“. . . I am the first of the homeless . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

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A child sits next to a shack demolished by Israeli bulldozers in the village of Fasayil in the occupied West Bank’s Jordan Valley on 10 February. (Photo: Oren Ziv / ActiveStills)

❶ Israeli forces demolish homes of 2 Palestinians in Hebron area
❷ When Israel’s bulldozers escape our attention
❸ SodaStream admits bowing to boycott pressure
❹ ‘NYT’ article on roots of recent violence in Israel/Palestine fails to use the word ‘occupation’
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHY IT’S DANGEROUS TO CONFLATE HAMAS AND DAESH
❻ Poetry by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  HOMES  OF  2  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON  AREA
Feb. 23, 2016
Israeli forces raided two Palestinian towns in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron overnight Monday, where they demolished the homes of two young men who carried out attacks against Israelis.
___A video shared online by an Israeli army spokesperson showed excavators demolishing two houses in the middle of the night.      More . . .
THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
WHEN  ISRAEL’S  BULLDOZERS  ESCAPE  OUR  ATTENTION
Barbara Erickson
Feb. 22, 2016
Last autumn, when word came that the unpaved road to al-Hadidiya would be repaired, villagers in this Jordan Valley herding community looked forward to a winter of less hardship.
___Now, even when the rains arrived and turned the track into muck, supplies could get through, children could walk to school and the sick could reach clinics. . . .
___ . . . an attorney had won an injunction, and the work, supported by aid from donors, went forward.
___Nevertheless, Israeli bulldozers arrived before dawn on 25 November and began to destroy what had been accomplished, piling gravel in heaps.     More . . .

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February 21, 2016: Israeli forces demolished a Bedouin school in the Abu al-Nuwaar community near the town of al-Eizariya in the occupied West Bank, a spokesperson for the al-Jahalin Bedouin community said. (Photo: Ma’an News)

THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
SODASTREAM  ADMITS  BOWING  TO  BOYCOTT  PRESSURE
Ryan Rodrick Beiler
Feb. 22, 2016
SodaStream, the maker of fizzy drink machines, has confirmed that pressure from an international boycott campaign prompted it to withdraw from the occupied West Bank. . . .
___ SodaStream’s CEO Daniel Birnbaum said that his firm had planned to eventually close its factory in Mishor Adumim, an industrial park adjoining an Israeli settlement in the West Bank.
___The shutdown was accelerated by pressure from the Palestinian-led boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement, he confirmed.      More . . .
MONDOWEISS
‘NYT’  ARTICLE  ON  ROOTS  OF  RECENT  VIOLENCE  IN  ISRAEL/PALESTINE  FAILS  TO  USE  THE  WORD  ‘OCCUPATION’
Dan Cohen
Feb. 22, 2016
The New York Times published an aesthetically engaging interactive titled “Roots of the Recent Violence Between Israelis and Palestinians” that attempts to explain the situation since October 1st. Rife with clichés and pro-Israel talking points, the piece fails to use the word “occupation” and tacitly lends support to Israel’s policy of land grabs and ghettoizing Palestinians behind walls.     More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
AL-SHABAKA, THE PALESTINIAN POLICY NETWORK
WHY  IT’S  DANGEROUS  TO  CONFLATE  HAMAS  AND  DAESH
Belal Shobaki
Feb. 22, 2016
While Israel’s efforts to link Palestinian resistance to its military occupation to global terrorism are not new, it has expanded its propaganda to address Arab as well as Western audiences. By so doing, it is clearly seeking to exploit the global aversion to movements that have drifted towards extremism and terrorism while claiming to represent Islam. “Hamas is ISIS and ISIS is Hamas,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared at the United Nations in 2014. Yet better than anyone else, Netanyahu and the Israeli political establishment know that Hamas and Daesh are not related, as do those Arab regimes that also tar all Islamic movements with the same brush to serve their own ends.
___ Belal Shobaki is assistant professor in the Department of Political Science at Hebron University, Palestine.     More . . .

“THE  STAB,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI
The moonlight said:
I am the first of the homeless,
the eternal wanderer;
you find me on the breakwaters,
on the soldier’s helmet,
on the false teeth of the party’s general secretary,
in the begging of the willow and in the river’ obstinacy,
on the woman’s brow when pleasure lifts it,
on the executioner’s fingernails and the robber’s key-ring,
on parliament’s oppressive dome,
on a deserter’s medals,
on the tilted surface of a bomber,
on the marble steps,
on a knife blade
which a friend takes from the front of his cloak
and points at your backbone.
And in my moment of agony,
I beg the clouds:
“Hide me!”

About Mourid Barghouti
From Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT AND OTHER POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Amazon.

“. . . the remains of a forgotten village and a cross . . .” (Sami Al-Jundi)

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The forgotten Jerusalem Palestinian village of Lifta, one of the few villages where the buildings remain. It is about to be “restored” to a fashionable Jewish district. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

❶ EU expresses ‘deep concern’ over Israeli demolitions in Area C
❷ 2 Palestinians shot dead near Ramallah after alleged attacks
❸ Soldiers Injure Seven Palestinians in Jerusalem, Kidnap One Child
❹ Analysis: SPATIAL  DEVELOPMENT  OF  BETHLEHEM  AND EAST  JERUSALEM:  A  BLEAK  FUTURE?
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHAT  DOES  IT  SAY  WHEN  THE  IDF  IS  THE  SANEST  VOICE  IN  ISRAEL?
❻ Poetry. “Take Me to AL-QASTAL,” by Sami Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
EU  EXPRESSES  ‘DEEP CONCERN’  OVER  ISRAELI  DEMOLITIONS  IN  AREA C
Dec. 4, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — European Union missions on Friday reiterated a call for Israel to meet its obligations to Palestinians living in Area C of the occupied West Bank, where several demolitions have taken place in recent weeks.
___The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah expressed “deep concern, once again” for the violations in the Israeli-controlled area, a statement said.
___On Thursday, Israeli authorities confiscated 10 tents donated to residents of al-Hadidiya village by the International Committee of the Red Cross.
___The tents had been donated after Israel’s civil administration and military forces demolished Palestinian structures in the in the northern Jordan Valley.  More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
2  PALESTINIANS  SHOT  DEAD  NEAR  RAMALLAH  AFTER  ALLEGED  ATTACKS
Dec. 4, 2015
BETHLEHEM ― Two Palestinians were shot dead near Ramallah on Friday after separate alleged attacks targeting Israeli military forces in the occupied West Bank, Israel’s army and Palestinian officials said.
___A Palestinian was shot and killed near the illegal Ofra settlement north of Ramallah after ramming his car into a group of Israeli soldiers, according to the Israeli army.
___The army confirmed that two soldiers were injured in the incident. Israeli emergency service Magen David Adom said that paramedics treated two Israelis around 20 years of age who sustained minor injuries. More . . .
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SOLDIERS  INJURE  SEVEN  PALESTINIANS  IN  JERUSALEM,  KIDNAP  ONE  CHILD
Dec. 04, 2015
Palestinian medical sources in occupied Jerusalem have reported, Friday, that Israeli soldiers shot and injured seven Palestinians, while dozens suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation, in Jabal al-Mokabber town, in the city. The army also kidnapped one child in Silwan, and handed five demolition orders of residential and commercial structures.
___The soldiers used excessive force against dozens of Palestinians, holding a nonviolent protest, demanding the Israeli authorities to transfer the bodies of Palestinians, who were killed by the military, back to their families for proper burial ceremonies.
[. . . . ]
___On Friday evening, the soldiers kidnapped a child, identified as Mohammad Sufian al-Atrash, 15, after repeatedly beating and kicking him, in the Central Neighborhood in Silwan. More . . .

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Demonstration in East Jerusalem fired on by Israeli soldiers. (Photo: Silwan IC, Dec. 4, 2015)

Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
SPATIAL  DEVELOPMENT  OF  BETHLEHEM  AND  EAST  JERUSALEM:  A  BLEAK  FUTURE?
Ahmad El-Atrash
December 2015
Bethlehem, like Jerusalem, is considered a sacred city for the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Until 1967 – before the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territory that included the occupation of East Jerusalem – Bethlehem was developing and spatially growing, maintaining an organic connection with Jerusalem city. Since the occupation . . . the Bethlehem City-area has witnessed an ever-changing flexible frontier with Jerusalem and thus, the long established socio-cultural, economic, and above all spiritual lifeline between the Bethlehem City-area and Jerusalem has been undermined by the Israeli matrix of control . . .  More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+ 972 MAGAZINE
WHAT  DOES  IT  SAY  WHEN  THE  IDF  IS  THE  SANEST  VOICE  IN  ISRAEL?
Yoni Mendel
Dec. 4, 2015
“A nation in uniform,” “an army that has a state,” “a democracy of army bases.” In academic research of the critical kind, Israel is understood as a militaristic state.
[. . . . ]
___This past month has seen a great number of examples that show how . . . the IDF, has begun to be viewed by the Israeli leadership . . . as outdated, irrelevant, ignorant, and deceitful.
[. . . . ]
___This began with the violence and stabbings in October 2015. The propagandists of the Israeli government announced openly that Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ incitement was behind the uprising. The demagoguery quickly became the prominent message, with the media quickly adopting the words “incitement” and “Abbas” as inseparable. . . .
___The [IDF’s Intelligence] Corps released the following two professional assessments: “Abbas is not inciting in order to harm Israelis,” and “Abbas is considered a very moderating force in Judea and Samaria.” How did Education Minister Naftali Bennett respond? “The security establishment is wrong.”  More . . .

“TAKE  ME  TO  AL-QASTAL,”  BY  SAMI  AL-JUNDI

There, in the cradle of yearning
Where the birds circle in cheerless skies
in the pine forests,
There rest the souls of the ancients
Did you ask the Swallow, my friend,
About Al-Qastal?

From a hill looking over Deir Yassin
Where love was first born
Thousands of years ago
Before the birth of Christ
Before the budding of jasmine
By the cradle of the goldfinch
Be sure to ask about Al-Qastal.

A deep valley
A mystifying magic and a nectar of secrets
A flock of pigeons and a nightingale
And the remains of a forgotten village and a cross
Ruins of a Babylonian minaret
There, where the moon is near
And our first concern is
Love and Al-Qastal.

Take me to Al-Qastal
Take me to the beautiful grave
Take me to my last home
And load me up with the tragedies of the Arabs
And all the fragrance of the ancestors
My home is the prettiest
My grave is the largest
My path is to Al-Qastal.
—Translated by Amal Eqeiq

About Sami Al-Jundi, author of The Hour of Sunlight: One Palestinian’s Journey from Prisoner to Peacemaker.
From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND:  PALESTINE ISRAEL  POETS  RESPOND  TO  THE  STRUGGLE.  Ed. Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from Barnes and Noble

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Christmas Lutheran Church in the busy city center of Bethlehem. Not an “historic” landmark, but part of the cultural life of the city that is in jeopardy. (Photo: Harold Knight, Aug. 2008)