“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.

“. . . the PROHIBITION of settlements . . . categorical, unconditional . . .” (Theodor Meron, Legal Counsel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, 1967)

nof zion
An Overview of Nof Zion Neighborhood (Photo: ARIJ, in POICA.com)

❶ Israel to build synagogue and plunge pool on Palestinian lands

  • Background from Global Business & Development Law Journal (University of the Pacific)

❷ Israel admits to confiscating privately owned Palestinian lands ‘by mistake’
Opinion/Analysis:  Interview with Khalida Jarrar, Prominent Palestinian Activist and Parliamentary Member, After her Release from Prison
❹ POETRY by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL  TO  BUILD  SYNAGOGUE  AND  PLUNGE  POOL  ON  PALESTINIAN  LANDS
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 10, 2016
The so-called Committee for planning and construction in the municipality of Jerusalem is scheduled to discuss, on Wednesday, a plan to confiscate lands from the Mount Scopus Jerusalemite neighborhood, for the construction of synagogues and a plunge pool.
___The synagogues and plunger pool are planned to be constructed in the settlement neighborhood of “Nof Zion”. The area of land that will be forfeited is 1.2 dunums, while 90 families live in the neighborhood surrounded by the Mount Scopus neighborhood.  MORE . . .         HISTORY OF  Nof Zion Settlement

From Global Business & Development Law Journal (University of the Pacific)
Watts, Bianca. “Better Than A Thousand Hollow Words Is One Word That Brings Peace: Enforcing Article 49(6) Of The Fourth Geneva Convention Against Israeli Settlements In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Global Business & Development Law Journal 24.1 (2011): 443-472.
[See footnotes below poetry

Israel first inquired about the legality of settling in the OPT, specifically the West Bank and the Golan Heights, in the fall of 1967. 28  On September 18, 1967, Israeli Foreign Ministry Officials received a top-secret memo that settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights would violate Article 49(6). 29  Israeli officials were advised that the prohibition of settlements under Article 49(6) was categorical, unconditional, and aimed at preventing colonization of a conquered territory by the conquering state. 30  This memo confirmed that Israeli officials knew that building settlements in the OPT violated international law prior to beginning settlement construction. 31  Yet, despite the memo’s unequivocal warning that settlements violated the Geneva IV, Israel forged ahead with plans that resulted in the settlement enterprise we see today.
___A key substantive principle of the international law of belligerent occupation, which finds influence in the Geneva IV, is that belligerent occupation is temporary. 32  This principle is based on the fact that prolonged occupations negatively impact the occupied community. 33  The risks of stagnation, impoverishment, and the “backwardness” of the occupied community all follow prolonged occupations. 34  Scholars argue that “the longer an occupation continues, the more difficult it is to ensure effective compliance with the Geneva IV.” 35
[. . . . ]
Security Council Resolution 465 also confirmed the applicability of the Geneva IV to the OPT. 41  In this resolution, the Council stated that all measures taken by Israel since 1967 to change the physical and demographic composition of the OPT had no legal validity. 42  It further noted that Israel’s policy of settling its population and new immigrants in the OPT constituted a “flagrant violation” of the Geneva IV, 43  and asked that no state provide any assistance to Israel in connection with the settlements in the OPT. 44  ___This resolution is particularly significant because it marks the first Security Council resolution where the United States joined in criticizing Israel. 45  But just two days later, the United States declared that it had intended to abstain, and that its vote in favor of Resolution 465 was the result of a miscommunication.  46  The United States has assisted, and continues to assist, Israel in connection with the settlements by providing economic and military aid. 47     

❷ ISRAEL  ADMITS  TO  CONFISCATING  PRIVATELY  OWNED  PALESTINIAN  LANDS  ‘BY  MISTAKE’
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 10, 201
The state of Israel admitted to the Israeli Supreme Court that they had expropriated privately held Palestinian land for the construction of the Ofra settlement in the north of the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to Israeli media.
___Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Wednesday that the state admitted that it had “mistakenly expropriated” 45 dunums (11 acres) of land privately owned by Palestinians, and claimed the expropriated land would be returned to their Palestinian owners.
___Last year, the court ordered the demolition of nine already populated Jewish homes in the Ofer settlement on the grounds that the lands were privately held by Palestinians.  MORE . . .        BACKROUND FROM B’TSELEM

Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah
Houses in the settlement of Ofra, with the village of ‘Ein Yabrud, Ramallah district, in the background, July 18, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

❸ Opinion/Analysis: INTERVIEW  WITH  KHALIDA  JARRAR,  PROMINENT  PALESTINIAN  ACTIVIST  AND  PARLIAMENTARY  MEMBER,  AFTER  HER  RELEASE  FROM  PRISON
Jadaliyya (Arab Studies Institute)
Noura Erakat
Aug. 8, 2016
Khalida Jarrar is a longtime Palestinian activist, feminist, and leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She served as the Director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association between 1993 and 2005 and has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) since 2006 . . .
___In 2014, the Israeli military ordered that Jarrar move from her home in Ramallah to Jericho. . . . The deportation order is on its face, violative of [the Oslo Accords]. In response, Jarrar staged a month long sit-in in front of the PLC offices in Ramallah and . . . successfully overturned the military order.
___On 2 April 2015, Israeli military forces arrested Jarrar in a pre-dawn raid where they forcibly removed her from her home. . . . She accepted a plea bargain whereby she would serve a fifteen-month sentence and pay a 10,000 NIS fine (~2,600 USD) for being a member of the PFLP and incitement.        MORE . . .  

“NAME OF THE SOIL,” BY ZUHAIR ABU SHAIB
what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun, a town near the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank. and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awraq.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

Footnotes for Watts article

  1. See GERSHAM GORENBERG, THE ACCIDENTAL EMPIRE: ISRAEL AND THE BIRTH OF SETTLEMENTS, 1967-1977, at 99-100 (2006).
  2. 29.Theodor Meron, Legal Council of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, advised the Prime Minister’s PoliticalSecretary that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Id. at 99-100.
  1. Id.
  2. Id.
  3. Imseis, supra note 5, at 91.
  4. Id.
  5. Special Rapporteur of the Comm’n on Human Rights, Rep. on the Situation of Human Rights in thePalestinian Territories Occupied by Israel Since 1967, Comm’n on Human Rights, ¶¶ 3, 11, 18, U.N. Doc.41. S.C. Res. 465, ¶ 5, U.N. Doc. S/RES/465 (Mar. 1, 1980). The Security Council is the organ responsible for maintaining international peace and security. It determines the existence of threats to international peace and security, and recommends what action should be taken in response to those threats. One of its key powers is that it can take military action against an aggressor state should it determine that that state proposes a threat to international peace and security. See generally U.N. Charter chs. V, VII (for a detailed discussion of the functions and powers of the Security Council).
  1. S.C. Res. 465, ¶ 5, U.N. Doc. S/RES/465 (Mar. 1, 1980).
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  4. See MADIHA RASHID AL MADFAI, JORDAN, THE UNITED STATES AND THE MIDDLE EAST PEACE PROCESS 1974-1991, at 111 (1993).
  1. Id. at 112.
  2. See U.S. Census Bureau, The 2010 Statistical Abstract 29 tbl.1263 (2010), available  http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s1263.pdf (outlining statistical information of foreign economic and military aid received from the United States).