“. . . I loved life, from the bottom of my heart . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

naalwa-barghouthi-mteir-e1544735249544
Israeli Field executions: Ashraf Na’alwa, Saleh Barghouthi, Majd Mteir. (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network, by Quds News, Dec. 13, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .    
PLO:  TIME  FOR  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  TO  PROVIDE  PROTECTION  TO  PALESTINIANS
Azzam al-Ahmad, member of the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) Executive Committee, said that the leadership has reached several regional and international stakeholders “to put an end to the escalated violence by Israeli forces and settlers in the West Bank,” on Thursday.     ___Al-Ahmad spoke to Voice of Palestine radio and stressed, “The time has come for the international community to shoulder its responsibility to provide protection to our people from the (Israeli) violations, which include field executions of Palestinian citizens and incitement (by Israeli settlers) to kill President Mahmoud Abbas.”    ___He added “this incitement was met with international condemnation,” noting that the Palestinian people “will not stand idly, but will confront the Israeli occupation until they fulfill their rights.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  Assassinate  Three  Palestinians  They  Claim  Were  Involved  In  Anti-Israeli  Attacks
. . . . Related  Settlers attack in Nablus and Hebron
. . . . Related  2 Palestinians injured by Israeli  Forces in al-Mughayyar
. . . . Related  Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations In The Occupied Palestinian Territory (06– 12 December 2018)
| UPDATE  |  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  100  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces arrested more than 100 Palestinians, including lawmakers and former prisoners, during large-scale raids that targeted many areas across the occupied West Bank throughout the past two days, according to the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS).    ___Last night alone, the forces detained at least 46 Palestinians, including two lawmakers and a journalist, during a large-scale detention campaign across the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted multiple overnight raids in Hebron city in addition to the nearby towns of Idhna, Beit Kahel, Yatta and Adh-Dhahiriyya, ransacking civilian houses and interrogating families.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Ramallah City Sealed Off For Second Consecutive Day
. . . . Related  Entrance to Al-Arroub Refugee Camp Sealed by Israeli Forces
. . . . Related  Israeli army raids headquarters of Palestine Olympic Committee in Al-Bireh

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| ISRAEL’S  EXECUTIONS  CAN’T  KILL  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE:  REMEMBERING  ASHRAF  NA’ALWA,  SALEH  BARGHOUTHI,  MAJD  MTEIR  AND  HASAN  ARDA
On 13 December 2018, Israeli occupation forces shot down four Palestinians, including several resistance fighters who had evaded their pursuit for months.    [. . . .]  These killings were carried out in a coordinated fashion, alongside the arrest of dozens of Palestinians on the same night. Clearly, these were intended to be a deadly blow not only against these strugglers, but also the Palestinian resistance as a whole.    ___Nevertheless, ensuing events made clear that the military power of the occupation and its extrajudicial executions would only inflame Palestinian resistance further.    More . . .
|  PALESTINIAN  SOLIDARITY:  IS  SOUTH  AFRICA  IN  THE  DRIVER’S  SEAT?   Recent events in South Africa have had a profoundly positive impact on Palestine.    ___It may not be music for this country’s [UNITED STATES] pro-Israel lobby but certainly welcomed by the broad spectrum of solidarity movements active in pursuit of freedom and justice for the Palestinian cause.    ___These milestone events have provided Palestinian Resistance Movements, particularly Hamas, as well as solidarity activists, renewed hope that the pendulum is slowly but surely swinging away from the colonial settler regime Israel.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“HE  WHISPERED  BEFORE  HE  TOOK  HIS  FINAL  BREATHS,”
BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Don’t honor me with a monument
and song!
Of all the sad songs,
I prefer my mother’s sadness.

Do not pay your last respects
with laurel and a royal display!
Of all the tender wreaths
I prefer my mother’s palm.

Don’t glorify me by giving my name
to a city square
or a street and public garden!
I’d rather a grapevine be planted
(in my name)
and grow into a vineyard and farm!

Do not preserve my memory
by giving a speech each year in my honor!
I’d rather a fine machine
pounding away in a factory
speak in my name.

Tell my mother―
tell her what you plant in my name,
tell the factory’s machine
that I loved life, from the bottom of my heart,
and therefore took my final breaths
at peace and happy.

From: Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.

 

“. . . We go on dreaming oh, dream of ours . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Palestinian-children-and-UNRWA-1
United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees 
(UNRWA) educates more than 500,000 Palestinian children in 711 schools.
(Photo: UNRWA website)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
| ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  14  PALESTINIANS  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces Thursday detained 14 Palestinians during multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in a statement.    ___Israeli forces detained six people during several raids in the Ramallah-district villages of al-Mughayyir, Kafr Ni’ma and Saffa.    ___This came as Israeli military jeeps raided the An-Nahda Street in Ramallah, where soldiers ransacked a printing shop and seized its equipment and publicity materials. . .  Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians after breaking into their homes in Hebron city. . . Forces carried out two similar raids in Halhul town and al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, detaining three Palestinians. . .    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli  forces  set  up  iron  gate  at  entrance  of  Ramallah-district  village 
. . . . Related  Israeli  occupation  grabs  Palestinian  lands  to  expand  illegal  outpost
|  AL-MALKI  PRESENTS  COMPLAINT  TO  ICC  OVER  INVESTIGATION  IN  ISRAELI  WAR  CRIMES
Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, presented a complaint, on Wednesday, to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, for procrastination in opening an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.    ___. . .  al-Malki expressed his disappointment, to Bensouda, with the initial study carried out by the prosecutor’s office on the situation in Palestine.    ___Al-Malki’s comments were made during a meeting with Bensouda on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC. . . .    More . . .
. . . . Related  Attorney  General  elected  to  ICC  committee
. . . . Related  Jordan:  Aqsa  Mosque  cannot  be  divided  or  shared 
. . . . Related  Resheq:  Int’l  community  in  front  of  real  test  at  General  Assembly
. . . . Related  Irish  Senate  approves  bill  criminalizing  goods  made  in  settlements
GAZA  YOUTH  LAUNCH  CAMPAIGN  TO  HIGHLIGHT  GROWING  POLLUTION  CRISIS
Hundreds of Palestinian youth in the occupied Gaza Strip formed a human chain along the blockaded enclave’s only seaport yesterday to draw attention to the growing pollution crisis.    ___According to CGTN, the initiative – named “It will come back to you” – was “part of a campaign aimed at protecting the basin of the Gaza harbor from growing levels of pollution . . .”    [. . . . ] According to Hilles, Israel’s blockade is preventing Palestinians in Gaza from “building waste recycling plants to get rid of the accumulating waste pumped into the sea every day.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  The  Environment  and  Development  in  Palestine  Harmony  or  Discord? By Ramzi Sansur

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| TWO  DECADES  OF  RESILIENCE,  ADDED  TO  THE  PREVIOUS  FIVE  DECADES
By: Sam Bahour
In 1976, a report on Palestine declared, “The Palestinian people today face problems of formidable proportions.” That was the understatement of the century! Here we are, about to enter 2019, facing a daunting reality and an even more daunting future. One could say, The Palestinian people face problems of formidable proportions every day.    ___In the nitty-gritty of the here and now in Palestine, one is consumed by what seems to be a never-ending series of challenges brought about by our military occupier, Israel, and to a lesser degree, our governing body, the Palestinian government.   [. . . .] All analysis aside, I can guarantee you this: Palestinians will not collectively vanish. We are here to stay, forever.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
| UNRWAUSA – The United States government has said no to helping Palestine refugees. But we won’t.     .. Due to the United States government’s recent decision to cut all funding to UNRWA, the Agency faces an unprecedented funding crisis.   ___It’s going to take all of us standing together to fund UNRWA’s work so the Agency can continue serving Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.    ___Our common humanity depends on it.   ..  Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“WE  FEAR  FOR  A  DREAM,”  by  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

We fear for a dream: don’t believe our butterflies.
Believe our sacrifices if you like, believe the compass of a horse, our
. . . need for the north.
We have raised the beaks of our souls to you. Give us a grain of
. . . wheat, our dream. Give it, give it to us.
We have offered you the shores since our coming to the earth born of
. . . an idea or of the adultery of two waves on a rock in the sand.
Nothing. Nothing. We float on a foot of air. The air breaks up within
. . . ourselves.
We know you have abandoned us, built for us prisons and called them
. . . the paradise of oranges.
We go on dreaming. Oh, desired dream. We steal our days from those
. . . extolled by our myths.
We fear for you, we’re afraid of you. We are exposed together, you
. . . shouldn’t believe our wives’ patience.
They will weave two dresses, then sell the bones of the loved ones to
. . . buy a glass of milk for our children.
We fear for a dream, from him, from ourselves. We go on dreaming
. . . oh, dream of ours. Don’t believe our butterflies!

– – – From VICTIMS  OF  A  MAP:  A  Bilingual  Anthology  of  Arabic  Poetry.
Trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari. London: Saqi Books, 1984 & 2005.

“. . . when Mother Earth runs out of room for you and me . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

PALESTINIAN-ISRAEL-CONFLICT-GAZA
Illustrative: Smoke from Gaza City after Israeli aircraft bombed it on November 30, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|     ISRAEL  CARRIES  OUT  CAMPAIGN  OF  AIRSTRIKES  ACROSS  GAZA
Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrikes’ campaign across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday.   ___Local sources said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles towards a military site belonging to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah district, in southern Gaza.    ___Sources confirmed that Israeli warplanes targeted a site in Khan Younis district, also in southern Gaza.    ___Israeli warplanes also targeted a site in al-Shiekh Zayid City, in northern Gaza.    ___No injuries were reported, however, the airstrikes led to extensive material damages in the targeted areas.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli forces shoot, injure 8 Palestinians in Gaza
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (18–24  OCTOBER  2018)     Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip:   ___A Palestinian youngster was killed in eastern Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.   342 civilians, including 60 children, 4 women, 6 journalists and 3 paramedics, were wounded; 14 of them sustained serious wounds.    ___Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 6 others in the West Bank.    ___Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the protestors and wounded two of them.   More . . .
|    ISRAEL  TO  CONFISCATE  THOUSANDS  OF  DUNUMNS  THROUGH  EXPANDING  BYPASS  ROAD
Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) on Wednesday approved the expansion of bypass road 60, which runs between Jerusalem and Hebron.    ___Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijiya told WAFA news agency that Israeli Minister of Communications Yisrael Katz gave orders to start expanding the street according to a plan to surround Al-Arroub refugee camp. . .     More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  seize  house  after  forcing  Palestinian  owners  to  leave  at  gunpoint

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|   EMBRACING  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDUCATION:  A  STORY  OF  HOPE,  DETERMINATION,  AND  SUCCESS
Paula Malan
It all started 25 years ago when  Mr.  Heikki  Kokkala,  a  senior  education  specialist  from  Finland,  and the late Mr. Khalil Mahshi, then director general of external relations at the Ministry of Education in Palestine, met at a UNESCO conference on education. This was a time when educationists globally had started to pay more attention to the effectiveness of education systems and to the assessment of learning outcomes.    ___In Palestine, work had already started on developing the first-ever unified national curriculum which would replace the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula used in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.  [. . . .] At the same time, the Finnish government was looking for ways to support the newly established Palestinian Authority and decided to direct its support to the education sector.    ___Thus, Mr. Kokkala and Mr. Mahshi, with their many colleagues, began to design the  first  cooperation  project  between  Finland  and  Palestine.    More . . .

EDUCATION  IN  EAST  JERUSALEM
– There are 87,277 students enrolled in schools, including basic education (grades 1 to 10) and secondary education (grades 11 and 12).
– Approximately 4,300 children are not enrolled in any educational institution.
– Thirty-three percent of children in East Jerusalem fail to complete a full 12 years of schooling.
– Provision of education is fragmented across five different providers: the Palestinian Ministry of Education operating under the Jordanian Islamic Awqaf umbrella, the private sector, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, and the contractor’s schools that are financed by the Israeli Authorities.
– There is a chronic shortage of classrooms, estimated at around 2,200, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 3 to 4 percent.
– The area available in class for every student is approximately 0.5 square meters, less than the international standards that recommend at least 1.25 square meters.
– Twenty percent of students and teachers and 40 percent of school staff cross a checkpoint on a daily basis to access their schools.
Source: 2016 Jerusalem Directorate of Education Statistics/Geo-mapping Data

. . . . Related    ‘A  cruel  choice’:  Why  Israel  targets  Palestinian  schools

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“LULLABY,”  BY  RAMZY  BAROUD
I’ll etch your name
on a secret star
we’ll both go there
on frightful nights

when Mother Earth
runs out of room
for you and me

I’ll hold you tight
and sing you songs
of a distant land
beyond the stars

and watch you grow
between my heart
and the highest high

I’ll draw your face
on a single seed
and hold your palm
to face the sun

when you’re awake
and call out my name
don’t moan or cry

I’ll return
to raise your hand
at a shooting star
and with for you

another day
another sun
another world

where Palestine
is a mountain top
of soil and air
and a purple sky

For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.

To Christ the Lord on his birthday (Fadwa Tuqan)

❶ Live: Christmas Eve in Manger Square
❷ Jerusalem Apostolic Administrator arrives in Bethlehem for midnight mass
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Abbas wishes Christians merry Christmas
❸ 10 Palestinian students injured in clashes in al-Arroub camp
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Rights Groups slam Supreme Court for giving ‘green light’ to torture
❹ Opinion/Analysis: Nabi Saleh is where I lost my Zionism
❺ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ LIVE:  CHRISTMAS  EVE  IN  MANGER  SQUARE
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 24-25, 2017    MORE . . .   
❷ JERUSALEM  APOSTOLIC  ADMINISTRATOR  ARRIVES  IN  BETHLEHEM  FOR  MIDNIGHT  MASS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
Dec. 24, 2017 ― Christmas celebrations kicked off on Sunday with the annual procession led by the Apostolic Administrator of the Latin Patriarchate of Jerusalem Rev. Pierbattista Pizzaballa.
___The car procession started at the Latin Patriarchate at Jaffa Gate in Jerusalem’s Old City with a stopover at Mar Elias Monastery on the outskirts of Bethlehem before completing its journey to Manger Square and the Church of Nativity in Bethlehem, the birth site of Jesus Christ, where the official ceremony is expected to be held at al-Salam Center.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ABBAS  WISHES  CHRISTIANS  MERRY  CHRISTMAS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 24, 2017 ― President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday wished Christians in Palestine who follow the Georgian calendar a merry Christmas and happy holidays.
___He hoped that in these blessed times, the hopes and wishes of the Palestinian people come true and that Palestinians finally celebrate an independent Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital.
___Abbas expressed hope for all Palestinians to celebrate the end of the Israeli occupation and peace and justice in the land of peace next year.   MORE . . . 
❸ 10  PALESTINIAN  STUDENTS  INJURED  IN  CLASHES  IN  AL-ARROUB  CAMP 
The Palestinian Information Center  
Dec. 24, 2017 ― Ten Palestinian students were injured on Sunday in confrontations with the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at the entrance of Palestine Technical University in al-Arroub refugee camp in al-Khalil province.
___Eyewitnesses told the PIC reporter that the IOF soldiers stormed the university campus and fired tear gas canisters, sound bombs, and live and rubber bullets at the students causing at least ten injuries and suffocation cases among them.   MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  RIGHTS  GROUPS  SLAM  SUPREME  COURT  FOR  GIVING  ‘GREEN  LIGHT’  TO  TORTURE
The Palestinian Information Center 
By Ben White
Dec. 24, 2017 ― The Israeli Supreme Court has been accused of redefining torture so as to permit it after a major new ruling was greeted with dismay by local and international human rights groups.
___Last week the court – sitting as the High Court of Justice – denied a petition brought by The Public Committee Against Torture in Israel (PCATI) on behalf of Palestinian prisoner Asad Abu Ghosh.
___According to the petition, Abu Ghosh was tortured with “severe mental and physical violence” during a Shin Bet interrogation in 2007, including “beatings, being thrown against a wall, stress positions including the ‘banana’ position, sleep deprivation, and extreme mental duress”.
[. . . .] Despite this, and the evidence presented by PCATI, the High Court still threw out the petition, accepting an earlier decision of the Attorney General not to open a criminal investigation against the interrogators, and thus granting the agents impunity for their actions.    MORE . . . 
❹ Opinion/Analysis:  NABI  SALEH  IS  WHERE  I  LOST  MY  ZIONISM  
+ 972  Magazine   
By Lisa Goldman
Dec. 24, 2017 ― A short video of 16-year-old Ahed Tamimi slapping an Israeli soldier has dominated the Israeli media for the past week, and received prominent coverage internationally as well. Ahed, a Palestinian girl from the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, makes a big impression with her eye-catching mane of blonde hair, the fierce, intelligent expression in her blue eyes — and her fearlessness.
[. . . .] For Israelis, one of their soldiers was provoked, almost unbearably, but still managed to rise above the situation. For almost everyone else, the video shows an unarmed adolescent . . .  bravely confronting an armed soldier in her own village. Even without knowing the circumstances, a fully-grown man in combat gear and carrying a powerful weapon refraining from hitting a much smaller, unarmed adolescent girl, seems not remarkably praiseworthy but rather a response predicated on basic humanity and ethics.
[. . . .]  By the time I began going to Nabi Saleh, I had spent about four years reporting on what I saw in Gaza and the West Bank, and watching detachedly as my politics moved ever leftward from the liberal place in which they started, as a consequence of what I saw on the ground. But it was in Nabi Saleh that I lost the last remnants of what I would call — for lack of a word to describe my nostalgia for the idea of a state for the Jews — my Zionism.
___My radicalization was not only a consequence of witnessing brutal violence perpetrated right in front of my eyes, by soldiers of the army that was supposed to protect me. It was also a result of my seeing the Tamimi family endure that violence week after week, seeing their relatives injured, arrested and killed, and still not coming to the conclusion that the price of resistance is too high. They simply refuse to submit.   MORE . . .  

TO  CHRIST  THE  LORD  ON  HIS  BIRTHDAY,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN
But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.
St. Mark’s Gospel XII: 7-8

O Lord, O glory of the universe,
crucified this year on your birthday,
are the joys of Jerusalem
silenced on your birthday?
O Lord, all the bells
for two millenia have not been silenced
on your birthday
except for this year:
the domes of the bells are in mourning,
black wrapped in black.

Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa,
whipped under the cross of ordeal,
bleeding at the hands of the executioner,
and the world is a sealed heart
in the face of affliction.
In this hard indifferent world, O Lord,
the sun’s eye is smothered: the world went astray
and was lost.
In the ordeal it did not even raise a candle.
It did not even shed a tear
to wash away the sorrows in Jerusalem.

The husbandmen killed the heir, O Lord,
and raped the vineyard.
The sinners of the world fledged the bird of evil
dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem,
damned and infernal, hated even by Satan.

O Lord, O glory of Jerusalem,
from the well of sorrows, from the abyss,
from the depth of the night,
from the heart of plight,
the wails of Jerusalem are raised up to you.
In your mercy, take away from me, O Lord, this cup!

―Translated by Ferial Ghazoul

About Fadwa Tuqan
From: Smith, Michael. Ed. “Contemporary Palestinian Poetry.” Free  Verse. english.chass.ncsu.edu. 2008. Web. http://freeversethejournal.org/Archives/Spring_2008/poems/M_Smith.html