“. . . An Arab who has protested at the suffering of his people . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

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Destruction of home of Murad Hushema in Wadi Qadum, East Jerusalem. (Photo: Palestine News Network, Dec. 8, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
OCHA:  ‘INCREASE  IN  ISRAELI  DEMOLITIONS,  VANDALISM  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS’
Citing the lack of building permits, the Israeli authorities demolished or seized 33 Palestinian-owned structures in Area C of the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, including two structures provided as humanitarian assistance, United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territory confirmed in its report covering the period from November 20th to December 3rd.    ___OCHA’s biweekly “Protection of Civilians” report said that Israeli settler violence and vandalism in the West Bank have been on the rise since the beginning of 2018, with a weekly average of five attacks resulting in injuries or property damage, compared with an average of three in 2017.     More . . .
. . . . Related  Rain and Israeli tunnels [under homes] cause land cave-in in Silwan
. . . . Related  Israel commits 24 violations against journalists in November
. . . . Related  Settlers, led by the Israeli Minister of Agriculture, charge into Al-Aqsa Mosque
|  IOF  ARREST  10  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK  RAIDS 
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Sunday overnight launched a campaign of raids and arrests in cities all over the occupied West Bank.    ___IOF raided Balata and Askar refugee camps in Nablus, northern West Bank, where they arrested four men, including ex-prisoners. Israeli army patrols also stormed Salem, Asira, Al-Lubban towns in the vicinity of the city.    ___In addition, Israeli settlers, under under the protection of the Israeli army, have stormed the area of ​​Sada Al-Fahs in Hebron [. . . .]    More . . .
. . . . Related  Citizens rally in al-Khalil in solidarity with female prisoners
|  GAZA:  19TH  MARITIME  RALLY  TO  KICK  OFF  MONDAY  
The National Committee for Breaking Gaza Siege has announced the launch of the 19th maritime rally on the coast and in Gaza waters on Monday.    ___A spokesman for the Committee told a news conference on Sunday morning that the rally would be staged under the slogan “Resistance to freedom” to confirm the Palestinian people’s adherence to all forms of resistance.    ___The spokesman called on all citizens in Gaza to participate in the rally in order to send a message to the international community, the US administration and the Israeli occupation state stating that “the Palestinian people’s resistance of the occupation is legitimate.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  Egyptian security delegation to visit Gaza
. . . . Related  Former Israel PM ordered targeting densely populated areas in 2008 Gaza war

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
  A  DECADE  AFTER  HOLY  LAND  CONVICTION [Dallas, Texas],  PALESTINE  ADVOCACY  IN  U.S.  STILL  UNDERMINED
Ten years ago, United States federal prosecutors shut down what was then the biggest Muslim charity in the country, a foundation supporting Palestinians refugees. Authorities seized all of the Holy Land Foundation’s assets and put five of its leaders in prison.    ___ Over the past decade, the case has set into motion a broad and powerful effort to criminalize and sanction Palestine advocacy in the United States. It created a chilling effect that forces many Americans to think twice before supporting Palestinian or Muslim charities to this day.    More . . .
| ON  THE  10TH  ANNIVERSARY
By  Imprisoned  Humanitarian  Activist  Shukri  Abu  Baker  of  The  Holy Land  Foundation (Dallas, Texas, USA)
Sick, is all I’d been feeling on that cold Monday night. Some hours earlier, the ominous air in that courtroom, the timid gestures, the awful anticipation, the dreadful verdicts… all was too much to stomach. I cringed every time the judge’s voice rang “guilty” in my head; his gloating only amplified by the claustrophobic compactness in my prison cell.    More . . .
. . . . And  Who  Is  Not  Special?   [. . . .] This is why it’s wrong to spew insults at others from a place of power just because one can. . .    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“BECAUSE  I  AM  AN  ARAB,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR

I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering
of his people
Who has carried with him the hope
of a just peace
Who has spoken out against death
at every corner
Who has called for and has lived
a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

From: El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from biblio.com

“. . . [US owes] six East Jerusalem hospitals . . . USD 80 million making the situation of the hospitals unsustainable. . .” (Lutheran World Federation)

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Slain 16-year-old Palestinian Ahmad Misbah Abu Toyour (C) (Photo by Palestine al-Yawm news agency)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

US  CUTS  FUNDING  TO  EAST  JERUSALEM  HOSPITALS
The Lutheran World Federation regrets the decision by the US administration . . .   to cut its funding for the six East Jerusalem Hospitals. According to a budget approved by the US Congress, the hospitals in East Jerusalem, including the Lutheran World Federation’s Augusta Victoria Hospital (AVH), were budgeted to receive USD 25 million in funding during financial year 2017 to cover costs for patients referred by the Palestinian Ministry of Health. Today’s news reports come following a policy review by the US administration that resulted in several funding cuts affecting people in the West Bank and Gaza.    ___Overall, AVH is owed over USD 38 million while the total owed to the six East Jerusalem hospitals, including AVH, is over USD 80 million making the situation of the hospitals unsustainable.   More . . .
Related . . .  HOSPITALS  IN  GAZA  TO  SHUT  DOWN  DUE  TO  POWER  SHORTAGE

TRUMP  TO  CLOSE  PLO  OFFICE  IN  WASHINGTON
The United States Donald Trump administration is expected to announce on Monday that it will close the Palestine Liberation Organization’s office in Washington.   ___According to reports, this decision is part of a widening U.S. pressure campaign on Palestinian officials amid stalled Middle East peace prospects and that the US National Security Advisor, John Bolton, is expected to announce the decision in several hours.   ___Bolton is also expected to threaten to impose severe sanctions against the International Criminal Court (ICC) if it attempts to investigate or consider any war crime charges against Israel raised by the Palestinians.   More . . .
Related . . . PLO  OFFICIALS:  ‘PALESTINIANS  WILL  NOT  SURRENDER’

IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAEL  INTENTIONALLY  KILLS  16-YEAR-OLD  PALESTINIAN
A video documented the method of how Israeli forces targeted and killed 16-year-old Palestinian, Ahmad Misbah Abu Tyour, while he was participating in “The Great March of Return” protests in the besieged Gaza Strip.    ___The video showed the Palestinian teen, while maintaining his distance, throwing rocks towards the border with Israel as a form of protest to the nearly 12-year Israeli siege of Gaza.    ___Ahmad’s rock-throwing posed no threat to the heavily armed Israeli forces. . . ___Ahmad succumbed to his wounds on Saturday morning.   More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

PALESTINIANS: US CUTS WILL HAVE DIRE EFFECT ON HEALTH CARE
Washington Post

The director of an east Jerusalem hospital said Sunday that a U.S. decision to cut funding to hospitals serving the Palestinians will have a “severe effect.”   ___Bassem Abu Libdeh, of the Makassed Hospital, said the U.S. covers 40 percent of costs in six east Jerusalem hospitals that provide care for Palestinians from the Israeli-occupied West Bank and the Gaza Strip.   ___The Trump administration announced the $25 million funding cut on Saturday, saying it would redirect the money toward “high-priority projects elsewhere.”   More . . .
Related . . .  JERUSALEM  HOSPITAL  CALLS  US  AID  CUT  ‘UNJUSITIFED’

ASHRAWI:  CLOSING  PLO  OFFICE  IN  WASHINGTON  AN  IRRESPONSIBLE  MOVE
Hanan Ashrawi, member of the Executive Committee of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO), said on Monday that the US closing the General Delegation of the PLO office in Washington DC is an irresponsible move.   ___”It is ironic that the US is punishing the PLO, the national representative of the Palestinian people and the highest political body that made the commitment to reaching a political and legal settlement of the Palestinian question and that has engaged in negotiations with successive US administrations for decades,” she said in a statement.   ___“It is also extremely cruel and spiteful to persist in deliberately bashing the Palestinian people by denying them of their rights, giving away their lands and rightful capital of Jerusalem, and defunding UNRWA (the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees) and Palestinian institutions, including East Jerusalem hospitals.”    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .  

LUTHERAN  WORLD  FEDERATION   Augusta Victoria Hospital   GET INVOLVED . .
MAKASSED  ISLAMIC  CHARITABLE  SOCIETY  HOSPITAL  DONATE . . .

POEM FOR THE DAY. . . .

THAT SLAP IN THE FACE, BY SHUKRI ABU-BAKR **

This is for you, Ahed

Like a Free Palestine Spirit, your home is hospitable and warm, but has no fireplace for a cold killer.

Your fingernails sun-kissed, your palms soft as a whisper; but you did it, girl; you slapped a lethal weapon right in the face.

Your lips breathless over a million unheard cries… So rouse the world. Make it listen. Make it rise. Stand face-to-face and slap it right in the face.

Your green eyes, what do they see or so desire; but a white dawn to descend upon a nation’s dream set on fire.

So, girl, strip the arsonist of his undue grace…and yes, princess, with your bare hands slap him right in the face.

You’re noble from head to toe, daughter of the mountains, so bring your oppressor down on his armored knees.. and slap him hard. Slap him right in the face.

Slap him every time his psycho boots step into your peace of mind.

Slap him every time his tanks roll over your tender foot-marks. Slap him every time his smoke out-smells the wild sage in your yard. And slap him, daughter of the land…

Slap him for every time he stole dirt from your great grandfather’s grave. Slap him for every time he left an olive tree butchered in your neighbor’s grove. Slap him for every time he demanded respect for his loaded gun.

Slap him for your cousin… for all the young bones punctuated with bullets. And your highness, with your wrists besieged in cuffs as cruel as my own, slap him; not once, not twice, but thrice, for every time he thought that at the sight of coming invaders, Red-headed Palestine would simply run away.

** Shukri Abu Bakr is a Palestinian humanitarian from Dallas, Texas, serving a 65 year prison sentence in the United States following the controversial Holy Land Foundation trial

“Marathonic circus of stirring eye-rubbing, evoking optical transgression. . .” (Shukri Abu-Baker)

Dr. Polly Coote
Dr. Polly Coote

AND WHO IS MY NEIGHBOR: REFLECTIONS ON A PALESTINIAN JOURNEY.
Professor Polly Coote, San Francisco Theological Seminary, San Anselmo, CA

Phrases from the Bible you’ve heard all your life can strike you in disconcerting new ways when you set eyes for the first time on the “Holy Land” as it is today. Take, for example, the Jericho Road: the way Isaiah urged the exiles to take from Babylon back to Jerusalem, the road Jesus took on Palm Sunday, the route of the Good Samaritan . . . After participating in a Keep Hope Alive olive harvest trip, Polly Coote imagines how a present-day crowd might riff on Jesus’ parable.

Dr. Coote is an Associate Professor of Greek and Associate Dean (retired) at the San Francisco Theological Seminary in San Anselmo, California. In the fall of 2014, she and six others joined an international team organized by the Joint Advocacy Initiative of the YMCA and YWCA in East Jerusalem, to assist Palestinian farmers with the annual olive harvest in an on-going gesture of support and solidarity against Israel’s illegal occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. (More. . . )

For more on the JAI-PAL Olive Tree Campaign see. .  and see. . .

mondoweissPALESTINE ADVOCACY PROJECT GOES NATIONAL
Annie Robbins
March 4, 2015
Have you heard of PalAd yet? Otherwise known as the Palestine Advocacy Project? While it may seem there’s a new kid on the block who just burst on the scene launching major ad campaigns in seven major U.S. cities protesting Netanyahu’s historic assault on Congress and the minds of Americans that would not be the case. Ads have appeared in public transit systems, billboards, and mobile billboard trucks in Washington, DC, New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Boston, San Diego, and San Antonio synchronizing with AIPAC’s annual D.C. conference. Take a look: (More. . .)

un news serviceUNRWA OUT OF FUNDS FOR GAZA REPAIRS
—U.N. News Service, Jan. 27, 2015
The United Nations agency tasked with assisting Palestinian refugees across the Middle East has announced that a major fund- ing shortfall has forced the suspension of its cash assistance pro- gram that would have helped families in Gaza repair their homes and provide rental subsidies to people left homeless after last year’s conflict in the enclave.

Announcing the suspension, the U.N. Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) said in a press release “virtually none” of the funds pledged by donors at an international conference in Cairo last year has reached Gaza, and that it will need some $100 million in the first quarter of 2015. (More. . .)

eiDID ROME COLLEGE CENSOR ILAN PAPPE BECAUSE OF “ZIONIST INTIMIDATION”?
Stephanie Westbrook
Rome
2 March 2015
Ilan Pappe, the outspoken Israeli historian, has criticized an Italian university for succumbing to “Zionist intimidation” by canceling a debate in which he was scheduled to take part.

Just days before the 16 February debate was due to take place, the University of Rome III denied the event’s organizers use of its prestigious Center for Italian and French Studies for the debate. The event — dealing with the use and abuse of identity in Europe and the Middle East — did go ahead, but at a different venue.

The last-minute cancelation is another case of preemptive muzzling by an institution of higher learning. “It is very disturbing to see how freedom of speech is framed in Europe,” Pappe told The Electronic Intifada. “Ridiculing the prophet Muhammad in cartoon is the litmus test for a society that cherishes freedom of speech; however an open candid conversation about Israel and Palestine is disallowed as an incitement.” (More. . .)

TWIP-homepage-logo-betaSPIRITUAL JOURNEYS VS. ISRAELI TOURISM
This Week In Palestine, Issue 203, March 2015
By: Ahmad Damen
The Occupation of Palestine, Al-Nakba, and the expulsion of the Palestinian people did not only affect our material world but also our spiritual culture, a culture that is still under constant threat by imperialist ideology. Although this is not a problem solely affecting Palestine, this land still represents a unique and critical case. First, it is a land with religious significance for the three largest Abrahamic faiths, which all originated in this region. Second, the Palestinian people were faced with drastic external changes more than sixty-five years ago, which left them scattered in different locations and incapable of creating a collective spiritual identity. For example, there are some spiritual traditions that have been preserved in some Palestinian towns beyond the Green Line due to their solitude. These villages are disconnected from the Arab world on one end, and marginalized by the Western world on the other end. This is despite the fact that many Palestinians on the other side of the Green Line are still Christian like most of those in Western countries, but as the article discusses later, spiritual and religious identity are not the same. (More. . .)

______

COLORS OF CRISIS BY SHUKRI ABU-BAKER (b. 1959)

Night was tightly tailored to embody the day of reckoning.
A few hours of deliberation over coffee, freshly brewed,
Black. More cream, less sugar. No cream, just sugar.
Marathonic circus of stirring, eye-rubbing, evoking optical transgression.
Give it more time. Not sixty-five years. Just a couple more weeks.
Amazingly, no one seems to have tired of addressing
A conundrum relentlessly pressing: A two-tone CRISIS.
Tweets in millions. Push more buttons. Circulate. Percolate discussions.
Tune in: CNN, Fox News, Sucks News, All News.
It’s all about the hotly brewed, freshly viewed CRISIS.
What configuration? O God! What colors?
What order? What shade? What hue?
Are we up against in the perplexed woman’s DRESS?
Lord! Was it white and gold, or was it black and blue?
Lord of all colors and the colored and the non-colored.
Have mercy on this color-divided nation; obsessed with the Truth,
The holes in the truth, the ‘ifs and the buts’ in the truth. A nation
Where, by virtue of color, unarmed men are shot front and back.
Freshly delivered bullets enamored with the skin that’s born black.
And on the grayish walls of their sun-famished cells,
Five men, not quite white, not quite black. Non-quiet Arabs,
In decomposed justice, brushless they paint their pain.
However, we must not digress, lest the truth is lost in vain.
For, on the imminent Day of Reckoning,
After all the living, from the grave, have risen,
Only one question shall be addressed:
What colors didn’t the blinded see in the woman’s DRESS?

Information on Shukri Abu-Baker here. . . and here. . .

“. . . Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass. . .” (S.V. Atalla)

A weekly publication of cultural news from Palestine.

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This week’s edition is titled “Then and Now.”
It includes “Music in Palestine, Then and Now,” by Amira Gabarin.

Each week the e-magazine includes on the home page the announcement:

We DEMAND that the Israeli army return out computers confiscated from our office during the army’s raid on our premises on 22 Jun 2014.

The Palestine Youth Orchestra
The Palestine Youth Orchestra

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poetry-arab-womenThe Poetry of Arab Women: A Contemporary Anthology. Ed. Nathalie Handal. Northampton, MA: Interlink Pub Group (December 2000). Available through Amazon.

From the introduction at Poetry.org:

“This recent volume showcases the work of over 80 accomplished and emerging Arab women poets. With the exception of Oman and Sudan, every Arab country is represented here, as are Arab women in exile or living in non-Arab countries and women poets of Arab descent from Europe and North America.

Individual poets represented here include Etel Adnan, Vénus Khoury-Ghata, Naomi Shihab Nye, and Sabah al-Kharrat Zwein.

A helpful 30-page introduction, with a focus on geography and history, helps to contextualize the poetry. Biographical notes of the poets and translators–as well as a listing of poets by country–are also useful, and will ideally lead readers to more in-depth explorations of individual poets.”

One of the poets represented in the anthology is the Palestinian-American
S.V. Atalla. She was born in New York, completed high school in Amman, Jordan, and now lives in Southern California where she teaches at Mt. San Antonio College. In 1992 she obtained an MA in Comparative Literature from UCLA. She is best-known for her translations of Arabic short stories and poems.

Atalla’s poems in The Poetry of Arab Women are “Diaspora” and “Visitng the West Bank.” Her poem “Story” was published in The Painted Bride Quarterly 47 (1992).

“Story,” by S.V. Atalla

Splitting seeds
in her teeth she spits out
the years like spelling,
one letter after the other.

Bits of Jerusalem
are chips of blue tile.
Summer is hand-blown Hebron glass,
slender, stoppered.

When she says, Jaffa
the iris of each eye is a dark fruit;
her knuckles knot
high in her rustling hair.

______________________________________
Excerpted from “Death by Immolation vs. Death by Isolation,” by Shukri Abu Baker of the Holy Land Foundation

The savage immolation of Jordanian fighter pilot, Lt. Muath Kasasbeh by Isis, once again demonstrated how ugly events can turn amidst a paradoxical war. Isis claims to be a genuine “Islamic State” while it has . . .[committed] some of the most prohibited acts in Islam. . . I have always had a problem with those who use the cloak of Islam as an outfit for all bodies of ugliness, and I find it hard to fathom how any Muslim could capriciously violate the teachings of his own religion in the name of the religion itself. . . Isis’s actions don’t represent Islam any more than Israel’s actions represent Judaism; thus, holding Muslims responsible for the crimes of the ‘Islamic State” is as wrong as holding Jews responsible for the crimes of the “Jewish State” Israel claims to be.

It is strangely quizzical,  how the international community, including a number of Arab regimes, have come together to destroy Isis because of its barbarism when last year, for 51 days, the world including Arab states stood idle, and  some actually grinned, as Israel unleashed its demonic forces onto Gaza taking 2,150 lives, 520 of them children. . .