“. . . It is my right to behold the sun . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

bilal❶ 10 Palestinian prisoners join mass hunger strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayid
❷ The terror of the children
❸ POETRY by Fouzi el-Asmar

Background from New Zealand International Review

Background from Public Health Ethics

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 31, 2016
Ten new Palestinian prisoners on Sunday joined a mass open hunger strike in solidarity with prisoner Bilal Kayid, according to Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affair, a day after reports emerged that Kayid’s health had deteriorated sharply after almost 50 days without food.
___Qaraqe told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that ten prisoners from Israel’s Ramon prison joined the open strike, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat, who was reportedly moved to solitary confinement after joining the strike, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
___Kayid, a member of the PFLP, Palestine’s most popular left-wing political faction, has been on hunger strike for 47 days in protest of being placed in administrative detention — Israel’s controversial policy of internment without charge or trial under undisclosed evidence — on the day he was scheduled to be released after completing a 14-and-a-half-year prison sentence.      MORE . . .    

Military Court Watch (monitoring the treatment of children in detention)
Reprinted from El Pais (English)
Mario Vargas Llosa
July 25, 2016
[. . . .] The operations designed to induce panic are generally carried out at night by masked soldiers who first throw grenades into homes accompanied by shouting, with the aim of frightening families – above all, the children. These raids come out of the blue and are carefully orchestrated. The teenager or child who has been betrayed by an informer is blindfolded and handcuffed. The young suspects are then taken away in a truck, usually on the floor of the truck with the soldiers’ feet on top of them and the odd kick to keep them scared.
___In the interrogation room, they are left tied up on the floor for five to 10 hours. This helps to lower their morale and frighten them further. The subsequent interrogation follows a pattern; they are advised to admit to throwing stones, which will get them no more than two or three months behind bars. Otherwise, they will have to wait seven or eight months for their case to go to trial, which could means a worse sentence.       MORE . . .    

From New Zealand International Review
On 17 April 2012, Palestine Prisoners Day, more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions. Reported Richard Falk, ‘I am appalled by the continuing human rights violations in Israeli prisons and I urge the Government of Israel to respect its international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian prisoners.’
[. . . .]
___Since the 1967 war, an estimated 40 per cent of the Palestinian male population in the occupied territory has been in detention in Israeli jails. Israel makes widespread use of arbitrary detention; no charges, no trials. Some prisoners are held this way for years, just by renewing the arbitrary detention.
___Twenty-seven Palestinian parliamentarians and two ministers are being held. Human rights activists, taking part in nonviolent protests against the wall as it is expanded, are targeted.
___Political prisoners are held in Israel jails, against the Geneva Convention. Dostoevsky said you should judge a country by examining its prisons.  Griffiths, Lois, and Martin Griffiths. “The Palestine Story: To Exist Is To Resist.” New Zealand International Review 37.5 (2012): 4-9.   SOURCE 

From Public Health Ethics
The present article focuses on the case of the 2012 hunger-strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. We analyze the ethical dilemma involved in the way the Israeli medical community reacted to these hunger-strikes and the question of force feeding within the context of the fundamental dual-loyalty structure inherent in the Israeli Prison Services—system. We argue that the liberal perspective that focuses the discussion on the dilemma between the principle of individual autonomy and the sanctity of life tends to be oblivious to the asymmetrical relation of power that characterizes the prison system and to the socio-political context in which hunger-strikes take place. Emphasizing hunger-strikes as political acts implies that health practitioners’ conducts cannot be analyzed only through the prism of clinical medical ethics. It requires a public health ethics’ approach, an approach that understands health in the context of the complex relationship between society, state, organizations, communities and individuals. The authors are both academics and volunteers in Physicians for Human Rights—Israel thus our analysis is based both on sociological and public health ethics principles and on the continuous work and advocacy for the right to health of prisoners. Filc, Dani, et al. “Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger-Strikes In Israeli Prisons: Beyond The Dual-Loyalty Dilemma In Medical Practice And Patient Care.” Public Health Ethics 7.3 (2014): 229-238.     SOURCE 

“THE WAY,” by Fouzi El-Asmar

I shall not despair;
Whether my way leads to a jail,
under the sun
or in exile
I shall not despair.

It is my right to behold the sun
To demolish the tent and banishment
To eat the fruit of the olive
To water the vineyards
with music
To sing of Love
in Jaffa, in Haifa
To sow the fertile land
with new seeds
It is my right.

Let my way be
The reaching of one hand to another
That a tower of dreams be built.

This is my way
And if the last price to pay
is my sight
my life
I shall
but will not give up
my way.

El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS FROM AN ISRAELI PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from Amazon.
About Fouzi El Asmar.

“. . . Am I lacking something? . . .” (Marwan Makhoul)

Palestinian Munir Shindi drives a replica of 1927 Mercedes Gazelle that he built from scratch, on a street in Gaza City
Munir Shindi drives a replica of a 1927 Mercedes Gazelle that he built from scratch, in Gaza City, June 19, 2016. (Photo:REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

❶ Army Kidnaps Two Palestinian Teenagers In Bethlehem

  • background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ How education reform could curb Palestinian unemployment

  • background from Foreign Affairs

❸ Gaza mechanic turns heads in handmade classic car
❹ Opinion/Analysis:  THE  TERROR  OF  THE  CHILDREN
❺ POETRY by Marwan Makhoul
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
July 11, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, the ‘Aida refugee camp, searched several homes and kidnapped two teenagers from their homes. The soldiers also assaulted and injured a Palestinian from Jenin.
___Local sources said the army surrounded Aida refugee camp, north of Bethlehem, before several military vehicles invaded it, and the soldiers stormed and violently searched many homes, and kidnapped two teenagers.
___The two kidnapped teenagers have been identified as Mohammad Khaled al-Kurdi, 17, and Sayyed Mohammad al-Jabiri, 17.     MORE . . .

from  Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture
To appreciate the constraints of the operation of law and the legal system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) in general and the West Bank in particular, it is important to understand the jurisdictional and sovereign limitations and duality of laws that exist, given the present and past political contexts and the historic legal heritage that have prevailed for centuries. . . .
[. . . .]  Israel’s control over movement within the OPT (West Bank, Gaza and East Jerusalem) and family reunification matters has led to issues concerning marriages, children living with both parents and receipt of health care and/or education. If a resident of the West Bank marries abroad, the spouse is denied entry and so are the children, resulting in divorce, separation or emigration abroad. These policies are carried out through the application of military decrees, amended over time to increase the restrictions and limitations.
___These amendments have converted thousands of West Bank residents into “offenders” and “violators” of the military orders.

  • Husseini, Hiba. “Legal Duality In The Occupied West Bank.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 22-30.
The Wider Image: Child labour in Gaza
Palestinian Mohamoud Yazji, a 16-year-old apprentice mechanic, at a garage in Gaza City, March 17, 2016. (Photo: REUTERS/Mohammed Salem)

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Melhem
July 8, 2016
Come September, Palestinian schools will begin emphasizing vocational and technical training as part of the government’s vision to reform the educational system and alleviate unemployment.
___The Ministry of Education and the Ministry of Labor formed the Supreme Council for Vocational and Technical Education on Jan. 5. The council is tasked with promoting and supporting professional and technical specializations to meet the demands of the labor market.       MORE . . . 

from Foreign Affairs
Arabs remain deeply segregated from Israel’s Jewish population: 90 percent of Arabs live in almost exclusively Arab towns and villages, and with just a few exceptions, Arab and Jewish children attend separate schools.
[. . . .]  when it comes to government support in such areas as the allocation of land for new construction, financing for cultural institutions, and educational funding, Arabs suffer from ongoing discrimination, despite some recent progress. Arabs make up around 21 percent of Israel’s population, but according to the Mossawa Center, a nongovernmental organization that advocates for Israel’s Arab citizens, Arab communities receive only seven percent of government funds for public transportation and only three percent of the Israeli Ministry of Culture and Sport’s budget is allocated for Arab cultural institutions; Arab schools are also significantly underresourced. (Toward the end of 2015, the Israeli government approved a five-year economic development program for Israel’s Arab community, worth up to $4 billion, that will increase funding for housing, education, infrastructure, transportation, and women’s employment. Although the plan represents a step in the right direction, the exact amount of funding that will be allocated to each of these areas remains unclear, as does the process by which its implementation will be monitored.)

  • Ghanem, As’ad. “Israel’s Second-Class Citizens.” Foreign Affairs 95.4 (2016): 37-42.

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Mohammed Othman
July 8, 2016
The spirit of challenge and love of classic cars pushed Palestinian Munir Shindi, who lives in the neighborhood of al-Tuffah, east of Gaza City, to spend a year and a half in his small workshop manufacturing a replica of the 1927 Mercedes Gazelle.
___ Shindi, who now works as an auto mechanic in his own workshop, only completed middle school. He arrived in the Gaza Strip from the United Arab Emirates a year and seven months ago after spending 13 years there working in a mechanic shop in Abu Dhabi, where he became a specialist in repairing classic cars.
___He explained, “I decided to import some accessories from the United States so as to build an exact replica of the original model. Israel banned the entry of car parts into Gaza, and any parts I would import from the United States to Gaza would probably be confiscated. This is why I ordered the parts through a friend in the UAE and we had to resort to trickery to bring in these parts using Gazans arriving to the Gaza Strip to bring them in one by one. I waited more than six months to have all of the parts I needed to build my Gazelle.”     MORE . . .

❹ Opinion/Analysis: THE  TERROR  OF  THE  CHILDREN
Military Court Watch (monitoring the treatment of children in detention)
Mario Vargas Llosa, El Pais
[. . . .]
Did you know that in 2012 not one settler in the West Bank was killed? Do you also know that the average number of crimes committed against settlers in the past five years was as low as 4.8 a year? The Occupied Territories are safer, in fact, for settlers than the streets of New York, Mexico or Bogotá are for their inhabitants. Taking into account that there are 370,000 settlers in the West Bank (half a million with east Jerusalem) compared to 2,700,000 Palestinians, we are talking about one of the least violent corners of the world, despite the gunfights, demolitions, terrorism and protests that we hear about in the news.
___The only way to achieve such a low crime rate is by coldly and methodically imposing a strategy. Israel’s involves the systematic intimidation and psychological destabilization of children and teenagers between the ages of 12 to 17.
___This is done by “demonstrating the ubiquitous presence” of the Israeli Defense Forces, “the cauterization of the conscience” and “simulated operations disturbing the peace”. In other words, generating panic to prevent terror.       MORE . . .


I’m unfamiliar with refugee camps.
Is that the ultimate in giving up?
Or are they tents I’ve been told are white
with guy ropes at the corners to hold them up
that hold me up?

I’m unfamiliar with tear gas.
Is it a weapon whose used bears the radiance of defeat?
Or is it his disappointment at the pathos of my tears
when I cry

I’m unfamiliar with settlements.
Are some of those people good?
Sure, completely. Like I walk
on my hands,
and the sand sings?

I’m unfamiliar with my mother too.
Is she the one who suckled me?
Or is she the one bereft, standing in my doorway,
or a window on belonging?

I’m unfamiliar with UNRWA.
Is it a shipment I once chanced upon?
Or did I direct its driver
when he asked the way to Rafah?

I’m unfamiliar with the “cause”.
Is it a fiancée searching in the rubble
for her finger to put the ring on?
Or is half the whole of a fifth?

I’m unfamiliar with the truth.
Am I lacking something?
Or does my blood course within me
but not as my nerves would wish?

Personally, I’m unfamiliar with myself.
Am I the one now in my body?
Or am I that one I wrote about
the day I became my neighbor?
―Translated by Raphael Cohen   

Marwan Makhoul was born to a Palestinian father and a Lebanese mother in 1979 in the village of Boquai’a in the Upper Galilee region of Palestine. He currently lives in the village of Maalot Tarshiha. Marwan holds a Bachelor’s degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Mustaqbal College. His first book of poetry was published in 2007 in both Beirut and Baghdad by Al-Jamal Publishers. That same year a second edition of the book was published in Haifa by Maktabat Kul Shai’ Publishers. In 2009 he won the prize of best playwright in The Acre Theatre Festival for his first play.
(An interview with Marwan Makhoul )