PALESTINE PRISONERS’ DAY. “. . . what of the chains chafing my wrists. . .” (Fouzi El-Azmar)

Palestinian prisoner in chains (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)
Palestinian prisoner in chains (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)

❶ Report: 7,896 PALESTINIANS inside Israeli jails
. . . . . ❶―(ᴀ) Report: “Israeli Army Kidnapped and Imprisoned 1.000.000 Palestinians Since 1967”
❷ Premier Urges Int’l Community to Protect Rights of Palestinian Prisoners in Israeli Jails
❸ Take Action for Palestinian Prisoner’s Day
❹ Report: “509 JERUSALEMITE Palestinians, including 15 Women and 10 Children, Imprisoned by Israel”
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ON  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS’  DAY,  ANTI-PRISON,  LABOR,  ACADEMIC  DELEGATION  TAKES  STAND  AGAINST  ISRAELI  STATE  VIOLENCE,  AFFIRMS  SOLIDARITY  WITH  PALESTINIAN  PEOPLE
❻ POETRY by Fouzi El-Azmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
REPORT:  7,896  PALESTINIANS  INSIDE  ISRAELI  JAILS
Days of Palestine
MILITARY COURT WATCH
April 16, 2016
MCW reported Israeli Prison Service (IPS)’s statistics showing that there were 6,204 Palestinians from the occupied West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip held as “security prisoners” in Israeli detention facilities by the end of last month.
___It said that this number included 438 children.
___Regarding children, the MCW said that there was an 8 per cent increase in the number compared with the previous month and an annual increase of 94 per cent compared with 2015.
___These figures include seven children held under administrative detention. A further 1,692 Palestinians were held as “criminal prisoners” including 15 children.       MORE . . .

. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) REPORT:  “ISRAELI  ARMY  KIDNAPPED  AND  IMPRISONED  1.000.000  PALESTINIANS  SINCE  1967”
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
April 17, 2016
The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee and the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS) have reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped around 1.000.000 Palestinians, including tens of thousands of women and children, since occupying the West Bank, the Gaza Strip and East Jerusalem in 1967. Two detainees died in 2015 due to being denied access to specialized medical treatment.
___In their joint report marking April 17, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Day, the Detainees’ Committee and the PPS said the Israeli army has kidnapped, since the beginning of “Al-Aqsa Intifada,” in late September 2000, until this day, more than 90.000 Palestinians, including 11.000 children, 1.300 women and girls, and 65 elected legislators and government ministers.       MORE . . .

❷ PREMIER  URGES  INT’L  COMMUNITY  TO  PROTECT  RIGHTS  OF  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS  IN  ISRAELI  JAILS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 17, 2016
On the occasion of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Day, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah urged the international community to protect the human rights of Palestinian prisoners and detainees, especially the children who are subject to psychological and physical harm, said a statement issued on Sunday by the Premier’s office.
___”Israel’s policies of detention and imprisonment violate all international legal standards, and  are intended to obstruct the daily lives of Palestinians, in order to oppress an entire population,” the Prime Minister added.      MORE . . .

Twelve Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in protest of administrative detention, jail conditions. (Photo: Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Jan.18, 2016)
Twelve Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in protest of administrative detention, jail conditions.
(Photo: Samidoun: Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, Jan.18, 2016)

❸ TAKE  ACTION  FOR  PALESTINIAN  PRISONER’S  DAY
Alternative Information Center – AIC
US Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation
April 14, 2016
As Palestinians prepare to mark Prisoners’ Day on April 17, a day to be in solidarity with thousands of Palestinian political prisoners by demanding their freedom from Israeli jails, the US Campaign to End the Occupation launched a new website G4S Facts highlighting the various injustices perpetrated by G4S, the world’s largest private security company, in the United States, Palestine, and beyond.     MORE . . .  

❹ REPORT:  “509  JERUSALEMITE  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  15  WOMEN  AND  10  CHILDREN,  IMPRISONED  BY  ISRAEL” 
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
April 17, 2016
The Jerusalem Detainees’ Parents Committee has reported, Sunday, that as the Palestinians mark the Prisoners Day on April 17, at least 509 Jerusalemite Palestinians are imprisoned by Israel, among them are 10 women, and 18 children.
___The committee provided the following information regarding Jerusalemite political prisoners, held by Israel.

    10 children under the age of 14.

118 children, above the age of 14, and below the age of 18.

MORE . . .

❺ Opinion/Analysis: ON  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS’  DAY,  ANTI-PRISON,  LABOR,  ACADEMIC  DELEGATION  TAKES  STAND  AGAINST  ISRAELI  STATE  VIOLENCE,  AFFIRMS  SOLIDARITY  WITH  PALESTINIAN  PEOPLE
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
April 16, 2016
Recently returned from a ten-day trip to the Israeli-colonized Palestine, a US delegation of anti-prison, labor, and scholar-activists has issued the following statement to mark Palestinian Prisoners Day 2016.  The delegation included three former US-held political prisoners, and a formerly incarcerated activist, two former Black Panther Party members, university professors, prison abolition organizers, and trade unionists. . . .
___In recognition of International Day of Solidarity with Palestinian Prisoners, the US Anti-Prison, Labor, and Academic Delegation is demanding freedom for the 7,000 Palestinian political prisoners currently held in Israeli jails and all those fighting for justice everywhere, including political prisoners in U.S. prisons.      MORE . . .

(Blogger’s note: This poem was written 45 years ago. Its timeliness today cannot be disputed.)

“TWENTY  COMRADES,”  BY  FOUZI  EL ASMAR

Beloved, you ask me
Of life in this prison, this cell
what of the chains
chafing my wrists
what of my food and drink
and the comrades of my cell?

Beloved, let me tell you:
Our clouds are indeed heavy
But our being here
is a smile of spring,
The shock of thunder
in autumn, after drought.
We are not defeated
Like our jailers.

Life in this prison, this cell
is a palm tree impregnated
at the dawn.
My chains are the round
echo of a muezzin,
Their clank is the ringing
of my people’s bells.

Beloved, you ask me
of the meaning of my food
Here beloved
we grow like the wild flowers.

And what of
my comrades
in this cell? You ask
They are the twenty candles
lighting the darkness of this cell
The twenty songs
shaking the walls of this cell
The twenty revolutions
that will eternalize this cell
And we, beloved
we shall not be stopped.  (June, 1970)

About Fouzi El Asmar.
El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
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“. . . started a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing, totally transforming the character, history and culture of the city. . .” (Hanan Ashrawi)

hanan ashrawiMiddle East Eye INTERVIEWS VETERAN PALESTINIAN NEGOTIATOR HANAN ASHRAWI
David Hearst
Friday, February 13, 2015
. . . ASHRAWI: “One of the fatal flaws of the Declaration of Principles (DOP or Oslo Accord) is that they left the Jerusalemites at the mercy of Israel and then the international community allowed Israel to treat the Jerusalemites as residents of the city and totally control their lives, their lands, and their resources. From day one, Israel treated Jerusalem as if it were annexed de facto, even before they annexed it illegally, and started a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing, totally transforming the character, history and culture of the city. Siege and division is a microcosm of what Israel did to the West Bank, where you besiege it, control entrances and exits, and then fragment it internally. They planted settlements and settlers inside Jerusalem, then surrounded it with three rings, a triple siege: the settlements which it started early, the military checkpoints and the apartheid wall. . .” (More. . .)

L.A. Times Arts & Entertainment Television Show Tracker
PRO-PALESTINIAN GROUP CRITICIZES TV SERIES OVER JERUSALEM SCENES

Meredith Blake
Friday, March 6, 2015
The U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, A Group that Objects to American Support for Israel, Is Criticizing USA Network over its new event series “Dig,” which premiered Thursday. USA declined to comment.

The archaeological excavations and underground tunnels in East Jerusalem depicted in the series have also been controversial because critics say the projects, which residents have blamed for damage to Palestinian homes and schools, are a way to expand Jewish settlements in predominantly Palestinian areas. “Dig” was the first large-scale television production to be filmed in the Israeli capital, according to the Times of Israel(More. . . )

Palestine News Network
HCEF AND AWU CELEBRATE THE OPENING OF BETHLEHEM MUSEUM FOR CULTURE AND HERITAGE

Sunday, March 1, 2015
The Holy Land Christian Ecumenical Foundation, in participation with Arab Women Union, under patronage of the Palestinian ministry of tourism on Saturday February 28th celebrated the opening of Bethlehem Museum to preserve about 3000 exquisite art crafts of the Palestinian heritage and culture.Musuem2
The opening ceremony started at the Jacir Palace Hotel, then continued to the museum building where the official opening took place. The Museum tells personal stories and shares them with million of tourists and pilgrims visiting the Holy Land annually. (More. . . )

Al-Araby al-Jadeed English
WHAT ABOUT THE ROCKETS?
Ben White
Thursday March 5, 2015
During the last couple of weeks, Westminster lobby group Labour Friends of Israel (LFI) has been pushing its new publication on Gaza, the key message of which is that the reconstruction of the fenced-in enclave should be contingent on its demilitarization.

My intention here is not to set out the clear, legal and moral, arguments against LFI’s ‘disarmament for development’ approach – indeed, leading NGOs have already done so. Rather, I would like to make a different point with regards to Israel advocacy in Western capitals.  (More. . .)

The Electronic Intifada
GAS DEAL WITH ISRAEL IS “KNIFE AT JORDAN’S THROAT,” SAY CAMPAIGNERS
Patrick O. Strickland
Thursday March 5, 2015
Jordanian campaigners are demanding that an agreement on importing gas from Israel be scrapped. At least 26 organizations, including trade unions and political parties, have joined the Jordanian Campaign to Stop the Zionist Gas Deal.

The state-owned National Jordanian Electric Power Company (NEPCO) has signed a $15 billion agreement to buy 300 million cubic feet of natural gas from Israeli-controlled parts of the Mediterranean Sea over a 15 year period. The gas will be extracted from the Leviathan gas field situated in the eastern Mediterranean. The extraction project is being led by the US giant Noble Energy.

The Israeli government stands to make $8.4 billion from the deal because of clauses relating to taxes and royalties, according to a report published by the campaigners. (More. . .)

“The More I Love You,” by Abu Salma

The more I fight for you, the more I love you!
What land except this land of musk and amber?
What horizon but this one defines my world?
The branch of my life turns greener when I uphold you
And my wing, O Palestine, spreads wide over the peaks.

Has the lemon tree been nurtured by our tears?
No more do birds flutter among the high pines,
Or stars gaze vigilantly over Mt. Carmel.
The little orchards weep for us, gardens grow desolate,
the vines are forever saddened.

Whenever your name waves above me, my words grow more poetic.
Planting desire for you on every stoop.
Is it possible these words could be torches
lighting each desert and place of exile?
O Palestine! Nothing more beautiful, more precious, more pure!.
The more I fight for you, the more I love you.
—translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

Abu Salma was born in 1907 in Haifa. He studied law and worked in Haifa until April 1948 when the Israelis occupied the city. He then moved to Akka. Shortly he left Akka to Damascus. Abu Salma kept the keys to his house and office in Haifa hoping to return. He was a friend of Ibrahim Tukan. Their love of poetry and Palestine built their friendship. Abu Salma wrote about his love and yearning for Palestine. He was awarded The Lotas International Reward for Literature in 1978 by The Association of Asian and African Writers. He was also given the title “The Olive of Palestine.” Abu Salma died in 1980.