“. . . the stars were named by people like us . . .” (Naomi Shihab Nye)


American Near East Refugee Aid (Anera) recently launched a wastewater reuse project to conserve scarce drinking water in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.    ­­­___Anera said in a press release that the project is expected to be completed by May 2020 and that it will protect the water supply by facilitating the reuse of 240,000 cubic meters (63,401,292 gallons) of wastewater annually.   [. . . .] The project, funded by the Jim Pattison Foundation, the Vitol Foundation and the Ramallah Municipality, will also increase the amount of potable water available for human consumption and domestic use in Ramallah City by 300 cubic meters (79,251 gallons) per day.   More . . .

Israeli forces Thursday demolished a Palestinian home under construction in RANTIS VILLAGE, northwest of the central West Bank city of RAMALLAH, said local sources.    [. . . .]  Meanwhile, Israeli forces delivered a demolition notice to a Palestinian home in AL-WALAJA VILLAGE, northwest of the southern West Bank city of Bethlehem.   [. . . .]  Almost 88 percent of RANTIS and 97 percent of AL-WALAJA, mainly agricultural land, were classified as Area C, which falls under the full Israeli control and where Israel refuses to permit virtually any Palestinian construction, forcing many Palestinians to embark on construction without a permit to shelter their families.   ___Since its occupation in 1967, along with the rest of the West Bank, Israel has seized most of the lands belonging to both villages for the construction of settlements, bypass roads and the apartheid wall . . .   More . . .

TEEN  KILLED,  THREE  INJURED  BY  ISRAELI  GUNFIRE  IN  RAFAH      Israeli soldiers on Wednesday night killed a Palestinian teenager and wounded others as they were rallying in a border area to the east of Rafah in southern Gaza.   ___A reporter for the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) said that the kid was critically injured in the head by Israeli gunfire and succumbed to his injury later.      More . . .


[ISRAEL]  TELLS  HIGH  COURT:  WE  CAN  ANNEX  THE  WEST  BANK,  INTERNATIONAL  LAW  BE  DAMNED      August 7th, the state’s private attorney Harel Arnon submitted a second brief [Hebrew] to the High Court of Justice in defense of the settlement “Regulation Law.” In it he argues that the Knesset is not bound by international law and has the right to apply its own laws outside of its borders and annex land, if it wishes.
Arnon argues:
“The mere application of a certain Israeli norm [law] to an anonymous place outside the state does not necessarily make that anonymous place part of Israel. The Knesset is not restricted from legislating extra-territorially anywhere in the world, including in the region, the Knesset can legislate in Judea and Samaria.”  The brief also argues


ANERA   American  Near  East  Refugee  Aid    For 50 years, Anera has helped refugees and others hurt by conflicts in the Middle East live with dignity and purpose. Anera, which has no political or religious affiliation, works on the ground with partners in the West Bank, Gaza, Lebanon and Syria. We mobilize resources for immediate emergency relief and for sustainable, long-term health, education, and economic development.  Website . . .    50th Anniversary Dinner

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 


Choose one word and say it over
and over, till it builds a fire inside your mouth.
Adhafera*, the one who holds out, Alphard*, solitary one,
the stars were named by people like us.
Each night they line up on the long path between worlds.
They nod and blink, no right or wrong
in their yellow eyes. Dirah*, little house,
unfold your walls and take us in.

My well went dry, my grandfather’s grapes
have stopped singing. I stir the coals,
my babies cry. How will I teach them
they belong to the stars?
They build forts of white stone and say, “This is mine.”
How will I teach them to love Mizar*, veil, cloak,
to know that behind it an ancient man
is fanning a flame?
He stirs the dark wind of our breath.
He says the veil will rise
till they see us shining, spreading like embers
on the blessed hills.

Well, I made that up. I’m not so sure about Mizar.
But I know we need to keep warm here on earth
And when your shawl is as thin as mine is, you tell stories.

–From Naomi Shihab Nye, RED SUITCASE,  1994.

*Adhafera, a third-magnitude star in the constellation of Leo, the lion
*Alphard, Heart of the Snake in constellation Hydra
*Dirah, Star–Seed or Branch. Symbolically called the Abused or Beaten One
*Mizar, With its fainter companion star Alcor a double star

“. . .what can I call this rug of soil. . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)


The Egyptian Presidency stressed that the country is keen to achieve Palestinian reconciliation and national unity.   ___Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi’s statement was made during a phone call with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, on Thursday.   ___According to spokesperson of the Egyptian Presidency, Bassam Radi, al-Sisi said that the Palestinian Authority must take over its responsibilities in the besieged Gaza Strip, pointing out that it would help revive the Palestinian-Israeli negotiations.   More . . .

Israeli occupation forces killed a total of 19 Palestinians, including four children, during August 2018, according to a report by Abdullah Horani Center of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO).   The center said of those 19 Palestinians, 17 were killed by Israeli forces during the Great March of Return protests at Gaza border or in airstrikes on the Gaza Strip. Another Palestinian was killed in the occupied West Bank and the last one was a Palestinian citizen of Israel.   More . . .    Related . . . ISRAELI FORCES OPEN FIRE NEAR GAZA RETURN CAMPS

ACTIVIST  SOUNDS  ALARM  OVER  SIMMERING  TERRORISM  BY  ISRAEL  SETTLER  GANGS        Extremist Israeli settlers have been raking through Palestinian lands in Nablus and Ramallah, paving the way for more attacks against Palestinians and their property, an activist has warned.   ___Ghassan Dughlas, who monitors settlement activity in the northern occupied West Bank, said settler gangs have showed up on Palestinian land located between Yitzhar outpost, south of Nablus, and Shilo, north of Ramallah.   More. . .


Alain Gresh
An investigative documentary by Qatari broadcaster Al Jazeera scheduled for broadcast earlier this year was expected to cause a sensation. Its four 50-minute episodes centred on the young and personable James Anthony Kleinfeld, British, Jewish, an Oxford graduate . . . – seemingly a natural fit for a western foreign ministry or a major thinktank.    ___The documentary showed Kleinfeld being enthusiastically recruited for his skills by The Israel Project (TIP), which defends Israel’s image in the media, and associating . . . [with] the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (Aipac), the powerful US lobbying group. . . .  ___Kleinfeld’s contacts told him they were spying on US citizens with the help of Israel’s Ministry of Strategic Affairs, founded in 2006, which reports directly to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu . . .  ___At the end of Kleinfeld’s time at TIP, his boss there . . . wanted to hire “Tony” on a permanent basis . . .     ___Kleinfeld turned down the job. His qualifications were genuine, but he was, of course, an undercover reporter, sent by Al Jazeera to investigate the pro-Israel lobby.  More . . .

Henriette Chacar

A mother in the West Bank struggles to explain to her child, on reaching a checkpoint, that no, they have not yet arrived at the zoo.   [This is one of] women’s stories featured on “Women Behind the Wall,” a new podcast which aims to “amplify minority perspectives in the Israel-Palestine conflict,” according to the project founder, Shadia Qubti. The show centers around the stories of Christian Palestinian women – a double minority group in terms of gender and religion – in an attempt to expose how the occupation impacts their lives.   ___According to Qubti, Palestinian society is very diverse and rich, but “in the media, we do not reach the average peoples’ stories.” She believes there is a humanizing power to storytelling, and “these moments, hopefully, will make the listener intrigued to understand more.”    More . . .


Land of Canaan Foundation: Regenerative agriculture – what is it?  Regenerative farming goes beyond just organic agriculture. It naturally creates healthy soil which holds water and carbon better and will produce healthy crops at a higher yield.  More . . .   Donate . . .


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?

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun and studied at Yarmouk University. She has been a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. She has also been editor of the journal Awarq.

“. . . I guard one seed of a tree . . .” Fawaz Turki

Israel has carried out hundreds of punitive house demolitions over the years. (Photo: ActiveStills.org, Published in Palestine Chronicle, Aug. 28, 2018)

. . . . 

The Foreign Ministry strongly criticized on Wednesday statements by United States envoy to the United Nations, Nikki Haley, in which she questioned the official figure of Palestinian refugees and called for cutting it down by the millions and expressed opposition to their right of return to the homeland they were forced out from after Israel was created on their land in 1948.     ___The remarks by Nikki Haley on Palestinian refugees and their right of return “ignore international law and international legality and are hostile to the Palestinian people and their rights,” said the ministry in a statement [. . . .]   ___It said this is a further step in the war US President Donald Trump’s administration has waged against the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees, which is the symbol of the Palestinian refugee issue.   More . . .
ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  25  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  TWO  MINORS            Israeli forces detained at least 25 Palestinians, including a teen and a child, during predawn raids in the occupied West Bank on Wednesday.     ___Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) confirmed that Israeli forces detained five Palestinians from the southern West Bank district of Hebron. . . .   ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, three Palestinians were detained . . . .   ___In the Silwan neighborhood of the central West Bank district of Jerusalem, Israeli forces assaulted and detained two Palestinians . . . .  ___In the central West Bank district of Ramallah and al-Bireh, four Palestinians were detained . . . .    More . . .
Israeli forces have demolished the family home of the Palestinian teenager who was recently killed in the occupied West Bank.    ___ The Israeli army said on Tuesday it had destroyed the family home of Mohammed Dar Youssef in the village of Kobar, north of Ramallah.   More . . .
[. . . .] Ruth Edwards of the Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions said [2015] such drastic steps ensure that the Israeli occupation of the West Bank “is a permanent presence in people’s daily lives, that there’s always a sense of instability, of insecurity.”    ___Israel frequently demolished homes during a Palestinian uprising in 2000 to 2005. . . .    ___Netanyahu revived the tactic last year [2012] after the abduction and murder of three Israeli teenagers in the West Bank.   More . . .


An Israeli activist and spokesperson of the Breaking the Silence Non-Governmental Organization, Achiya Schats, captured on video the moment a Palestinian child was forced to climb an Israeli military fence to be able to go home in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron. . . .  ___The caption also reads that the girl’s house was recently blockaded by a fence and that Israeli forces locked the gate leading to her home, which forces Palestinian residents to climb the fence. “Don’t worry, it’s not because we’ve made them less than humans, it’s about security.”   More . . .    Related . . .

Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), strongly denounced on Wednesday the Israeli Jerusalem District Court’s ruling to legalize Mitzpeh Kramim settlement outpost, north of Ramallah and which was built illegally on private Palestinian land, describing the decision as “an outrageous travesty.”   ___The court had said that if the settlers built with “good intentions,” then the settlement should not be removed, in contradiction with previous court rulings forcing the Israeli government to remove outposts . . . on private Palestinian land in the occupied territories.   ___”The Israeli annexation of Palestinian territory, whether on public or private land, and its illegal settlement enterprise are an egregious violation of international law and conventions, including UN Security Council Resolution 2334; it also constitutes a war crime under the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court and the Fourth Geneva Convention”. . .   More . . .


International Solidarity Movement | Ramallah, occupied Palestine

the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) is issuing an urgent call for volunteers to join us for the 2018 Olive Harvest Campaign at the invitation of Palestinian communities.   ___The olive tree is a national symbol for Palestinians. As thousands of olive trees have been . . .  destroyed since September 2000—harvesting has become more than a source of livelihood; it has become a form of resistance.   ___The olive harvest is an annual affirmation of Palestinians’ historical, spiritual, and economic connection to their land, and a rejection of Israeli efforts to seize it. Despite efforts by Israeli settlers and soldiers to prevent them from accessing their land, Palestinian communities have remained steadfast in refusing to give up their olive harvest.   ___ISM volunteers join Palestinian farming communities “on the ground” each year to harvest olives, in areas where Palestinians face settler and military violence when working their land.   MORE INFORMATION . . .

“THE SEED KEEPERS: A Recital,” by FAWAZ TURKI (b. 1940)

Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of our imprisoned patriots,
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
destroy every city and every town
every tree and every home
every book and every law,
flatten with your bombs
every valley
erase with your edicts
our past
our literature
our metaphor,
denude our forests
and the earth
till no insect
no word
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more,
I do not fear your tyranny.
I guard one seed
of a tree
my forefathers have saved
that I shall plant again
in my homeland.

—From Anthology of Modern Palestinian Literature, Columbia University Press, 1992.

“. . . Don’t ask me to empty the sea. . .” (Fouzi El Asmar)

16-year-old Laith Haitham Abu Naeem, EXECUTED BY Israeli Soldier (Photo, PNN, Feb. 1, 2018)

❶ MOFA: The Silence On the Execution of “Laith Abu Naeem” is Disgraceful
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Ramallah bids last farewell to 16-year-old martyr
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Children terrorized as Israeli army ransacks homes, kidnaps civilians

  • Background: “Our Jerusalem — a Reality Check.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israel releases Palestinian lawmaker who has spent nearly 32 years behind bars
. . . . . ❷― (ᴀ) Israeli detention of Palestinians up by 5% in 2017, say groups
❸ POETRY by Fouzi El Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News Network – PNN  
Jan. 31, 2018 ― The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates in a statement strongly condemned the unlawful killing of the 16 years old “Laith Haitham Abu Naeem” in the village of al Mughayer near Ramallah. The crime happened after an Israeli soldier shot the martyr in the head from a close range to deliberately kill him.
___The Ministry assured that this crime reflects the culture of barbaric killing which is popular among the Israeli soldiers who are deployed throughout the Palestinian territory, addnig that it’s also considered a reflection of the political instructions of the political and military levels in the state of Israel that permits and encourages the killing of Palestinians.
___The Ministry warned against the consequences of dealing with the death penalty against the unarmed Palestinians as numbers and statistics, those grotesque crimes became a routine and insignificant that’s not worth paying attention to the amount of tragedy and suffering of the Palestinian families due to the loss of their loved ones.    MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  RAMALLAH  BIDS  LAST  FAREWELL  TO  16-YEAR-OLD  MARTYR   
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Feb. 1, 2018 ― Crowds of Ramallah on Wednesday noon bid the last farewell to its 16-year-old martyr, Laith Abu Naim, who was shot dead by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Tuesday, during clashes in the city.
___Abu Na’im was buried in his home-village, Al-Mughir, northeast of Ramallah, in midst of large popular and official presence.
___The boy wes shot dead in cold blood by the IOF during clashes in Ramallah on Tuesday. . .   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center
Feb. 1, 2018 ― A number of Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Thursday in abduction sweeps rocking West Bank provinces.
___Overnight, special Israeli forces kidnapped three Palestinian young men after they chased down a car near Nablus’s western town of Zawata.
___According to eye-witnesses, a driver accidentally rammed a parked car before undercover Israeli officers showed up in the area and dragged the driver to their jeep at gunpoint.
___Sometime later, the family of Palestinian prisoner Jamal Abu al-Heija said their eldest son, Abdul Salem, also an ex-prisoner, was kidnapped from the targeted car. Another son of al-Heija’s, Emad, was kidnapped just a few hours later from the family’s home in Jenin.    MORE . . .

Klein, Menachem. “OUR  JERUSALEM  —  A  REALITY  CHECK.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL  JOURNAL  OF  POLITICS,  ECONOMICS  &  CULTURE, vol. 22/23, no. 4/1, Jan. 2018, pp. 9-15.
[. . . .] Israel’s overwhelming victory in the 1967 war placed Israeli Jerusalem in a position of superiority. Since then, Israel has been acting to shape Jerusalem as its place alone. In the first years after the war, Israel turned East Jerusalem into a hybrid area which contains components of the State of Israel alongside components of the West Bank. Israel annexed East Jerusalem and, from the point of view of Israeli law, detached it from the West Bank. But in a number of other ways, East Jerusalem remained part of the West Bank — for example, from a social point of view and marital connections, in the educational system and the curriculum, in the organization of the religious establishment and the transportation and communication systems. The policy was to cut off East Jerusalem from the West Bank while at the same time not integrating it into Israel.
[. . . .] The building of the Separation Wall cut off tens of thousands of Palestinians from the city, and those areas became ungovernable. They are formally annexed to the State of Israel but, in actuality, they are outside of it. . .  Periodically the Israeli army and police enter the area. These incursions are a matter of routine in the West Bank but occur only infrequently in East Jerusalem. In other words, these Palestinian neighborhoods are today a hybrid area within the West Bank, although they are formally annexed into Israel.
[. . . .] The genetic code of the Palestinian reaction to the Israeli expansionism and political and legal superiority is identical in Jerusalem and in the West Bank: survival in the field, passive resistance to Israeli control and sporadic violence. . .  Violent protests are a sporadic and unorganized phenomenon with similar characteristics in Jerusalem and in the West Bank: stabbing and running over civilians and soldiers, and throwing rocks and Molotov cocktails at settlers, soldiers and police at checkpoints.
[. . . .]  It is important to note that the hybridization of Jerusalem is not multicultural and equal but ethnic and hierarchal. The Jewish collective preserves by force its privileges and discriminates against the Palestinian collective, whose number is almost equal to that of the Jews. This is not only the reality of Jerusalem: Between the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea there is a very similar demographic balance. Israel is aware of this and is afraid of its repercussions, but it is trapped in the entanglement that it has created. It refuses to give up on its privileges and is turning to more intensive use of force, yet it frequently underestimates the severity of the problem or denies it.     FULL ARTICLE . . .

Ma’an News Agency 
Feb. 1, 2018 ―  Israeli forces released Palestinian lawmaker Muhammad Abu Tir after he was held in Israeli prison for six months under administrative detention — Israel’s widely-condemned policy of internment without charge or trial.
___Abu Tir was detained on August 4, 2017 after Israeli forces raided his house in the town of al-Bireh in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah. He had been released from Israeli prison two months prior to his latest detention in August.
___Abu Tair has spent an estimated total of 32 years behind Israeli bars.
___The Hamas-affiliated lawmaker moved to al-Bireh after being exiled from his home in occupied East Jerusalem in 2010, along with fellow imprisoned parliamentarian Ahmad Attun, Palestinian Legislative Committee (PLC) member Muhammad Tutah, and former PA Minister Khalid Abu Arafeh.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  DETENTION  OF  PALESTINIANS  UP  BY  5%  IN  2017,  SAY  GROUPS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 1, 2018 ― Israeli detention of Palestinians increased by 5% in 2017 compared to the previous year for a total of 6742 Palestinians, three Palestinian rights organizations said on Thursday.
___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Addameer and al-Mezan said in a joint report that out of the 6742 Palestinians Israel detained, 1467 were minors, 156 women, 14 lawmakers, and 25 journalists.    MORE . . .

Don’t ask me
the impossible
Don’t’ ask me
to hunt stars,
walk to the sun.
Don’t ask me
to empty the sea
to erase the day’s light
I am nothing but a man.

Don’t ask me
to abandon my eyes, my love,
the memory of my childhood.

I was raised
under an olive tree,
I ate the figs
of my orchard
drank wine from
the sloping vineyards
Tasted Cactus fruit
in the valleys
more, more.

The nightingale has sung
in my ears
The free winds of fields and cities
always tickled me
My friend
You cannot ask me
to leave my own country.  (March 1971)

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

“. . . It’s not Kellyanne who invented alternative facts. We’ve been victims of alternative facts all our lives . . .” (Hanan Ashrawi)

❶ Premier says time is now for EU recognition of Palestine

  • Background: “The Israel Lobby and the “Peace Process” from a Palestinian Perspective.” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.

❷ Israel conducts several airstrikes across Gaza Strip
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Army detains 16 Palestinians in West Bank, bringing total to 320 in one week
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Undercover Israeli forces injure 2 Palestinians, detain 5, in Ramallah clashes
❸ MADA: 26 violations of media freedoms in Palestine during November
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) IOF to raze Palestinian home in Bethlehem
❹ POETRY by ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PREMIER  SAYS  TIME  IS  NOW  FOR  EU  RECOGNITION  OF  PALESTINE          Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah told on Thursday European Union (EU) Representative in Jerusalem Ralph Tarraf that the time is now for EU recognition of the state of Palestine on the 1967 borders with East Jerusalem as its capital, pointing out that such a step would strengthen the two-state solution.
___Hamdallah urged the European Union to support the leadership’s efforts to bring the political process back to its proper track based on United Nations resolutions, particularly after the US administration chose to side with Israel by declaring Jerusalem as the capital of Israel and working to move its embassy to Jerusalem thus becoming an ally of Israel rather than an impartial mediator.    MORE . . .

Ashrawi, Hanan.
WASHINGTON  REPORT  ON  MIDDLE  EAST  AFFAIRS , vol. 36, no. 3, May 2017, pp. 34-64.
[. . . .]  I’m asked to talk about the Israel lobby and the peace process. . . .  They play a major role in shaping and influencing U.S. policy, particularly the peace process.  Since its inception, there’s a sense of ownership, that the peace process is owned by the Israeli lobby in many ways, because they’re looking out for the interests of Israel all the time.
___There are various components of the lobby.  As you all know, they’re not monolithic.  They all have their impact here and there.  But the most significant impact is for the lobby groups, the special interest groups that are closest to the Israeli government in particular.  And that tends to be the more hard-line extremist groups. . . .  The most influential, of course, is AIPAC and its Washington Institute for Near East Policy—as you know, a think tank that has probably had the most direct say in terms of the peace process itself—and other organizations–the Heritage Foundation and so on.
[. . . .] Now we have people in the White House who are not only lobbyists and advocates, but who are active supporters of settlements.  So it’s not enough to have settlers in the Israeli coalition government.  Now you have settlers in the White House. This is incredible.  So they don’t need to lobby.  They are decision makers. . . .  It’s interchangeable.  Either they are influencing policy or they are making policy.  That’s why American policy was so distorted, because they played a significant role in framing and defining the discourse and perceptions, but went beyond that to manipulating the verbal public space, anything related to the peace process.  And they generated a narrative based on myths, and provided alternative facts.  It’s not Kellyanne [Conway] who invented alternative facts.  We’ve been victims of alternative facts all our lives, alternative realities.  [. . . .] SOURCE . . .

Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Israeli air forces conducted airstrikes targeting several sites in the besieged Gaza Strip on Thursday around dawn, according to local sources.
___Locals told Ma’an that the airstrikes targeted at least five sites across the coastal enclave.
___Airstrikes hit sites in northwestern and southern Gaza City, as well as near the Deir al-Balah beach in the central Gaza Strip.
___Another site in the al-Nuseirat refugee camp in central Gaza Strip, while forces targeted another in western Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ARMY  DETAINS  16  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK,  BRINGING  TOTAL  TO  320  IN  ONE  WEEK
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA      Dec. 14, 2017 ― The Israeli army detained 16 Palestinians in raids across the West Bank in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of Palestinians detained since the outbreak of the recent wave of protests to 320, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Thursday.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency    
Dec. 13, 2017 ― Israeli special forces disguised as Palestinian protesters arrested five Palestinian youths, including a young woman and two injured young men, during clashes near the illegal Beit El settlement in the central West Bank district of Ramallah.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that a group of undercover Israeli forces, known as ‘mustaaribeen’ in Arabi, infiltrated crowds of protesters and journalists when they took out their guns and “attacked the youths,” assaulting, shooting and injuring two of them before detaining five.   MORE . . .  

Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 14, 2017 ― November 2017, witnessed a number of violations against media freedoms in Palestine, almost identical to those recorded in the previous few months, in September and October, a total of 26 and 28 violations against media freedoms were monitored by MADA, 26 attacks last November. The Israeli occupation carried out 16 attacks, while Palestinian authorities in the West Bank and Gaza Strip committed a total of 10 violations.
___The Israeli occupation has committed a total of 16 attacks against media freedoms during last November, some of which fall under serious violations. The most prominent of these is the decision by an Israeli military court to imprison the broadcasters of  the “Sanabel” radio from the city of Hebron: Muntasir Abdel-Karim Nassar, Nidal Amro were sentenced to 22 months in prison and a fine of 5,000 NIS and Mr. Omran was sentenced to 16 months.    MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  IOF  TO  RAZE  PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  BETHLEHEM
The Palestinian Information Center
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) handed a home-demolition order to a Palestinian family in al-Walajeh town west of Bethlehem in the southern West Bank.
___Local sources said that IOF troops raided Ain al-Juwaizah area north of the town and handed Khaled Abu Kheyara a notice that stipulates the demolition of his home which is built on an area of about 120 square meters. He was given a 15-day period to appeal the order.   MORE . . .


I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand,
tossing it into the cavern of death!
Either a life to gladden the hearts of friends
or a death to torture the hearts of foes!
An honorable man’ spirit has two aims:
to die fighting, or to achieve victory.
Otherwise, what is life? I want no life
if we’re not respected in our land;
if our response is not feared,
if our words are not heard
echoing in the world.

By your life, I see my own death,
but I hasten my footsteps.
No greater wish than to die defending stolen rights
and my country,
My ears love the clashing of swords,
my soul is proud of martyrs’ blood.
Behold the martyr’s body
sprawled on sands, attacked by vultures,
his blood tinting the earth crimson,
haunting northern breezes with its scent.
His radiant brow covered with dust
only seems more luminous.
The smile on his lips
mocks this earthly life,
and his dreams of eternity,
shape blissful visions.

I swear this is how men should die
for how can I tolerate the harm of my enemy’s malice,
how can I endure his aggression?
Would fear stop me if it is easy to sacrifice my life?
Am I humble? I simply can endure no scorn!
With my own heart I’ll fight the enemy;
my heart of steel, my ravenous flames,
I’ll stalk my land with the blade of this sword
so my people know I’m their defender.
――Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

About ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

“. . . My country is a desire in chains . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Ministry of Information: The occupation’s crimes require urgent international intervention
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) The EU already recognises Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, just more quietly than Trump
❷ Coming period is very critical, says Abu Rudeineh
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Group: Occupation constantly violating Palestinian rights, including freedom of expression
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Army  shuts  down  main  road  to  the  north  of  Ramallah
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Trump’s decision a reflection of the UN earlier colonial impositions
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The Palestinian Ministry of Information in a statement said it considers the terrorism spree that the Israeli occupation army continues to commit against Palestinian people and journalists, a crime that requires urgent protection for the people, as it considers silence on such crimes suspicious.
____“The Ministry affirms that Israel and its gangs and settlers won’t stop their brutal crimes by their own, but rater require urgent international intervention to end the occupation and bring lead the criminals the International Criminal Court,” statement said.
___“The Ministry considers that the struggle of our people and their quest for freedom and self-determination is based on our natural right and cultural heritage and right to statehood with Jerusalem as our capital, noting that our people will not be intimidated by the injustice that the occupation has resorted to, and that our people will have East Jerusalem as our eternal capital, with its Islamic and Christian shrines, as we historically and righteously did in the past,” it added.  MORE . . .
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Viewers watching the televised emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday may be forgiven for thinking the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) representative to the UN was trying to bore the Israeli ambassador into submission with his speech.
[. . . .]  In it he listed decades worth of UN resolutions and declarations stating that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state with the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem – the long promised two-state solution.
[. . . .] . . . the US government has always sided with Israel. This alignment has been particularly strong since the 1967 war when Israel attacked its neighbours and swallowed up the remaining 22 per cent of Palestinian land, leading to a new wave of refugees and the fifty-year military occupation (of the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – Gaza, and Syria’s Golan Heights) which endures till this day.
[. . . .] …the disquiet currently being expressed against Trump by those European leaders who are lamenting damage to the non-existent peace process is entirely hypocritical. And in fact, the new Trump policy in Jerusalem is only a more open form of the same malign policy the European Union has been carrying out in practice for many years.
___Despite repeated expressions of “concern” by the EU over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, the EU in practice encourages the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
___It supports and even bankrolls Israel to the tune of millions of Euros with programmes like Horizon 2020, which funds Israeli high-tech research, giving EU tax-payers’ money over to the apartheid regime and the arms firms who “battle test” their weapons on Palestinian civilians.    MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The coming period is very critical and requires bold Palestinian and Arab decisions, Presidential spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said on Monday, stressing once again Palestinian rejection and denunciation of the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
___“Our message to the entire world is that Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and the US decision is rejected and denounced,” he told WAFA. “What is required now are bold Palestinian and Arab decisions for the coming stage, which is very important and very critical. The Palestinians and Arabs should stand together.”
___He said President Mahmoud Abbas is going to meet on Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo to discuss various issues, mainly those relating to the Palestinian cause and other common Arab concerns, as well as the agenda of the upcoming Islamic summit.   MORE . . .
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Sunday (10-12-2017) marked the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, through which the United Nations established the foundations of the protected rights of all people. However, the rights of the Palestinian people have been flagrantly violated since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories 50 years ago and all international resolutions on Palestine have remained dead on paper and on top of all that the president of United States a few days ago recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; in clear breach of several resolutions issued by the UN and the security council.
___The past few day’s four people were killed and hundreds of wounded Palestinians demonstrators who came out to protest against this decision, is only another chapter in the series of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  ARMY  SHUTS  DOWN  MAIN  ROAD  TO  THE  NORTH  OF  RAMALLAH
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 11, 2017  – The Israeli army used cement blocks to cut off the main road connecting Ramallah to Jalazoun refugee camp and the northern West Bank, according to local sources.
___They said closure of the road forced Palestinian cars commuting on that road to search for alternative longer routes, causing traffic jams and long delays.     MORE . . . 
The Palestinian Information Center 
Ramona Wadi
Dec. 11, 2017 ―   Since 1967, the UN regularly adopted resolutions concerning the status of Jerusalem, most of them dealing with withdrawing military forces, condemnation of land confiscation and settlement expansion, as well as requesting that Israel refrains from holding military activities in the city. A recurring warning was that no action should be taken to change the status of Jerusalem.
___US President Donald Trump exposed the fallacy behind international recommendations yesterday with his unilateral declaration of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Away from the outpouring of indignation from Palestinians who have resisted the Zionist colonial project, the opposition to Trump’s declaration has been mostly diluted by statements that simply acknowledge the action taken as reprehensible, instead of focusing upon responsibility, accountability and ramifications – all of which should lead directly to the UN.
___The hype generated by Trump on previous occasions, which illustrated his administration’s support for Israel, is becoming a convenient tool for Israel, the PA and the UN, due to such tactics generating a fragmented response and one that strengthens reliance upon symbolism. Trump’s statement goes against UN resolutions. However, it is a known fact that UN resolutions are a façade for the allowance of international law violations.    MORE . . .    ..

Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue
and the earth is a festival.
Don’t say that I am a cloud over the airport.
I want nothing
of my country that has fallen from the window of the train
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a strange autumn
and the windows are white, white
and the sun is an orange grove in setting,
and am I a stolen orange.
Why do you run from my flesh?
I want nothing
from the home of knives and birds
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a sad autumn
and the trysts are green, green
and the sun is clay.
Don’t say that we’ve seen you in the withering of jasmine,
saleswoman of death, and aspirin.
My face is a dusk,
my death is a fetus
and I want nothing
from the country which has forgotten the accent of its evacuees
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue;
the earth is a festival;
the birds have flown into a time of no return.
Do you want to know my country
know what is between us?
My country is a desire in chains,
the kiss that I’ve sent in the mail
and I want nothing
from the country which has slain me
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

— 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. Available from Amazon

“. . . A procession coming from far away . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ Israeli forces use live fire during clashes in hometown of Palestinian killed by settler
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces open fire at Gaza farmers
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Israeli forces suppress protest in Hebron-area village
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israeli forces suppress weekly march in Ramallah-district village

  • Background: “An Orchestra of Civil Resistance: Privilege, Diversity, and Identification among Cross-Border Activists in a Palestinian Village.” Peace & Change.

❷ November 2017 Monthly Incitement Report: Netanyahu is responsible for generating a culture of hate and racism in Israel
❸ The insecure residence of East Jerusalem Palestinians
❹ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 1, 2017 ― A day after a Palestinian farmer from the village of Qusra was shot dead by Israeli settlers, Israeli forces fired live ammunition, tear gas, and rubber-coated steel bullets at locals in the village after Friday prayers.
___Clashes erupted between Palestinians in the village, located southeast of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, following Friday prayers that were held at the site where Mahmoud Odeh, 48, was shot dead by an Israeli settler on Thursday.
___A local official told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers fired dozens of tear gas, live ammunition and rubber-coated steel bullets at locals, causing many to suffer from severe tear-gas inhalation.   MORE . . .   ..      Background at ③
.  .  .  .  .  ❶ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  AT  GAZA  FARMERS   
Ma’an News Agency 
Dec. 1, 2017 ― Israeli forces opened fire at Palestinian farmers in the central Gaza Strip, according to locals.
___Sources told Ma’an that Israeli forces, stationed along the border between Gaza and Israel, fired at Palestinian farmers working their lands east of the al-Mughazi refugee camp in central Gaza.
___Meanwhile, in the Beit Lahiya area of the northern coastal enclave, Israeli forces opened fire on agricultural lands.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency 
Dec. 1, 2017 ― Clashes erupted between Israeli forces and Palestinians in a village in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron after Israeli forces suppressed a protest in the area.
___Palestinians in the village of Khirbet Qalqas, located in the southern Hebron district, took to the streets of the village to stage a demonstration after Friday prayers.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 1, 2017 ― Israeli forces Friday suppressed a weekly march in Nilin village, west of Ramallah, causing a number of Palestinians to suffocate, said an activist.
___Mohammad Amireh, a local anti-settlement activist, said that Palestinians performed Friday prayers in their olive groves, south of the village, expressing their condemnation of the killing of a Palestinian farmer by Israeli Jewish settlers in Nablus-district village of Qusra.
___Protestors raised Palestinian flags and chanted slogans condemning the killing and stressing the importance of resisting Israeli occupation.   MORE . . .    ..

Hackl, Andreas.
PEACE & CHANGE, vol. 41, no. 2, Apr. 2016, pp. 167-193.
[. . . .]  The regular weekly emonstrations [in the village of Bil’in] began in January 2005 and protested against the construction of Jewish settlements and the Israeli Separation Barrier on villagers’ land. The barrier threatened the livelihood of Bilʿin, cut villagers off from about 50 to 60 percent of their lands, and prevented their access to olive trees, the mainstay of the Palestinian rural economy. In response, Bilʿin’s residents organized a popular committee with members of diverse political streams. . . . Most of the previously separated land was eventually handed back to the villagers, but despite these changes, demonstrations in Bilʿin have not ceased.
[. . . .] On an organizational level, the sustained struggle benefited from four factors: the close relationship between the local popular committee and the village community; successful trust building and shared decision making between Israelis, Palestinians, and internationals; the creativity of the demonstrations; and the fact that Bilʿin is easily accessible for cross-border activists coming from Jerusalem or Tel Aviv.
[. . . .]  Civil resistance in Palestine has a long history that stems from the colonial interventions of the early twentieth century, including the British Lord Balfour’s promise to restore the Land of Israel.  Palestinian strategies of protest came into full force in 1923 after the British Mandate was formally established and included political entreaties, demonstrations, strikes, and ultimately armed rebellion. . .   Specifically noteworthy is the general strike held during the Great Revolt of 1936, which marked the last period of coherent and well-planned nonviolent civil resistance until the 1987 Intifada.
[. . . .]  It becomes clear that land is not just a political question in the West Bank. Retaining ties to farmland is also central to rural Palestinian culture, presenting yet another struggle that flows from the endangered status of the Palestinian nation and its confrontation with settler colonialism. Among Palestinians in Bilʿin, I noticed a strong connection between the local impact of the Israeli occupation and their land-related reflections upon the past, present, and future. Sustaining civil resistance was, in part, an expression of the desire to regain ownership of time and land for future generations.   SOURCE . . .  …

Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 1, 2017 ― In November 2017 Monthly Incitement Report issued by PLO Department of Culture and Information PLO Executive Committee Member Dr. Hanan Ashrawi said that the real incitement stems from Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and its enslavement of an entire nation.
___She added that the Israeli hard line extremist government led by Benjamin Netanyahu is responsible for generating a culture of hate and racism in Israel, inciting violence and feeding extremism.
___Updated monthly, this report includes samples of recent derogatory and inflammatory comments and incitement by Israeli government officials and leaders specifically meant to distort reality and mislead public opinion.”
___Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Hebron is the city of Patriarchs. City of royalty. And the Jewish settlement in it is anchored with an ancient historical right as well as government decisions and international agreements of today. The Jewish nation continuously votes in favor of the continuation of the Jewish settlement in Hebron… We will carry on building [settlements].” (November 15, 2017).     MORE . . .
+972 Magazine Blog    
Nov. 30, 2017
Yaël Ronen
The goal of Israel’s policies in East Jerusalem is to shrink the size of the city’s Palestinian population. Here’s how.
___ More than 300,000 Palestinians live in East Jerusalem today. The vast majority are not citizens of Israel but permanent residents, who may naturalize in accordance with the Citizenship Law. For many Palestinians living in East Jerusalem, their residency status is more important than citizenship. This is because the government is obligated to respect and protect the civil rights of everyone present within its borders, not just its citizens; and its obligation to ensure social and economic rights, like education and social security, hinge on residency, not citizenship. However, because the residency status of Palestinians in East Jerusalem is not secure, they lack security in the rights to which they are entitled.
[. . . .] The treatment of East Jerusalem Palestinians as ordinary permanent residents is problematic both in principle and in practice. In principle, the status of permanent residents presupposes citizenship in another state, to which they may return and which would be obligated to accept them. This poses a problem for stateless individuals, who are not citizens of any country; if they lose their residency status, they remain with no legal status whatsoever. This is precisely the situation of East Jerusalem Palestinians: they are not citizens of any country that could take them in were they to lose their residency.   MORE . . . 

Flowers, songs, chants . . .
A memory from antiquity . . .
Saturday’s dawning sun . . .
An orphan is late . . .
A widow comes by embracing another widow . . .
A singer . . .
Verses from the Qur’an . . .
A flute on the outskirts of a neglected village . . .
Ancient soldiers . . .
Battles, defeated ages . . .
Thirty wars announced by daylight . . .
Another thirty still hidden in their sheaths . . .
Little ones dressed up for a feast . . .
Horses filled with the joy of their riders . . .
A procession coming from far away . . .
Ululations reaching the sky, a commotion . . .
Men emerging from darkness . . .
from yesterday’s newspapers, from the inkwell.
All of them came,
took pictures,
cursed the end of life and memory,
drank from the cup of a slain dream,
before their leader stepped forward
to cut the silk ribbon
and open the graveyard.

From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN INSIDE: SELECTED POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.

“. . . whoever writes a poem in the days of the atom and the wind . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Israeli violations of Palestinian media freedoms in October highest for 2017
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israel releases Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq

  • Background: “Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism: The Second Intifada, the Wall Protests, and the Human Rights Turn.” Geopolitics.

❷ IOF arrests 9 citizens from WB
❸ Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers, injure 3 in Nablus area
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 9, 2017 ― The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored 28 violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory during October, 27 of which were carried out by Israeli forces, according to a statement released by the group on Wednesday.
___According to the group, the number of violations committed by Israeli forces increased from 22 in September to 27 during October, all of which were “serious attacks.” The statement added that the violations in October constituted the most serious of all violations of media freedoms in the territory recorded since the beginning of 2017.
___Israeli violations of media freedoms in October included storming 10 offices and headquarters of Pal Media, Trans Media and Ramsat media companies in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, “confiscating their property and turning 94 journalists and employees working in these institutions jobless,” MADA said.
[. . . .] Palestinian journalists often describe their work as a form of “resistance,” as they believe their stories show the world the devastating effects of Israel’s policies on Palestinians and provide Palestinians an outlet for their voices in a media climate that is often overshadowed by pro-Israeli narratives.   MORE . . .   ..
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Israeli occupation authorities yesterday released Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq after he completed his sentence, Quds Press reported.
___Thirty-five-year-old Al-Qeeq was arrested in 2015 and placed under administrative detention – detention without charge or trial. He went for a hunger strike that lasted 94 days in protest against his detention.
___He was released in 2016, but in January 2017, he was re-arrested at an Israeli military checkpoint in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.   MORE . . .    ..

Mall Dibiasi, Caroline.
Geopolitics, vol. 20, no. 3, Jul-Sep2015, pp. 669-695.
[. . . .] Palestinian spatiality has been the focus of much academic writing since the Oslo Accords. The transformation of the Palestinian landscape through the separation of Palestinians and Israelis, as envisaged in the Oslo Agreement, enforced through checkpoints and a number of other physical and functional barriers, has not only affected the Palestinian national project but also Palestinian society in everyday life.
[. . . .]  ‘The spatial organization of the Occupied Territories is a reflection not only of an ordered process of planning and implementation, but, and increasingly, so, of “structured chaos”, in which the – often deliberate – selective absence of government intervention promotes an unregulated process of violent dispossession. The actors operating within this frontier – young settlers, the Israeli military, the cellular network provider and other capitalist corporations, human rights and political activists, armed resistance, humanitarian and legal experts, government ministries, foreign governments, “supportive” communities overseas, state planners, the media, the Israeli High Court of Justice – with the differences and contradictions of their aims, all play their part in the diffused and anarchic, albeit collective authorship of its spaces.’  SOURCE . . .

Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested at dawn on Thursday eight Palestinian civilians, from different parts of the occupied West Bank.
___Local sources said that the IOF stormed the town of Qabatiya south of Jenin.
___They arrested five Palestinian youths named as: Mustafa Zakarneh, Mahmoud Zakarneh, Ahmad Abu al-Rub, Jawad Kmail and Mustafa Abu al-Rab.
___According to the sources, Israeli soldiers arrested Bassel Belidi and Mohammed al-Alimi from Tulkarm. They also arrested Khader Abo Rafea, resident of Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, and Baraa Asafra from Hebron.
___The IOF arrested at the morning a girl and her brother after storming the town of Hizma, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Three Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli settlers assaulted a group of farmers picking olives in the Urif village in the Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement attacked and assaulted several Palestinian farmers.   MORE . . .   ..

Yesterday, we sang to a star behind a cloud
and bathed in our tears.
Yesterday, we bickered with the vine trees and the moon
with the nights, and fate,
and made love to women.
The hour struck, Khayyam drank on
and under the rhythm of his drugged songs
we remained poor as ever.
Poets, friends
we are in a new world!
What has passed is dead, and whoever writes a poem
in the days of the atom and the wind
creates prophets.
Our poems are without colour,
voiceless and tasteless.
If poetry does not carry a lantern from house to house,
if the poor to not know what it ‘means’
we had better discard it!
It is better that we seek immortal silence
I would that these poems were
the chisel in the labourer’s hand,
the bomb in the extremist’s―
I would that these words
were the plough between a peasant’s hands,
a shirt, a door, or a key!
Someone has said,
If my poems please those who love me
and anger my enemies
then I am a poet. . .
But as for me―

Mahmoud Darwish
Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Available from Barnes & Noble.

“. . . are Palestinians any different from other refugees . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

❶ Racist proposal to ban non-Jews from election to Israeli parliament

  • Background: “Trumpian Ethics and the Rule of Law.” Creighton Law Review.

❷ Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from accessing their lands to pick olives
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers steal olive harvest near Qalqilia
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli settlers attack Palestinian home in Hebron with rocks, stun grenades
❸ FIFA gives green light to Israeli settlement clubs
❹ POETRY by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Days of Palestine 
Oct 28 2017 ― The ruling Israeli coalition may propose a bill in the Israeli Knesset that blocks non-Jews from being elected to the parliament, Israeli media reported on Friday.
___The bill would apparently prevent intervention by the Supreme Court in decisions taken by the Israeli Central Elections Committee; it is the latter which would then have sole responsibility for blocking non-Jewish candidates.
___“This bill aims to return the authority and power to the Elections Committee by preventing appeals against its decision,” said its proposer, Oded Forer MK of the extreme right-ring Jewish Home party. “The Knesset has become a place for terrorists and their supporters [sic] to sit in without fear.”
___This was a reference to MKs Basel Ghattas – who is now in prison – and the head of the Arab Joint-list Ayman Odeh. At least 20 per cent of Israel’s population are non-Jews; if such a bill became law it would confirm the apartheid nature of the Israeli state.   MORE . . .   ..    From ISRAELI NEWSPAPER

McKay, John.
CREIGHTON LAW REVIEW, vol. 50, no. 4, Sept. 2017, pp. 781-799.
[. . . .] The biggest obstacle to peace in the region is the unfettered building of settlements by Israel in occupied Palestinian lands. Almost everywhere you travel in the West Bank, when you look up to the hills, you will see an Israeli settlement, illegal in every way under international law. And they are building all the time. . . THE  PALESTINIANS  INSIST  ON  A  RIGHT  OF  RETURN,  AND  TO  THEM—SOME  OF  THEM—THAT  MEANS  THEY  WANT  THE  OLIVE  GROVES  OF  THEIR  GRANDPARENTS  THAT  ARE  NOW  PART  OF  THE  STATE  OF  ISRAEL. This is not a reasonable starting point for peace negotiations on the part of the Palestinians. The Israelis will not stop building settlements and have no observable way to roll back those heavily armed settlers who now number well over half a million living inside the West Bank—a land to which they have absolutely no claim under law.
[. . . .] But for peace to come about, Israel must eventually end its use of military laws of occupation. . .   the only way out is to roll back the occupation, to roll back the laws that governments give themselves when peace is threatened from within. . .
[. . . .] With this impending disaster for the Jewish State of Israel, we would likely be looking at the beginning of an almost direct parallel to South Africa and its discredited policy of apartheid. Some argue that Israel has already created such a policy, in fact.
___There are now approximately 625,000 Israeli Jews living in the West Bank in over one hundred settlements. I have no idea how this can ever be rolled back if there is to be a peace. But to look at the reality on the ground, these are all fortified mini-cities. As I personally observed, every one of them has an Israeli defense garrison close by. All are walled, all are surrounded by barbed wire, and the citizens are armed. On one occasion, I attended a barbeque in an Arab village, above which there was an Israeli settlement. There was a swimming hole, and I, of course, invited the settlers to come and eat with us, which they refused to do. But as they turned away, I could see tucked into the back of their bathing suits that each had a nine-millimeter pistol. It was not only the soldiers who carried weapons; even the Israeli settlers were heavily, heavily armed in every possible way.   FULL ARTICLE.

Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Israeli forces on Sunday reportedly prevented Palestinian farmers in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah from reaching their land to pick olives, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.
___WAFA reported that Palestinians from the village of Nilin were stopped by Israelis forces on their way to pick olives on their farm lands, located on the Israeli side of the separation wall, which runs through the farmers’ lands.
___The farmers, according to Wafa, had permits from Israeli authorities to enter the area, but were denied anyway.
[. . . .] Palestinians living in the areas where Israel’s separation wall cut off their lands, are required to obtain entry permits, and cannot enter their lands for any purpose other than work or residence.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  SETTLERS  STEAL  OLIVE  HARVEST  NEAR  QALQILIA            Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Israeli settlers stole the olive harvest from Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Jitt, east of Qalqilya, Sunday said one of the land owners.
___Omar Yameen told WAFA that landowners from the village discovered when they reached their land adjacent to the illegal settlement of Kedumim that the olive crops have been harvested and many fully grown trees were damaged and dry after being sprayed with toxic chemicals.
___The owner said he also discovered sewage water being pumped from a settler’s mobile home into his land.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Dozens of Israeli settlers reportedly attacked a Palestinian home in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, according to local sources.
___Local activist Jamal Iseifan told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement attacked a house belonging to Kayid Mansour al-Jaabari, under the protection of armed Israeli forces.
___Iseifan said that Israeli settlers threw rocks and stun grenades at the house and al-Jaabari’s family, adding that Hebron has seen a rise in attacks on Palestinian houses near the Kiryat Arba settlement, that exists in contravention of international law.   MORE . . .
The Electronic Intifada
By Maureen Clare Murphy
Oct. 28, 2017 ― The world football governing body FIFA stated on Friday that it would not sanction or take other measures against clubs located in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
___“Today the FIFA Council shredded the organization’s statutes and declared itself a complicit organization that welcomes Israel’s illegal settlement clubs,” Stephanie Adam of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel stated.
___“FIFA is intent on providing material support for Israel’s violations of international law amounting to war crimes against one of its own member associations,” Adam added, referring to the Palestinian Football Association.
___In its statement the FIFA Council did not address Israeli rights violations and instead referred to a “current situation … characterized by an exceptional complexity and sensitivity and by certain de facto circumstances that can neither be ignored nor changed unilaterally by nongovernmental organizations such as FIFA.”   MORE . . . 

what is the first thing that comes to mind
when you hear of refugees?
what terror drove them out of their homes?
are they getting help?
what is being done for their safe return?

are Palestinians any different from other refugees?
is it not their simple right
to return to the land they were driven from?

why are they being asked to settle
for money?
who designated the Palestinians as the chosen people
to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West?
why do politicians tell them
too much time has passed
when their grievance
is with people who went back after 2000 years?
between continued warfare and annihilation
coexistence beckons
as the only

time for peace

Jundi’s coming-of-age story is chronicled in the illuminating book, The Hour of Sunlight, co-authored with his friend, former colleague and author/documentary filmmaker/playwright Jen Marlowe. . . Jundi’s life is a tale of dislocation, of yearning, of delight in the details and a reverence for the written word. The son of refugees from both Deir Yassin and Zakarriya, Jundi was raised in the Old City of Jerusalem by two blind parents—a unique experience by any measure—and became a refugee at a young age. . . .    MORE . . .
From: BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE.  Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . Have years of suffering . . . led to this? . . .” (Harun Hashim Rashid)

❶ 5 Palestinians shot, injured in the legs during clashes in Ramallah-area village

  • Background: “The Impact of Occupation on Israeli Democracy.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) 2 Palestinians shot by Israeli forces undergo surgery, 1 in critical condition
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Four Children injured After Being Struck By An Israeli Colonist’s Car In Silwan
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israel’s culture of impunity in full view of the world
❷ Behind the headlines in Jerusalem: Recent al-Aqsa clashes are a result of Israel’s long-standing plans to expand control over Jerusalem.
❸ POETRY by Harun Hashim Rashid
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency 
Aug. 11, 2017.  Five Palestinians were injured with live fire during clashes that erupted Thursday evening in the Beit Rima town in northern Ramallah between Palestinian youths and Israeli undercover forces that raided a house in the town, according to official Palestinian sources.
___Israeli forces fired live bullets, rubber-coated steel bullets, tear-gas and stun grenades at youths that surrounded the undercover forces as they were raiding a house in the area.
___The Palestinian Ministry of Health said in a statement that five Palestinians were injured with live fire during clashes in Beit Rima, which is located in the central occupied West Bank.      MORE . . .

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture,
vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 18-25.
Military control of large numbers of people who are denied basic human rights and the right for national self-determination cannot be aligned with democratic values. International law legitimizes such situations in occupied territories but only for a limited time and under strict regulations that do not allow putting the occupied people’s interests at risk except for security reasons of both the occupiers and the occupied. . . .
___We have identified five main processes of deterioration in Israeli democracy: first, intensive use of propaganda in order to adopt a blind and a narrow definition of national patriotism; second, the loss of consensus concerning the balance between the Jewish and the democratic characteristics of the state; third, a weakening of the authority of law; fourth, the involvement of the military in politics; and fifth, the undermining of the authority of the Supreme Court.
[. . . .] In its struggle for hegemony, the new elite increasingly applied propaganda techniques that played on the deep fears of the public in order to promote an uncritical and narrow definition of Israeli identity.  . . . the one-sided historical “truth” of the neo-Zionist narrative infiltrated into the established Israeli discourse. Statements like those of . . .  former military generals like Uzi Dayan, who repeatedly say that they care about the interests of Israel and not the Palestinians . . .  helped establish a blind uncritical patriotism. Increasingly, the Bible was introduced as the ultimate justification to our attachment to the land and our identity as Jews and heavenly promise became the ultimate justification for our sole ownership of the land with disregard to the rights of Palestinians who have lived on the land for hundreds of years.
[. . . .] The vicious circle of violence between the occupier and the occupied only increases mistrust and dehumanization of the other. In such a milieu children grow up with a mistrust of foreigners, which may lead to hatred and racism. This mindset is amplified by the fortification of space by fences, walls and guards. Under such a regime the discourse of human rights developed in Western culture could not be adopted by Israelis who support the occupation, thus increasing Western countries’ criticism of Israel and the perception among right-wing Israelis of a nation under siege that, as a consequence, is allowed to use any and all means for its survival.   FULL ARTICLE . . .

Ma’an News Agency.
Aug. 10, 2017.   Two injured Palestinian detainees, who were detained on Wednesday after they were shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces during a raid on the Bethlehem-area al-Duheisha refugee camp, have undergone surgery and are still in the hospital, with one in critical condition.
___Lawyer of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) Karim Ajwa released a statement on Thursday after visiting the two injured Palestinians, Abd al-Aziz Arafeh and Raed al-Salhi, who are being held in Jerusalem’s Hadassah hospital.
[. . . .] Ajwa added that a court session is expected to be held on Thursday to extend the detention of the two, who were detained during a predawn raid on the camp, located in the southern occupied West Bank.   MORE . . .
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC     
Aug. 11, 2017.   Palestinian medical sources have reported that four children were injured, Thursday, after being rammed by a speeding Israeli colonist’s car, in the al-‘Ein Street, in Silwan town, south of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in occupied East Jerusalem.
___The sources said the four children suffered various cuts and bruises, before an Israeli ambulance moved them to Hadassah Medical Center.
___Two of the wounded children have been identified as Hamza Abu Sbeih and his brother Amir.
___Eyewitnesses said the colonist deliberately rammed the children with his car as they were walking along the sidewalk . . .   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency 
April 12, 2016.  “Whether he made a mistake or not, is a trivial question,” said an Israeli Jewish man who joined large protests throughout Israel in support of a soldier who calmly, and with precision, killed a wounded Palestinian man in al-Khalil (Hebron). The protesting Jewish man described Palestinians as ‘barbaric,’ ‘bestial,’ who should not be perceived as people.
[. . . .] The vast majority of Israelis, 68 percent, support the killing of Abdel Fatah Yusri al-Sharif, 21, by the solider who had reportedly announced before firing at the wounded Palestinian that the “terrorist had to die.”
[. . . .] The incident, once more, highlights a culture of impunity that exists in the Israeli army, which is not a new phenomenon.   MORE . . .
See post of July 8, 2017 for further discussion of “culture of impunity.”
Al Jazeera English    
By Nur Arafeh
Aug. 11, 2017.   Jerusalem has been in the spotlight again recently as tensions reached the boiling point after the mid-July attack on Israeli forces in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem. Despite the apparent resolution of the immediate crisis owing to mass Palestinian civil disobedience, which forced Israel to reverse its attempt to change the status quo that has been in place since 1967 at the historic Noble Sanctuary mosque complex, the underlying issues remain in place.
___Media coverage of Jerusalem has tended to focus on clashes as and when they erupt, and to frame these as the harbingers of an emerging “religious war”. However, this approach fails to address the history of and context in which such clashes unfold, and the explicit aims of the Israeli government.   MORE . . .

(After occupying Gaza in 1967, the Israelis searched houses and forced men and women to stand next to walls with arms raised. Often they shot at them. The poet had this experience.)

――Raise your arms . . .
they aimed their guns at me . . .
――Raise your arms . . .

I stood, my eyes flaming
and scorching with anger
as an insistent film of events
assailed me.
Can defiled cities be
the outcome of our struggle?
Have years of suffering,
long days of vigilance
in trenches, on hills
and in tattered tents
led to this?

The world blackened in my eyes
my hands on the wall
as guns were pointing at me
I wished the wall would fall on my head
My comrades and I waited
for their bullets,
for their bullets

They walked away, and the wall
remained, gazing back at us
waiting for a fiery volcano, for the flames.
―Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

About HARUN HASHIM AL RASHID (born in Gaza, 1927)
From ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.  New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.