“. . . But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying . . .” (Blake Alcott)

World_Israel_Mar_Saba_Monas
Great Lavra of St. Sabas, Bethlehem. (Photo: St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY     
| ARMED  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  SAINT  SABA  MONASTERY  NEAR  BETHLEHEM    Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided Saint Saba Monastery (Mar Saba) area, near the al-Ubeidiya village east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on predawn Tuesday.    ___Security sources told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
~~ SCORES  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
About 71 Jewish settlers, including soldiers, desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning under security guard by police forces.    ___According to Quds Press, 71 settlers escorted by police officers entered the Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards.    ___Three of those settlers were identified as police officers wearing civilian clothing.    ___According to the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police, as always, closed al-Maghariba Gate. . .  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLER  VANDALISM  OF  PALESTINIAN  PROPERTY,  WRITING  HATE  SLOGANS  CONTINUE  UNABATED
Vandalism by Israeli settlers of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank continued unabated on Tuesday when settlers sneaked into the village of Yasouf, east of the city of Salfit in the north of the occupied West Bank, slashed tires of several vehicles and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village, witnesses said.    ___They said the settlers wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the wall of the village’s mosque such “I will not sleep when blood is shed here,” and “Jews wake up.”    ___Settlers’ raids into Palestinian villages and terrorizing the local population as well as attacks on West Bank roads has become almost a daily occurrence in light of the Israeli government and military’s sanctioning of these attacks and their failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.    More . . .
| PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHED  FOR  LACK  OF  BUILDING  PERMIT 
Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkaber, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, according to witnesses.    ___Israeli police cordoned off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house owned by Moath Aqil, which was in its last stage of construction.  More . . .
~~ ISRAEL  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  ANOTHER  PALESTINIAN  HOUSE  PART  OF  ITS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, the Israeli military government informed the family of Khalil Jabarin on Tuesday that it intends to demolish its house in the town of Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank.    ___The military said Jabarin, 16, stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in the south of the West Bank in September before he was shot and killed by an Israeli passerby.    ___Local and Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the army informed the Jabarin family of its plan to demolish its home as a punishment for the act of its son.     More . . .
|  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  24  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  WOMAN,  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces detained 24 Palestinians from across districts of the occupied West Bank, including the wife of a former prisoner, on predawn Tuesday.    ___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Mutaz Abu Sil, 19, from the al-Arroub refugee camp.    ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; PPS identified them as Muhammad Nassim Sbeih and Hadi Azab Salah. . . .    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL  ‘OCCUPY’?  
By  BLAKE  ALCOTT 
In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?    ___Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.    ___When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“FROM  THE  DOORSTEP  TO  HEAVEN,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-MAGHUT **

Now,
With the sad rain
Drenching my sad face,
I dream of a ladder of dust,
Collected from hunched backs
And hands clinging onto knees,
To mount to highest heave
And discover
What becomes of our prayers and sighs.

O my beloved,
All the prayers and sighs,
All the laments and cries for help,
Springing from
Millions of lips and hearts,
Through thousands of years and centuries,
Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
Like clouds.
And maybe
These words of mine
Are now close to those of Jesus.
So let us await the tears of heaven,
O beloved.

(**Sources disagree about Maghut’s birthplace. Some say he was Syrian. This poem, however, is appropriate regardless.)

–From AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY. Translated by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. University of California Press, 1974. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . I loved life, from the bottom of my heart . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

naalwa-barghouthi-mteir-e1544735249544
Israeli Field executions: Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Mteir. (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, by Quds News, Dec. 13, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .    
PLO:  TIME  FOR  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  TO  PROVIDE  PROTECTION  TO  PALESTINIANS
Azzam al-Ahmad, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said that the leadership has reached several regional and international stakeholders “to put an end to the escalated violence by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank,” on Thursday.     ___Al-Ahmad spoke to Voice of Palestine radio and stressed, “The time has come for the international community to shoulder its responsibility to provide protection to our people from the (Israeli) violations, which include field executions of Palestinian citizens and incitement (by Israeli settlers) to kill President Mahmoud Abbas.”    ___He added “this incitement was met with international condemnation,” noting that the Palestinian people “will not stand idly, but will confront the Israeli occupation until they fulfill their rights.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  Assassinate  Three  Palestinians  They  Claim  Were  Involved  In  Anti-Israeli  Attacks
. . . . Related  Settlers attack in Nablus and Hebron
. . . . Related  2 Palestinians injured by Israeli  Forces in al-Mughayyar
. . . . Related  Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations In The Occupied Palestinian Territory (06– 12 December 2018)
| UPDATE  |  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  100  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces arrested more than 100 Palestinians, including lawmakers and former prisoners, during large-scale raids that targeted many areas across the occupied West Bank throughout the past two days, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).    ___Last night alone, the forces detained at least 46 Palestinians, including two lawmakers and a journalist, during a large-scale detention campaign across the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted multiple overnight raids in Hebron city in addition to the nearby towns of Idhna, Beit Kahel, Yatta and Adh-Dhahiriyya, ransacking civilian houses and interrogating families.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Ramallah City Sealed Off For Second Consecutive Day
. . . . Related  Entrance to Al-Arroub Refugee Camp Sealed by Israeli Forces
. . . . Related  Israeli army raids headquarters of Palestine Olympic Committee in Al-Bireh

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| ISRAEL’S  EXECUTIONS  CAN’T  KILL  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE:  REMEMBERING  ASHRAF  NA’ALWA,  SALEH  BARGHOUTHI,  MAJD  MTEIR  AND  HASAN  ARDA
On 13 December 2018, Israeli occupation forces shot down four Palestinians, including several resistance fighters who had evaded their pursuit for months.    [. . . .]  These killings were carried out in a coordinated fashion, alongside the arrest of dozens of Palestinians on the same night. Clearly, these were intended to be a deadly blow not only against these strugglers, but also the Palestinian resistance as a whole.    ___Nevertheless, ensuing events made clear that the military power of the occupation and its extrajudicial executions would only inflame Palestinian resistance further.    More . . .
|  PALESTINIAN  SOLIDARITY:  IS  SOUTH  AFRICA  IN  THE  DRIVER’S  SEAT?   Recent events in South Africa have had a profoundly positive impact on Palestine.    ___It may not be music for this country’s [UNITED STATES] pro-Israel lobby but certainly welcomed by the broad spectrum of solidarity movements active in pursuit of freedom and justice for the Palestinian cause.    ___These milestone events have provided Palestinian Resistance Movements, particularly Hamas, as well as solidarity activists, renewed hope that the pendulum is slowly but surely swinging away from the colonial settler regime Israel.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“HE  WHISPERED  BEFORE  HE  TOOK  HIS  FINAL  BREATHS,”
BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Don’t honor me with a monument
and song!
Of all the sad songs,
I prefer my mother’s sadness.

Do not pay your last respects
with laurel and a royal display!
Of all the tender wreaths
I prefer my mother’s palm.

Don’t glorify me by giving my name
to a city square
or a street and public garden!
I’d rather a grapevine be planted
(in my name)
and grow into a vineyard and farm!

Do not preserve my memory
by giving a speech each year in my honor!
I’d rather a fine machine
pounding away in a factory
speak in my name.

Tell my mother―
tell her what you plant in my name,
tell the factory’s machine
that I loved life, from the bottom of my heart,
and therefore took my final breaths
at peace and happy.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

 

“. . . Our roots are entrenched / Deep in the earth . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

IMG_3349 - CopySt. Nicholas Orthodox Church, Beit Jala in Bethlehem Governate.
Priest greets parishioner after service.
Photo: Harold Knight, Sun. Nov. 8, 2015.

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

|   MYTHS  AND  FANTASIES  ABOUT  THE  PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  AND  THE  UNITED  NATIONS     Andrew Whitley, former senior UNRWA official      The decision of the Trump Administration to halt all funding for UNRWA, the UN agency responsible for 5.4 million Palestinian refugees, and its attempts to redefine who qualifies as a “refugee” in this context, marks another egregious example of Washington’s disregard for international norms and humanitarian law in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.    ___The ultimate fate of those refugees who fled their homes or were forcibly expelled in the war that led to the founding of the State of Israel in 1948 – and of their descendants, now into third and fourth generations – has long been one of the most contentious issues in the conflict.    ___The “right to return” is seen by Palestinians and their supporters worldwide as a matter of natural and historic justice. After all, this is exactly the same right as all other refugees – for whom UNRWA’s sister agency, UNHCR, is their guardian – enjoy.    More . . .
|   MAYOR  OF  BETHLEHEM:  NETANYAHU’S  STATEMENT  ON  BETHLEHEM  AND  PALESTINIAN  CHRISTIANS  IS  ANOTHER  ISRAELI  ATTEMPT  AT  DISTORTING  REALITY  OF  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION     Mayor of Bethlehem, advocate Anton Salman said in response to Sunday’s statements by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Bethlehem and the situation of Palestinian Christians, that such statement ‘is another Israeli attempt at distorting the reality of the Israeli occupation and particularly the effects that Israeli policies have had on the Palestinian Christian community since 1948’.    ___“If Mr. Netanyahu was concerned about the situation of Palestinian Christians, particularly in the Bethlehem area, he would return the 22,000 dunums of Bethlehem land illegally annexed to Israel for expansion of colonial settlements. He would dismantle the annexation wall that divides Bethlehem from Jerusalem for the first time in 2000 years of Christianity and would stop imposing restrictions to Palestinian movement, including the thousand of Palestinian Christians living in exile and whose return is impossible due to the Israeli control over the Palestinian population registry,” said the mayor in a statement issued by the Bethlehem municipality.    More . . .
. . . . Related  New  Israeli  Laws  Enhance  Creeping  Annexation  Policy
|   ISRAEL  CONTINUES  AIRSTRIKES  OVER  GAZA    An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike, on Tuesday, targeting a group of Palestinians east of Beit Hanoun in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.    ___A Ma’an reporter said that an Israeli warplane fired one missile towards a group of Palestinian youths in northern Gaza; no injuries were reported.    ___The Israeli army said that a warplane targeted a group of Palestinians who were launching incendiary kites into southern Israel.    ___Meanwhile, locals reported that Israeli military bulldozers entered dozens of meters into south of Gaza City, razed and leveled lands.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli  Navy,  Soldiers,  Injure  19  Palestinians  In  Northern  Gaza

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

|   WATCH:  ISRAELIS  AND  PALESTINIANS  MEET  FACE  TO  FACE  AT  GAZA  FENCE
For a few short minutes last week, a group of Israeli activists managed to have a face-to-face conversation with Palestinian activists in Gaza, albeit through a militarized fence.    ___On Wednesday of last week, for the first time since the Great Return March began in March, a small group of Israeli activists approached the fence to speak with Palestinian demonstrators, standing just meters from them on the other side.    ___The Palestinians who approached the fence had been taking part in a cultural event near the village of Khuza’a in one of the nearby tent encampments, which was established as part of the Great Return March.    ___The rare meeting lasted only a few minutes, until Israeli soldiers arrived and ordered the Israelis to leave the area.    More . . .
|   PALESTINIAN  PRISONER  IN  ISRAEL  FOR  33  YEARS  WARNED  OF  PUNISHMENT  IF  HE  PUBLISHES  BOOK     A Palestinian prisoner who served 33 years out of a 39-year prison sentence in Israeli jails for resisting the Israeli occupation was warned by the prison administration of severe punishment if he publishes a book he wrote in prison, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Tuesday.    ___It said Walid Dakka, a Palestinian from inside Israel, who previously was severely punished after publishing a book in Arabic called “The story of the secret of oil”, was told that he would be put in isolation if he goes ahead and publishes another book.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“WE  SHALL  REMAIN,”  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD  – 1970
It is a thousand times easier
For you to pass an elephant through the needle’s eye
To catch fried fish in the Milky Way
To plow the sea
To teach the alligator speech, a thousand times easier
Than smothering with you oppression
The spark of an idea
Of forcing us to deviate
A single step
From our chosen march.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain in Lydda, Ramlah, and Galilee.

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

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

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

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

Here―we have a past
―a present
―and a future.
Our roots are entrenched
Deep in the earth.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain.
Let the oppressor review his account
Before the turn of the wheel.
For every action there is a reaction:
Read what is written in the Book.
Like twenty impossibles
We shall remain―in Lydda, in Ramlah
And Galilee.

From 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.

“. . . with nothing left but a graceful farewell . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY  

ISRAELI   SOLDIERS   KILL   A   PALESTINIAN   IN   NORTHERN   GAZA
Israeli soldiers killed, on Monday morning, a young Palestinian man near the parameter fence, in the northern part of the Gaza Strip.     ___The Israeli army said its opened fire at a Palestinian, who reportedly opened fired at the soldiers in northern Gaza, and killed him. The army said no soldiers were injured.    More.
PPS:   “ISRAELI   SOLDIERS   ABDUCT   14   PALESTINIANS   IN   THE   WEST  BANK”
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers abducted, on Monday at dawn, fourteen Palestinians, including a former political prisoner who was imprisoned for 15 years, in several parts of the occupied West Bank.   ___The PPS office in Nablus, in northern West Bank, said the soldiers invaded the al-Ein neighborhood and Younis Street, on the western entrances of the city, searched homes and abducted Wafa Damouni, a former political prisoner, who was detained for 15 years.   More. . .
ISRAELI   FORCES   REMOVE   TENT,   ASSAULT   PALESTINIAN   IN   HEBRON
Israeli settlers, escorted by Israeli soldiers, removed a tent and assaulted a Palestinian man in the Masafer Yatta village, in southern Hebron in the southern West Bank.   ___Rateb al-Jbour, coordinator of the National and Popular Committee in southern Hebron, told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that Israeli soldiers and settlers raided Masafer Yatta where a Palestinians identified as Youssef Abu Arram had set up a tent to shelter his family until a wooden room, that he was building to replace the tent, was ready, took down the tent and confiscated his construction material and wood.   More. . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION  

FIGHTING  THE  DOUBLE  STANDARD:  PALESTINIANS  FILE  CASE  TO  DEMOLISH  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENT  HOMES
Yumna Patel
As the long-fought battle to save the village of Khan al-Ahmar from demolition continues, another fight is taking place on the sidelines — one that could have life changing effects on the fate of the Bedouins in Khan al-Ahmar, and the future of the occupied West Bank.  ___Two Ramallah-area Palestinian villages — Deir Dibwan and Anata — have filed a case in the Israeli High Court, asking Israeli authorities to demolish illegal structures in the Israeli settlement of Kfar Adumim — the same settlement which has ceaselessly pushed for the state’s decision to demolish Khan al-Ahmar.   ___The villagers are arguing for the demolition of some 120 homes and structures and four outposts in Kfar Adumim which were built without permits from Israeli authorities and lie outside of the planned borders of the settlement.   More. . .

DETERIORATION    OF    ECONOMIC    AND    LIVING    CONDITIONS    FOR    AROUND    4000    FISHERMEN;    ISRAELI    AUTHORITIES    CONTINUE    ITS    NAVAL    BLOCKADE    AND    ATTACKS    AGAINST    THE    GAZA    STRIP    FISHERMEN       
For the fifth week, Israeli authorities continue its naval blockade on the Gaza Strip, through reducing the fishing area to 3 nautical miles adjacent to the Gaza Strip shores. As a result, the economic and living conditions of fishermen were deteriorated and they suffered great losses, due to restricting their movement and denying them access to areas where fish breed.   ___Decreasing the fishing area caused great losses to about 4000 fishermen and 1500 workers in professions that are associated with fishing in the Gaza Strip. The fishermen were banned from sailing for more than 3 nautical miles and practice their normal profession, while a limited number of fishermen practiced their profession in the distances that were set by the Israeli authorities where the fish don’t not breed.   More. . .

ASSOCIATED  PRESS  DOUBLE  STANDARD  IN  ISRAEL-PALESTINE  REPORTING
Kathryn Shihadah and Alison Weir
Associated Press is one of those news sources we expect to be objective and reliable. But when it comes to the subject of Israel-Palestine, things are not always as they seem. . . .   But a study of news reports so far in 2018 indicates that this trusted news source has been presenting the deaths of Israelis at the hands of Palestinians, and of Palestinians at the hands of Israelis, in two completely different ways.   ___This pattern may be a factor in how readers perceive the players in this decades-old issue. It is also, quite likely, a factor in how editors all over the U.S., who read AP stories daily, view the conflict.  More. . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS
[Note:
The following is about, not from, an organization. The piece is used partly as an opportunity to include a link to the way pro-Israel groups discredit Palestinian organizations.]
WCLAC  MEETS  WITH  THE  AUSTRALIAN  HEAD  OF  THE  MISSION    (WOMEN’S  CENTRE  FOR  LEGAL  AID  AND  COUNSELLING)     On August 2nd, WCLAC’s General Director Miss. Randa Siniora and WCLAC’s Programmes Director Ms. Amal AbuSrour met with the Australian Head of the Mission Mis. Marcia Pius at WCLAC’s Ramallah office and briefed her on WCLAC’s general work. The aim of the visit is to learn more on the overall human rights and humanitarian situation in the oPt, the lives of Palestinians, and the impact of the Israeli occupation on women especially in Gaza and East Jerusalem.  
 More
. . .
SUPPLEMENTAL  INFORMATION:  A PRO- ISRAEL  ANALYSIS  OF  THE  CENTRE      More. . .

“IT’S  ALSO  FINE,”  by  MOURID  BARGHOUTI

It’s also fine to die in our beds
on a clean pillow
and among our friends.
It’s fine to die, once,
our hands crossed on our chests,
empty and pale,
with no scratches, no chains, no banners,
and no petitions.
It’s fine to have a clean death,
with no holes in our shirts,
and no evidence in our ribs.
It’s fine to die
with a white pillow, not the pavement, under our cheek,
with our hands resting in those of our loved ones,
surrounded by desperate doctors and nurses,
with nothing left but a graceful farewell,
paying no attention to history,
leaving this world as it is,
hoping that, someday, someone else
will change it.
—From MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS, Arc Publications, 2008

“. . . they bring panic and terror they are utterly not-to-be-trusted . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

❶ Foreign Minister says Israeli settlement plans have a US green light
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) President Abbas receives important call from Saudi King Salman

  • Background: “Clarity or Ambiguity? The Withdrawal Clause of UN Security Council Resolution 242.” International Affairs.

❷ Palestinian refugees live in fear of Trump aid cuts
❸ Israeli forces shoot 2 Palestinians, detain minors during predawn raids
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settler killed in shooting attack near Nablus
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ FOREIGN  MINISTER  SAYS  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENT  PLANS  HAVE  A  US  GREEN  LIGHT
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 10, 2018 ― Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said on Wednesday that Israeli announcement of plans to build 1285 new settlement units in the occupied West Bank was one outcome of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, which gave Israel the green light to do whatever it wants with the Palestinian land.
___Malki told Voice of Palestine radio that the Israeli decision was also a result of the international community’s failure to hold Israel accountable for its acts, particularly with regard to settlement construction.      MORE . . .   
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  PRESIDENT  ABBAS  RECEIVES  IMPORTANT  CALL  FROM  SAUDI  KING  SALMAN    
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 10, 2018 ― Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas received on Tuesday an important telephone call from King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia.
___King Salman reaffirmed Saudi Arabia’s firm and continuing support for Palestinian right to establish an independent state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
___He affirmed as well the importance of continuing with direct daily coordination to assure support for the Palestinian cause, the Arab’s number one issue, reiterating his country’s firm position from the Palestinian issue, particularly Jerusalem.    MORE . . .   

(Note: while the “facts on the ground” have changed considerably since this article was written, it provides important information about of the intent of UN Resolution 242.)  

McDOWALL, DAVID.
“CLARITY  OR  AMBIGUITY?  THE  WITHDRAWAL  CLAUSE  OF  UN  SECURITY  COUNCIL  RESOLUTION  242.”
INTERNATIONAL  AFFAIRS, vol. 90, no. 6, Nov. 2014, pp. 1367-1381.
[. . . .] How does one explain the failure to hold the line, either on the ‘inadmissibility’ preamble or on the withdrawal clause? Both the US and UK were politically more sympathetic to Israel than to the Arab states. In America this attitude encompassed virtually the whole electorate, as well as government and commerce. In Britain, the electorate was also overwhelmingly pro-Israel, but the government’s position, while still firmly pro-Israel, was tempered by the importance of trade with the Arab world. These attitudes possibly affected the two countries’ position regarding Resolution 242, giving Israel the leeway on the withdrawal clause to which the Council majority were opposed. Fatefully, however, neither America nor Britain felt able to defy its ardently pro-Israel electorate and take a firm stance against Israel’s practical disregard for Resolution 242. Neither had the political will to do this; and Israel, from the outset, knew it.
[. . . .] So let us do so now, almost 50 years later, with a comparison of the requirements of Resolution 242 with those relevant parts of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Quite simply, it is illegal for any body purporting to represent civilian persons under occupation—including, in this case, the PLO, the Palestinian Authority or the government of Syria—to agree any terms with the occupant that in any regard ‘renounce in part or in entirety the rights secured to them by the present Convention’ (article 8). In elaborating on this theme, article 47 states:

Protected persons who are in occupied territory shall not be deprived, in any case or
in any manner whatsoever, of the benefits of the present Convention by any change introduced, as the result of the occupation of a territory, into the institutions or
government of the said territory, nor by any agreement concluded between the authorities of the occupied territories and the Occupying Power, nor by any annexation by the latter of the whole or part of the occupied territory.

In the light of everything that has transpired since 1967 one must gulp at the clarity and foresight of this prohibition, articulated specifically to protect and prevent the vulnerable from giving up their rights in the face of overwhelming military and political pressure.     SOURCE . . .  

❷ PALESTINIAN  REFUGEES  LIVE  IN  FEAR  OF  TRUMP  AID  CUTS 
Al Jazeera English 
by Ibrahim Husseini
Jan. 10, 2018 ― Palestinians living in refugee camps have expressed deep alarm over US threats to potentially cut funding for a relief agency tasked with providing aid and services to them.
___For nearly 70 years, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA) has been the lifeline to the more than five million registered Palestinian refugees in the occupied territories and neighbouring countries.
___It offers support in food supply, access to education, healthcare, social services and employment.
___”Today, more than two-thirds of refugees are children who go to UNRWA schools. If the schools shut down, there will be a big problem,” Salah Ajarmeh, a 44-year-old living in Aida refugee camp outside of Bethlehem, told Al Jazeera.    MORE . . .   
ISRAELI  FORCES  SHOOT  2  PALESTINIANS,  DETAIN  MINORS  DURING  PREDAWN  RAIDS
Ma’an News Agency 
Jan. 10, 2018 ― Two Palestinian youths were injured with live ammunition as Israeli forces conducted predawn detention raids in several districts across the occupied West Bank before dawn on Wednesday, detaining 12 Palestinians.
___Locals in the city of Jericho told Ma’an that two youths, whose identities remained unknown, were shot by Israeli forces with live ammunition during a raid on the Aqbat Jaber refugee camp. Two other Palestinians were detained during the raid.
___According to a statement from the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS), a 16-year-old Palestinian and his 26-year-old brother were detained from Jericho.
___Meanwhile, PPS said in a statement that Israeli forces detained 10 other Palestinians during West Bank raids.     MORE . . .   
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  SETTLER  KILLED  IN  SHOOTING  ATTACK  NEAR  NABLUS 
Ma’an News Agency 
Jan. 10, 2018 ― An Israeli settler, 35, was killed late Tuesday after he succumbed to wounds sustained in a shooting attack near the Surra village, south of Nablus City in the northern occupied West Bank.
___Israeli media identified the settler as Raziel Shevah. Reports said that Shevah came under fire while driving in his car near.
___The assailants, whose identities remained unknown, reportedly fired 22 shots at his vehicle.
___Shevah was transferred to the Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba in central Israel, where he was declared dead.
___Following the attack, Israeli forces closed the Yitzhar-Nablus road, a main road in the northern West Bank, and heavily deployed in the area.   MORE . . .   

“ENEMY,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
They come from all the ends of the earth to sit among us
they come from the ends of the winds
they bring sickness and a hissing like sakes
they come from the ends of the snows
they come smelling of death
they come with blood-dipping knives
they bring panic and terror
they are utterly not-to-be-trusted
they are utterly murderous
they are proud of their murders, they are drinkers of blood
proud of tooth and nail
even more proud of guns and treachery
they come to burn the love in our hearts
and turn it to torture and bitterness
they bring sorrow, terror, sickness. . .
How have they come to sit among 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.

“. . . because love and peace are holy and are coming to town . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ ICC to open full-blown investigation in settlements, 2014 Gaza war

  • Background:  Palestine in The Hague: justice, geopolitics, and the International Criminal Court.” Global Governance.

❷ Abbas instructs Washington delegate to intensify work in US
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Erekat: No negotiations until Jerusalem decision is dropped
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Minister Abu Shahla meets UNRWA operations chief in Gaza
❸ Israel detains 19 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Israeli navy detains five Gaza fishermen, seizes their boats
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ICC  TO  OPEN  FULL-BLOWN  INVESTIGATION  IN  SETTLEMENTS,  2014  GAZA  WAR
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Jan. 9, 2018 ―  The International Criminal Court in The Hague is planning on investigating Israeli leaders over Israeli settlement expansion in Jerusalem and West Bank, as well as the 2014 aggression on Gaza titled ‘Operation Protective Edge.’
___According to a report by Channel 10 Monday evening, the Israeli National Security Council warned Israeli lawmakers in the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee that the international court is planning on opening an investigation later this year into the 2014 war with Hamas, as well settlements in the West Bank.
___Prosecutors at the International Criminal Court, at the behest of the Palestinian Authority, have opened cursory examinations in both matters . . .    MORE . . .    ..

Note: Article gives detailed background information about the ICC’s decision.

Bosco, David.
“PALESTINE  IN  THE  HAGUE:  JUSTICE,  GEOPOLITICS,  AND  THE  INTERNATIONAL  CRIMINAL  COURT.”
GLOBAL GOVERNANCE, vol. 22, no. 1, Jan-Mar2016, pp. 155-171. On 1 April 2015, Palestine joined the international criminal court. The 123rd ICC member state, Palestine immediately became its most controversial. Israel’s Foreign Ministry described its accession as a “political, hypocritical, and cynical maneuver.” The United States expressed regret about the court’s involvement, calling any ICC scrutiny of Israel a “tragic irony.” For their part, Palestinian officials insisted that they seek “justice, not vengeance,” and major human rights groups hailed the move as a step toward potential accountability for all parties.
[. . . .] Palestine did not appear on the court’s docket until early 2009. The catalyst was Israel’s 2008−2009 campaign in the Gaza Strip, dubbed Operation Cast Lead. Designed to reduce Hamas’s ability to launch rockets and artillery at Israel, the action resulted in the deaths of hundreds of Palestinians, including many civilians. Palestinian officials and some outside observers argued that Israeli forces had committed war crimes. In January 2009, Palestine’s justice minister flew to The Hague and sought an ICC investigation.
[. . . .] The conflict in Gaza that lasted most of July and August 2014 will be a priority for the prosecutor. By providing retroactive jurisdiction, Palestine has allowed the court to consider all events on Palestinian territory after the outbreak of major fighting . . . . The prosecutor will likely focus on several categories of possible crimes by Palestinians and Israelis.
[. . . .] For all the attention paid to the fighting in Gaza, the most dangerous issue for Israeli officials lies elsewhere. Israel’s policy of supporting settlements in the occupied West Bank could place senior Israeli officials in greater legal jeopardy than its conduct in Gaza. Israel’s settlements in territory occupied during the 1967 war have been widely described as illegal, including by the UN Security Council and the International Court of Justice. A commission of inquiry appointed by the UN Human Rights Council described settlements as potential war crimes.
[. . . .] Yet international courts have not directly addressed the issue of criminal responsibility for these policies. The Rome Statute lists as a war crime “the transfer, directly or indirectly, by the Occupying Power of parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies.” The ICC’s preliminary examination will likely be the first international judicial inquiry into whether the Israeli promotion of settlements in the Occupied Territories meets this definition [. . . .]  SOURCE . . . 

❷ ABBAS  INSTRUCTS  WASHINGTON  DELEGATE  TO  INTENSIFY  WORK  IN  US
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Jan. 9, 2018 ― President Mahmoud Abbas Tuesday gave clear instructions to the Palestinian diplomatic delegation to Washington to intensify work in the United State to influence public opinion and increase awareness of the Palestinian cause, chief Palestinian delegate Hussam Zomlot said on Monday.
___He said in a statement, after meeting heads of Palestinian and Arab organizations in Washington, that Abbas stressed the importance of the Palestine Liberation Organization’s (PLO) general delegation to the US in intensifying efforts with all representatives of the American people and influence public opinion by collaborating with the Palestinian community, the Arab, Islamic and Christian institutions, solidarity groups and civil society organizations in the US.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  EREKAT:  NO  NEGOTIATIONS  UNTIL  JERUSALEM  DECISION  IS  DROPPED
Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 9, 2018 ― Secretary-General of the PLO  Executive Committee, Dr. Saeb Erekat, said that the continued American attempts to revive Israeli-Palestinian negotiations  are unacceptable to the Palestinian leadership, unless the decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel is dropped.
___“The Palestinian leadership will not accept any offers for negotiations unless the American decision on Jerusalem is dropped,” Erakat told the official Voice of Palestine radio station on Tuesday.
___Erekat said that US President, Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel dictated removing Jerusalem from any negotiations.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  MINISTER  ABU  SHAHLA  MEETS  UNRWA  OPERATIONS  CHIEF  IN  GAZA
The Palestinian Information Center 
Jan. 8, 2018 ― Palestinian labor minister Ma’moun Abu Shahla on Monday met with director of UNRWA operations  Matthias Schmale at the headquarters of the ministry in the Gaza Strip and discussed with him the US decision to freeze funding for the agency.
___Abu Shahla discussed the impacts of the US decision on the UNRWA’s operations and the need for taking serious action by the UN against such US threat.     MORE . . . 
❸ ISRAEL  DETAINS  19  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  A  14-YEAR-OLD  BOY           Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 9, 2018 ― Israeli forces detained on Tuesday 19 Palestinians, including a 14-year-old boy, during wide-scale raids in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, said the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).
[. . . .] According to a statistic by Prisoners Support and Human Rights Association, the total number of Palestinian political prisoners is 6154, with 453 of them held in administrative detention without charge, 311 minors and 59 women.   MORE . . .    ..
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  NAVY  DETAINS  FIVE  GAZA  FISHERMEN,  SEIZES  THEIR  BOATS 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Jan. 9, 2018 ― Israeli navy detained on Tuesday five Gaza fishermen and confiscated two fishing boats in al-Sudaniya area, northwest of the Gaza Strip, WAFA correspondent said.
___He said that the Israeli navy opened fire at the fishermen and their boats as they were sailing four nautical miles in the sea of al-Sudaniya area . . .    MORE . . . 

“IN  JERUSALEM,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH
In Jerusalem, and I mean within the ancient walls,
I walk from one epoch to another without a memory
to guide me. The prophets over there are sharing
the history of the holy . . . ascending to heaven
and returning less discouraged and melancholy, because love
and peace are holy and are coming to town.
I was walking down a slope and thinking to myself: How
do the narrators disagree over what light said about a stone?
Is it from a dimly lit stone that wars flare up?
I walk in my sleep. I stare in my sleep. I see
no one behind me. I see no one ahead of me.
All this light is for me. I walk. I become lighter. I fly
then I become another. Transfigured. Words
sprout like grass from Isaiah’s messenger
mouth: “If you don’t believe you won’t believe.”
I walk as if I were another. And my wound a white
biblical rose. And my hands like two doves
on the cross hovering and carrying the earth.
I don’t walk, I fly, I become another,
transfigured. No place and no time. So who am I?
I am no I in ascension’s presence. But I
think to myself: Alone, the prophet Mohammad
spoke classical Arabic. “And then what?”
Then what? A woman soldier shouted:
Is that you again? Didn’t I kill you?
I said: You killed me . . . and I forgot, like you, to die.

From Darwish, Mahmoud. The Butterfly’s Burden. Trans. Fady Joudah. Copper Canyon Press, 2008. Available.
About Mahmoud Darwish.

“. . . Your land is no holier than my backyard . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

❶ Israeli forces demolish structures, notify to demolish homes in Silwan
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) A child [from Nabi Saleh village] with an IOF bullet in his skull
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Video: IOF shoot, injure four Palestinians in Hebron clashes

  • Background: “Boycotting Apartheid from South Africa to Palestine.” Peace Review

❷ PPS: since Trump announcement, Israeli forces have detained over 600 Palestinians
. . . . . ❷― (ᴀ) Video: Right-wing Israeli minister harasses Palestinians visiting imprisoned relatives
. . . . . ❷― (ᴃ) ICRC slams MK’s harassment of Palestinian prisoners’ families relatives
. . . . . ❷― (ᴄ) Abu Marzouk: Israelis should think it over before trying to ape Haza
❸ POETRY by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  STRUCTURES,  NOTIFY  TO  DEMOLISH  HOMES  IN  SILWAN    
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Dec. 26, 2017 ― Israeli forces Tuesday demolished two structures and notified to demolish a number of homes in the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, under the pretext of construction without a permit, according to WAFA correspondent.
___Israeli police accompanied by bulldozers broke into Silwan area in the early morning hours and demolished a structure and an animal shack, according to the Silwan-based Wadi Hilweh Information Center.  MORE . . .   
.  .  .  .  . ❶ ― (ᴀ) A  CHILD  [FROM  NABI  SALEH  VILLAGE]  WITH  AN  IOF  BULLET  IN  HIS  SKULL 
The Palestinian Information Center     
Dec. 25, 2017 ― On the 15th of December 2017, Mohammed climbed his house’s three-meter wall, to watch the movement of Israeli occupation forces (IOF), yet there was a soldier lying down, and watching his movement. The soldier shot the 15-year-old boy with a single bullet that penetrated his face. The boy fell from the top of the wall and hit the ground.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❶ ―  (ᴃ)  VIDEO:  IOF  SHOOT,  INJURE  FOUR  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON  CLASHES    
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 26, 2017 ― Four Palestinians were shot and injured with live bullets and others suffocated on Tuesday during separate clashes with Israeli forces in the town of Sa’ir and nearby al-Arroub refugee camp, to the north of Hebron, according to local and security sources.
___Israeli forces raided al-Aroub refugee camp, spurring clashes with locals. Forces fired live bullets at residents, shooting and injuring three in the foot.  They were transferred to hospital for medical treatment. Their medical condition is still unknown, WAFA reported.
___Forces further attacked residents’ homes with tear gas canisters, causing many to suffocate as a result of teargas inhalation.    MORE . . . 

Di Stefano, Paul and Mostafa Henaway.
“BOYCOTTING  APARTHEID  FROM  SOUTH  AFRICA  TO  PALESTINE.”
PEACE REVIEW, vol. 26, no. 1, Jan-Mar2014, pp. 19-27.
[. . . .] There is little doubt that Israel’s international membership in numerous diplomatic and economic forums “provides both an unmerited veneer of respectability and material support for its crimes.” In fact, a key challenge of this facet of the BDS strategy is to keep international attention focused on Israeli human rights violations, so the Palestinian struggle is not subsumed under the veneer of normalization prevalent in international relations. Normalization is anathema to achieving rights and ending oppression because it allows Israelis to gain while Palestinians lose. Normalization accepts the humanity and dignity of Israelis while actively denying Palestinians their own. It obfuscates the Palestinian reality of oppression and colonialism and improperly casts the relationship between colonizers and colonized as symmetrical. BDS asserts the notion that oppression must end before peace can take place. Neve Gordon urges, “Outside pressure is the only answer. . . . Words and condemnations have not yielded results, not even a settlement freeze . . . nothing else has worked.” Noura Erakat notes that “the tripartite strategy is rooted in economic logic: Israel must comply with international law because non-compliance is too politically and economically costly to maintain . . . ” Therefore, the key to changing the conditions for Palestinians is to politically isolate Israel by calling for sanctions against it. In effect, these sanctions serve to buttress the varied boycotts by grassroots organizations that, in turn, threaten to alter the status quo. . . .    SOURCE . . . 

❷  PPS:  SINCE  TRUMP  ANNOUNCEMENT,  ISRAELI  FORCES  HAVE  DETAINED  OVER  600  PALESTINIANS
Ma’an News Agency  
Dec. 26, 2017 ― Israeli forces detained at least 24 Palestinians during pre dawn raids Tuesday across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to Palestinian sources.
___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) reported that as of Tuesday the number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces since the US President’s declaration of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel three weeks ago, stands at 610 Palestinians, including 170 minors, 12 women and three injured detainees.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷―  (ᴀ)  VIDEO:  RIGHT-WING  ISRAELI  MINISTER  HARASSES  PALESTINIANS  VISITING  IMPRISONED  RELATIVES
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 25, 2017 ― An ultra right-wing Israeli minister verbally harassed Palestinians from Gaza as they traveled on a bus to visit their imprisoned relatives in souther Israel’s Nafha prison, hurling abuse at women on the bus calling their sons “dogs.”
___MK Oren Hazan of the right-wing Likud party, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s party, intercepted and boarded a bus of Palestinian families traveling to Nafha prison on Monday.
___As he confronted the Palestinian families, he turned to the mother of an imprisoned Palestinian and asked, “Who did you come to visit? What did your son do?” to which she replied “He did not do anything.”
___Hazan responded to the mother by saying “Your son is a dog. He’s a dog. You come to visit the scum who are sitting here in prison, whom you see as your family members.”   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷―  (ᴃ)  ICRC  SLAMS  MK’S  HARASSMENT  OF  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS’  FAMILIES  RELATIVES  
The Palestinian Information Center
Dec. 25, 2017 ― The International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) on Monday slammed an Israeli Knesset member for intercepting a bus of Palestinian families visiting their imprisoned sons in Israeli jails.
___ICRC spokeswoman Soheir Zaqout said that the Committee is following with concern what happened during the visit, stressing that the families of Palestinian prisoners have the right to visit their sons with dignity.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❷ ―  (ᴄ)  ABU  MARZOUK:  ISRAELIS  SHOULD  THINK  IT  OVER  BEFORE  TRYING  TO  APE  HAZAN
The Palestinian Information Center   
Dec. 25, 2017 ― Member of Hamas’s political bureau Mousa Abu Marzouk has said that Israeli leaders should think twice before trying to copy Knesset member Oren Hazan and bully families of Palestinian prisoners who seek to see their relatives in Israeli jails.
___“Hazan’s savage behavior reflected the fragility of this rogue entity whose leaders are looking for fake heroism,” Abu Marzouk said in Twitter remarks on Monday.  MORE . . . 

“HOLY  LANDERS,”  BY  LAHAB  ASSEF  AL-JUNDI

Listen!
You are fighting over a land that can fit,
with wilderness to spare,
in the Panhandle of Texas.

You are building walls to segregate,
splitting wholes till little is left,
killing and dying for pieces of sky
in the same window.

The olive trees are dying
of embarrassment.
They have enough fruits
and pits for all of you.
All they want is for you to stop
uprooting them.
Sending your children to die
in their names.

Listen!
Your land is no holier than my backyard.
None of you is any more chosen
the homeless veteran panhandling
with a God Bless cardboard sign
at the light of Mecca
and San Pedro.
Draw a borderline around the place.
Call it home for all the living,
all the dead
all the tired exiles with its dust
gummed on their tongues.

There are no heroes left.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi was born, and grew up, in Damascus, Syria. Attended The University of Texas in Austin, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Not long after graduation, he discovered his passion for writing. He published his first poetry collection, “A Long Way”, in 1985. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and many Anthologies including: “In These Latitudes, Ten Contemporary Poets”, edited by Robert Bonazzi, “Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry”, edited by Hayan Charara, and “Between Heaven and Texas”, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.

 

 

“. . . but with you, the sun’s enemy, I will not bargain . . .” (Samih al -Qasim)

25348825_1925072917533509_2459295879374347377_n-001
A Meme from FaceBook. Perhaps it should read “recognizes Tel Aviv as the capital of the United States.”

❶ PPS: 490 Palestinians detained by Israeli forces since Trump decision on Jerusalem

  • Background: “A Letter from the Editors: The Longest Occupation.” Against the Current

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces detain cousin of Ahed Tamimi, extend detention of Ahed and her mother
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Palestinians injured as Israeli army suppresses rallies against US decision on Jerusalem
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Palestinian teen remains in a coma after being shot in head by Israeli forces
❷ President Abbas meets Saudi King Salman in Riyadh
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) UNGA to vote on withdrawing US recognition of Jerusalem as Israeli capital
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Palestinian delegations holding talks in Russia and China on future of peace process
❸ POETRY by Samih al -Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PPS:  490  PALESTINIANS  DETAINED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  SINCE  TRUMP  DECISION  ON  JERUSALEM 
Ma’an News Agency    
Dec. 20, 2017 ―Israeli forces detained at least 28 Palestinians overnight between Tuesday and Wednesday from the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, according to official Palestinian and Israeli sources.
___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) . . .   said that as of Tuesday, the total number of Palestinians detained by Israeli forces since the beginning of the protests that followed US President Donald Trump’s’ recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital was 490, including 148 minors and 11 women.  MORE . . . 

“A  LETTER  FROM  THE  EDITORS:  THE  LONGEST  OCCUPATION.” 
AGAINST THE CURRENT, vol. 32, no. 189, Jul/Aug2017, pp. 2-44.
DONALD TRUMP’S SPEECH to the regional potentates and dictators assembled for the occasion in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia was generally acclaimed as eminently presidential, and rightly so. That is to say, it was firmly in the tradition of U.S. presidential addresses on Middle East policy: utterly cynical, dripping with deceit, and above all, irreversibly tied to the United States’ leading role as the chief arms merchant to some of the world’s most brutal regimes.
___Unlike some of his predecessors, of course, Trump paid no lip service to human rights or democracy, both of which he despises — as do his Saudi royal hosts, who understood perfectly that the way to treat him is with limitless pomp and flattery . . .
[. . . .] Trump’s performance in Riyadh . . .  was in some ways as breathtaking as it was presidential. He assured the assembled rulers of Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Bahrain etc. that “we are not here to lecture you,” and declaimed the absence of democracy — in Iran. In fact, Iran just held an election. The population didn’t get to choose the candidates. . .  But given the choices presented to them, Iranians voted overwhelmingly for the “moderate” president Hassan Rouhani who promised openness and social relaxation.
[. . . .] Whatever happens to Trump’s presidency won’t be decided by his antics in Riyadh, Jerusalem or Brussels. It will end if, and at whatever point, he becomes a liability rather than an enabler of the savage rightwing Republican political agenda. But it’s important that the resistance to the Trump regime — which has only intensified after his withdrawal from the international climate agreement — take up the issues of war in the Middle East, Palestine in particular.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  COUSIN  OF  AHED  TAMIMI,  EXTEND  DETENTION  OF  AHED  AND  HER  MOTHER 
Ma’an News Agency   
Dec. 20, 2017 ― Israeli forces detained the cousin of Palestinian teenage actvist Ahed al-Tamimi during predawn raids on Wednesday in the occupied West Bank.
___Locals in the central West Bank village of Nabi Saleh told Ma’an that Israeli forces detained 21-year-old Nour Naji al-Tamimi, the cousin of 17-year-old Ahed al-Tamimi who was detained . . . after a video went viral of her slapping an armed Israeli officer during a raid on Nabi Saleh.
___Nour, who appeared in the video next to Ahed as the two attempted to push the soldiers out of their property, was reportedly arrested for reasons relating to the video.
___Ahed’s mother, Nariman, was also detained on Tuesday . . .  According to Arabic media, both Ahed and Nariman’s detentions were extended.  MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴃ)  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  AS  ISRAELI  ARMY  SUPPRESSES  RALLIES  AGAINST  US  DECISION  ON  JERUSALEM
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 20, 2017 ― Israeli forces responded with force on Wednesday shooting live and rubber bullets and tear gas canisters to disperse thousands of Palestinians who rallied across the West Bank districts of Ramallah, Hebron, Tulkarm and Bethlehem against the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital causing dozens of suffocation cases and at least one injury from live bullet.
___The Palestinian national and Islamic forces called for mass rallies in all the Palestinian cities after which participants would march to contact points with Israeli soldiers.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴄ)  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  REMAINS  IN  A  COMA  AFTER  BEING  SHOT  IN  HEAD  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES
Ma’an News Agency 
Dec. 19, 2017 ― Fourteen-year-old Muhammad Fadel al-Tamimi remains in a medically-induced coma as of Tuesday, days after he was hot in the face with a rubber-coated steel bullet by Israeli forces.
___The Palestinian teenager, a resident of the central occupied West Bank town of Nabi Saleh, was injured during clashes in his village on Friday.    MORE . . . 
❷  PRESIDENT  ABBAS  MEETS  SAUDI  KING  SALMAN  IN  RIYADH 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 20, 2017 ― President Mahmoud Abbas met in Riyadh on Wednesday with King Salman bin Abdul Aziz Al Saud of Saudi Arabia and briefed him on the latest developments and efforts to protect Jerusalem from the dangers facing it following US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as capital of Israel earlier this month.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  UNGA  TO  VOTE  ON  WITHDRAWING  US  RECOGNITION  OF  JERUSALEM  AS  ISRAELI  CAPITAL 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 20, 2017 ―Palestine’s Permanent Observer at the United Nations, Riyad Mansour, said the United Nations General Assembly is going to vote on Thursday on a draft resolution that calls for withdrawing the United States’ recent decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, Voice of Palestine radio reported Wednesday.
___He told the Voice of Palestine radio that the UN General Assembly will hold a session named “United for Peace” on Thursday to vote on the draft resolution which asks the US to back down on its recent decision on Jerusalem, after the US vetoed a similar UN Security Council resolution last Monday.    MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  PALESTINIAN  DELEGATIONS  HOLDING  TALKS  IN  RUSSIA  AND  CHINA  ON  FUTURE  OF  PEACE  PROCESS  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA     
Dec. 20, 2017 ― Two official Palestinian delegations are in Russia and China to discuss the future of the peace process, PLO Executive Committee member Saleh Rafat said on Wednesday.
___He told the official Voice of Palestine radio that the visit by the two Palestinian delegations is part of efforts to garner support for the Palestinian position that strongly opposes the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
___He said Moscow had confirmed its support for the Palestinian position and would stand by Palestine at the United Nations General Assembly when it meets on Thursday with a goal to denounce the US decision.   MORE . . . 

“A  SPEECH  IN  THE  UNEMPLOYMENT  MARKET,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
If you like, I will forfeit my wages
and put up my clothes and bed for sale.
I’ll work as a stonecutter, porter or street-sweeper,
and search for grain in the dung of cattle
and languish, naked and hungry
but with you, the sun’s enemy, I will not bargain.
With the last throb in my veins I will resist.

Though you steal the last foot of my land
and feed my youth to the prison,
seize my grandfather’s inheritance
of furnishings, dishes and pots,
burn my poems and books,
throw my flesh to the dogs
and dwell as a dream of horror over my village
with you, the sun’s enemy, I will not bargain.
With the last throb in my veins I will resist.

You may smother my flame in the night,
withhold my mother’s kiss
and let children curse my kinfolk.
You may slip past the guardian of my sorrows
and settle my history between a coward and a senseless god.
You may deny my children holiday clothes
and fool my friends with a borrowed face,
hedge me around with all your walls
and sacrifice my days on some humble spot
but with you, the sun’s enemy, I will not bargain.
With the last throb in my veins I will resist.

Enemy of the sun,
in the port there is feasting, a flood of good tidings,
shrills and shouts and a cry of joy;
heroic anthems burst from every throat!
On the horizon, a boat
challenges the wind and boundless sea, and passes out of danger.
It is Ulysses’ return
from the lost seas―
the return of the sun, and of the exiled―
and by her eyes,
and by his eyes,
I swear I will not bargain!

I will resist.
― (1967)

An interview with Samih Al-Qasim.
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.

“. . . The world will be cleansed of its sorrows . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

❶ Maliki: Palestinians can no longer accept the US as a peace mediator
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Arab foreign ministers demand US to annul Jerusalem decision
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) The world’s anger toward Trump gives Palestinians a clear path for action
❷ In Photos: Israeli police use force to break up protest in East Jerusalem
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Prisoner’s Society says Israel detained 150 Palestinians since US move
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Trump’s announcement threatens the heart of Palestinian healthcare
POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ MALIKI:  PALESTINIANS  CAN  NO  LONGER  ACCEPT  THE  US  AS  A  PEACE  MEDIATOR 
The Palestinian Information Center 
Dec. 10, 2017 ― Palestinian minister of foreign affairs Riyadh al-Maliki has affirmed that the Palestinian Authority (PA) is looking for another international sponsor for the peace process in the aftermath of the serious decision that was taken by the US president regarding Jerusalem.
___Maliki made his remarks in a news conference held on Saturday at the Palestinian embassy in Cairo to clarify the PA’s position after the US proved itself to be unfit as a neutral sponsor for the peace process. MORE . . .    ..
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  ARAB  FOREIGN  MINISTERS  DEMAND  US  TO  ANNUL  JERUSALEM  DECISION  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 10, 2017 – Arab Foreign Ministers demanded the United States to withdraw its decision on Jerusalem and to work with the international community to oblige Israel to implement international laws.
___The ministers concluded in an emergency meeting in Cairo, which was called for to discuss the US move to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and to transfer the embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem that the decision has no legal effect, but constitutes a serious violation of the international law.
___The ministers warned that attempts to change the legal and historical status of Jerusalem and its Arab identity and attack its Islamic and Christian holy sites provokes the feelings of Muslims and Christians throughout the Arab and Muslim world.  MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴃ)  THE  WORLD’S  ANGER  TOWARD  TRUMP  GIVES  PALESTINIANS  A  CLEAR  PATH  FOR  ACTION   
Mondoweiss
Haidar Eid      (Haidar Eid is Associate Professor of Postcolonial and Postmodern Literature at Gaza’s al-Aqsa University.)
Dec. 9, 2017 ― US president Donald Trump has taken a decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. Forget about international law, UN and Security Council Resolutions, Arab and Muslim reaction! The President of the United of Sates of America does not give a damn. If the world doesn’t like it, it can bang its head against the “wailing wall!”
___What is Jerusalem?
___Jerusalem is Zarnouqa, the village from which my family together with thousands of villagers, were ethnically cleansed in 1948 in order to make room for Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe, a pure Jewish state, similar to Apartheid South Africa and other settler-colonies, one that does not grant you citizenship unless you are born to a Jewish mother.
___Alas, my mother was not Jewish and, therefore, I am expected to live in a refugee camp, accept my low status, and never think of praying in one of the holiest sites of Islam, Christianity and Judaism.
___President Trump, with all sincerity, believes that we are biologically born different and, therefore, some of us have no right to exist and survive on this piece of land unless we choose to be slaves and be grateful for that!   MORE . . .
❷ IN  PHOTOS:  ISRAELI  POLICE  USE  FORCE  TO  BREAK  UP  PROTEST  IN  EAST  JERUSALEM
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 9, 2017 ― Israeli police on Saturday entered occupied East Jerusalem on foot and on horseback, and suppressed a peaceful Palestinian demonstration against US President Donald Trump’s announcement recognizing Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___Witnesses said police stormed into the crowd of local activists, students and ordinary citizens who were marching peacefully on the main city street, dispersing them and arresting two people.
___Police tossed stun grenades into the crowd as police on horseback reportedly ran over people, including journalists covering the event.
__The witnesses said the police attacked people, mainly women, who were carrying Palestinian flags and snatched them from their hands.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  PRISONER’S  SOCIETY  SAYS  ISRAEL  DETAINED  150  PALESTINIANS  SINCE  US  MOVE 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 10, 2017 ― The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Sunday said Israeli army forces and police detained a total of 150 Palestinians since US recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___A press released published by PPS said the highest percentage of detentions occurred in Jerusalem with 40 people detained, including four women who were later released.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  TRUMP’S  ANNOUNCEMENT  THREATENS  THE  HEART  OF  PALESTINIAN  HEALTHCARE
Palestine News Network – PNN     Dec. 8, 2017 ― On Wednesday, President Donald Trump declared that the United States now recognises Jerusalem as the capital of the State of Israel, and announced his intention to move the US embassy to the city.
___At Medical Aid for Palestinians (MAP), we are deeply concerned by this development and reports that at least 50 Palestinians protesting against the US decision have been injured by Israeli security forces, nine by live ammunition.
___Israel’s annexation of occupied East Jerusalem, the surrounding separation wall, and its complex regime of permits and IDs create manifold barriers to the rights to health and dignity of Palestinians.
___MAP has repeatedly raised concerns about armed raids on Palestinian hospitals and healthcare centres in occupied East Jerusalem, as well as dangerous delays to ambulances and patients entering the city via checkpoints.
___East Jerusalem is the site of many medical specialties unavailable elsewhere in the occupied Palestinian territory, including cardiac surgery and essential specialist cancer treatments such as radiotherapy. It is therefore vital that Palestinian patients from the West Bank and Gaza are able to enter freely to access this care.   MORE . . .

“THE  SEAGULL  AND  THE  NEGATION  OF  NEGATION,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN

It crossed the horizon and cleft the darkness,
Mastering the blue, darting on wings of light―
Twisting, turning and still turning.
It knocked at my dark window, and the gasping silence quivered:
“Bird, is it good news you bring?”
It divulged its secret, yet breathed not a word,
And the seagull disappeared.

Bird, my sea-bird, I know now
That during hard times, standing in the tunnel of silence,
All things change.
The seed sprouts even within the heart of the dead,
Morning bursts forth from darkness.
I know now,
As I hear horses galloping the call of death along the shores,
That when the flood comes,
The world will be cleansed of its sorrows.

Bird, my sea-bird, rising from the depths of darkness,
God’s blessing upon you for the good news you bring.
For I know now
Something happened . . . the horizon parted and the house greeted the light of day.

About Fadwa Tuqan.
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.

“. . . blindfold me But here I will stand tall . . .” (Fouzi el Asmar)

❶ Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem
❷ Hamas and Fatah meet in Cairo to continue reconciliation talks

  • Background: “Indispensible but Elusive: Palestinian National Reunification.” Middle East Policy.

❸ Israel arrests 19 Palestinians including 6 Fatah activists taken for interrogation
❹ Save the Children: rights of Palestinian children being eroded in West Bank
❺ POETRY by Fouzi el Asmar
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❶ ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  2  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  IN  OCCUPIED  EAST  JERUSALEM    
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 22, 2017 ― Israeli forces reportedly demolished two Palestinian homes on Wednesday in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
___Locals told Ma’an that staff from Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, under the protection of police forces, raided the neighborhoods of al-Issawiya and Shufat and demolished two homes, under the pretext that they were built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.
___Israeli forces first demolished the home of Sharif Muhsein in al-Issawiya, which according to local activist Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, was still under construction. The demolition reportedly caused damages to the house next door.   MORE . . .
❷  HAMAS  AND  FATAH  MEET  IN  CAIRO  TO  CONTINUE  RECONCILIATION  TALKS
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 21, 2017 ― Palestinian political factions are set to meet on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, in the newest round of national reconciliation talks, following the reconciliation agreement signed by feuding factions Hamas and Fatah in October.
___Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that the “national dialogue” is to last for three days, and will review what has been achieved so far from the October agreement, and review elements from the failed 2011 agreement.  MORE . . .

(Note: While this article is four years old and is about the previous agreements which failed, it offers valuable information for understanding the current work toward reconciliation between the two entities. We will continue with more articles written in the intervening years.)

Ibish, Hussein.
“INDISPENSIBLE  BUT  ELUSIVE:  PALESTINIAN  NATIONAL  REUNIFICATION.”
MIDDLE EAST POLICY,
vol. 21, no. 3, Fall2014, pp. 31-46.
[. . . .] Egypt has always regarded the Gaza border area and the Rafah crossing as more of a domestic and national-security issue than a foreign-policy challenge. . .  [but] Egypt moved to shut down smuggling tunnels, make it much harder for anything or anyone to pass between Egypt and Gaza, and close the crossing except for humanitarian purposes or other special exceptions. Gaza had never in its history been this cut off. The Egyptian blockade was, if anything, tighter than the Israeli blockade. And Egypt was in no way constrained, as Israel is, by the responsibilities accruing to the officially designated (by the UN Security Council) occupying power in Gaza.  Egypt’s lawful prerogatives are much more elastic [than srael’s]. Hamas soon found itself politically isolated, diplomatically squeezed and economically strangled at a whole new level, even considering that the blockade had existed since the 2007 split with the PA in the West Bank.
[. . . .] As Hamas was facing an unprecedented meltdown in Gaza during 2013-14, the Ramallah leadership was also in a severe, albeit less extreme, crisis of its own. Like Hamas, its leaders lacked a popular mandate. . . .  Its policy of negotiating with Israel had not produced any tangible benefits in years, but had occasioned significant frustration. Its controversial policy of security coordination with Israel helped to secure law and order and stability . . . was painted as simply providing calm for the occupier. The sense of patriotic duty and national purpose was being weakened . . .
[. . . .] The calculations of all parties regarding the unity agreement [2011] were reshaped by the hostilities in Gaza, the subject of an uneasy truce and uncertain negotiations. Indeed, the Hamas-Israel war appeared to breathe new life into an arrangement . . .
[. . . .]  Israel will have to change its implicit, and perhaps even explicit, position towards the unity agreement. It could well be argued that Israel has already done so, by signaling a willingness to go along with such an arrangement if it is coupled with a “demilitarization” regime . . .  If Israel does not adapt its policies towards the Ramallah leadership, it can virtually guarantee that Hamas will eventually and plausibly insist that the 2014 war with Israel constituted a “victory” for the Islamist organization and its policy of armed struggle. . .  If Israel does decide to adapt its policies in order to deny Hamas that opportunity, this will require a new approach to the PA and, if there is an explicit understanding on a lasting ceasefire or reconstruction, perhaps also to the Palestinian national-unity agreement.    SOURCE . . .    ..

❸ ISRAEL  ARRESTS  19  PALESTINIANS  INCLUDING  6  FATAH  ACTIVISTS  TAKEN  FOR  INTERROGATION    
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Nov. 20,2017 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a large-scale arrest campaign at dawn on Tuesday arresting 19 people most of them in Jerusalem and targeted girls and leaders from Jerusalem.
___The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said that the occupation arrested 13 Palestinians from Jerusalem.
___According to an attorney with the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Mufeed al-Haj, Israeli police is also interrogating six Fatah activists, including one woman, from East Jerusalem detained in earlier raids at their homes for their alleged activity in the occupied city.
___He said that the six detained include Hatem Abdul Qadder, one of the top Fatah officials . . . .   MORE . . .
❹ SAVE  THE  CHILDREN:  RIGHTS  OF  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  BEING  ERODED  IN  WEST  BANK   
Ma’an News Agency     Nov. 20, 2017 (Updated Nov. 21, 2017) ― On the anniversary of Universal Children’s Day, international NGO Save the Children released a statement highlighting ongoing the rights violations of Palestinian children in the occupied territory by Israel.
___Jennifer Moorehead, the country director of Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory called for greater protection of schools and children’s right to education, saying that “children’s most fundamental right to education is being eroded” in the territory.
___Moorehead highlighted the cases of 55 Palestinian schools in Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control, that are under threat of demolition by Israeli forces.
___“Distance, risky roads, the presence of settlers or of military checkpoints had presented insurmountable challenges for many children to reach the nearest schools,” Moorhead said.   MORE . . .

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL  ASMAR
You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970)

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