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

me-cremisan-001
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.

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

Many Palestinian families still have the keys to their homes after the Nakba.(Charlie Hoyle)
Many Palestinian families still have the keys to their homes after the Nakba.(Charlie Hoyle)

❶ From PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
EREKAT ON THE ANNIVERSARY OF 1967 OCCUPATION: ISRAEL CONTINUES TO DENY PALESTINIAN RIGHTS
June 5, 2015
Over 12 million Palestinians living in the occupied State of Palestine and worldwide are commemorating 67 years of the ongoing Nakba and 48 years of Israel military occupation since 1967.
____“The Israeli government, headed by Benjamin Netanyahu, is determined to undermine the Palestinian right to live in dignity, and is obstructing our right to self-determination,” said Dr. Saeb Erekat, Member of the Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee. . .
____ The 5th of June marks the 48th anniversary of the six-day war and the Palestinian Naksa, in which Israel occupied the West Bank, East Jerusalem, Gaza, The Egyptian Sinai and the Syrian Golan heights.
(More. . .)

❷ From PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY (WAFA)
ISRAELI FORCES DEMOLISH OVER 30 RESIDENTIAL STRUCTURES IN JORDAN VALLEY
June 4, 2015
Israeli forces early Thursday demolished over thirty residential structures and livestock barns in the northern Jordan Valley localities, according to a municipal source.
____Escorting bulldozers, Israeli forces broke into and cordoned the area off and prevented locals from approaching the structures slated for demolition.
____According to Head of al-Malih Village Council, ‘Aref Daraghma, forces proceeded afterwards to level and demolish residential structures, livestock barns and tanks belonging to four families without any prior notice purportedly for being built without license. . .
____Mayor of Tubas and the Northern Jordan Valley Ahmad As‘ad slammed the demolition as a ‘racist Israeli occupation practice’.
____“These practices unveil the true face of the Israeli democracy. Carried out a day after Israeli general elections, they indicate that the Israeli government is led by settlers, seeking to fulfill their plans and expel indigenous Palestinian communities from the Jordan Valley in order to expand settlements and Judaize the land,” remarked As‘ad. . . .
(More. . .)

❸ From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
IN SHADOW OF SETTLEMENT, SUSIYA VILLAGERS VOW TO FIGHT DISPLACEMENT
Charlie Hoyle
June 4, 2015
KHIRBET SUSIYA (Ma’an) — “Seven times they have demolished it,” Susiya resident Nasser Nawaja says. “But the villagers have built it again every time.”
____One of the 300 or so Palestinians living in the herding and shepherding community in the south Hebron hills, Nawaja is part of the latest generation of Palestinians who have inherited a decades-old struggle against forced displacement by Israel.
____”People are very sad. Every night they pray to God that their homes will not be demolished, the situation is not normal,” he told Ma’an . . .
(More. . .)
(Background)
(More background)Haifa neighborhood before 1948

Haifa neighborhood before 1948

❹ From ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
STATUS OF PALESTINE IN 2015
June 4, 2015
Some of this information is from a summary issued by the Negotiations Affairs Department (an independent group advising Palestinian negotiators):
– It has been 67 years since the occupation of 78% of Palestine in 1948.
– It has been 48 years since the occupation of the other 22% of Palestine (West Bank and Gaza) that started 1967.
– Today there are 12.5 million Palestinians. 7.2 million of us are refugees/displaced people (six million from the ethnic cleansing of 1948-1950, 843,737 from 1967 Naksa, and 345,217 internal displacement within the green line, 57,669 internally displaced in 1967 areas).
– UNRWA has 5.4 million registered refugees and has established and operates in 59 official refugee camps (17 unofficial camps). . .
– When the Balfour declaration was issued in 1917, there were some 850,000 Palestinians – only 7 percent of us were Jewish-Palestinians (and most Jews were also opposed to Zionism).
– Roughly 6.5 million Palestinians still live in Palestine, though they are restricted to use 8.7% of the land (Qumsiyeh calculation) and have no sovereignty even in those remaining areas.
(MORE. . .)

❺ From +972 MAGAZINE ONLINE
HOW THE IDF’S HI-TECH REVOLUTION CHEAPENS PALESTINIAN LIVES
Natasha Roth
June 3, 2015
The IDF is developing new technology that will eventually cut down on the need for soldiers to go to the front lines. What does this mean for the Palestinians whose lives will hang on the decision of a machine?
The Israeli army is optimistic that there will be no need for soldiers to be stationed on Israel’s borders in the future. Not because there will be peace, and not because there will be no need to maintain militarized borders. Rather it is because they are working towards unmanned, weaponized patrol vehicles that will do the job instead.
____A blog post on the topic published on the IDF’s English-language website, which was was shared on the IDF’s official Facebook page, was accompanied by the comment: “In 10 years there won’t be any soldiers guarding Israel’s borders. . .
(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 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.
About the book

Beit Hanina  Palestinian neighborhood, East Jerusalem, today
Beit Hanina Palestinian neighborhood, East Jerusalem, today