloaked its settlement enterprise for decades.
___United States Customs officials published a notice last week clarifying that U.S. law does not permit goods manufactured in the West Bank, including in Israeli settlements, to be labeled as “made in Israel.”   More
Jan. 30, 2016
Israeli forces late Friday confiscated trucks and equipment being used to build a new agricultural road in the Palestinian village of Khirbet al-Dir in the northern Jordan Valley.
___The head of a local council in the occupied West Bank village, al-Maleh Arif Daraghmah, told Ma’an that military forces had seized the equipment, without citing a reason for its removal.
___Daraghmah added that days before, Israeli forces had ruined dozens of acres of agricultural land and roads while carrying out military drills in the area.    More . . .
Jan. 30, 2016
Israeli forces deployed at the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a group of Palestinian farmers and shepherds who were in nearby agricultural lands.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that the group was forced to leave the area after the forces opened fire east of the city of Khan Younis. No injuries were reported. . . .
___Israeli military forces have opened fire on Palestinian farmers near the border at least four times this month, one of whom was injured on Friday.    More . . .
Haggai Matar
Jan. 29, 2016
The Jerusalem Magistate’s Court freed Israeli left-wing activists Ezra Nawi and Guy Butavia from house arrest on Thursday, with Judge David Shaul Gabai Richter chastising police for not substantiating their suspicions against the pair.
___Nawi and Butavia, activists with anti-occupation direct-action group Ta’ayush, were arrested following the broadcast of a right-wing hidden camera “sting,” on suspicion of making contact with a foreign agent (Palestinian security services). . . .    More . . .
Dan Cohen
Jan. 29, 2016
Since the announcement of an indictment in the deadly firebombing in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, Israeli media outlets have analyzed the likelihood that the killers will be punished, given that the main suspect’s confession were extracted by torture.
___But they have not mentioned the elephant in the room: culpability for the murder of baby Ali Dawabshe and his parents lies not only with those who threw the firebomb, but with the Israeli government which promotes, subsidizes and protects their presence in the West Bank.   More . . .


Farah, we will begin our prayers
amid this bloody sorrow
and among the lonely pine.
What makes the mountains this morning much kinder,
the sun more glamorous,
the wind a song that celebrates the heights?
What makes our beloved jasmine
more pure than we imagined
and more disobedient than we had thought?
What makes these mountains
and these trees that we allowed to be taller than us
much shorter than us now?
Farah, we will continue our prayers
and conjure new seasons for our lives,
new rivers to flow in our veins
and a new place for the world’s singing.
We will continues our prayers
and when love is total,
when our fingers shyly and tenderly come together
like beads of the fig’s milk,
we will climb the mountain to bless all creatures
and together whisper: Amen . . . amen.

About Ibrahim Nasrallah
From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN INSIDE: SELECTED POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.