“. . . I’m neither your collaborator Nor your enemy . . .” (Samah Sabawi)

COMMENTARY . . . .

WHAT  LIES  BENEATH:  THE  US-ISRAELI  PLOT  TO  ‘SAVE’  GAZA
Ramzy Baroud 
Israel wants to change the rules of the game entirely. With unconditional support from the Trump Administration, Tel Aviv sees a golden opportunity to redefine what has, for decades, constituted the legal and political foundation for the so-called “Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”   ___While US President Donald Trump’s foreign policy has, thus far, been erratic and unpredictable, his administration’s “vision” in Israel and Palestine is systematic and unswerving. This consistency seems to be part of a larger vision aimed at liberating the “conflict” from the confines of international law and even the old US-sponsored “peace process.”    ___Indeed, the new strategy has, so far, targeted the status of East Jerusalem as an Occupied Palestinian city, and the Right of Return for Palestinian refugees. It aims to create a new reality in which Israel achieves its strategic goals while the rights of Palestinians are limited to mere humanitarian issues.   More . . .
[See end of this post for several background articles.]

IF  THERE  ARE  NO  REFUGEES,  THERE  WILL  BE  NO  ONE  TO  RETURN:  UNDERSTANDING  TRUMP’S  WAR  ON  UNRWA  AND  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES
Marilyn Garson
[. . . .] Trump and those around him have spent the year trying to obviate – rather than solve – Palestinian claims.  Now they wish to deny the refugee status of 90% of Palestinians. If Trump has his way, only a few elderly refugees will remain.  The Right of Return will be moot. It would not exist now, he says, if UNRWA didn’t keep it alive. He will make the right disappear by de-funding UNRWA and de-registering its five million phantom refugees – or, rather, five million descendants of a number of actual refugees.  After seventy years, it’s time for the descendants to disperse quietly.     ___Once that is done, return can remain the privilege of Jews – or, rather, of the descendants of Jews.  Our claims have somehow not been diluted by our millenia of dispersion.   More . . .

AWAD  ABDELFATTAH:  AFTER  TRUMP’S  DEADLY  BLOW  TO  THE  TWO  STATE  SOLUTION  THE  TIME  IS  RIPE  FOR  ONE  STATE    
François Lazar
As a concept, one democratic state between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea where all who live there are equals under a single government is not particularly new. The idea has had many configurations and prolific supporters, yet it has never mainstreamed beyond activist circles.   ___That’s where Awad Abdelfattah comes in. He is the former secretary-general of the Balad Party, a political faction in Israel representing Palestinian citizens. Over the last few months Abdelfattah has become one of the more visible organizers of the One Democratic State Campaign, a movement of Israelis and Palestinians that offers a alternative to the two-state solution.    More . . .

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . .  

JEWISH  HOME  MK  URGES  PALESTINIAN  LAWMAKERS  TO  LEAVE  ISRAEL        A right-wing Israeli MK taunted a Palestinian Israeli delegation headed for Europe at Ben Gurion airport on Monday, urging them to leave for good.   ___While waiting for a group of new immigrants, MK Moti Yogev of the Jewish Home party told the delegation that Israel “is not your country”.   ___The Palestinian Israeli members of parliament were leaving for Europe to meet officials and urge them to oppose the controversial nation-state law passed on 19 July.    More . . .

ISRAEL  EVACUATES  3  FAMILIES,  CONFISCATES  CARAVAN  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY
The Israeli authorities delivered evacuation notices to three Palestinian families from the al-Burj area in the northern Jordan Valley of the West Bank, on Tuesday.   ___Mutaz Bisharat, a Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), said that the Israeli authorities delivered the evacuation orders to the families, ordering them to evacuate their homes starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday until Wednesday morning.   ___He added that the delivered eviction notices were under the pretext to allegedly conduct military operations in the area.    More . . .

FAMILY  OF  9  HOMELESS  AS  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  HEBRON  HOME  AT  BEHEST  OF  SETTLERS 
At approximately 4am yesterday, Israeli forces entered the Palestinian village of Khirbet Qawasis and demolished the home of Yousef Abu ‘Aram following protests by settlers from the nearby illegal Israeli settlement of Mitzpe Yaier.    ___The soldiers then stormed the village of Zuwaidin and destroyed several community bathrooms legally built on the side of a main road to the village. Soldiers prevented local activists from leaving their vehicles to film the demolition.     More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

ONE  DEMOCRATIC  STATE:  WHAT’S  HAPPENING?     One Democratic State (ODS) has the wind at its back. The last two years have seen a flurry of organizing for ODS, increasingly since December 2017 when the US/Israel axis rejected the central Palestinian demand for its capital, Jerusalem, thereby rendering the Palestinian ‘state’ of the two-state solution once and for all unacceptable.    ___The sites 1not2 and One Democracy, based in England, and ONE  DEMOCRATIC  STATE, based in Texas, carried the torch internationally for some time. The latter group is led by Samir Abed Rabbo, author of the MUNICH  DECLARATION  OF  2012 which unites three further groups formed in 2013: in May the Popular Movement for One Democratic State on the Land of Historic Palestine, also in May the Jaffa ODS group, and in July in England the group ODS in Palestine Ltd. The straightforward, one-page Munich Declaration builds upon and is consistent with several ODS declarations that went before, written by people named above.   More . . .

“THE  LIBERATION  ANTHEM”  BY  SAMAH  SABAWI
(June 27, 2011)

To the people of Israel who fear our freedom:  Don’t be afraid,
we will liberate you too.
This is my rendition of an anthem to be sung
That day you and I will stand side by side
Shoulder to shoulder
Watching a new dawn wipe away decades of hate and savagery
The day I rise from the ashes of your oppression
I promise you I will not rise alone
You too will rise with me
You will be liberated from your own tyranny
And my freedom will bring your salvation

This is my rendition of an anthem to be sung
I’ll craft new words of expression
Outside of this suffocating language that has occupied me
Your words are like your walls
They encroach on my humanity
I am more than demography
I’m neither your collaborator
Nor your enemy
I am not your moderate
Not your terrorist
Not your Islamist
Funammentalist
Extremist
Militant
Radical
I am more than adjectives letters and syllables
I will construct my own language
And replace your words of power
With the power of my words

This is my rendition of an anthem to be sung
I don’t want to obliterate nor humiliate you
I refuse to hate you
Don’t care to demonize or proselytize or theorize your intentions
Every breath you draw reminds me you are human
The sound of your beating heart is a rhythm familiar to my ears
You and I are no different
We are made of blood and tears

This is my rendition of an anthem to be be sung
I will resist and soar above your matrix of control
With the power of my will your wall will fall
And the concrete that once segregated us will be used to rebuild homes
Your bulldozers and your tanks will dissolve into the earth
The sap will return to the olive trees
The gates will open wide for the refugees
We will be free
I will be your equal
And only then you will be mine
My other self
My fellow human being

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  POETRY  BY  SAMAH  SABAWI,  RAMZY  BAROUD,  JEHAN  BSEISO.  Vacy Vlazna, editor. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from publisher.

Background . . . Erekat:  Seizing  Palestinian  money  is  tantamount  to  destruction  of  state
Background . . . Palestinian  Leaders  to  Seek  UN  Sanctions  After  Israel  Passes  Nation-state  Law
Background . . . Anti-Semitism  vs.  anti-colonialism
Background . . . Jewish  Nation  State  Law  Sets  Legal  Parameters  for  Complete  Takeover  of  Historic  Palestine

“. . . the bark of artillery came near to the flowers . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

❶ Israel closes Palestinian institutions in Jerusalem
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) EU’s security committee discussed secret report on Israel, says official

  • Background: “State-Sponsored Vigilantism: Jewish Settlers’ Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Sociology.
    “. . . the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity. . .”

❷ UN report says at least 206 international companies tied to Israeli settlements
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Haley slams UN anti-settlement report: It is a “waste of time”
❸ Israeli settlers attack Palestinian farmers north of Hebron
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) ‘Construction terror’ Israel’s metaphor for Palestinian displacement
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL  CLOSES  PALESTINIAN  INSTITUTIONS  IN  JERUSALEM
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Feb. 3, 2018 — Israel Hayom newspaper on Friday said that the Israeli authorities have decided to close a number of Palestinian institutions in Occupied Jerusalem.
___According to the Hebrew newspaper, the Israeli Minister of Public Security, Gilad Erdan, on Thursday issued a decision to close the Palestine Chamber of Commerce, the Higher Council of Tourism, the Palestinian Center for Studies, the Palestinian Prisoner Society and the Office of Social Studies and Statistics.
___Erdan’s decision was based on an Israeli law issued in 1994 preventing the Palestinian Authority from opening offices or carrying out activities in “Israeli areas”. The same law grants the minister the authority to issue decisions prohibiting such activities.
___The paper said, quoting Erdan, that efforts will continue to impose Israeli sovereignty over every part of Jerusalem. . . following the US president Donald Trump’s recognition . . . .  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  EU’S  SECURITY  COMMITTEE  DISCUSSED  SECRET  REPORT  ON  ISRAEL,  SAYS  OFFICIAL
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 3, 2018 ― The European Union’s (EU) Political and Security Committee (PSC) discussed in its session on Wednesday a secret report that strongly criticized Israel and its policies, Palestine’s ambassador to the EU, Abdul Rahim al-Farra, said on Saturday.
___He said in an interview with the official Palestine TV that the PSC, which is composed of ambassadors from the 28 EU member states, also discussed the situation in occupied East Jerusalem in particular and came out with recommendations that will be presented to the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council when it meets on February 25 and 26 in Brussels.
___He said the PSC recommended that the EU plays a primary and active role in the Middle East peace process in order to salvage the two-state solution.      MORE . . .

Gazit, Nir.
“STATE-SPONSORED  VIGILANTISM:  JEWISH  SETTLERS’  VIOLENCE  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORIES.”
SOCIOLOGY
, vol. 49, no. 3, June 2015, pp. 438-454.
[. . . .] Civilian violence often disrupts government authority and undermines its exclusive sovereignty. However, it may also operate as an extra-juridical force that reproduces governmental power through unofficial channels. This dynamic is salient in situations of contested and fragmented sovereignty, when state power is discontinuous and lacks international and local legitimacy . . .  provisional violence by state forces and ordinary civilians becomes an important mechanism of political power and control.
[. . . .] These trends . . .  suggest a correlation between the two forms of Israeli violence – institutional military violence and non-institutional civilian violence. In times and places of low military presence and violence, unofficial civilian political mechanisms come into play. These reproduce Israeli dominance through direct violence or through initiating Palestinian hostility resulting in provisional active military involvement. The dialectical relationship between the two forms of violence is not trivial . . .  Hence, it is important to analyse the relationship between Israeli ground-level state agents and settlers, and consider how the two sides manage this tension.
[. . . .] . . . the ambiguity surrounding the formal status of the Israeli state in the OTP creates a governmental void. This void is filled, inter alia, by greater freedom of action of the settlers, who, in effect, act as informal agents of the state, behaving as vigilantes and taking the law into their own hands. The settlers’ violence contributes to the manifestation of Israeli rule in two significant ways. First, it brings Israeli dominance to areas with a scarce presence of military forces, generating ad hoc ‘effective control’ over Palestinian territory and population even in the absence of state officials. . .  While the state has limited direct influence over these domains, they undoubtedly contribute to the overall Israeli dominance in the region. The second and complementary mode of support these acts provide to the overall control system is when the Israeli security forces intervene and prevent the settlers from harassing the Palestinians. Such interventions paradoxically demonstrate and reproduce the Israeli power in the region – this time as protectors of the local civilian population. The elusive political and legal structural frameworks of the Israeli occupation are important factors of this phenomenon, generating the necessary ‘degrees of freedom’, so to speak, that allow, and even support, a proliferation of settlers’ violence against Palestinian civilians. In other words, the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity, even if it challenges its exclusive jurisdiction.     SOURCE . . .

UN  REPORT  SAYS  AT  LEAST  206  INTERNATIONAL  COMPANIES  TIED  TO  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS
Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 1, 2018 ― The United Nations (UN) High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) released a report on Wednesday identifying 206 companies from around the world that are doing business linked to Israeli settlements, which are built in the occupied West Bank in violation of international law.
___The long-delayed report was initially intended to include the names of companies, but reportedly after intense pressure from the US and Israel, the published report included only the number of companies from each country, rather than naming them.
___”Businesses play a central role in furthering the establishment, maintenance and expansion of Israeli settlements,” the UN report said.    MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  HALEY  SLAMS  UN  ANTI-SETTLEMENT  REPORT:  IT  IS  A  “WASTE  OF  TIME”
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Feb. 1, 2018 ― US Ambassador to the United Nations on Wednesday slammed a UN report on 206 companies tied to Israeli settlements as “a waste of time and resources” that showed an “anti-Israeli obsession.”
___The office of the UN high commissioner for human rights released the report that did not name the companies but could pave the way to a “blacklist” of businesses that Israeli officials fear would be targeted for an international boycott.
___“This whole issue is outside the bounds of the High Commissioner for Human Rights office’s mandate and is a waste of time and resources,” Haley said.   MORE . . . 
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  NORTH  OF HEBRON
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Feb. 3, 2018 ― Israeli settlers attacked on Saturday Palestinian farmers in the town of Beit Ummar, north of Hebron in the occupied West Bank, according to Yousef Abu Maria, a local activist.
___He told WAFA that a group of settlers from the illegal settlement of Karmi Tsur and settlement security guards threw rocks at farmers, cursed them and prevented them from cultivating their land. The settlement is built on seized Palestinian land that belong to Beit Ummar and other area villages.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ‘CONSTRUCTION  TERROR’  ISRAEL’S  METAPHOR  FOR  PALESTINIAN  DISPLACEMENT
The Palestinian Information Center
Feb. 1, 2018 ― Israel’s construction of its politics on contrasting levels which echo its colonial agenda knows no limits. Now that the international community is largely reluctant to do more than refer to previous statements of colonial expansion as illegal, Israel is more explicit in promoting its state and settler narratives in its appropriation of land ownership.
___A news report published on Monday in Haaretz quotes Jewish Home Party MK Moti Yogev: “Our goal is to protect state lands, consistent with decisions by the state not letting their status be determined by construction terror guided by the Palestinian Authority with the intervention of international elements such as the European Union.” He also suggested legal recourse against Palestinians opposing demolition orders.
___This is not the first time that such rhetoric has been used. In April 2016 a press release titled “Re-evaluate state’s handling of EU-funded construction in Area C” described Palestinian dwellings in similar terms, accusing the EU of financing “construction and infrastructure terror”.     MORE . . . 

“ABOVE  THE  CARNATIONS,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
Her house is above the carnations
on the path to the wind-swept hills. . .
At evening we sought refuge there
watching out for the guns and the aeroplanes.

The crack of bullets followed our coffee
and smashed into our conversation.
The crack of bullets and the bark of artillery
came near to the flowers inside the windows
came near to the warmth and the water jug
debris clattered down the outside stairway
and fell towards the marble pavement.

Her house is above the carnations
there we were in it
we had sought refuge there
and so we moved to where the Jewish soldiers could no longer see us.

—Translated by DM Black
—Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
—From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.