“. . . Any hope of peace in the future will just vanish . . .” (Saeb Erekat, Palestinian negotiator)

kerry-erekat
US Secretary of State John Kerry and Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat shake hands, Jan. 4, 2014, in Ramallah. (Photo: Brendan Smialowski/AFP/Getty Images)

❶ . PLO will revoke Israel recognition if US moves embassy, top official warns

  • Background: “Jerusalem In The Courts And On The Ground.” Florida Journal Of International Law

❷ . ‘Israel replaces one land theft with another,’ NGO says
❸ .  Father of slain Palestinian teen objects to plea deal with Israeli officer
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . PLO  WILL  REVOKE  ISRAEL  RECOGNITION  IF  US  MOVES  EMBASSY,  TOP  OFFICIAL  WARNS   
The Times of Israel
Dec. 20, 2016 – If the incoming Trump administration moves the US embassy to Jerusalem, the PLO will revoke its recognition of Israel, the prospect of a two-state solution will be over, and any hope of Israeli-Palestinian peace in the future will vanish, the top Palestinian negotiator Saeb Erekat warned on Monday.
___Speaking on a conference call organized by the Wilson Center . . .   Erekat reeled off a list of what he said would be the consequences of President-elect Donald Trump honoring his campaign pledge and relocating the US embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
[. . . .]  Erekat noted that he held meetings last week in Washington with State Department officials, but failed to secure meetings he had sought with incoming Trump administration officials. “I don’t know any of them,” he said of Trump’s personnel.     More . . .

(Note: The following article is a detailed and documented history of the U.S. policy on the status of Jerusalem over the years. The sections quoted here present only a small part of the writing about the continually evolving realities “on the ground” of the status of Jerusalem.) 

  • Halabi, Sam F. “Jerusalem In The Courts And On The Ground.” Florida Journal Of International Law 26.2 (2014): 223-270.  (Sam F. Halabi is Associate Professor, University of Tulsa College of Law. J.D. Harvard, M.Phil. Oxford, B.A. Kansas State University.) FULL ARTICLE.

[. . . .] In 1967, Israel conquered all of Jerusalem and the West Bank, politically reunifying the city and obtaining control over the Temple Mount which it left under the stewardship of the Islamic waqf. It offered Israeli citizenship to Arabs living in Jerusalem in 1967, most of whom rejected the offer. They became so-called Jerusalem residents, neither citizens of Israel nor civilians subject to the same rules of occupation which applied to other Palestinian residents living in the West Bank.
___In 1980, Israel officially annexed East Jerusalem and the areas within the redrawn municipal boundary which included settlements built over the 1967 “Green Line.” The U.N. Security Council declared the “Jerusalem Law” null and void and a violation of international law. In 1993, Israel and the Palestinians agreed to settle the final status of Jerusalem and other matters by negotiation. U.S. Executive Branch policy from 1948 forward never recognized Israeli or Jordanian sovereignty over any part of Jerusalem. In 1949, when Israel announced its intention to convene its parliament’s first meeting in the part of Jerusalem it controlled, the United States refused to send a representative to attend, noting that the U.S. Government “cannot support any arrangement which would purport to authorize the establishment of Israeli . . . sovereignty over parts of the Jerusalem area.” The United States similarly opposed the Jordanian effort to declare East Jerusalem its “second” capital (after Amman) in 1950. The State Department established a formal diplomatic presence in Tel Aviv for relations with Israel and separate consular offices in Jerusalem. Arab and Jewish U.S. citizens born within Jerusalem’s 1948 municipal borders are designated as having been born in “Jerusalem” consistent with this non-recognition.
___Congress, however, became more active on the issue after the 1980 Jerusalem Law, both directly and indirectly seeking to have the city’s status as Israel’s capital formalized. Several U.S. Presidents, including Ronald Reagan, George H.W. Bush, and William Clinton, have stated that Jerusalem should remain united and its final status should be determined by negotiation, implying that Israelis and Palestinians might both establish recognized capitals there and further implying that U.S. policy disfavors separation of the type experienced between 1948 and 1967 [. . . .]

❷ . ‘ISRAEL  REPLACES  ONE  LAND  THEFT  WITH  ANOTHER,’  NGO  SAYS
Days of Palestine
Dec. 19, 2016 – Israeli settlers of the illegal settlement of Amona in occupied West Bank agreed to move to another private Palestinian land, an Israeli NGO said.
___The Israeli Jewish settlers of Amona, which the Israeli High Court decided it be evacuated by December 25, agreed to a deal offered by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and his Education Minister Naftali Bennett.
___According to the new deal, adopted by the Israeli occupation government, the illegal Jewish settlers are going to move to another private Palestinian land on a hilltop nearby Amona.    
[. . . .]
Israeli rights group Peace Now said that the latest Israeli government compromise would see the relocation of 40 settler families to nearby land privately owned by Palestinians.
___“The Israeli government is replacing one land theft by another,” Peace Now said in a statement.      More . . .  

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Israeli flags flying over confiscated Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 2015)


❸ .  FATHER  OF  SLAIN  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  OBJECTS  TO  PLEA  DEAL  WITH  ISRAELI  OFFICER  

Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 20, 2016 – The father of a 17-year-old Palestinian who was shot dead . . .  in 2014 said he strongly objected to the plea deal being prepared for the Israeli border police officer who killed his son.
___Siyam Nuwarah told Ma’an Monday evening that he sent a letter to the Israeli Attorney General saying that his family was “extremely saddened” about the recently published reports regarding the Attorney General’s intent to sign a plea deal, in which the officer would receive a reduced sentence.
[. . . .]  Nadim Siyam Nuwarah was shot and killed with live ammunition in the chest during a protest rally marking the 66th anniversary of the Nakba on May 15, 2014. The incident was captured on video.     More . . .

 

“. . . this community interpreted the [1967] war and its results as a heavenly call from above to do whatever possible to keep all the occupied territories under Israel’s sovereignty. . . .” (Eliezer Don-Yehiya)

❶ . Israeli military order to transfer Amona settlement to Palestinian lands
❷ . Israel pledges to vote on bill banning Athan next week

  • Background:     “Messianism and Politics: The Ideological Transformation Of Religious Zionism.” Israel Studies

❸ . Motion for withdrawing confidence from Israeli government
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . ISRAELI  MILITARY  ORDER  TO  TRANSFER  AMONA  SETTLEMENT  TO  PALESTINIAN  LANDS
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Dec. 1, 2016
Chief of General staff of Israeli occupation army Roni Nomah signed Wednesday at night a military order to transfer settlers of Amona settlement to another location in the West Bank.
___The Israeli High Court of Justice ordered to evacuate the settlement by December 25 since it was built on Palestinian private lands.
___The Israeli occupation Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit proposed on Monday an apparent compromise to end the problem of demolishing an illegal West Bank settlement.
___According to Mandelblit’s suggestion, the evacuees of Amona, would be housed temporarily on three plots of land administered by Israel’s Custodian for Absentees’ Property.    
___Settlers in Amona refused this solution saying that they are not tools to be transferred on another place.     More . . .   
❷ . ISRAEL  PLEDGES  TO  VOTE  ON  BILL  BANNING  ATHAN  NEXT  WEEK   
Days of Palestine   
Dec. 1, 2016
Israeli Knesset postponed on Wednesday voting on bill banning Muslim call to prayer using loudspeakers in Palestinian territories.
___The vote on the bill, which aroused global criticism of Israeli restrictions on religious freedoms, was set on next Wednesday.
___Meanwhile, another bill legalising Jewish settler outposts built on privately-owned Palestinian lands in the occupied Palestinian territories, was also postponed.   More . . .

  • Don-Yehiya, Eliezer. “Messianism And Politics: The Ideological Transformation Of Religious Zionism.” Israel Studies 19.2 (2014): 239-263. (Professor, Department of Political Studies, Faculty of Social Sciences, Bar-Ilan University, Ramat-Gan, Israel)   SOURCE.  

The Israeli religious Zionist community has undergone profound changes in various areas, and particularly in the sphere of political ideology. The religious Zionist parties were known for their political moderation. However, in recent decades they have become identified with radical or Right-wing positions on foreign and political affairs, especially those that are related to the Arab–Israeli conflict. Religious Zionists are among the firmest supporters of the idea of the “Greater Land of Israel”
[. . . .]  . . . the change in the political line of religious Zionism was the result of Israel’s victory in the Six-Day War.
___ [. . .  the liberation of territories that were part of the historic Land of Israel and included the most holy places of Jewish religion stirred messianic enthusiasm within the religious Zionist community in Israel. Many, if not most, of the members of this community interpreted the war and its results as a heavenly call from above to do whatever possible to keep all the occupied territories under Israel’s sovereignty.
[. . . .] The messianic idea is a central foundation of traditional Judaism. And yet, for a lengthy period of time it was linked with a passive waiting for Heavenly redemption. Even today this is the interpretation it receives in Haredi circles.
[. . . .]   While even the most radical of the participants in the struggle against the disengagement [from Gaza] recoiled from the use of loaded firearms, many of those who took part in the struggle were dissatisfied with the way that it was conducted. . . . The lesson that these people drew from the event was that further attempts to evacuate Jews from their homes should be confronted by a much more militant and resolute resistance. This lesson was in fact implemented in the Amona affair, which occurred about half a year after the disengagement from Gaza.
[. . . .]   They appealed to the Israel High Court of Justice, which instructed the government to order the evacuation and destruction of the houses. The settlers and their supporters from all over the country sharply denounced the decision of the court and declared their intention to do whatever possible to thwart its implementation. . . . In the fierce confrontation that erupted, both parties resorted to violent . . .

❸ . MOTION  FOR  WITHDRAWING  CONFIDENCE  FROM  ISRAELI  GOVERNMENT     Alray-Palestinian Media Agency     
Dec. 1, 2016
The United Arab list in the Israeli Knesset submitted a motion for withdrawing confidence from the Israeli government due to its decision of expanding the project of settlement in the occupied Palestinian territories.
___The United Arab list said in a press release that the motion will be discussed and voted on later in the next week.
___The United Arab list added that Israel’s Extreme Right-Wing Government continues to expand settlements in the Occupied Palestinian territories and tries to legislate a law of legitimizing settlements that violates international law and human rights.   More . . .

“. . . Since 1967, the Israeli government has treated these Jerusalemites as foreign immigrants . . .” (Tariq S. Nassar)

.
Ras al-Amoud in East Jerusalem on October 21, 2014. (photo credit: Miriam Alster/Flash90)

❶ Pro-settler group returns to court to evict 9 Palestinian families in Jerusalem
. . . ❶ ― (a) After Amona ruling, Jerusalem asks court to approve demolition of Palestinian homes

  • Background:  “Israelization Of East Jerusalem, Land Through Identity And The Question Of Citizenship.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Army Invades Silwan, Al-‘Eesawiyya And Hizma, In Jerusalem, Kidnaps One Palestinian
❸ Israeli forces attack citizens in Jenin
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PRO-SETTLER  GROUP  RETURNS  TO  COURT  TO  EVICT  9  PALESTINIAN  FAMILIES  IN  JERUSALEM 
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 16, 2016
Ateret Cohanim, a pro-settler Israeli organization, has asked the Israeli courts to begin the evictions of nine Palestinian families in the neighborhood of Silwan in occupied East Jerusalem, according to Israeli media.
___Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported that the total number of Palestinian families the settler group has attempted to evict has risen to 72, all of whom live in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan.
___Ateret Cohanim is an Israeli pro-settlement nonprofit organization — receiving tax-deductible donations from the United States through their financial intermediary American Friends of Ateret Cohanim — which focuses on “Judaizing” East Jerusalem through a Jewish reclamation project working to expand illegal settlements and facilitate Jewish takeover of Palestinian properties across the Green Line into Palestinian territory.
___The Wadi Hilweh Information Center obtained a map last year that detailed the group’s plans of confiscating 5,200 square meters of land in the Batan al-Hawa area of Silwan under claims that the properties were owned by Jews from Yemen since 1881.     More . . .
. . . ❶ ― (a) AFTER  AMONA  RULING,  JERUSALEM  ASKS  COURT  TO  APPROVE  DEMOLITION  OF  PALESTINIAN  HOMES   
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 16, 2016
In response to the Israeli Supreme Court’s ruling to evacuate the illegal Israeli outpost of Amona in the occupied West Bank by the year’s end, the Jerusalem Municipality has reportedly demanded that the court in turn approve the immediate demolition of more than a dozen Palestinian homes in Jerusalem.
___Leading up to a court session regarding a petition by the state to postpone the evacuation of Amona, the implementation of which has faced almost a decade of delays amid widespread backlash from Israel’s right-wing government, Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat threatened last week that dismantling the outpost would be met with the mass demolition of Palestinian homes lacking Israeli-issued building permits in occupied East Jerusalem.      More . . .

  • Nassar, Tariq S. “Israelization Of East Jerusalem, Land Through Identity And The Question Of Citizenship.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.2 (2015): 5-11.  Full article.  

After Israel occupied the West Bank following the 1967 War, it annexed around 70.5 square kilometers of the West Bank into the Jerusalem municipality boundary and claimed Jerusalem as an open city. The Palestinians who remained in Jerusalem were protected by the International Humanitarian Law (IHL), since the annexation conflicted with the resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
___The Israeli government at that time granted the Palestinian Jerusalemites a permanent residency status and offered them the right to apply for Israeli citizenship, but Palestinians refused to apply for it. [. . . .] The different strategies and policies in East Jerusalem include planning practices, combined with laws and regulations restricting Palestinians with permanent residency status from entering their city or changing their identity. In the past decade the number of Palestinians acquiring Israeli citizenship has increased substantially.
[. . . .]   Approximately 360,000 Palestinians have Jerusalem IDs, which means that they have permanent residency status, which allows them to live in and enter the city. The status of this permanent residency depends on the holder’s actual staying in Jerusalem and is less secure than citizenship. Since 1967, the Israeli government has treated these Jerusalemites as foreign immigrants who have freely chosen to go and work in Israel and can apply for Israeli citizenship.
[. . . .]    The Israeli urban planners in Jerusalem aimed to enlarge the municipality boundaries as much as possible by using both hidden and clear planning tools in order to weaken and segregate the Palestinians communities in Jerusalem. . . . In 2004, when the Jerusalem municipality officially declared the first comprehensive master plan for Jerusalem, the “Jerusalem Master Plan 2000,” they had a clear, written ethno-demographic policy goal of keeping Jerusalem “30% Arab and 70% Jewish”. The current demographic ratio is around 40% Arabs and 60% Jewish, despite all the Israeli policies trying to keep it around 30% to 70%.
[. . . .]  For more than 45 years, the municipality of Jerusalem has neglected to allow Arab rural villages to become dense urban areas by failing to provide them with a proper planning process or even an outline plan in some areas. The constraints against obtaining a building permit are one of the municipal policies that aim to limit the Arab expansion in Jerusalem. This restriction often leads to illegal buildings and, consequently, the eventual use of house demolition policy, another means used to dominate the Palestinian Jerusalemite population.
___Another planning tool used by the Israeli government to try to ensure the 30% Arab and 70% Jewish ratio is the building of Jewish settlements in East Jerusalem along with the confiscation of Palestinian land. In addition to this building and confiscating, the Israeli government has also managed to declare many areas in East Jerusalem to be national parks, thus transferring the responsibility of these lands from the municipality to the National Parks Authority (NPA), a national authority. According to the “Jerusalem Master Plan 2000,” most of the areas that were declared national parks in East Jerusalem were areas where Palestinian Jerusalemites lived and owned land.

ARMY  INVADES  SILWAN,  AL-‘EESAWIYYA  AND  HIZMA,  IN  JERUSALEM,  KIDNAPS  ONE  PALESTINIAN  
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC      
November 16, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Tuesday evening, Ras al-‘Amoud neighborhood, in Silwan town, south of the Al-Aqsa Mosque in occupied Jerusalem and kidnapped a young Palestinian man. The army also invaded Hizma and al-‘Eesawiyya towns, in Jerusalem, and clashed with dozens of youngsters.
___Several army jeeps invaded Ras al-‘Amoud, searched homes and kidnapped a former political prisoner, identified as Abed Ez Barbar.        More . . .   

slderzslwan
Army Invades Al-‘Eesawiyya And Silwan In Jerusalem. Feb. 15 2013 (Photo: IMEMC)

ISRAELI  FORCES  ATTACK  CITIZENS  IN  JENIN    
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency   
Nov. 16, 2016
Israeli occupation forces (IOF0 stormed at dawn on Wednesday Zaboba at western city of Jenin in the northern West Bank and attacked Palestinian citizens.
___Locals said that the IOF stormed the town at dawn, raided houses, and attacked the citizens.
___They stormed the houses of Mahmoud Jaradat, Thaer Jaradat, Ashraf Zoqsaq, and Wahed Zoqsaq.      More . . .

“. . . they come from the ends of the winds . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

amona
Wednesday, May 18, 2016 photo, Jewish settler youths while their father barbecues in Amona, Israeli outpost in the West Bank (AP Photo/Oded Balilty)

❶ Israel advances plans for new settlement for Amona outpost evacuees
. . . ❶ ― (a) West Bank outpost’s impending evacuation a test for Israel

  • Background from Forced Migration Review

❷ Israeli plan to build new settlement neighborhood in Jerusalem
. . . ❷ ― (a) Related: Jerusalem demolishes Palestinian homes beyond the wall for first time [2010, Walaja]
❸ Genocide advocate Ayelet Shaked revives Peres plan for West Bank
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL  ADVANCES  PLANS  FOR  NEW  SETTLEMENT  FOR  AMONA  OUTPOST  EVACUEES
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 2, 2016
The Israeli Civil Administration has advanced plans to construct a new illegal Israeli settlement in the northern occupied West Bank, likely to be used to relocate settlers residing in the Amona outpost, according to Israeli settlement watchdog Peace Now, following an Israeli Supreme Court decision to demolish the outpost by the end of this year.
___Peace Now said in a press release on Saturday that two plans were promoted by the Higher Planning Committee (HPC) of the Civil Administration on Wednesday, including the new settlement for the Amona evacuees, as well as for a new industrial zone west of Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank.      MORE . . .
. . . ❶ ― (A) WEST  BANK  OUTPOST’S  IMPENDING  EVACUATION  A  TEST  FOR  ISRAEL
Daily Mail      
Associated Press
May 27, 2016
The fate of 50 white caravans perched atop a West Bank hill in the Amona settler outpost is emerging as a key test for Benjamin Netanyahu’s newly-expanded hard-line government.
___Under a Supreme Court order, the government must tear down the outpost by the end of the year — a move expected to face staunch opposition from within the coalition and pit security forces against the wishes of leading members of the Cabinet.
___Amona is the largest of about 100 unauthorized outposts — built without permission but generally tolerated by the government — that dot the West Bank.    More . . .

  • Khalil, Karim. “Attempts To Prevent Displacement In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Forced Migration Review 41 (2012): 36-37.  Full article.

While strategies for the prevention of forced displacement gain value in the humanitarian community in addressing displacement situations, Israeli actions and policies in the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt) continue to directly and indirectly lead to the forced displacement of Palestinians. . . .
___Although there are no comprehensive figures available on displaced in the oPt, figures compiled from local and international NGOs and the UN indicate that since 1967, more than 270,000 people have been displaced across the oPt, including those temporarily displaced, with more than half of all displacements occurring in the last five years [2007-20012].
[. . . .] Palestinian communities and individual households have sought to prevent or mitigate the effects of Israeli policies that lead to displacement. The tenacity of people who remain – reflected in the concept of sumud, or steadfastness – is explained by the desire to retain one’s home, one’s land, and equally not replicate the fate of Palestinian refugees whose current situation is a stark reminder of the consequences of displacement and dispossession.
[. . . .] Throughout the West Bank and East Jerusalem protests are held by Palestinian communities, as well as by Palestinian, Israeli and international activists, against Israeli policies. Thousands of Palestinian households have contested demolition orders, appropriation of land, the revocation of residency or denial of family reunification through the Israeli courts, at great expense and over protracted periods of time. It is not uncommon for such litigation to last for years and in some cases close to a decade, often at great personal expense.
[. . . .] The impact – social, financial and psychological – on the well-being of individuals, families and their children is cumulative. They experience vulnerability, trauma and anxiety, balancing the risks they face against the need to retain their properties and their possessions.
[. . . . ] The response of the humanitarian community should not detract from the need for the international community to ensure international humanitarian and human rights law is upheld and further displacements prevented.

ISRAELI  PLAN  TO  BUILD  NEW  SETTLEMENT  NEIGHBORHOOD  IN  JERUSALEM
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Sep. 28, 2016
The committees of planning and construction in the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem officially announced a plan to build a new settlement neighborhood southwest of the city called the slopes of the torch, overlooking and adjacent to the territories of the Palestinian village of Walaja, and close to the town of Beit Jala.
___According to documents and maps seen by the Media Centre for Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa affairs “Ciobrs”, the municipality approved and published the details of building a new neighborhood in the hills of the southern West Jerusalem, an area of about 170 dunums.
___The construction scheme includes the establishment of 493 housing units, as well as a Jewish synagogue and its facilities, the center explained.        More . . .
. . . ❷ ― (a) BACKGROUND . . .     JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHES  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  BEYOND  THE  WALL  FOR  FIRST  TIME  [WALAJA, 2010]
The Electronic Intifada     
Aviv Tatarsky
April 14, 2016
Israeli authorities demolished three homes in the Palestinian village of al-Walaja on Tuesday. Bulldozers accompanied by Israeli soldiers raided the village at approximately 4 a.m. and began demolishing a home with two units that have yet to be occupied, a family home of five, and a home of Mahmoud, a young man who just got engaged.     More . . .  

walajawall
The Wall under construction in al-Walaja, Dec. 7, 2010. It now completely surrounds the village. (Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

GENOCIDE  ADVOCATE  AYELET  SHAKED  REVIVES  PERES  PLAN  FOR  WEST  BANK
The Electronic Intifada
Nora Barrows-Friedman
Oct. 1, 2016
Ayelet Shaked, Israel’s justice minister, faced protests as she spoke to law students and professors at Columbia University’s law school on 19 September.
___In a secret audio recording taken during the closed event, Shaked can be heard seeking to revive a discredited idea long championed by Shimon Peres, the leading Israeli politician who died this week.
___The idea is that a deal could be struck with Jordan to push Palestinians under its jurisdiction as Israel maintains effective control over the occupied West Bank.     ___A key objective behind Peres’ plan – the so-called Jordanian option – was to sideline the Palestine Liberation Organization and neuter Palestinian resistance to Israel. Palestinians saw it as an affront to their right of self-determination. Shaked denies Israel is an occupier, claiming that the West Bank is merely “territory under dispute.”  More . . . 

   “ENEMY,”   BY   YOUSEF   AL-MAHMOUD

They come from all the ends of the earth to sit among us
they come from the ends of the winds
they bring sickness and a hissing like snakes
they come from the ends of the snows
they come smelling of death
they come with blood-dipping knives
they bring panic and terror
they are utterly not-to-be-trusted
they are utterly murderous
they are proud of their murders, they are drinkers of blood
proud of tooth and nail
even more proud of guns and treachery
they come to burn the love in our hearts
and turn it to torture and bitterness
they bring sorrow, terror, sickness. . .
How have they come to sit among us?
—Translated by DM Black

Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.

 

“. . . an impossible burden weighs down . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

scouts march
The Orthodox Scouts’ group from Gaza was given a permit by Israel this year allowing them to join 13 other Palestinian scouts groups in Ramallah (Photo: Middle East Eye/Silvia Boarini)

❶ Israel Orders Halt on Jordan Valley Pipeline Construction
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) Newspaper Review: Israel to Build a New Settlement in West Bank
❷ Mainstream media frames Israeli attacks on Gaza civilians as ‘retaliatory’
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Media promote Israeli distortions as civilians dodge airstrikes in Gaza
❸ Albarghouthi: “Israel Should be Brought to Account not to Repeat Crimes in the Future”
❹ Palestinian Scouts march in celebration of Orthodox Easter
❺ Opinion/Analysis: THE  LAWLESS  STATE  OF  ISRAEL
❻ POETRY by Majid Abu Ghoush
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL  ORDERS  HALT  ON  JORDAN  VALLEY  PIPELINE  CONSTRUCTION
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 8, 2016
Israeli authorities on Sunday ordered a halt on the construction of a fresh-water pipeline in the village of Ibzeq, to the east of Tubas in the Jordan Valley.
___Muataz Besharat, who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the area, told WAFA that staff from the so-called Israeli Civil Administration . . .  handed a notification to stop the pipeline project. . . .
___He added that the village lacks any other source of fresh water, and that locals are frequently compelled to buy water at high costs.     MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) NEWSPAPER  REVIEW:  ISRAEL  TO  BUILD  A  NEW  SETTLEMENT  IN  WEST  BANK
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
May 8, 2016
The three major dailies focused on the Israeli authorities’ declared plan to build a new settlement to the south of Nablus to accommodate 40 Jewish families.
___They said the Israeli ‘Defense’ Ministry, together with the settlement movement Amana, is planning a new settlement near Shiloh in the northern West Bank. The new construction is intended for the 40 families now living in the outpost of Amona, which is set to be evacuated by the end of the year.      MORE . . .

❷ MAINSTREAM MEDIA FRAMES ISRAELI ATTACKS ON GAZA CIVILIANS AS ‘RETALIATORY’
Mondoweiss
Dan Cohen
May 6, 2016
After 21 months of a one-way ceasefire, Israel is once again escalating attacks on the besieged Gaza Strip.
___Yesterday, Israeli shelling killed Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old grandmother [. . . .]
___Outside of Gaza, media outlets have finally broken a de facto vow of silence on Israeli attacks on the besieged enclave, however, they have been framed as retaliatory.
___The Associated Press wire story was picked up by numerous mainstream media outlets. Here’s the headline: ISRAEL  RETALIATES  TO  GAZA  FIRE  WITH  STRIKES  ON  HAMAS  TARGETS.       MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) MEDIA  PROMOTE  ISRAELI  DISTORTIONS  AS  CIVILIANS  DODGE  AIRSTRIKES  IN  GAZA
The Electronic Intifada 
Rania Khalek
May 7, 2016
In recent days, has Israel launched a series of aggressive military actions in the besieged Gaza Strip, killing a Palestinian woman and injuring several other people, including three children.
___And like clockwork, mainstream Western media swooped in to throw the narrative in Israel’s favor, brushing aside Israel’s relentless violations of the Gaza ceasefire and its killings of dozens of civilians in the besieged territory.      MORE . . . .

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Mourners attend funeral of Zaina Attia al-Amour, a 54-year-old Palestinian woman killed by Israeli shelling on Thursday (Photo: Middle East Eye/Mohammed Asad)

❸ ALBARGHOUTHI:  “ISRAEL  SHOULD  BE  BROUGHT  TO  ACCOUNT  NOT  TO  REPEAT  CRIMES  IN  THE  FUTURE”
Palestine Chronicle
May 7 2016
Mustafa Albarghouthi, the Secretary General of the Palestinian Initiative said on Friday that Israel “would never dare to repeat its attacks on the Gaza Strip if it was prosecuted for the savage war crimes it committed during its offensive in summer 2014,” as reported by QudsNet.
___In a press statement, Albarghouti stated that “the latest Israeli artillery shelling and air strikes targeted civilians.” He added that “they were intended to escalate the situation in order to find justifications for carrying out new war crimes against the residents of the Gaza Strip.”      MORE . . .   

❹ PALESTINIAN   SCOUTS   MARCH   IN   CELEBRATION   OF   ORTHODOX   EASTER
Middle East Eye
Silvia Boarini
May 3, 2016
RAMALLAH, Occupied West Bank – Beating drums, loud bagpipes and shrill trumpets filled the air in Ramallah on Saturday, when 14 lively Kashaf (Scouts) marching bands paraded in front of an audience of thousands of Christian and Muslim Palestinians. Spectators began lining the streets during the hottest hours of the day in order to attend the traditional Sabt al-Nour parade marking Orthodox Easter; and for the first time in years, out of 14 Scout groups, one was from Gaza.      MORE . . .  

Opinion/Analysis: THE  LAWLESS  STATE  OF  ISRAEL
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Asa Winstanley
May 8, 2016
Israel tries to present itself in front of the world as “the only democracy in the middle east”. In more explicitly racist and colonial terms, it sometimes claims to be a “villa” of civilisation in the “jungle” of the middle east, as war criminal Ehud Barak once put it.
___But for the Palestinian people, and anyone who has spent any amount of time visiting or living among them to witness the truth, such claims ring hollow.
___For the Palestinians, Israel is a democracy for its Jewish citizens alone.      MORE . . .

OCCUPATION,”  BY  MAJID  ABU  GHOUSH
Occupied Ramallah 17/11/06

Strange days cast dour shadows
Dusk. The fragrance of death
on a windowsill.
In the lingering heat
an impossible burden weighs
down on eyelids and chest;
the throat aches, the spine throbs.

Rose petals all tarnished with foul dust
from the poisoned world.
Black limousines sail past, flying
the skull and crossbones.
The grave yawns open early,
nightmares never leave.
Death squads. Detention camps.

Somewhere, an oud
pronounces its sad chords.
The invaders smile; tap their feet.
―Translated by John Glenday

MAJID ABU GHOUSH (b. Amwas) 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. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).
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