“. . . Her name is and always Palestine . . .” (Bisan Abu Khaled)

Selected News of the Day

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK concerned over Israel’s possible annexation of occupied lands

September 13, 2019
In a joint statement today, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom said they were deeply concerned about Israel’s announcement of possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley and the northern portion of the Dead Sea.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “This would, if implemented, constitute a serious breach of international law. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from contravention of international law,” the statement said.  More . . . .

Pakistan rejects Israel’s plan to annex parts of West Bank

September 13, 2019
Pakistan has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he will immediately annex the Jordan Valley region in the occupied West Bank if he was re-elected next week.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “We reject any such move, which would be illegal and a dangerous escalation,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “While reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinians, Pakistan reiterates its support for a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” he added.  More . . . .

Netanyahu, Putin to Meet as Russia Condemns Annexation Pledge (VIDEO)

Palestine Chronicle
September 12, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian coastal city of Sochi for talks on Thursday after Moscow condemned the Israeli leader’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Russia’s foreign ministry warned on Wednesday it was concerned over the Israeli leader’s plan, saying its implementation could lead to a “sharp escalation of tensions in the region [and] undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors”. More . . . .

Palestinians in Jordan Valley: ‘Our lands are already annexed’

Arwa Ibrahim
September 12, 2019
In between sprawling arid lands of the Jordan Valley, which stretches north of the Dead Sea and west of the occupied West Bank’s borders with Jordan, lies the small Palestinian village of Ras Ain al-Auja.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ If Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes through with his plan, announced on Tuesday, to annex the Jordan Valley and areas north of the Dead Sea, the village of about 350 residents and its fertile farmlands would become part of Israel.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Observers have dismissed Netanyahu’s plan as a campaign stunt ahead of next week’s general election. But the residents of Ras Ain al-Auja say Netanyahu’s words are threatening as his plan would formalise Israeli control over the area.  More . . . .


Palestinian Refugee Students Must Not be Incidental to Humanitarian Endeavors

Palestine Chronicle
Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor
September 11, 2019
Despite financial setbacks caused by political agendas and misconduct allegations, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ensured that its schools opened on time for the new academic year. Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl described education as central to UNRWA’s mandate, yet the agency is not past attaching importance to symbolism and, despite its work, normalize the violence inherent in Israel’s settler-colonial project.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The opening of the new school year in Silwan, for example, publicized due to renovation works carried out during the summer recess, was lauded by Krähenbühl. “This return to school is also a symbol of preserving normalcy and a safe learning environment,” he remarked.  More . . . .

Poem of the Day


Something that will startle Lenin ―
oh, love, confront your destiny ― don’t kill yourself.
Time will not slow down for lovers to tarry
after the first kiss
and the last time they met.

Passing minutes would slit the throats of the women
had they not already drowned themselves in nostalgia.

Shall no one bear witness or know
that the maps of our planet have lied
about the face of our star
which always used to show her name.

Her name is and always Palestine
My song. . . .
my homeland . . . .
my face full of sorrow.
― Translated by Magi Gibson

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.
About the book, with short discussion of Bisan Abu Khaled

“. . . is it my country or the source of my exile . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)


Israeli army destroys road students in West Bank village use to reach their school

August 28, 2019
Israeli army bulldozers destroyed today a road the al-Tira village council had opened a year ago to facilitate movement of students to their school and back as well as movement of residents in general, according to Abdul Jaber Mohammad, head of al-Tira village council located to west of Ramallah. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He stressed Israel wants to build a road in that area to connect the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit Horon to the highway that connects Jerusalem to Tel Aviv.    More . . . .

Israel Punishes Gaza with Fuel Cuts

Palestine Chronicle
August 27, 2019
The Israeli government took retaliatory aim at Gaza’s electricity supply Monday ordering fuel shipments into the coastal region to be cut-in-half “until further notice”, over alleged Palestinian rockets attacks against southern Israel on Sunday night.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Mohammad Thabet, a spokesman for the Gaza power company said:  “We already are in a crisis and now the Israeli decision will make it worse. It will have a grave impact on the lives of 2 million people and on vital services such as hospitals.”   More . . . .

Committee Calls on International Community to Protect Palestinian Civilians

IMEMC-International Middle East Media Center
August 28, 2019
The Legal and International Advocacy Committee of the National Commission for the Return and Siege Breaking Marches strongly condemns the continuation of the Israeli occupation forces targeting the Palestinians participating in the return and siege breaking marches in Gaza Strip.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The demonstrations have been held for 71 consecutive Fridays, and on August 23, 2019, the Israeli occupation forces, deliberately used excessive and lethal force against demonstrators, injuring 122 civilians, 50 of them with live bullets. These injuries included children, women and 3 badged paramedics and journalists.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The Committee affirms that the return marches and the popular activities that still maintain a peaceful approach, to which the Israeli occupation forces react with deadly force, demonstrating Israel’s arrogance and contempt for the International Law system of human rights. . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Therefore, the Legal and International Advocacy Committee calls for the implementation of the recommendations in the report of the international commission of inquiry, which was adopted at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council. More . . . .

State of the Gaza Strip Border Crossings (01 -31 July 2019)

Palestinian Center for Human Rights
August 27, 2019
During the reporting period (July), the Israeli authorities continued to impose their closure on the Gaza Strip for the 13th consecutive year along with tightened restrictions on the crossings surrounding the Gaza Strip, contrary to the Israeli claims of easing restrictions on the movement of persons and goods.  Further, the Israeli authorities continued to control entry and exit for pedestrians from the Gaza Strip at the Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing as they narrowly allow some categorioes such as patients of urgent cases and their companions, who both undergo a very long and complicated process in order to get travel permits and are subject to tightened security measures while traveling through the crossing.  During July, the Israeli authorities at Beit Hanoun “Erez” Crossing obstructed the travel of 661 patients . . . .  More . . . .



what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be
when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?
who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?

――Translated by Tom Pow

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun, a town near the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awraq.


“. . . my son doesn’t walk this path with me. . .” (Mohammed Lafi)

Nov. 1, 2014. Israeli soldiers escort a group of Palestinian school children as they walk through the Israeli settlement of Havat Ma'on in West Bank. The students’ journey takes them through a legal and political maze as they pass between a legal and an illegal Israeli settlement on their way to school. (Max Becherer/Max Becherer/Polaris Images For The Washington Post)
Nov. 1, 2014. Israeli soldiers escort a group of Palestinian school children as they walk through the Israeli settlement of Havat Ma’on in West Bank. The students’ journey takes them through a legal and political maze as they pass between a legal and an illegal Israeli settlement on their way to school. (Max Becherer/Max Becherer/Polaris Images For The Washington Post)

March 24, 2015
RAMALLAH (Ma’an) — Palestinian students are being forced to cross through sewage channels to reach a high school in western Ramallah district after a settlement road cut off the only other means of access, residents told Ma’an.
Up to 200 students from the villages of al-Tira and Beit Ur al-Fuqa now reach the school using a four kilometer route that runs along the separation wall, where armed settlers, as well as Israeli soldiers, almost daily interrupt their commute.
The route passes through sewage channels and regularly takes students up to 40 minutes to reach their school,
(More. . .)

by IMEMC News & Agencies
March 24, 2015
Israeli forces shot and injured at least 30 children across the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem since the beginning of this year, according to Defense for Children International- Palestine (DCIP).
DCIP reported that, while Israeli military regulation permits the use of live ammunition when a direct mortal threat exists, the organization found no evidence that any of the children injured in 2015 posed such a threat to Israeli forces or settlers.
“The pace at which we are documenting injuries from live ammunition in 2015 shows no sign of slowing down,” DCIP advocacy officer Olivia Watson told Ma’an News Agency.
(More. . . )

Feb. 14, 2015. Nasser Murad Safi, 15, was shot by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition breaking his leg.
Feb. 14, 2015. Nasser Murad Safi, 15, was shot by Israeli soldiers with live ammunition breaking his leg.

by Alternative Information Center
March 25, 2015
Tel Aviv University (TAU) recently awarded scholarships to 850 students who took part in Israel’s military attack on the Gaza Strip last summer.
The “President’s Scholarship for Service in Operation Protective Edge”, up to NIS 2,000 per student, was awarded as tuition credit to the winners.
Already during the attack. . . University President Joseph Klafter announced that such scholarships would be made available. . .
(More. . . )

U.S. president says Netanyahu has ‘different approach,’ and that his administration still believes two-state solution is ‘best way to preserve Israel’s security.’
Barak Ravid
March 24, 2015
The crisis between U.S. President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu that broke out anew after the Israeli election, worsens from day to day. At a press conference on Tuesday Obama said that there is “real policy difference” between himself and Netanyahu when it comes to the need to establish a Palestinian state. This dispute, Obama added, will have ramifications for U.S. policy
(More. . . )

Bob Herbst
March 24, 2015
There is a silver lining in the black cloud of the recent Israeli election. The pretense at the base of Israel’s pious public pronouncements about its desire for peace with the Palestinians has been stripped away. Netanyahu revealed himself as unalterably opposed to the end of the occupation of the West Bank, to the creation of a viable state for the Palestinians, and thus to a lasting peace and just end to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Despite all the talk we have heard for the last decade and more about Israel’s lacking a Palestinian partner for peace, it turns out to be the Palestinians who don’t have an Israeli partner really willing to make peace. And Netanyahu’s rant in the closing days of the campaign about the Arabs flocking to the polls “in droves” to vote betrayed an ugly racism truly disgusting to behold in the political leader of the Jewish state who purports to represent Jewry worldwide.
(More. . . )

my son doesn’t walk this path with me
nor my father or brother or a friend
but I sense his presence as I walk
and I sense his absence as I walk
and whenever past misfortunes camp at the door
I sense his presence more
Calling out in whispers and shouts
Whenever our steps seem lost on the edge of the war:
Stop! Mohammed!
If your innocent conscience is violated even once
It will turn to fire

On the path I am not a son for him nor a father
A brother or a friend yet he remains with me
that last faithful survivor from the family of the wolf
watching guard over me at night
following me through the day
and he howls when I step off
of the grass that leads the way:
Stop! Mohammed!
open your ears and listen hard O Mohammed!
the virginity of your conscience once sullied
will burn
and the ashes on your path will never be reborn
—translated by Jim Ferguson
Mohammed Lafi is a Lecturer in English and Translation at Al-Aqsa University in Gaza, and he works as a freelance translator for local and international organizations.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.