“. . . towards what remained of the heart . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

❶ Worshippers clash with Israeli police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque following noon prayer
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Military wings in Gaza warn Israel Al-Aqsa policies will ‘explode in the region’

  • Background: “Between Religion and Nationalism in the Palestinian Diaspora.” Nations & Nationalism

❷ Activist imprisoned for defending Palestinian children
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli parliament advances law to keep fight against BDS secret from public
❸ Israeli forces shoot young Palestinian in East Jerusalem, raid hospital where he is treated
❹ POETRY by Majid Abu Ghoush
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Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA  
July 19, 2017.   Dozens of Palestinian worshipers Wednesday clashed with Israeli police outside Al-Aqsa Mosque following the noon prayer, according to witnesses.
___They said police attacked the worshipers at the end of the prayer held outside Lions’ Gate where people have been holding prayers five times a day, as required by Islam.
___Police used clubs and tear gas to disperse the worshipers. A number of people suffered from gas inhalation and beating and were treated on location. Police arrested two Palestinians.
___Worshipers have been holding the prayers outside Al-Aqsa Mosque compound since Sunday after Israel erected metal detectors at the gates to the compound and demanded that people had to go through them first before entering the compound. Muslim leaders have rejected this new measure and vowed to fight it. They also called on people not to enter Al-Aqsa going through the metal detectors.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency  
July 18, 2017.   Military wings of various political factions in the besieged Gaza Strip warned Israel against continuing its restrictive policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem during a press conference on Tuesday, saying that Israel’s “offensive” on Al-Aqsa represents a “spark that will explode in the region.”
___“We will have our strong and supreme word if Zionist plans against Al-Aqsa continue,” the groups warned in the press conference. “We will not allow our enemy to invade our Al-Aqsa, our holy sites, and our people in Jerusalem.”
___The military wings then saluted the people of Jerusalem and called upon all Palestinians to support Al-Aqsa.   MORE . . .

Nations & Nationalism,
vol. 20, no. 4, Oct. 2014, pp. 801-820.
[. . . .] Since its founding, Hamas has proved to be a flexible and dynamic organization.  At times reformist, at others militant, its essential character as a sociopolitical movement has been difficult to define in any certain terms. Perhaps the movement’s shifting positions on the question of religion and nationalism. While some scholars have prioritized Hamas’s religious dimensions and thus located it within broader trends of what has been called ‘political Islam’ or ‘Islamism’, I believe there are several factors that suggest the organization’s religious hue is insufficient for fully negating its nationalist character. First, while Hamas employs a discourse saturated with religious references to the Quran, hadith and the concept of jihad, the target audience of this discourse is nonetheless confined to the Palestinian people. Put simply, Hamas is not speaking to the Muslim umma; rather, it is speaking particularly to Palestinian Muslims and more generally to the Palestinian nation. It wants to put Muslim Palestinians at the forefront of the national movement. Palestinian Muslims thus represent a vanguard of the nation who, in virtue of their invented religious tradition and identification, have a critical role to play in the liberation of Palestine from Israel. In pragmatic terms, Hamas has also confined its efforts to the geography of the national context.
[. . . .] Hamas’s reformist and military approach to the struggle against Israel has also been defined within the limits of the Palestinian territories. It does not work for a transnational reformation of the Muslim world in preparation for a global jihad against Israel and its allies. Rather, it works through a diverse network of charitable institutions in Palestine to support all Palestinians while promoting an Islamic reformation within Palestinian society. . . .   Hamas locates the Islamic reformation of Palestinian society within a greater program of national liberation. Thus turning Palestinian Muslims toward a more pious (Islamic) lifestyle is inextricably linked to the struggle against Israeli occupation and the Palestinian nationalist cause. . . .  In this sense, religious reformation is understood as an essential step toward succeeding in the national struggle where secular organizations have failed. Finally, even the very distinction between what is definitively Islamic and what is definitively national about Hamas remains unclear. An analysis of Hamas’s discourse suggests that it is appropriating religious concepts in Islam for nationalist purposes.
[. . . .]  To the extent that religious ideology can be distinguished from nationalism in Hamas’s discourse and practice, it is clear that neither is sufficient for trumping the other [ . . . .]    SOURCE . . .

Palestine News Network – PNN 
July 19, 2017.   The Ofer military court has sentenced the activist of the Popular Resistance Movement and human rights defender Ahmad Odeh to six months in prison with a fee of NIS 6,000 due to accusations of throwing rocks. He was arrested at the northern entrance to Bethlehem during his attempt to defend a group of children who were barbaric beaten by Israeli special units.
___Munther Amira, head of the High Coordination Committee for the Resistance against the Wall and Settlements in the West Bank, said that the ruling was unjust and unfair to a Popular Resistance activist who is also considered a human rights defender. Amira said that it is part of the occupation campaign to put popular resistance activists who have been able to expose the practices of the occupation for trial.
___“It is barbarism against our people on more than one level” Amira stated.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency     
July 18, 2017.
An Israeli bill aimed at exempting Israel’s attempts at combating the Boycott Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement and efforts to “delegitimize Israel” from Israel’s Freedom of Information Law, which allows Israeli citizens to obtain information from the government, passed its first reading in the Knesset, Israel’s parliament, on Monday.     ___According to a statement released by the Knesset, 25 Members of the Knesset (MKs) supported the bill, while 12 MKs voted against it and one abstained from the vote.     ___Strategic Affairs Minister Gilad Erdan from the right-wing Likud party, who is in charge of combating the boycott movement, said that the “boycott organizations are spread out geographically and act in different areas. The organizations built a network of activity and act in coordination with the Palestinian Authority,” he said.   MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
July 18, 2017.   Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian man on Monday evening in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Silwan, a local watchdog organization reported, before raiding the hospital where the wounded Palestinian was being treated.
___The Wadi Hilweh Information Center said that Israeli troops stormed the area of Ein al-Luza and fired stun grenades and live fire haphazardly, while young residents threw Molotov cocktails and fireworks in response.
___One Palestinian was seriously injured during the raid, according to the information center, and taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery.
___The center added that Israeli police raided the al-Makassed Hospital east of the Old City of Jerusalem, seeking to detain the injured Palestinian.    MORE . .


the woman was dragging her feet
and what remained of her children
towards what remained of her home
towards what remained
of the sea
towards what remained
of the heart
towards what remained of the heart

she raised her hand softly
wiped a tear which rolled down her cheek
and smiled when the beautiful one
she met on the way asked her:
why are you going back?

to water the jasmine tree
to shade the names of the martyrs

—translated by Magi Gibson

MAJID ABU GHOUSH was born in Amwas. He is a prolific poet, a member of the Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers and a founding member of Poets Without Borders Palestine.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY  (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.

“. . . Access is a fundamental element of the right to health . . .” (Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub)

Oct. 28, 2015. Israeli soldiers Invade Maternity Ward of al-Makassed Hospital (Photo: Silwanic)

❶ . World Health Organization: Substantial Israeli restrictions on access to health

  • Background: “Attitudes Of Palestinian Medical Students On The Geopolitical Barriers To Accessing Hospitals For Clinical Training: A Qualitative Study.” Conflict & Health 

❷ . In Jerusalem, insurance becomes extortion
❸ . Teacher with Down syndrome breaks stereotypes for Gaza’s mentally disabled students
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Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 1, 2016
Marking the United Nations declaration of November 29 as the International Day of Solidarity with the Palestinian People, the World Health Organization (WHO) published a 2-year report on health access for Gaza patients to highlight how the Israeli permit system and physical barriers obstruct health access for Palestinian patients, ambulances and health workers.
___The study “Right to health: crossing barriers to access health in the occupied Palestinian territory, 2014 – 2015,” was based on data provided by Palestinian Authority ministries and non-profit health providers, as well as patient interviews and field studies, said a WHO press release.     “Access is a fundamental element of the right to health. . . .   ” said Dr. Gerald Rockenschaub, the WHO head of the office in the West Bank and Gaza. “Yet the data indicates substantial restrictions for thousands of patients and their companions who are trying to travel to their places of referral.”    More . . . 

  • Shahawy, Sarrah, and Megan Diamond. “Attitudes Of Palestinian Medical Students On The Geopolitical Barriers To Accessing Hospitals For Clinical Training: A Qualitative Study.” Conflict & Health 10.(2016): 1-9.   ARTICLE.

[. . . .]  We designed a qualitative study using focus group discussions to explore the attitudes of Palestinian medical students at Al-Quds University on the barriers they face reaching hospitals for clinical training.
[. . . .] The findings from this study identify some of the hardships that Palestinian medical students face when undergoing their clinical training in the West Bank and Jerusalem. Living and studying in an occupied territory characterized by permit and checkpoint regulations significantly hindered the students’ ability to access high quality medical training.
___Medical students who had their permits to enter Jerusalem rejected were unable to train at Al-Makassed Hospital and were often forced to rely on clinical training in the West Bank, which they felt was less adequate.
[. . . .] Consistent with other literature on the challenges of receiving an education under occupation, focus groups highlighted how the emotional and psychological burden of the occupation specifically affected them as students, as it was hard to concentrate on their studies due to a stressful commute and surrounding political instability and violence. Their quality of life was impacted with little time for sleep or social activity. In the face of these challenges, Palestinian medical students exhibited extraordinary resilience, resourcefulness, and dedication to their education.
___Obstacles to accessing education in the occupied Palestinian territories are not limited to medical students. Since the beginning of the Israeli occupation, confrontation and tension surrounding Palestinian education has been pervasive at all educational levels.
[. . . .]  Conclusion:  Our findings suggest that medical students living and studying in the occupied Palestinian territories receive sub-optimal training due to ambiguous permit rules, barriers at checkpoints, and the psychological burden of the process. These results highlight the impact that military occupation has on the education and quality of life of Palestinian medical students in a setting in which there is regular violence and many health indicators are already poor. New transparent policies and a larger context of peace and sovereignty will be required to build an effective health care system in which Palestinian medical students can pursue adequate clinical training that will prepare them to care for their people in a resource-poor and war-torn setting.

The Electronic Intifada
Joharah Baker
Nov. 28,  2016
Earlier this year, new regulations made it mandatory for all residents in Jerusalem with temporary family unification permits to obtain Israeli medical insurance.
___The law, which came into effect on 1 August, will cost those affected a monthly fee in addition to a large backdated one-time charge.
___It has caused an angry uproar among Jerusalem’s Palestinians, who see it as yet another attempt by Israeli authorities to target their community and make their precarious existence in the city even more challenging.       More . . .

Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, Nov. 30, 2016 (Photo: Mondoweiss)

Mohammed Asad
Nov. 30, 2016
Hiba Anis Mustafa Shurafa guides students in her Gaza classroom, instructing them on the art of how to hold a pen and keep a steady hand when writing out letters. She understands the task is challenging because, like her students, Shurafa has Down syndrome.
___The 27-year old teacher at the Right to Life Society school in Gaza City was once a student at the institution where she now instructs pupils with mental disabilities. Researchers at Bir Zeit University found that among Palestinians with disabilities in the occupied territories and Lebanese refugee camps, more than one-third never attend school. A further 87 percent will never be employed, making Shurafa and the Right to Life Society all the more unique.       More . . .