“. . . the stones of your streets grow sad . . .” (Nizar Qabbani)

Selected News of the Day

Foreign Ministry summons Australian diplomat over remarks in favor of Israel

WAFA
September 23, 2019
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry today summoned an Australian diplomat over the Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison’s remarks in favor of Israel.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Undersecretary of the Foreign Ministry, Amal Jadou, stated that the Acting Director of the Australian Representative Office, Warren Hooy, was summoned following Foreign Affairs Minister Riyad Malki’s instructions over Morrison’s remarks in favor of Israel.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Jado met with Hooy to express Palestinian “dissatisfaction and resentment” of Morrison’s remarks in which he underscored a shift by his government to take “an even stronger stand against the biased and unfair targeting of Israel in the UN General Assembly.”
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Morrison, who is currently on a visit to the US, made his remarks during his opening speech.  More . . . .

Arab MKs recommend Gantz for Israel prime minister

Middle East Monitor
September 23, 2019
In a rare move, the Arab dominated Joint List yesterday recommended head of the Blue White Benny Gantz to become Israel’s new prime minister, local media reported.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Commenting on the recommendation, head of the Yisrael Beiteinu party Avigdor Lieberman said: “The Joint List are enemies.”
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Meanwhile, head of the Likud and incumbent Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu condemned the move and said that the thing which he had warned of has just happened.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Reports said that the Joint List’s bid was inline with their election promise of “bringing an end to Netanyahu and his government, who spread hate” against Arab citizens of Israel.   More . . . .

Israeli Forces Injure Many Palestinians On Azzun Town

Days of Palestine
September 22, 2019
Scores of Palestinian citizens on Saturday night suffered injuries after the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) stormed Azzun town in Qalqilya and attacked local residents.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Local sources said that a large number of Israeli soldiers raided the town, imposed a curfew in the central district, forced storeowners to close their businesses and fired a barrage of tear gas canisters at citizens to make them go home.   More . . . .

  • Soldiers Invade Sebastia Town Near Nablus
    IMEMC News
    September 23, 2019
    Several Israeli army jeeps invaded, Monday, the archeological area in Sebastia Palestinian town, north of the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Mohammad Azem, the head of Sebastia Town Council, said dozens of soldiers invaded the area and fired a barrage of gas bombs at the Palestinians to force them away.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He added that many Palestinians protested the invasion, and hurled stones at the soldiers who fired live rounds and more gas bombs.   More . . . .
  • 16 Palestinians Injured By IOF In Jerusalem
    Days Of Palestine
    September 22, 2019
    At least 16 Palestinian citizens suffered injuries on Saturday evening when the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) assaulted local residents in al-Eizariya town, east of Jerusalem.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The Red Crescent said its ambulance crew provided medical assistance to 16 citizens in Eizariya after they suffered different injuries.
    ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ According to local sources, Israeli police forces stormed Eizariya town and directly fired volleys of tear gas canisters at Palestinian homes, which provoked clashed with local youths.  More . . . .

Commentary

Israel’s Anti-Liberal Legislative Trends: A Guide for the Perplexed

Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics, and Culture
By Frances Raday
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ [Frances Raday is professor of law, Elias chair, at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem]
Israeli legislation has over the last decade been increasingly geared to entrench the ethnic-religious and nationalist ideology of Binyamin Netanyahu and his coalition government. This legislative trend is evident in some laws which have already been passed by a majority in the Knesset and is accentuated in the numerous legislative initiatives proposed by members of the Knesset belonging to parties in the governing coalition. The government’s drafting of its legislative initiatives has frequently exhibited the trademarks of an authoritarian hegemony with disregard for human rights implications. The persistent vigilance and activism of Israeli civil society, however, along with interventions of the Supreme Court and the media, both local and international, have frequently succeeded in nixing or toning down the early legislative drafts.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Nevertheless, the final versions of these laws that do pass are blatantly anti-liberal, undermine democracy and, in some cases, constitute violations of international humanitarian or human rights law. The trend has four interconnected facets: validation of illegal settler colonization of the West Bank; deference to Jewish religion or ethnicity at the cost of unequal treatment of national minorities and of women; limiting freedom of expression through measures restricting NGOs; and restrictions on expression of ethical pluralism in education and the arts.   More . . . .

Poem of the Day

“JERUSALEM,”  BY  NIZAR  QABBANI

Oh Jerusalem, luminous city of prophets
The shortest path between heaven and earth!

Jerusalem, you of the myriad minarets,
become a beautiful little girl with burned fingers.
City of the Virgin, your eyes are sad.
Shady oasis where the Prophet passed,
the stones of your streets grow sad,
the towers of mosques downcast.

City swathed in black, who’ll ring the bells
at the Holy Sepulchre on Sunday mornings?
Who will carry toys to children on Christmas Eve?
City of sorrows, a huge tear
trembling on your eyelid,
who’ll save the Bible?
Who’ll save the Qur’an?
Who will save Christ?
Who will save man?

Jerusalem, beloved city of mine,
tomorrow your lemon trees will bloom,
your green stalks and branches rise up joyful,
and your eyes will laugh. Migrant pigeons
will return to your holy roofs
and children will go back to playing.
Parents and children will meet
on your shining streets,
my city, city of olives and peace.
——Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

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 Barnes and Noble.

“. . . nations are modern constructs . . . and not the expression of organic entities . . .” (Peige Desjarlais)

Workers of Israel Antiquities Authority at excavation site of ancient house in Nazareth, Dec. 21, 2009. (Photo: Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)
Workers of Israel Antiquities Authority at excavation site of ancient house in Nazareth, Dec. 21, 2009. (Photo: Gil Cohen Magen/Reuters)

❶ Knesset Member: Comparing Palestinian Citizens of Israel With Illegal Israeli Settlers Is Immoral, Irrational and Ahistorical
❷ Turning settlers into victims
. . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Annexing archaeology: Will UNESCO take on Israel?

  • Background: “Excavating Zion: Archaeology And Nation-Making In Palestine/Israel.” Totem: The University Of Western Ontario Anthropology Journal

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶  KNESSET  MEMBER:  COMPARING  PALESTINIAN  CITIZENS  OF  ISRAEL  WITH  ILLEGAL  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  IS  IMMORAL,  IRRATIONAL  AND  AHISTORICAL      Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Sept. 11, 2016
Arab Knesset Member Ahmad Tibi, said that the Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comparison of Palestinian citizens of Israel with its illegal settlers in Occupied Palestine is not only immoral, but a total departure from rationality, history and Israel’s obligations under international law, said an opinion piece published by the Israeli daily, Haartez.
___“He [Netanyahu] should realize that no matter Israel’s institutionalized system of discrimination, this is our homeland and we are here to stay.”
___The Knesset member stressed that Palestinian citizens of Israel are not foreign immigrants that came to Israel and applied for visas or citizenship, rather Israel went to them. They are the indigenous population of the country.”
___“They lived there way long before the Zionist movement was created. They are those who later survived the Nakba of 1948, where 85% o f the Palestinians living in what is now Israel were ethnically cleansed only because they were not Jews. Yes, they can tell Mr. Netanyahu about the meaning of ethnic cleansing on this land.”     MORE . . .    

❷ TURNING  SETTLERS  INTO  VICTIMS      
+972 Blog     
Nicola Perugini and Neve Gordon
Sept. 12, 2016
Just a few weeks after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that he cares about the rights and lives of Palestinians in Gaza more than the Palestinian leadership does, he posted a new video message on his Facebook wall, arguing that any future dismantlement of Jewish settlements in the West Bank would amount to “ethnic cleansing.” He went on to intimate that [  ]  the U.S. and other western countries support the uprooting of Israeli settlements as part of an agreement with the Palestinians, they were, in effect, supporting the cleansing of Jews.
___“Would you accept ethnic cleansing in your state? A territory without Jews, without Hispanics, without Blacks,” he rhetorically asked, thus drawing a direct link between the settlers in the colonized Palestinian territories and racially discriminated citizens in the United States.
___Netanyahu’s description of any potential evacuation of the West Bank colonies reflects the ethics of settler colonialism in which any attempt to dislocate the settlers is now equated with injustice. [He is] Unwilling to acknowledge that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948 and 1967, and that they continue to live under the constant threat of displacement as a direct result of his own government’s policies.      MORE . . . 
. . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ANNEXING ARCHAEOLOGY: WILL UNESCO TAKE ON ISRAEL?
Al-Jazeera via Jonathan Cook Blog
19 May 2016
Israel is stepping up its efforts to seize control of Palestinian heritage sites and antiquities in the occupied territories in violation of international law, Palestinian and Israeli archaeologists warned this week.
___The experts echoed criticisms levelled against Israel in a recent resolution passed by the United Nations’ cultural agency, UNESCO, that accused Israel of interfering with major holy sites in occupied areas.
[. . . .]    Archaeologists, however, said the UNESCO resolution underestimated the scope of the problem facing Palestinian heritage sites. The Palestinian tourism and antiquities ministry is preparing to announce a list of 14 major sites in the occupied territories that are in urgent need of protection from Israeli activities.     MORE . . .  

  • Desjarlais, Peige. “Excavating Zion: Archaeology And Nation-Making In Palestine/Israel.” Totem: The University Of Western Ontario Anthropology Journal 21.1 (2013): 1-14.    ARTICLE.

[. . . .]    Indeed, the borders of Israel are made most obviously and violently through wars (in 1948 and 1967), conquest, and colonial settlement. However, nationmaking projects also come into being through a variety of social, cultural, and institutional practices, like archaeology, which not only help to maintain the “imagined community” of the nation, but also participate in the production of the national landscape . . .  it is within these practices of Jewish nationmaking that Israeli archaeology should be properly situated [. . . .]   
___Challenging conceptions of the nation as natural or primordial, scholars of nationalism . . . emphasize that nations are modern constructs, historical phenomenon, and not the expression of organic entities. Nations must be produced, brought into being, and then constantly reproduced through symbolic acts of nationhood. . . . [T]he rise of print colonialism made possible . . . a sense of belonging to an “imagined community.” [. . . .] Nations are also made through engagement with ideas, theories and knowledge produced outside the national boundaries. . . .
[. . . .]  
___The roots of modern Israel lie not in the Middle East but in Europe. Zionism, a political movement aimed at the creation of a Jewish state in Palestine, was born and developed in Europe in the late 19th century, and was supported by Europe’s leading imperial power at the time: Britain. . . . [which promised] a Jewish state where, at that time, a mostly Muslim and Christian Arab population coexisted with a small Jewish minority.
___As evident in the historical record and numerous UN documents the Israeli national territory was established through military force and settler colonialism . . . [and] through an ongoing process of land expropriation and displacement . . . .  and through the idea and practice of “transfer” of the native population – all common tropes of European colonial discourse and practice.
[. . . .]  
___It is through these early archaeological excavations (and nationalist rituals like climbing the Masada), that material culture was reconfigured into objects of national significance and landscapes emerged as “historical locales” through which particular historical narratives of Palestine as the “land of Israel” were made visible. Thus archaeology was one of the means through which the nation began to emerge in concrete form, saturating the Palestinian landscape with symbols of Jewish-ness. . .  the sites together mapped the Jewish homeland onto the landscape as a whole, creating a “spatial biography” of Jewish past and future presence.

Israeli tourists, guarded by soldiers, visit the Roman site of Sebastiya, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank (Photo: Jonathan Cook)
Israeli tourists, guarded by soldiers, visit the Roman site of Sebastiya, near Nablus, in the occupied West Bank (Photo: Jonathan Cook)