“. . . Her name is and always Palestine . . .” (Bisan Abu Khaled)

Selected News of the Day

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK concerned over Israel’s possible annexation of occupied lands

WAFA
September 13, 2019
In a joint statement today, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom said they were deeply concerned about Israel’s announcement of possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley and the northern portion of the Dead Sea.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “This would, if implemented, constitute a serious breach of international law. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from contravention of international law,” the statement said.  More . . . .

Pakistan rejects Israel’s plan to annex parts of West Bank

WAFA
September 13, 2019
Pakistan has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he will immediately annex the Jordan Valley region in the occupied West Bank if he was re-elected next week.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “We reject any such move, which would be illegal and a dangerous escalation,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “While reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinians, Pakistan reiterates its support for a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” he added.  More . . . .

Netanyahu, Putin to Meet as Russia Condemns Annexation Pledge (VIDEO)

Palestine Chronicle
September 12, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian coastal city of Sochi for talks on Thursday after Moscow condemned the Israeli leader’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Russia’s foreign ministry warned on Wednesday it was concerned over the Israeli leader’s plan, saying its implementation could lead to a “sharp escalation of tensions in the region [and] undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors”. More . . . .

Palestinians in Jordan Valley: ‘Our lands are already annexed’

Aljazeera
Arwa Ibrahim
September 12, 2019
In between sprawling arid lands of the Jordan Valley, which stretches north of the Dead Sea and west of the occupied West Bank’s borders with Jordan, lies the small Palestinian village of Ras Ain al-Auja.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ If Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes through with his plan, announced on Tuesday, to annex the Jordan Valley and areas north of the Dead Sea, the village of about 350 residents and its fertile farmlands would become part of Israel.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Observers have dismissed Netanyahu’s plan as a campaign stunt ahead of next week’s general election. But the residents of Ras Ain al-Auja say Netanyahu’s words are threatening as his plan would formalise Israeli control over the area.  More . . . .

Commentary

Palestinian Refugee Students Must Not be Incidental to Humanitarian Endeavors

Palestine Chronicle
Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor
September 11, 2019
Despite financial setbacks caused by political agendas and misconduct allegations, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ensured that its schools opened on time for the new academic year. Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl described education as central to UNRWA’s mandate, yet the agency is not past attaching importance to symbolism and, despite its work, normalize the violence inherent in Israel’s settler-colonial project.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The opening of the new school year in Silwan, for example, publicized due to renovation works carried out during the summer recess, was lauded by Krähenbühl. “This return to school is also a symbol of preserving normalcy and a safe learning environment,” he remarked.  More . . . .

Poem of the Day

“WHAT PUSHKIN’S POEMS NEVER SAID,”  BY  BISAN ABU KHALED

Something that will startle Lenin ―
oh, love, confront your destiny ― don’t kill yourself.
Time will not slow down for lovers to tarry
after the first kiss
and the last time they met.

Passing minutes would slit the throats of the women
had they not already drowned themselves in nostalgia.

Shall no one bear witness or know
that the maps of our planet have lied
about the face of our star
which always used to show her name.

Her name is and always Palestine
My song. . . .
my homeland . . . .
my face full of sorrow.
― Translated by Magi Gibson

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.
About the book, with short discussion of Bisan Abu Khaled

“. . . All that I love of my absent country. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Selected News of the Day

Israeli military uproot trees, raze wells in northeastern West Bank

WAFA
September 12, 2019
Israeli military today uprooted scores of olive trees and destroyed water wells in Um Kbeish area near Tammun town, south of Tubas, in the northeastern West Bank, said human rights activist.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Aref Daraghmeh confirmed that Israeli military arrived to Um Kbeish, where they uprooted scores of olive trees and destroyed four water wells used for irrigation by local Palestinian farmers. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ . . . . under the pretext that the land constituted “State land.” The family filed a complaint and had a court hearing set for June 24. Ignoring this, Israel’s demolition took place on June 11. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Designating an area as a nature reserve may convey the impression that Israel wishes to protest the environment. In practice, however, Israeli has been using such designations for advancing the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.  More . . . .

Netanyahu tells voters: If you don’t vote Likud, Arabs will ‘annihilate us all’

Mondoweiss
Yumna Patel
September 11, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is coming under fire again for anti-Arab comments made by his campaign, this time for a message on his official Facebook page telling voters “Arabs want to annihilate us all – women, children and men.”
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Israeli media reported that upon accessing Netanyahu’s official page, viewers are greeted with an automated popup message in Hebrew with a message to voters, imploring them to “make sure” their friends and family vote Likud.   More . . . . 

Abbas: If Israel takes Palestinian land, all deals off

Al-Hourriah
September 11, 2019
If Israel annexes parts of the occupied West Bank, all agreements signed with Israel will end, warned the Palestinian president on Tuesday, reports the Agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “All agreements and their resulting obligations would end if the Israeli side annexes the Jordan Valley, the northern Dead Sea, and any part of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967,” Mahmoud Abbas said in a statement, according to Palestine’s WAFA news agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Abbas’ remarks came in response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he would annex the Jordan Valley and a number of settlements if he wins next week’s election.   More . . . .

Israeli Army Launches Renewed Aerial Attack On Gaza

Days of Palestine
September 12, 2019
An Israeli warplane last night bombed a resistance site belonging to the Palestinian resistance in the north of the Gaza Strip.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙A reporter for the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) that a warplane fired at least three missiles at a resistance post in Beit Lahia in northern Gaza, with no reported casualties.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ A spokesman for the Israeli occupation army claimed the air raid was in response to the launch of projectiles towards Israeli communities around the border with Gaza.   More . . . .

Poem of the Day

I  DEFY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Talk about exile―I defy
silence my argument with chains
and a foolish prison cell
I defy

Turn plague and sadness against me
I remain defying

cut my wrist
with my bloody chest I defy
cut my leg
I mount the wound and walk
and with my violence I defy
with my forehead I defy
and with my teeth
and the teeth of songs―I defy

and kill me―I defy
I kill death
and come to you a defying God

All that I own of my father’s and grandfather’s
inheritance is to defy!

All that I understand from the
wind and the secrets of erased villages
and the songs of springs
on dying grass

a concealed sob
the roots of the tree
memorize it for me
a sob: To defy

All the eyes of children living within me
in bloody exile
All that I love of my absent country
in name and deed
a scream bruising me―to defy!
My anger drips oil and honey
my pain bears almonds, flouts and roses
so jail my piece of bread

I defy

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 Goodreads

You have stolen my ancestors’ vineyards and the land I once plowed . . . (Mahmoud Darwish)

Selected News of the Day

Palestinian events banned in East Jerusalem

Al-Monitor — Palestine Pulse
Ahmad Melhem
August 25, 2019
Israeli forces in East Jerusalem prevented a lecture on the Israeli demolition of Jerusalemite homes from being delivered Aug. 17 at the Burj Luqluq Social Center Society. The lecture had been organized by Burj Luqluq in cooperation with the Palestinian Bar Association.
· · · The same forces stopped a ceremony from being held Aug. 6 in honor of the late athlete Ahmad Adilah at The East Jerusalem YMCA because the ceremony was sponsored by the Palestinian Authority. They also prevented a memorial service for the Palestinian writer Subhi Ghosheh from taking place Aug. 5 at the Yabous Cultural Center. They stormed the center and assaulted participants. Four randomly selected participants were summoned by the Israeli intelligence for interrogation at the Al-Maskobiyya Interrogation Center in Jerusalem.
· · · These actions come from Minister of Internal Security Gilad Ardan’s Aug. 5 order to extend the closure of Palestinian institutions in the city and prohibit any cultural or political activities held by Palestinian organizations. The decision deems such events terror activities that violate Israeli sovereignty and laws in the city.   More . . . .

Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (08– 21 August 2019)

Palestinian Center for Human Rights
August 22, 2019
●   2 Palestinians killed, including a child, under the pretext of carrying out stab and run-over attacks in the West Bank
●   Great March of Return in Eastern Gaza Strip: 85 civilians injured, including 25 children and 6 women.
●   West Bank, including occupied East Jerusalem: 73 civilians injured, including a Korean activist.
●   
86 civilians, including 4 children and a woman, arrested during 189 incursions into the West Bank.   More . . . .

Israeli forces demolish Bethlehem-district house, restaurant

WAFA
August 26, 2019 – Israeli forces today demolished a  house and a restaurant in Beit Jala city, located to the west of the West Bank city of Bethlehem . . . . Hasan Breijeh,  a local anti-settlement and wall activist, told WAFA that a bulldozer arrived in Wadi al-Makhrour, a valley that stretches between Battir village and Beit Jala city, protected by Israeli soldiers.
· · · Israeli soldiers sealed off the area and surrounded the house and restaurant before the heavy machinery demolished them purportedly for lacking rarely-granted Israeli building permits. . . .
· · · Wadi al-Makhrour is a popular hiking spot for Palestinians. It is best enjoyed during the late afternoon in the summer when the sun is about to set.
· · · According to the online portal for Palestinian tourism, http://www.visitpalestine.ps, the area encompasses both natural and agricultural landscapes and is well known for its ancient terraces and stone towers called qusur, built of neatly placed rocks that used to serve as storage rooms for various crops planted in the wadi.  More . . . .

I’m Palestinian. Like Rashida Tlaib, I Am Barred From Seeing My Family.

Rep. Tlaib’s experience is familiar to many Palestinians.
Adalah Justice Project
By Sandra Tamari
August 20, 2019
Israel’s treatment of U.S. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) has made Israel’s complete control over Palestinian lives clear. Rep. Tlaib, a Palestinian-American with family in the occupied West Bank, was forced to make a choice between her right to visit her grandmother and her right to political speech against Israeli oppression. She ultimately chose the collective over the personal: She refused Israel’s demeaning conditions that would have granted her a “humanitarian” exception to enter Palestine, so long as she refrained from advocating for a boycott of Israel during her visit. Rep. Tlaib explained in a press conference in Minneapolis on August 19, “My grandmother said it beautifully when she said I am her dream manifested. I am her free bird, so why would I come back and be caged?”
· · · Rep. Tlaib’s experience is familiar to many Palestinians, including myself. I, too, was barred from seeing my family in Palestine because of my advocacy for freedom and justice for Palestinians. In May 2012, I traveled to Ben Gurion airport in Tel Aviv to participate in an interfaith delegation and to attend my cousin’s wedding in Ramallah. I presented my U.S. passport to Israeli authorities. At least five Israeli interrogators asked for the names of my father and grandfather; the names likely sounded too “Arab” for the interrogators, who asked me numerous questions about where my father was born. I was taken aside and questioned at least five times.   More . . . .

Poem of the Day

“IDENTITY  CARD,”  BY MAHMOUD  DARWISH  (1964)

Write down:
I am an Arab
my I.D. number, 50,000
my children, eight
and the ninth due next summer
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
Arab.
I work with my struggling friends in a quarry
and my children are eight.
I chip a loaf of bread for them,
clothes and notebooks
from the rocks.
I will not beg for a handout at your
door nor humble myself
on your threshold
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
Arab,
a name with no friendly diminutive.
A patient man, in a country
brimming with anger.
My roots have gripped this soil
since time began,
before the opening of ages
before the cypress and the olive,
before the grasses flourished.
My father came from a line of plowmen,
and my grandfather was a peasant
who taught me about the sun’s glory
before teaching me to read.
My home is a watchman’s shack
made of reeds and sticks―
Does my condition anger you?

There is no gentle name,
write down:
Arab.
The colour of my hair, jet black―
eyes, brown―
trademarks, a headband over a keffiyeh
and a hand whose touch grates
rough as a rock.
My address is a weaponless village
with nameless streets.
All its men are in the field and quarry
―Does that anger you?

Write down:
Arab.
You have stolen my ancestors’ vineyards
and the land I once ploughed
with my children
leaving my grandchildren nothing but rocks.
Will your government take those too,
as the rumour goes?

Write down, then
at the top of Page One:
I do not hate
and do not steal
but starve me, and I will eat
my assailant’s flesh.
Beware of my hunger
and of my anger.

From WHEN  THE  WORDS  BURN:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY:  1945-1987.  Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988.

“Here we shall stay, sing our songs. . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Selected News of the Day

Israeli forces seal off main roads west of Ramallah following suspected attack

WAFA
August 23, 2019
Israeli forces today sealed off main roads leading to the western Ramallah district in the West Bank following a suspected attack that resulted in the killing of a settler, confirmed local sources.
· · · · Forces deployed heavily and blocked major roads leading to a cluster of Palestinian villages west of Ramallah, particularly the Wadi al-Dilb Road and Ein Ayyoub junction. They also blocked the roads leading to Kafr Ni’ma and Ras Karkar villages, where they ransacked several homes and stores.
· · · · Soldiers set up roadblocks at the northern entrance to Ramallah city and at Ein Siniya junction, north of Ramallah, inspecting Palestinian vehicles and inspecting the IDs of passengers. They also raided Beituniya and Ein Arik towns, west of Ramallah.
· · · · The closure is conducted as part of a manhunt for a Palestinian suspected of killing an Israeli settler and wounding two others in an attack at Ein Bunin natural spring near the illegal Israeli settlement of Dolev, near Ras Karkar village.  More . . . .

  • Al-Shoroq: The activist farmers resisting Israeli annexation in Beit Ummar. IMEMC News & Agencies. August 21, 2019. More . . . .
  • Jewish Settlers Rule the Roost in Israel, but at What Cost? The Palestine Chronicle. August 22, 2019. More . . . .   

Displacement In Gaza And Israel’s Demographic Obsession

Days of Palestine
August 22, 2019
The statements made by a senior Israeli political source, which is likely to be Prime Minister Netanyahu himself, published in Israeli media, including Haaretz on 20 August regarding Israel taking practical steps to displace Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, reminds us of what Israel calls the demographic threat. This involves ensuring a Jewish majority in the country, which has been a concern since the establishment of the Zionist colonial settlement project. Why displace Gazans? Why now? Is there a real possibility for its implementation?
· · · · Israel has used all forms of displacement, including ethnic cleansing, in order to reduce the number of Palestinians in Palestine as much as possible and achieve Zionism’s top goal, i.e. imposing a Jewish majority in Palestine, where its indigenous people have been living for many many years. This method on its own did not achieve the desired results, so Israel attracted tens of thousands of Arab and non-Arab Jews in order to successfully establish the state of Israel on the ruins of the Palestinian people in 1948. However, the demographic danger continued to pose a threat to Israel after occupying and controlling the Palestinians in 1967.   More . . . .   

  • Living in fear of the bulldozers. Electronic Intifada, August 22, 2019. More . . . .

Israeli Police Kidnaps Seven Jerusalemites From Bab Al-Rahma

Two young girls and three children among the detainees
Days of Palestine
Aug 22 2019
The Israeli occupation police on Thursday afternoon kidnaped seven Palestinian citizens, including two young girls and three children, from the Bab al-Rahma prayer area of the Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.
· · · According to eyewitnesses, police forces stormed the Bab al-Rahma area and rounded up Aqsa guard Bader al-Rajbi along with three children, two girls and one young man. More . . . .

Anti-Semitism’ vs. ‘Islamophobia’: How language creates hierarchies of discrimination and whitewashes bigotry

Mondoweiss
Timo Al-Farooq
August 22, 2019
From the ivory towers of academic knowledge production to the lowlands of cracker-barrel Stammtisch-culture, tactical language is omnipresent in everyday political discourse. . . . language manipulation is a key modus operandi for the powers that be in stifling critical thought and thus consolidating their grip on potentially subversive populaces.
· · · One such example of strategic linguistic flexibility, taken straight from our fiction-turned-fact and prophesy-fulfilled Orwellian times: someone who hates Jews is known as an “anti-Semite”, but someone who hates Muslims is merely an “Islamophobe”, a person afraid of Islam? . . . .
· · · · So my question is: why is an anti-Semite not called a “Semitophobe?” And an Islamophobe not an “anti-Muslim?” And what is that even supposed to mean, “afraid of Islam?” As if the heterogeneous beliefs of 1.8 billion people were a Freddy Krueger-like serial killer coming to murder you in your sleep. More . . . .

 Poem of the Day

“HERE WE SHALL STAY” by Tafiq Zayyad

In Lidda, in Ramla, in the Galilee,
we shall remain
like a wall upon your chest,
and in your throat
like a shard of glass,
a cactus thorn,
and in your eyes
a sandstorm.

***
We shall remain
a wall upon your chest,
clean dishes in your restaurants,
serve drinks in your bars,
sweep the floors of your kitchens
to snatch a bite for our children
from your blue fangs.

***
Here we shall stay,
sing our songs,
take to the angry streets,
fill prisons with dignity.

***
In Lidda, in Ramla, in the Galilee,
we shall remain,
guard the shade of the fig
and olive trees,
ferment rebellion in our children
as yeast in the dough.

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND. ED. Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler. Lost Horse Press. 2002.

“. . . the day is impudent and selfish. . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

Gaza4
Palestinian children at the Great Return March, near  Gaza City, April 10, 2018. (Photo: Mohammed Zaanoun/Activestills.org)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY 
ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION  UNDERWAY  AT  COST  OF  A  NORTHERN  WEST  BANK  VILLAGE
The Israeli army razed land in Dhar al-Maleh village, southwest of Jenin in the north of the occupied West Bank, in order to expand an illegal Jewish settlement, the village’s head of council Ahmad Khatib said on Tuesday.    ___He told WAFA that bulldozers started to work on 120 dunums of the village land and in the process destroyed a paved road as the military was working on expanding the illegal settlement of Shaked, built on expropriated village land.     More . . .
~~  Israel  plans  new  settlement  units  in  Bethlehem    More . . .
~~  Israeli  settlements  threaten  to  engulf  West  Bank  communities    More . . .
QATAR  DEAL  EXPECTED  TO  BOOST  PALESTINIAN  TRADE
Qatar and Palestine are working to boost their bilateral trade, taking steps that one expert says will double their exchange over five years.    ___The Qatar Chamber of Commerce and Industry recently signed a cooperation agreement with the Palestine Trade Center (PalTrade) to increase partnership efforts between the two countries. During a Dec. 12 meeting in Doha that was also attended by Palestinian Ambassador to Qatar Amir Ghannam as well as Qatari and Palestinian businesspeople, the two sides agreed to allow nine Palestinian food and agriculture companies to export their products to the Qatari market.    More . . .
~~  Palestinian  Poverty  Level  Almost  Double  Israel  Average    More . . .
|   EIGHT  PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED  BY  IOF  IN  W.  BANK
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday kidnapped at least eight Palestinian citizens during campaigns in the West Bank.    ___The Israeli army claimed in a statement that its forces arrested eight wanted Palestinians overnight in the West Bank.    ___According to local sources, the IOF kidnapped a number of citizens in Beit Ummar town. . .    More . . .
~~  Israeli  navy  kidnaps  two  fishermen  in  Gaza  waters    More . . .
~~  Israeli  army  opens  fire  at  Palestinians  south  of  besieged  Gaza    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
|  THE  GRASSROOTS  MOVEMENTS  IN  ISRAEL-PALESTINE  THAT  WON  2018
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
+972 Magazine’s story of the year for 2018 is the protest movements that managed to beat the odds by forcing governments to revisit and even change their policies. The story of African refugees stopping their deportation from Israel, and Gazans using popular protests to make sure the world doesn’t forget about them.   ___The global rise of nationalist and right-wing governments has not been particularly good for progressive movements over the past year. But two grassroots movements in Israel and Palestine, respectively, managed to push back against oppressive policies and, at least temporarily, achieve real victories on the ground. These stories are not only impressive, against-the-odds wins — they are also a reminder that the work of organizers and activists on the ground does stand a chance facing down governments, armies, and immensely powerful economic interests.   More . . .
|  THE  UN’S  VISION  OF  ‘PEACE’  FOR  PALESTINE  EXCLUDES  ORDINARY  PALESTINIANS
Ramona Wadi
The UN is now adamant that the Palestinian Authority should return to govern the Gaza Strip. In the aftermath of Israel’s 2014 Operation Protective Edge, this hypothesis was raised by the US and has seldom been questioned, ostensibly due to other pressing factors such as delivering the necessary humanitarian aid to displaced and injured Palestinians in the besieged enclave.    ___Since the Palestinian cause has become fragmented into separate issues to prevent national unity, the PA — through decisions taken by its leader Mahmoud Abbas — has slowly imposed its own sanctions on Gaza, bizarrely in the name of unity. Ths facade was dropped swiftly, though, to reveal the real reason for the sanctions; the Fatah-led PA wants to force Hamas to relinquish its political power in the enclave. Hamas, remember, won the last Palestinian elections in 2006, but has never been allowed to govern both the West Bank and the Gaza Strip.     More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

Excerpt from “MIDNIGHT,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI

The new day does not ask your permission to enter,
it does not ask if you are ready to receive it.
The day is impudent and selfish,
it insists on arriving every day.
You hear dawn climbing the stairs
before it breaks into your house,
the same way you hear them coming to arrest you
before they break down the door,
before you rub your eyes,
before you’re asked to have a cup of coffee
with the hyena
with the gold tooth
and heavy makeup.

As for the birds,
don’t they know that this is not the time for singing?
Here they are, singing
as usual,
twittering melodies you do not understand.
May be they echo the refrain:
nothing equals
one more hour with you.

From: Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. By Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, Lancashire, UK: Arc Books, 2008. Available from B&N.

“. . . No quiet place to die, with dignity. . .” (Jehan Bseiso)

Dali-5
Cyclist Alaa al-Dali’s leg was amputated after being shot at the Great Return March protests, crushing his dream of participating in the 2018 Asia Games. (Photo: Middle East Eye, 27 April 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
| OCHA:  ISRAELI  FORCES  KILLED  295  PALESTINIANS  IN  2018   
The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said that a total of 295 Palestinians were killed and over 29,000 others were injured in 2018 by Israeli forces.    ___According to a recent report released by OCHA, 57 of those Palestinian fatalities and about 7,000 of the wounded citizens were under age 18.    ___“This is the highest death toll in a single year since the Gaza conflict of 2014, and the highest number of injuries recorded since OCHA began documenting casualties in the oPt (occupied Palestinian territories) in 2005,” the report said.    More . . .
IOF  KIDNAPS  25  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK  RAIDS
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday arrested 25 Palestinians during West Bank sweeps.    ___The PIC reporter said that the IOF raided Kobar village, north of Ramallah, and arrested 12 Palestinian citizens.    ___Other Palestinians, including two ex-prisoners and a lawyer, were arrested in campaigns targeting Silwad and Ras Karkar villages, east and west of Ramallah respectively . . .    More . . .
~~  Israeli  forces  demolish  agricultural  structure  in  Masafer  Yatta    More . . .
~~  Israel  seizes  1,200  dunams  of  Palestinian  land  for  new  settlement     More . . .
|  ISRAEL  CONTINUES  TO  DENY  TREATMENT  ABROAD  TO  GAZANS  INJURED  IN  BORDER  PROTESTS
The Israeli authorities continued in November to deny Gazans injured in the border protest access to medical treatment outside the besieged Gaza Strip.    ___In its monthly report on health access barriers for patients in the occupied Palestinian territory for the month of November, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that out of 51 permit applications  in November for people injured during the protests seeking treatment outside Gaza, only four applications were approved, six were denied and 41 delayed.   More . . .
~~  Video:  Israel-Palestine  Tensions:  UN  says  Israel  has  no  justification  for  Gaza  killings      More . . .
~~  Israel  Launches  Aistrikes  on  Gaza      More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
|  WHO  REPORT:  PALESTINIANS’  ACCESS  TO  HEALTHCARE  AT  MERCY  OF  ISRAEL    
The World Health Organisation (WHO) has released its monthly report of the situation patients have been facing in Palestine in November 2018.    ___Due to the impoverished circumstances in Gaza, many residents need to travel outside the confines of the Israeli-Gazan border to receive appropriate health care. However, despite necessity of medical care, access to these hospitals and facilities has been routinely obstructed by Israeli security.    ___In November 2018, there were 2,519 applications to cross the Erez border for health care. 29% were children, 16% of applicants were 60 years plus, 43% female and 92% were medically funded by Palestinian Ministry of Health.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
|  A  CHRISTMAS  MESSAGE  FROM  MAP  (MEDICAL  AID  TO  PALESTINIANS)  CEO  AIMEE  SHALAN
This year has been yet another difficult and tragic one for Palestinians.    ___The shocking use of force by Israeli forces against demonstrators in Gaza has killed scores and injured thousands. . .    ___Demolitions continue to be a day-to-day reality for many Palestinians in the West Bank. Not only have individual homes and buildings such as schools been demolished, but entire villages like Khan al Ahmar have been threatened . . .     ___We have also witnessed a dangerous politicisation of humanitarian aid, with the US administration cutting all funding to UNRWA . . . These cuts greatly threaten Palestinian refugees’ access to healthcare, education and emergency food assistance.    __Amid such bleak circumstances, I am incredibly proud of all that MAP has achieved and want to thank our supporters for their generosity and kind support – facilitating our essential and lifesaving work    More . . .    Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“RE:  CEMETERIES  IN  PALESTINIAN  CAMPS  SHORT  ON  SPACE/DAILY  STAR/16.06.12,”  BY  JEHAN  BSEISO

And so, the cemeteries are full –
In Lebanon, Jordan, Syria and Gaza.
We will soon bury Palestinians above ground.
Nowhere to live and now,
No quiet place to die, with dignity.
Raise high the beams – carpenters, death architects.
Soon, your walls will reach the sky.

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

“. . . My endurance is as limitless as the horizon . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

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BETHLEHEM: Palestinian family takes photo in front of the Christmas tree. (Photo: Institute for Middle East Understanding, Dec. 20, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  AFTER  KILLING  DISABLED  YOUTH,  ISRAELI  FIGHTER  JET  STRIKES  GAZA
An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip following, causing horror among women and children, Palestinian security sources said.    ___In a statement, the Israeli military spokesman recognised the attack and claimed it targeted a Palestinian resistance post in the southern Gaza Strip.    ___Palestinian medical sources reported no injuries, but reiterated that airstrike caused repulsive horror among tens of children and women living in the vicinity of the targeted place.    More . . .
|  BIBLICAL  CITY  OF  BETHLEHEM  BOASTS  LARGEST  CHRISTMAS  IN  YEARS
Pilgrims from around the world flocked to Bethlehem on Monday for what was believed to be the biblical West Bank city’s largest Christmas celebrations in years.    ___Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Crowds flooded the Church of the Nativity, venerated as the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, and waited to descend into the ancient grotto.    ___Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.     More . . .
|  GDP  ‘UP’  IN  WEST  BANK,  ‘DOWN’  IN  GAZA  DURING  1ST  THREE  QUARTERS  OF  2018
The gross domestic product increased by 2.3% in the West Bank and decreased by 7.9% in Gaza Strip  during the first three quarters of the year 2018 compared to the same quarters of the year 2017, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).    ___PCBS said a sharp decrease in GDP at constant prices in the Gaza Strip during the first three quarters of the year 2018 led to slowing down in the growth of the Palestinian economy compared to the parallel quarters of the year 2017.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| ISRAEL’S  ARREST  OF  MOTHERS  SHOWS  ITS  CONTEMPT  FOR  PALESTINIAN  WOMEN   
Dr. Mohammad Makram Balawi
On 16 December 2018, an Israeli court . . .  sentenced Suzan Abu Ghannaam – the mother of 20-year-old Palestinian martyr Muhammad Abu Ghannaam – to eleven months in prison on account of “incitement” in a Facebook post. Her son had been killed while protesting against the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on Muslim worshippers . . . .   On the same day Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed that Facebook had banned him from posting for 24 hours. In a series of tweets, Yair had called for the expulsion of Palestinians and Muslims from the region . . .   Unlike mother-of-four Suzan Abu Ghannam, Yair Netanyahu was not jailed for two months, summoned to court and sentenced to 11 months in prison. Instead, he brags about his actions . . .   More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
| KinderUSA  A  NEW  YEAR  FOR  GAZA
As 2018 comes to an end, we are sad to report that living conditions in Gaza continue to get worse, taking an unfathomable toll on the population.  Unemployment is over 55%, with youth unemployment at 75%, while most who do get paid receive only half their wages.  Many families live on $1 a day, at best. Over 95% of the water supply is now undrinkable due to the persistent lack of electricity limited to about 4 hours per day. The land, sea, and air blockade is now in its 12th year, sealing Gaza off from the rest of the world.    ___Children in Gaza are caged in a toxic slum from birth to death . . .    More . . .   DONATE . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“THE  FIRE  OF  THE  MAGI,  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
I take my time!
I take my time!
I draw the first thread of light
From the deep darkness of night;
I tend the nursery of dreams
At the source of the torrent,
And dry the tears of loved ones
With a kerchief of jasmine.
I plant the most verdant oases
Amidst the scorched sands,
And shape a life for the outlaws
From fragrance, plenty, and justice.
If someday, on the road, my foot should stumble,
My roots will uphold and support me.

I take my time
For I am unlike the match
That flickers once, then dies.
I am more like the fire of the magi, burning bright
From my cradle to my grave.
And from my forebears to my offspring.
My endurance is as limitless as the horizon,
And the skill of the ant I’ve mastered.

I take my time,
For it is the function of history
To follow our dictates.
We have prepared for the downfall of the giants of the earth,
We will pay them back in kind;
We will give them enough rope, not that they may live longer,
But that they might have enough to hang themselves.

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.

“. . . An Arab who has refused to sell his soul . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Sunrise over Nazareth (Photo: Harold Knight, November 9, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY   
| NETANYAHU:  EFFORTS  UNDER  FULL  SWING  TO  NORMALIZE  TIES  WITH  ARAB  WORLD    Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday evening said Israeli relations with Arab countries have been increasingly normalized.    [. . . .] “What is happening at the moment is that we are in a process of normalization with the Arab world without progress in the diplomatic process with the Palestinians,” continued Netanyahu.    ___“Today we are going there without the Palestinians being involved and it is much stronger because it does not depend on their caprices. The Arab states are looking for links with the strong. Cultivating strengths gives us diplomatic power.”    More . . .
| ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  FAMILY  HOME  OF  PALESTINIAN  ATTACK  SUSPECT  IN  TULKAREM   Israeli bulldozers demolished the family home of Ashraf Naalwa, a Palestinian suspected of carrying out a shooting attack killing two Israelis in October and who was killed by Israeli forces during the past week, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday.    ___Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Naalwa’s family home in the Shweika village of Tulkarem, on predawn Monday, in preparation to demolish the building.   [. . . .] Dozens of Palestinians had gathered around Naalwa’s family home, since late Sunday, in an attempt to prevent the demolition.    More . . .         
~~ OVER  180  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED  IN  LAST  FIVE  DAYS,  SAYS  PRISONERS  COMMISSION    The Israeli military detained 183 Palestinians in the West Bank and East Jerusalem in the last five days while the number of those detained since the beginning of the month has reached 330, the Palestinian Authority’s Prisoners Commission said on Monday.    More . . .
|  AS  NAZARETH  PREPARES  FOR  CHRISTMAS,  ISRAELIS  SPRAY  PAINT  HATE  GRAFFITI  ON  WALLS    Extremist Jewish Israelis from the terror group “Price Tag” Monday spray-painted racist, offensive and anti-Arab slogans on the wall of a building in the Arab Christian city of Nazareth in northern Israel as the city prepares for Christmas, according to witnesses.    ___The slogans included terms such as “The land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel”, and “death to Arabs”.  More . . .
~~  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIANS  ON  WEST  BANK  ROADS,  INJURE  ONE    A Palestinian man was injured on Monday after he was attacked by Israeli settlers while driving near the southern West Bank town of Tuqa, to the east of the city of Bethlehem, Palestinian security sources said.    [. . . .] Israeli settlers have escalated their attacks against Palestinians in the West Bank by either throwing rocks at their cars as they drove on the roads or by attacking their villages while the army either watch or encourage them.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| ITALY’S  SALVINI  SAID  WHAT  THE  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  CAN’T  SAY:  ‘SUPPORT  ISRAEL’
Ramona Wadi
It is no secret that the right wing has appropriated and manipulated the definition of “peace” in today’s poisonous political climate. Peace  is  now  synonymous  with  power, and little is being done to challenge this notion on a political level, to the point that one can speak of collusion between the right wing and the alleged peacebuilders.    ___Consider, for a moment, Italian Deputy Prime Minister Matteo Salvini’s recent statement during a press conference on a visit to Israel: “Whoever wants peace, needs to support Israel.”    __Whatever happened to the right of people living under a brutal military occupation to seek their liberation by all possible means? We are, surely, entitled to a reasonable answer to this question.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“BECAUSE  I  AM  AN  ARAB,BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering of his people
Who has carried with him the hope of a just peace,
Who has spoken out against death at every corner
Who has called for and has lived a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

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

“. . . Lay him in the sun; his face caressed By the winds . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Muhammad Youssef Rabba Nakhleh. Murdered by Israeli Occupation Forces. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Dec. 14, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .      
ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  YOUTH  IN  AL-BIREH
A Palestinian youth was shot dead by Israeli forces and six others injured in clashes with Israeli forces at the north entrance to Al-Bireh city in the occupied West Bank.  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  60-YEAR-OLD  PALESTINIAN  BUSINESSMAN,  SMEAR  HIM  AS  TERRORIST 
Israeli forces shot and killed 60-year-old Palestinian business-owner Hamdan Al-Arda yesterday, during a raid of Al-Bireh, in the central West Bank.    ___Al-Arda was driving in his car when soldiers opened fire, killing him.    More . . .

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Hamdan Al-Arda. Killed by the Israeli army on December 13. (Photo: Palestine Chronicle via Twitter)

~~ IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAEL  BLOWS  UP  ABU  HMEID  FAMILY  HOME  IN  RAMALLAH
The Israeli army blew up the home of the Abu Hmeid family, in the al-Amaari refugee camp  south of Ramallah City, in the central occupied West Bank, after surrounding it for more than 5 hours.    ___More than 56 Palestinians were injured during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers around the building, as dozens of activists and supporters had gathered for a vigil to prevent the demolition of the family’s building.    ___The Israeli court had given the army the green light to demolish the building as a form of collective punishment, as Israel accuses one of the family’s sons, Islam, of having killed an Israeli soldier during an Israeli raid to the refugee camp.    More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  NAVY  KIDNAPS  TWO  GAZAN  FISHERMEN
The Israeli occupation navy on Saturday morning kidnapped two Palestinian fishermen during their presence off the coast of Gaza City.    ___Chief of the fishermen Nizar Ayyash told Quds Press that the brothers, Mohamed and Atef Abu Riyala, were kidnapped after Israeli naval forces opened machinegun fire near their fishing boat, which was also confiscated.    ___Ayyash added that the fishermen were working within four nautical miles from the shore of Gaza City.    More . . .
| ‘DETENTION  IS  AN  INSTRUMENT  OF  ISRAEL’S  OPPRESSION’
In the dead of night, Israeli forces knocked on the door of Salah Hamouri’s apartment in Jerusalem, he told me. “When I opened the door they told me they were looking for me and began to search the house. . . for something; I don’t know what. Of course, they found nothing, but they took me away anyway.”    ___That was on 22 August 2017. Over a year later – thirteen months to be exact – Hamouri was finally released from administrative detention, a status Israel uses to imprison Palestinians indefinitely with neither charge nor trial.    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  TO  LEGALIZE  2,000  UNAUTHORIZED  SETTLER  HOUSES
Israel is to authorize thousands of settler houses built illegally in the occupied West Bank, according to Haaretz.    ___The Hebrew newspaper said that Israel’s Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit, in coordination with Minister of Justice Ayelet Shaked, had approved the use of a legal tactic that would allow the legalization of about 2,000 illegally-built Israeli houses throughout the West Bank.    ___This move followed an earlier announcement by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outlining a series of measures he would take in favor of the settlement activity in the West Bank.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|  THIS  DOESN’T  END  WELL 
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
One of the most depressing things about Israel-Palestine is just how predictable and cyclical the violence can be. The almost-war in Gaza, the new wave of shooting, ramming, and stabbing attacks in the West Bank, the nightly Israeli army raids deep into Palestinian cities, the clashes that will soon become a regular feature of the coming months, the vigilante settler violence — it’s almost identical to the year before and the year before and the year before.    [. . . .] So where do we go from here? There are only two things we can be sure of these days. The first is that, tragically, there will be more violence, from both sides. The second is that change is not going to come from an Israeli government which sees the status quo as an acceptable reality.    More . . .
| ‘ISRAELIS  DON’T  WANT  TO  HEAR  WHAT  I  HAVE  TO  SAY’ 
___Over the past few months, Israeli authorities, along with radical settlers, have turned Guy Hirschfeld into a public enemy of sorts for his activism in the Jordan Valley. In an interview, Hirschfeld talks about building solidarity with Palestinians, why his brash style has turned him into a target, and whether things are getting worse for left-wing activists.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“THE  MAN  WHO  VISITED  DEATH,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
Leave the martyr shrouded in his garments,
Lay him at the foot of the mountain: for it knows his sorrow.
Do not bury him, while his wounds
Proclaim his testament of love and suffering.
Do you hear?

Let him take leave of his friends,
A bleeding eagle among the rocks.
Lay him in the sun; his face caressed
By the winds, redolent with the fragrance of the land of his youth.

Do not close his eyes; a final
Red glimmer still shines in them.
His call reverberates in the golden valleys:
“You who fear death, I fear it not;
Take me to my home
To rest my cheek upon its threshold,
To kiss the doorknob,
Take me to my vineyard, I would die, with the pangs of my love in my heart,
If my eyes do not feast once more on the sight of its soil. 

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.

“The earth is closing in on us . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

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SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
. . .

| ISRAELI  SETTLERS  HANG  POSTERS  CALLING  FOR  KILLING  PALESTINIAN  PRESIDENT   
Israeli extreme Jewish groups hung posters of the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas at the Huwwara crossroads in southern Nablus, in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday, calling for his assassination.    [. . . .] The posters read “supporter of terrorists” and called for killing (assassinating) the Palestinian President.    ___The incident comes as member of the Likud party at the Israeli Knesset, Oren Hazan, had called for imposing closure on the Ramallah and al-Bireh district until the suspect of an attack carried out in the Ofra illegal Israeli settlement, two days ago, is detained.    [. . . .] Israeli forces raided several institutions in Ramallah, including the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News and Information Agency, allegedly searching for the suspect.    More. . .
. . . . Related  Palestinian journalists, officials protest Israeli army raid of WAFA news agency office  
. . . . Related  Palestinians kidnapped, civilian homes ransacked by Israeli forces
. . . . Related  Israel shoots dozens of Palestinians in the 19th maritime march in Gaza
. . . . Related  Palestinian shot, killed by Israeli forces in Hebron
RAMALAWI:  THE  OCCUPATION  HAS  ISSUED  A  DECISION  RESTRICTING  VACCINE  IMPORTS  TO  PALESTINE
The Israeli occupation authorities issued a decree banning the Palestinian Ministry of Health from importing vaccines, starting from the beginning of the year 2019, said Undersecretary of the Ministry of Health Dr. Asaad Ramlawi.    ___In an interview with the official Voice of Palestine radio station, Dr. Ramlawi said that the Israeli decree put the supply of vaccinations at risk; the Ministry of Health has resources for just two months of vaccine provision, after which there will be a serious problem if the issue is not resolved.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Mizan Center: Eight patients died due to Israeli travel restriction
| OMAN  ALLOWS  ISRAELI  PLANES  TO  USE  ITS  AIRSPACE    More . . .
. . . . Related  Qatari envoy says Gaza airport was proposed, Israel unresponsive
. . . . Related  Britain’s unreported military alliance with Israel
. . . . Related  World Zionist Organization Used Israeli Public Funds to Finance Illegal Outpost
. . . . Related  [American] Evangelical Christian Groups Invested $65 Million to Jewish Settlements

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|  WHY  IS  ISRAEL  FORGING  SECRET  TIES  WITH  SUDAN?
The past two months saw Israeli official visits to several Arab countries. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited Qatar Oct. 26 and met with Sultan Qaboos bin Said to discuss the situation in the region. On the same day, Israeli Sports Minister Miri Regev touched down in Abu Dhabi as part of the Israeli judo team participating in international competitions there. Israeli Minister of Transportation Yisrael Katz arrived Nov. 4 in Muscat for an international conference on global transportation.    ___Moreover, Bahrain invited Nov. 25 Israeli Minister of Economy Eli Cohen for a visit in April to attend a technology conference. On the same day, Chadian President Idriss Debby visited Israel, in a bid to strengthen ties between the two countries, while Chad is hoping to obtain Israeli-made weapons and security assistance as well as benefit from Israeli technologies.    ____Amid these Arab-Israeli developments, Israel’s Channel 2 reported Nov. 25 that Netanyahu’s next Arab visit will be Sudan, without specifying a date. The visit comes within the framework of efforts to create short air routes from Israel to South America via Sudan.    More . . .    

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“THE  EARTH  IS  CLOSING  IN  ON  US,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

The earth is closing in on us, pushing us through the last passage, and
. . . . we tear off our limbs to pass through.
The earth is squeezing us. I wish we were its wheat so we could die
. . . . and live again. I wish the earth was our mother
So she’d be kind to us. I wish we were pictures on the rocks for our
. . . . dreams to carry
As mirrors. We saw the faces of those to be killed by the last of us
. . . . in the last defense of the soul.
We cried over their children’s feast. We saw the faces of those who’ll
. . . . throw our children
Out of the windows of this last space. Our star will hang up mirrors.
Where should we go after the last frontiers? Where should the birds
. . . .fly after the last sky?
Where should the plants sleep after the last breath of air? We will
. . . . write our names with scarlet steam.
We will cut off the hand of the song to be finished by our flesh.
We will die here, here in the last passage. Here and here our blood
. . . . will plant its olive tree.

–From Adonis; Mahmud Darwish; and Samih al-Qasim. VICTIMS OF A MAP: A BILINGUAL ANTHOLOGY OF ARABIC POETRY.  Trans. Abdullah al-Udhari. London: Saqi Books, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.