“. . . In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream . . .” (Samih Faraj)

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The Apartheid Wall at Cremisan with Palestinian olive trees beyond and new construction in foreground. Israelis-only bypass road to illegal settlement above (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 8, 2015.)

❶ Palestinians mourn final Cremisan Valley olive harvest

  • Background: “Bethlehem’s Wall.” America

❷ Zionist Settlers Assault 3 Palestinian Farmers in West Bank
❸ Extremist settlers reap profits from occupied Jerusalem sites
❹ POETRY by Samih Faraj
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIANS  MOURN  FINAL  CREMISAN  VALLEY  OLIVE  HARVEST  
Al Jazeera English
Extension of Israel’s separation wall will soon cut Palestinians off from the valley’s distinctive olive groves.  
Sheren Khalel
Nov. 4, 2016
The rocky terraces of the Cremisan Valley are mostly overgrown and wild these days, as local landowners say they have lost all hope of keeping control over the more than 300 hectares of olive trees and orchards along the sloping mount, confiscated by the Israeli government earlier this year.
___”I haven’t been here at all this year. Look how the weeds have grown over, and trash from the street has piled up,” Ricardo Jaweejat said, motioning towards the vast olive grove that has belonged to his family for generations.
___”What’s the point? When we learned the Israelis were taking the land, I avoided doing anything with it. It’s a little bit dangerous to be here now.”
___Beit Jala olives are known by Palestinians around the world for producing the finest olive oil, and the oil from the city’s Cremisan Valley is considered to be the best of Beit Jala, a district of the Bethlehem municipality in the southern occupied West Bank. This year is expected to be the last chance to harvest olives from the valley, which will soon be blocked off by an extension of Israel’s separation wall.  More . . .

  • Ivereigh, Austen. “Bethlehem’s Wall.” America 199.5 (2008): 15-17.  Full Article 

The Salesians who make wine at the Cremisan estate, located on the terraced hillsides to the west of Bethlehem, live in the path of the wall. They cannot stop its expansion; they have a settlement behind them, far into the West Bank, and the wall is designed to ensure that the settlements are included within the Israeli border—when that is finally agreed upon. The Vatican has added its voice to the international condemnation, but until Israel implements the 2001 Fundamental Agreement with the Holy See, the juridical status of the Catholic Church is at best fragile and its power to negotiate limited. Israel has agreed to a Vatican request not to divide church lands that lie beneath the path of the wall, so when the wall is extended later this year, Cremisan will be cut off from Bethlehem—depriving the town of one of its oldest and popular landmarks—and from the Palestinian workers on whom the winery depends. “We are negotiating to allow the workers to come each day through the wall,” says Father Luciano, an elderly Italian Salesian at Cremisan. “But everything is very uncertain. It is a great weight on us.”
[. . . . ]  The wall is strangling Bethlehem and its Christian population. It will come down only when Christian public opinion in the United States awakens to that fact and issues an S.O.S. for the birth town of Christianity, putting pressure on Washington to enforce international law.
___But that means dispelling some deeply held myths. A 2006 Zogby opinion poll commissioned by the campaign organization Open Bethlehem found that only 15 percent of Americans know that Bethlehem is a Palestinian town with a mixed Christian-Muslim Arab population in the occupied West Bank. Bethlehemites, when asked why Christians are leaving, point to the wall and speak about the land confiscations; yet most Americans believe Christians are being pushed out by “radical Muslims.” Most Americans simply do not realize that the wall is responsible for the destruction of the town’s Christian population; instead, they accept Israel’s argument that the wall was built to protect Israel from terrorist attacks, not to consolidate the illegal settlements and land annexations.

ZIONIST  SETTLERS  ASSAULT  3  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  WEST  BANK
Middle East News 17
Nov. 5, 2016
Three Palestinians were wounded, one critically, after being attacked by Israeli settlers on Saturday in the village of al-Janiya in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.
___According to locals, Israeli settlers assaulted and threw rocks at members of the Abu Fekheideh family while they were picking olives on their land in the al-Batha area of the village, near the illegal Israeli settlement of Talmon.
___Jaber Barakat Abu Fekheideh was critically injured in the head, while his brother Hassan and cousin Muhammad were reported as mildly wounded.  More . . .

olive-injuries
Jaber Barakat Abu Fekheideh being treated for critical wounds in a Ramallah hospital after being attacked by Israeli settlers, Nov. 5, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

EXTREMIST  SETTLERS  REAP  PROFITS  FROM  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  SITES    Electronic Intifada  
Charlotte Silver
Nov. 3, 2016
Israel’s state comptroller has sharply criticized three government agencies for outsourcing the management of major archaeological excavations and sites in Jerusalem to Elad, a private organization that settles Jews in the militarily occupied eastern part of the city in violation of international law.
___The report says the Israel Antiquities Authority has not supervised Elad’s archaeological work, nor has the Israel Nature and Parks Authority supervised Elad’s management of the so-called City of David, a settlement containing an archaeological museum catering to tourists.
___The City of David settlement is located in the middle of the Palestinian neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, and Elad asserts it is the ancient biblical City of King David mentioned in the second book of Samuel.    More . . .

“A WOMAN,” BY SAMIH FARAJ

Take one step towards the old house
And another down the stairs to the home
Where a woman sits in the early evening light:
Light, the radiance of a dove, shining;
Or light like the light from a shrine.
No one knows where she has come from –
Through which quarter or distant land she passed.
What shadow the light cast when she’d gone.
No one knows the flood she passed through –
The risks she took, the daily deluge.
No one can measure the vast sea she crossed,
The hazards she held in her small hands.
An ordinary woman: one step at a time, one step
On the land lacking, on the barren soil; one step
On the time passing; one step on the clock ticking.
Except for something in her now rising, hot, scolding,
Even her dreams are besieged, it seems; yet
In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream.
A dream of the old house, and her first step.
—Translated by Jackie Kay

Samih Faraj is a teacher in Deheishe Refugee Camp in Bethlehem and a lecturer at Hebron and Bethlehem Universities. He has been editor-in-chief of several journals, including VOICE OF THE NATION.
About education in Deheishe Refugee Camp.
Poem from A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

“. . . I asked about Mohammed and Christ Oh Jerusalem . . .” (Nizar Qabbani)

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Israeli Rabbi Bentzi Gopstein  said on Wednesday he does not mind burning mosques and churches. (Photo: Pa/dpa/EPA)

❶ Israeli rabbi: Christians are not welcome in Jerusalem
. ❶―(ᴀ) Jewish Extremist Group Calls for Torching Jerusalem Churches
❷ IOF break into Bethlehem, violent clashes break out
❸ Gaza Enters 10th Year of Israeli-led Blockade Gaza
. ❸―(ᴀ) PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (17 – 30 December 2015)
❹ Who’s to blame for deaths of children fighting in Palestine?
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Suddenly, comparing Jewish state to ISIS is OK
❻ Poetry by Nizar Qabbani
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
DAYS OF PALESTINE
ISRAELI  RABBI:  CHRISTIANS  ARE  NOT  WELCOME  IN  JERUSALEM
Dec. 31, 2015
Israeli Jewish Rabbi said on Wednesday that Christians are not welcome in Jerusalem; he does not mind burning mosques and churches.
___Bentzi Gopstein told the Israeli TV Channel Two that Israeli Jewish practically prevent Christians from entering Jerusalem.  More . . .
. ❶―(ᴀ) PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
JEWISH  EXTREMIST  GROUP  CALLS  FOR  TORCHING  JERUSALEM  CHURCHES
The leader of the extremist anti-assimilation group Lehava recently renewed his calls to torch churches in occupied Jerusalem, Israeli media sources revealed.
___Lehava’s leader, Bentzi Gopstein . . . . has previously ‘called for a ban on Christmas celebrations in the country and the banishment of Christians, who he referred to as ‘blood-sucking vampires’, from the land,’ reported the International Business Times.  More . . . 
PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
IOF  BREAK  INTO  BETHLEHEM,  VIOLENT  CLASHES  BREAK  OUT
Jan. 3, 2016
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday morning broke into Bethlehem, central Occupied West Bank, injured two and kidnapped two others in midst of intense clashes.
___At 10 AM this morning, IOF stormed Deheisheh refugee camp in Bethlehem, and spread snipers on the roofs of buildings. Clashes quickly broke out and IOF opened teargas inside the narrow camp, causing injuries.
___One child was reportedly shot in the leg, and another youth was kidnapped.  More . . .

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Isael’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip violates international law, a panel of human rights experts reporting to a UN body said on Tuesday, Sep. 10, 2015. (Photo: Reuters, September 13, 2011)

PALESTINE CHRONICLE
GAZA  ENTERS  10TH  YEAR  OF  ISRAELI-LED  BLOCKADE  GAZA
Jan. 2, 2016
The start of 2016 sees the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip entering the 10th year of the Israeli-led and internationally-backed blockade . . . . The blockade started in the wake of the 2006 Palestinian elections, which the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, Hamas, won with an overwhelming majority.
___Local and international monitoring organisations described the Palestinian poll as one of the most transparent ever recorded. In Palestine, though, it is remembered with sadness as the election marked the internal political split and the start of the siege of Gaza.  More . . .
. ❸―(ᴀ)  IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
PCHR  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OPT  (17 – 30  DECEMBER  2015)
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the oPt continued during the reporting period (17 – 30 December 2015).  More . . .
AL-MONITOR: PALESTINE PULSE
WHO’S  TO  BLAME  FOR  DEATHS  OF  CHILDREN  FIGHTING  IN  PALESTINE?
Aziza Nofal
Dec. 27, 2015
Taha al-Qatanani said he was expecting just an ordinary day as his daughter headed out the door early Nov. 22. He had no way of knowing she would never return.
___”I thought Ashraqat was going to school when she left the house,” he said of his 16-year-old daughter, who was killed that day at the Huwara checkpoint south of Nablus . . . .
___”It is hard to stop the youth from doing what they have in mind — even if their plan goes against the will of their parents. It is difficult to control them.”   More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
SUDDENLY,  COMPARING  JEWISH  STATE  TO  ISIS  IS  OK
Dan Cohen
Jan. 1, 2016
As the fallout continues after Jewish fundamentalists firebombed the sleeping Dawabshe family in their home in the occupied West Bank last June, Israeli commentators have begun to compare the Jewish State to ISIS.
___Liberal Zionist and Ha’aretz columnist Asher Schechter recently wrote a piece entitled “Meet Judeo-ISIS: The Inevitable Result of Israel’s Presence in the West Bank”. No major critic of Israel himself, former Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Arens wrote an article called “The Jewish Equivalent of ISIS.”
___But the comparison had been drawn more than a year before.  More . . .

“JERUSALEM,”  BY  NIZAR  QABBANI

I wept until my tears were dry
I prayed until the candles flickered
I knelt until the floor creaked
I asked about Mohammed and Christ
Oh Jerusalem, the fragrance of prophets
The shortest path between earth and sky
Oh Jerusalem, the citadel of laws
A beautiful child with fingers charred
and downcast eyes
You are the shady oasis passed by the Prophet
Your streets are melancholy
Your minarets are mourning
You, the young maiden dressed in black
Who rings the bells in the Nativity
On Saturday morning?
Who brings toys for the children
On Christmas eve?
Oh Jerusalem, the city of sorrow
A big tear wandering in the eye
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Who will safeguard the Bible?
Who will rescue the Quran?
Who will save Christ?
Who will save man?
Oh Jerusalem my town
Oh Jerusalem my love
Tomorrow the lemon trees will blossom
And the olive trees will rejoice
Your eyes will dance
The migrant pigeons will return
To your sacred roofs
And your children will play again
And fathers and sons will meet
On your rosy hills
My town
The town of peace and olives.

“Jerusalem, Poem by Nizar Qabbani.” Poemhunter.com. Web.
Nizar Qabbani (1923-1998) was a Syrian diplomat and poet revered by Arabs for his sensual and romantic verse. A man of his times and of all times, he is by far the most popular contemporary poet in the Arab world.

“. . . Don’t waste the tickets. . . ” Samīħ al-Qāsim – سميح القاسم

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From
ei

Tuesday, 17 February 2015
ASHRAWI CONDEMNS ATTACKS AGAINST INNOCENT CIVILIANS IN EUROPE
PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi, met with the newly appointed Head of Mission of the Netherlands Representative Office, Peter Mollema, at the PLO Headquarters in Ramallah and welcomed him to Palestine.
In the meeting, Dr. Ashrawi expressed her hope that the Dutch government would continue to play a positive role in the region and to adopt serious and concrete political initiatives to bring Israel to compliance with international law, to end the military occupation, and to establish the independent Palestinian state on 1967 borders with Jerusalem as its capital. She also called on the Dutch government to recognize Palestine without preconditions in the immediate future. (Full story.)

Hanan Ashrawi
Hanan Ashrawi

Monday, 16 February 2015
OCCUPATION THREATENS TO UPROOT 2000 TREES NORTH SALFIT
Israeli occupation authorities on Monday handed threats to uproot about 2000 trees and splings in Haaris village northwest Salfit, West Bank, claiming that the land was “state property.”
Researcher Khaled Ma’ali told PNN that occupation handed the threats to the LandLord Amin Daoud, telling him that the land was confiscated. The case has been transferred to the Beit El settlement court for judgement, pointing that the landlord had papers proving property of land. (Full story.)

From

palestine news networkSunday, 15 February 2015
20,000 PALESTINIAN HOMES ON ISRAELI DEMOLITION SHORTLIST
Jerusalem Center for Social and Economic Rights (JCSER) has revealed that more than 20,000 Palestine homes in Jerusalem have been shortlisted to be demolished by the Israeli occupation authorities.
Ziad Hamouri, the center’s head, stated that the reason why these homes will be demolished is that they were built without building licences issued by the Israeli municipality in the occupied city of Jerusalem. Although, applications for such licences from Palestinians are rarely approved. (Full story.)

“Travel Tickets,” Samih al-Qasim

On the day you kill me
You’ll find in my pocket
Travel tickets
To peace,
To the fields and the rain,
To people’s conscience.
Don’t waste the tickets.

Samīħ al-Qāsim  سميح القاسم‎; (born 1939) is a Palestinian Druze whose Arabic poetry is well known throughout the Arab World. His poetry is influenced by two primary periods of his life: Before and after the Six-Day War. Al-Qasim has published several volumes and collections of poetry.