“. . . Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald? . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ US freezes $125 million grant to UNRWA
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Bennett slams reported Israeli call on US not to cut aid to Palestinians
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) What would happen if Trump cuts UNRWA funding?

BACKGROUND: Congress removes Israeli missile defense funds from US wartime budget (2017)

❷ Tzachi Hanegbi: Two-state solution is not dead
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Peace Now: Israel to approve more than 1,329 illegal settlement units
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Palestinians protest visit of Greek Orthodox patriarch accused of selling land to Israel
❸ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ US  FREEZES  $125  MILLION  GRANT  TO  UNRWA
The Palestinian Information Center   
Jan. 6, 2018 ― The United States has frozen $125 million of its funding for the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees (UNRWA).
___Quoting three US officials, Reuters news agency reported that the administration of the US president, Donald Trump, informed the United Nations that it had frozen a $125 million grant that was due to be paid on 1st January.
___According to the three officials who spoke on condition of anonymity due to the sensitivity of the matter, Trump’s administration is considering cutting $180 million from its aid payments to the UNRWA in an effort to pressure the Palestinian Authority to resume negotiations with Israel.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  BENNETT  SLAMS  REPORTED  ISRAELI  CALL  ON  US  NOT  TO  CUT  AID  TO  PALESTINIANS:  Israeli officials call on US and all world countries to cut all aid to Palestinians.  
Days of Palestine
Jan. 6, 2018 ― Israeli Education Minister and head of the right-wing Jewish Home party, Naftali Bennett, slammed reports on Friday reported Israeli call on US not to cut UN support for Palestinian refugees.
___Earlier this week, Donald Trump warned that his country would cut aid for Palestinians who he believes receive millions of US dollars without respecting America.
___According to Israeli Hadashot TV, though, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who also serves as Foreign Minister, is opposed to any cut in such aid.
___ “UNRWA,” claims, Bennett, “is a terror-supporting organisation. Its very existence perpetuates the dire situation of Gaza’s population, who suffer under the rule of Hamas.” He insisted that the US decision to cut aid is the right choice.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴃ)  WHAT  WOULD  HAPPEN  IF  TRUMP  CUTS  UNRWA  FUNDING?
The Palestinian Information Center 
By Yara Hawari
Jan. 5, 2018 ― The Palestinian Information Center On Tuesday, Nikki Haley, the US ambassador to the UN, delivered a rather ambiguous threat in response to a question on the maintenance of the US level of funding to the UN Palestinian refugee programme. She replied: “The president has said that he doesn’t want to give any additional funding or stop funding until the Palestinians are agreeing (sic) to come back to the negotiating table.”
___President Trump himself tweeted the following threat to UNRWA: “But with the Palestinians no longer willing to talk peace, why should we make any of these massive future payments to them?”
[. . . .] However, a total US funding cut would mean a serious reduction in services and the complete halt of many of the education and health programmes.
___In other words, schools and health clinics would close leaving hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees across the region without schooling, health care, jobs, making their situation even more dire.   MORE . . .  

  • BACKGROUND: Congress removes Israeli missile defense funds from US wartime budget 
    The Jerusalem Post     
    By Michael Wilner
    Nov. 17, 2017 ― On Thursday Congress approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to include $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation.
    ___Congress has resolved a budgeting dispute with the Trump administration by sourcing hundreds of millions of dollars in missile defense aid for Israel from its base budget– and not from a fund typically reserved for US wartime operations, as was initially proposed.
    ___The White House made clear over the summer that it was not opposed to adding hundreds of millions of dollars above its own budget for missile defense to Israel, but rather the vehicle for its delivery– an unprecedented use of dollars typically saved for US military readiness. Earlier this month, Congress approved the 2018 National Defense Authorization Act to include $705 million for US-Israel missile defense cooperation, including $588 million over President Donald Trump’s proposed budget.     MORE . . . 

❷   TZACHI  HANEGBI:  TWO-STATE  SOLUTION  IS  NOT  DEAD
Al Jazeera English 
by Ali Younes
Jan. 6, 2018 ― An Israeli minister has said US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not signal the end of the two-state solution, with Israel willing to grant Palestinians their own independent state but with limited sovereignty.
___Tzachi Hanegbi, minister of regional cooperation, said Trump’s controversial decision on December 6 should not hinder Palestinian claims to have occupied East Jerusalem as their capital.
___”We claim that Jerusalem is our capital and should not be divided, but that’s only a claim, not a diktat,” Hanegbi, a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud party, told Al Jazeera at his office in the Israeli parliament, the Knesset.
___Jerusalem remains at the core of the perennial Israel-Palestine conflict.     MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  PEACE  NOW:  ISRAEL  TO  APPROVE  MORE  THAN  1,329  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENT  UNITS
Ma’an News Agency 
Jan. 6, 2018 ― The Israeli Civil Administration’s High Planning Committee is expected to approve the promotion of at least 1,329 housing units in illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank, according to settlement watchdog Peace Now.
___In a statement released on Friday, Peace Now said that the committee published its agenda, and is expected to approve the new settlement units next Wednesday, January 10.
___According to the group, two-thirds of the 1,329 units (883 housing units) “will be located in isolated settlements that Israel would probably have to evacuate under any two-state agreement.”      MORE . . .   
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  PALESTINIANS  PROTEST  VISIT  OF  GREEK  ORTHODOX  PATRIARCH  ACCUSED  OF  SELLING  LAND  TO  ISRAEL
Ma’an News Agency  
Jan. 6, 2018 ― Palestinian Christians from around the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem, and Israel came out in harsh opposition on Saturday to a visit by Greek Orthodox Church Patriarch of Jerusalem, Theophilos III, to the southern occupied West Bank city of Bethlehem.
___Theophilos III, along with several other religious and political figures, were visiting Bethlehem as part of celebrations for Greek Orthodox Christmas Eve.
___Despite an intense presence of Palestinian security forces who attempted to open roads near Bethlehem’s Manger Square for the patriarch’s car, angry citizens swarmed around his procession, holding signs, Palestinian flags, and chanting slogans against Theophilus III.   MORE . . .  

“BUCHENWALD,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
Have you forgotten your shame at Buchenwald?
Do you remember your flames at Buchenwald?
Have you forgotten your love in the lexicon
of silence? Do you remember your panic―
at the reign of death, in the nightmare of time―
that the whole world
would become a Buchenwald?
Whether you’ve forgotten or not,
the dead’s images linger
among the wreaths of flowers,
and from the dismembered corpses
a hand emerges,
a nail in the palm and tattoo on the wrist―
a sign for the planet.
Do you remember? Or not?
Buchenwald― whether or not you’ve forgotten,
the images of the murdered
remain among the wreaths of flowers . . .

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.
Available from Amazon
About Samih Al-Qasim. Obituary, August 20, 2014.

“. . . stateless people could see . . . that the abstract nakedness of being nothing but human was their greatest danger. . .” (Hannah Arendt*)

rafah
Children in the Rafah Camp, one of the eight Palestine refugee camps in the densely populated Gaza strip. Circa 1955. (Photo: UNRWA by M. Nasr)

❶ Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in Gaza

  • Background: “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History

❷ Why is Israel tightening the Gaza blockade?
❸ UNRWA Condemns Killing of Four Palestine Refugees, calls for Full Humanitarian Access to Khan Eshieh Refugee Camp in Syria

  • Background: “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica

*Hannah Arendt, “The Perplexities of the Right of Man” (1951)

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  ON  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS,  BIRD  HUNTERS,  AND  FISHERMEN  IN  GAZA
Ma’an News Agency     
Oct. 22, 2016
Israeli forces Saturday morning opened live fire at Palestinian farmers, bird hunters, and fishermen in the eastern and northern part of the besieged Gaza Strip.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces deployed at the eastern border near the neighborhood of al-Shujaiyeh opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and bird hunters, forcing them to flee the area.
___Meanwhile, Israeli naval forces opened live fire at Palestinian fishing boats off the coast of Beit Lahiya north of the Gaza Strip early in the morning.      More . . .

  • Abreek-Zubiedat, Fatina. “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise Of ‘Ruin’ And ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History 19.1 (2015): 72-94.   Source.

According to the political theorist Hannah Arendt, a ‘refugee’ is a ‘stateless’ or ‘non-citizen’ person who threatens the nation-state system. Consequently, countries have acknowledged the need for a solution to the refugee problem, whose status is considered temporary, with two possible options: return to the homeland or country of origin, or naturalization in the host country. Historically, both solutions have failed. Arendt views the refugee camp as a ‘final solution’ involving the incarceration of refugees after denying their citizenship. Only then do they become homo sacer in the sense implied by ancient Roman law: destined to die, with their life defined as ‘bare’.
[. . . .]
___ The Palestinian Arab residents who were uprooted, forced out, or compelled to flee from their homes became ‘stateless,’ as Arendt defines it, even before becoming refugees. According to Azoulay . . .  the Arab residents of Palestine should be acknowledged not solely as refugees but as ‘non-governed,’ in a way to link their expulsion from their homeland to the regime responsible to their state within the framework of the new diplomatic, military, and political map of the UN: ‘The U.N. Partition Plan from November 29, 1947 was a crucial moment in the founding of the enterprise of destruction responsible for turning vast sections of Palestine into ruin’.

WHY  IS  ISRAEL  TIGHTENING  THE  GAZA  BLOCKADE?    
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
October 21, 2016
Let us begin with the facts: Israeli authorities have, over the course of the last year, tightened the long-standing blockade of the Gaza Strip.      ___Even before these more recent restrictions, the Israeli blockade – an illegal policy of collective punishment in the words of United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon – was continuing to severely harm the lives of Gaza’s two million residents, furthering the enclave’s de-development.      ___In April of this year, the UN was clear that the most urgent step required for the reconstruction of Gaza remained “the removal of [Israeli] restrictions on the import of building materials, towards a full lifting of the blockade.” Instead, things have gone backwards.       More . . .    

camp
Destruction inside Khan Eshieh camp for Palestine refugees, located south of the Syrian capital, Damascus. (Photo: IRIN, 2015)

UNRWA  CONDEMNS  KILLING  OF  FOUR  PALESTINE  REFUGEES,  CALLS  FOR  FULL  HUMANITARIAN  ACCESS  TO  KHAN  ESHIEH  REFUGEE  CAMP  IN  SYRIA     
Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
Oct. 21, 2016
Four Palestine refugees were killed on the night of 18 October as they attempted to leave the Khan Eshieh Palestine refugee camp, south of the Syrian capital, Damascus, to which access has been highly restricted. Nofeh Mohammed Jarad, who was in her 60’s, her daughter Ibaa Saeed al-Nader, 22, their driver and a one-year old baby were all killed when their vehicle was shelled around 10 p.m. The mother of the baby, a Syrian citizen, also died in the incident.
___UNRWA condemns this attack and the killing and wounding of all civilians including Palestine refugees. It calls on those responsible to abide by their obligations under international humanitarian law and demands that the parties to the conflict do their utmost to protect civilian life in accordance with international law.  More . . .   Related . . .   

  • Williams, Christian. “Refugees And Social Theory: From The Politics Of “Bare Life” To Refugees As Political Subjects.” Acta Academica 46.4 (2014): 117-131.   Full article.

Since the mid-twentieth century, nation-states and international organisations have developed an integrated system for governing people displaced from their countries of origin by social upheavals occurring there. This system became standardised in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War when the Allied powers created a constellation of refugee camps, government bureaucracies and legal/moral norms aimed at managing the throngs of people whom the war had displaced in Europe. Among the incipient norms was refugee law, part of the broader field of human rights law emerging at this historical moment. The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR) (1948) not only compelled nation-states to intervene in the affairs of other sovereign countries committing genocide, but also to grant people “asylum from persecution”. . . . this “right” to asylum . . . became the human rights framework for addressing mass. . .  “refugee problem” across much of the post-colonial world.
___At the centre of this framework and problem stands “the refugee”. With great consistency, human rights law and other bodies of knowledge have presented “the refugee” as a kind of victim – one who has been expelled from a national and natural “home”. It follows that refugees’ problems may be solved through proper management of the international system, including nation-states, United Nations (UN) bodies, humanitarian agencies and the sites where refugees live that they administer . . . .
[. . . .] as early as 1948, Hannah Arendt argued that refugees, the very people whom the then new UDHR ought to protect, are people without rights, because they have been excluded from a nation-state. Without a sovereign government, through which to claim their rights, refugees are rendered “nothing but human.” More recently, Giorgio Agamben captured widespread scholarly attention for drawing connections between “the concentration camp” and “the refugee camp”, both of which are inhabited by people who have been subjected to “biopolitics”, a politics that excludes them from active participation in a political community and reduces them to “bare life” (Agamben G [1998] Homo sacer: sovereign power and bare life).

“. . . No politicians Juggle oppression And human rights . . .” (Samah Sabawi)

1-school
First demolition Khirbet Tana school, December 2010. (Photo: Palestina en el corazón, 2012)

❶ 2 Palestinian teens shot dead after allegedly attacking settler
❷ School among ‘dozens’ of structures demolished by Israel north of Nablus
❸ Belgian MPs, ‘Israel hides tragic effect of Gaza siege’ (Belgian MPs banned from entering Gaza)
❹ Analysis: The right to boycott is non-negotiable
❺ Opinion/Analysis: SUCCESS  OF  BDS  CAMPAIGN  IS  ESSENTIAL  FOR  PALESTINIAN  SURVIVAL
❻ Poetry by Samah Sabawi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
2  PALESTINIAN  TEENS  SHOT  DEAD  AFTER  ALLEGEDLY  ATTACKING  SETTLER
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
2 Mar. 2016
Israeli forces shot dead two Palestinian teenagers on Wednesday morning after they allegedly attacked an Israeli settler in the illegal settlement of Eli south of Nablus . . . .
___An Israeli army spokesperson said they “infiltrated” the settlement . . . . She said Israeli forces arrived on the scene and responded to the “significant threat” by opening fire on the two teenagers, killing both of them.
___The settler was evacuated to Shaare Zedek Hospital in Jerusalem with light injuries.   MORE . . .
SCHOOL AMONG  ‘DOZENS’  OF  STRUCTURES  DEMOLISHED  BY  ISRAEL  NORTH  OF  NABLUS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
2 Mar. 2016
Israeli forces on Wednesday morning demolished “dozens” of structures in the hamlet of Khirbet Tana northeast of Nablus, including houses, barns, and the hamlet’s sole school, a local official told Ma’an. . . .
bulldozers under Israeli army escort had stormed Khirbet Tana on Beit Furik’s outskirts and demolished every structure there.
___These included Khirbet Tana’s sole school, Hanani said, a building consisting of movable caravans donated by a European organization. . . .     MORE . . .
RELATED . . . Wadi  Hilweh  Information  Center – Silwan ― February  Statistics
BELGIAN  MPS,  ‘ISRAEL  HIDES  TRAGIC  EFFECT  OF  GAZA  SIEGE’  (BELGIAN  MPS  BANNED  FROM  ENTERING  GAZA)
DAYS OF PALESTINE
Mar 3, 2016
Remarks of the Belgian MPs came after the Israeli occupation authorities had prevented them from entering into the Strip to stand closely at the humanitarian crisis resulted of the Israeli measures against Gazans.
___In a statement, the MPs said: “The visit, which was scheduled on Tuesday, was pre-arranged with the United Nations Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA).”   MORE . . .

bds-wall
By working vigorously to combat boycotts against Israel, the very countries that purport to uphold civil rights have become the main forces undermining them. (Photo: +972 Magazine)

Analysis:  THE  RIGHT  TO  BOYCOTT  IS  NON-NEGOTIABLE
+972 MAGAZINE
Amjad Iraqi
2 Mar. 2016
. . . it is ridiculous that one should have to tell self-proclaimed ‘democracies’ that the right to boycott is a basic civil right, not a punishable crime.
___Last week, over 120 people attended a conference in Nazareth on the subject of “BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) . . . . Although the discussions were lively, many participants were cautious with their choice of words: Israel’s Anti-Boycott Law. . . cast a heavy shadow over the event.
___Now, in a corrupt twist, the very countries that purport to uphold civil rights have become the main forces undermining them.     MORE . . .
Opinion/Analysis:  SUCCESS  OF  BDS  CAMPAIGN  IS  ESSENTIAL  FOR  PALESTINIAN  SURVIVAL
THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
Khalid Amayreh
28 Feb. 2016
The Israeli apartheid state seems to be taking the international campaign of boycott and disinvestment as well as other forms of protest against Israel’s decades-old occupation of the Palestinian homeland more seriously than ever before. . . .
___For these reasons, it is morally imperative that every honest woman and man around the world take a moral decision, now not tomorrow, to refrain from buying Israel produces and products from the nearby supermarket or grocery store.     MORE . . .

Samah Sabawi rebels in her poetry against adopting a language she sees as complicit and dictated by the occupier. . . . When a newspaper editor recently deleted these words from an op-ed she submitted saying they were “too strong,” she responded with this:

“WORDS,”  BY  SAMAH  SABAWI
Words!
I stand dispossessed
No congress behind me
No statesmen surround me
No lobby to breathe hellfire
No media eager to appease
No three-ring circus
Of intellectual jesters
Academic clowns
And policy experts
Who truly do not see
the big elephant in the room
No legal acrobats
Dance for me
On a thin rope of decency
No politicians
Juggle oppression
And human rights
On my behalf
No trips to boost careers
For MPs and their wives
No propaganda movies
No radio broadcasts
No myths
No lies
No hasbaranites
No army,
No country
Not even one leader
To believe in
All I have are my words
To tell my story
My voice
To demand justice
But you tell me
My language is too strong

Naksa
Forced exile
Ethnic cleansing
Apartheid
Words
Carefully chosen
Purposely uttered
These are the words
That lay the foundation
Of the language of my liberation

Samah Sabawi, a poet and political activist, has likened Gaza to an “Israeli-controlled Bantustan.” The Israelis forced her parents (and tens of thousands of other Palestinians) to flee their homes in Gaza in 1967. She is now a Palestinian-Australian with Canadian citizenship . . .    MORE. . .
BDS FINAL LOGO_v5WEB_URL_side