“. . . I shall sing in spite of fences . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

❶ MOFA: Preliminary death penalty bill is state terrorism

  • Background: “Israel and Its Messianic Right: Path Dependency and State Authority in International Conflict.” International Studies Quarterly.

. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) [PCHR] Weekly report: Israel’s systematic crimes in the oPt
. . . . . ❶― (ᴃ) Serious injury by IOF gunfire north of Ramallah
. . . . . ❶― (ᴄ) The famous UNRWA staffer killed by Israel’s security check

❷ PA signs 22 international treaties and agreements
❸ Opinion/Analysis: There is no status quo, only Greater Israel
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ MOFA:  PRELIMINARY  DEATH  PENALTY  BILL  IS  STATE  TERRORISM          Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 4, 2018 ― The Palestinian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates on Thursday condemned the Israeli Knesset’s approval of the preliminary death penalty bill for the Palestinian prisoners, considering it an extension of the Israeli authorities’ escalation of its arbitrary measures against Palestinian citizens and its grave violations of international law, international conventions, protocols and the principles of human rights.
___“This bill follows a series of racist laws which deepen the rights’, the extreme rights’, and the settlers’ control of the Israeli government, and extends the racist regime of apartheid that the occupation authorities continue to establish and expand in the Palestinian land, in a clear and explicit targeting of Palestinian land and the national and humanitarian Presence in Palestine,” the ministry said in a statement.   MORE . . .

MENDELSOHN, BARAK.
“ISRAEL  AND  ITS  MESSIANIC  RIGHT:  PATH  DEPENDENCY  AND  STATE  AUTHORITY  IN  INTERNATIONAL  CONFLICT.” 
INTERNATIONAL  STUDIES  QUARTERLY, vol. 60, no. 1, Mar. 2016, pp. 47-58.
[. . . .] The religious settler movement was born in the aftermath of Israel’s victory in the 1967 war, which wrested the Palestinian-populated West Bank from Jordanian control. . . .  This movement viewed the struggle to keep the West Bank under Jewish sovereignty as pertinent to the process of redemption; leaders prioritized occupying the land above all other values, including the state’s authority or even the Jewish principle of the sanctity of life.
___The messianic movement’s campaign involved numerous and significant extralegal actions that challenged state authority. Prominent among them was the establishment of unauthorized settlements in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip in an effort to commit the state to these territories and fight the government’s “temptation” to reach territorial compromises.
___In addition, movement members launched violent attacks on Palestinians and their property and mosques, as well as on representatives of the Israeli state, including the assassination of Prime Minister Rabin. Granted, the movement also engaged in modes of resistance that are accepted as legal and legitimate in a democratic country . . . .
[. . . .] A second mechanism concerns a shift in the balance between the primacy of the state and the ideological positions of Jewish Messianism. The erosion of state primacy in a country where illegalism has always been part of the political culture gradually diminished state capacity to promote the rule of law in the face of the messianic challenge. The state’s inability (and, at certain periods, its disinterest) to reassert its authority created a severe legitimacy crisis. . . .  Illegalism in support of resistance to territorial compromise became increasingly accepted, even when it meant fighting the authority of the state.
___Empowering the messianic Right presents a greater challenge to state authority than delegation to a nonideological nonstate actor would, because religion can offer a competing principle for organizing politics. . . .      SOURCE . . . 

.  .  .  .  . ❶ ―  (ᴀ)  [PCHR]  WEEKLY  REPORT:  ISRAEL’S  SYSTEMATIC  CRIMES  IN  THE  oPT
Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 4, 2018 ―    PCHR/ Gaza/  During the reporting period (28 December 2017- 03 January 2018): Israeli forces escalated the excessive use of force in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
___*Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed, in the West Bank and Gaza Strip; *89 Palestinian civilians, including 12 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, *53 of them were hit with live bullets, 23 were hit with rubber-coated metal bullets, and 13 were hit with tear gas canisters.  *Nine civilians, including 7 children and a woman, were arrested in a protest in the West Bank.  *Israeli forces conducted 69 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and a limited one was conducted in the southern Gaza Strip.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❶ ―  (ᴃ)  SERIOUS  INJURY  BY  IOF  GUNFIRE  NORTH  OF  RAMALLAH 
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 4, 2018 ―  Palestinian youth on Thursday afternoon was seriously wounded by Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) who shot him with a live bullet in the head during clashes that erupted in Deir Nitham town west of Ramallah after the funeral of the Palestinian martyr Musab al-Tamimi.
___The injured Palestinian man was transferred to hospital as his injury was described as serious.
___The head of the local council of Deir Nitham, Ahmad al-Tamimi, told WAFA news agency that IOF soldiers blocked the funeral of martyr al-Tamimi, assaulted  participants and showered them with tear gas canisters and stun grenades.    MORE . . .
RELATED:   Soldiers attack funeral of youth they shot and killed the day before.     Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA, Jan. 4, 2018.
.  .  .  .  .  ❶ ―  (ᴄ)  THE  FAMOUS  UNRWA  STAFFER  KILLED  BY  ISRAEL’S  SECURITY  CHECK
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 4, 2018 ―The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) is responsible for the death of the famous UNRWA staffer Abdel Fattah al-Sibakhi, 65, after banning him from crossing the Beit Hanoun checkpoint, when he was still in the middle of his chemotherapy treatment for lung cancer.
___He had been working for 30 years at UNRWA’s Procurement and Warehousing Unit in occupied Jerusalem until he was promoted to a director, thus obtaining an almost permanent residency in Jerusalem and the West Bank.
___Al-Sibakhi died a few days ago after being denied access to the Israeli-controlled Beit Hanoun crossing for chemical treatment and urgent medical tests under the pretext of security checks.     MORE . . . 
❷ PA  SIGNS  22  INTERNATIONAL  TREATIES  AND  AGREEMENTS  
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Palestine has joined 22 international conventions and treaties, the Palestinian Authority (PA) announced today.
___In a statement, the PA said that the move was made “to strengthen the legal status of the State of Palestine on a global scale,” stressing that “adopting the international law is the only way to achieve the Palestinians’ legitimate national rights.”
___On the Israeli decision to annex the West Bank to Israel’s sovereignty, the PA noted that the decision is “a declaration of war against the Palestinian people.”
___The Palestinian government also noted to the US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel saying that it is “devoid of any legitimacy.”    MORE . . .  
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  THERE  IS  NO  STATUS  QUO,  ONLY  GREATER  ISRAEL        +972 Magazine
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Over the past few years, analysts have been using the term “creeping annexation” to describe Israel’s land grabbing, segregationist policies in the West Bank. But over the past few days, the country’s leaders have been openly signaling that annexation need no longer creep. It is the new game in town.
___On Sunday night, Likud’s Central Committee, the body responsible for updating the party’s constitution, unanimously passed a resolution to extend Israeli sovereignty to all West Bank settlements, effectively annexing them to­­ Israel.
___The Likud decision received a significant boost from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, who announced Wednesday that beginning next week, all new pieces of government-supported legislation would include a short directive on how they are to be applied to Israeli settlements. The move, Shaked said Wednesday morning at a Knesset committee hearing, will help implement government policy in the settlements and “normalize life in Judea and Samaria.”
[. . . .] Taken together,  Likud and Shaked’s decisions are important for both their practical and psychological implications: they are changing the paradigm. If, until now, annexation was openly championed only by those on the far-right, today it has become a fundamental tenet of Israel’s ruling party, and the Justice Ministry is continuing to lay the groundwork for its future implementation.       MORE . . .   

“I  SHALL  SING,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I shall create
out of the darkness of my jail
my dawn out of the jaws of hatred
my destiny.
I shall sing
the wind
the sun
the flowers
the spring.
I shall sing
in spite of fences
in spite of jailers
in spite of hatred.

From: El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.  Available from Amazon.
For more than fifty years, FOUZI EL-ASMAR was one of the most important public intellectuals of the Palestinian liberation struggle. Born in Haifa in 1937, he grew up in a Palestinian area of present-day Israel. In 1958, he became a member of the editorial board of the literary monthly Al-Fajr and in 1966 he became editor of the Arabic magazine Hadha Al-Alam. In 1979, after attending university in the US and graduate school in the UK, he became the managing editor of the London-based international newspaper, Asharq Al-Awsat.   More . . .

“. . . For it is the function of history To follow our dictates . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

❶ PCHR: New attempts by Israel to legitimize killing of Palestinians
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israel’s attorney general says new laws will consider West Bank

  • Background: “International Law and the Occupied Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Palestinians kidnapped, homes ransacked in predawn sweep by IOF
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Detainees narrate how they were tortured during interrogation in Israeli centers
❸ Gov’t to supply Gaza with electricity following bank guarantee
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Gaza: Health Sector may collapse due to shortage of medicines
❹ Hanan Ashrawi to Trump: ‘We will not be blackmailed’
❺ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PCHR:  NEW  ATTEMPTS  BY  ISRAEL  TO  LEGITIMIZE  KILLING  OF  PALESTINIANS 
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― The Israeli Knesset is set to vote on Wednesday to amend the Penal Code in order to legalize the use of death penalty against those involved in murders while carrying out “terrorist operations”.
___The bill was presented before the Knesset on 30 October 2017 by three Israeli extremist parliamentarians: Robert Eltov, Oded Forer and Yuli Leminovsky.
___The bill stipulates that “the Minister of Defense orders the commander of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) in the division to give orders to: 1- the Military Court in the division to have the power to sentence death penalty without requiring the consensus of the Military Court, but only the ordinary majority; 2- No other court in the division has the right to commute a final death sentence issued by the military court in the division.”    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAEL’S  ATTORNEY  GENERAL  SAYS  NEW  LAWS  WILL  CONSIDER  WEST  BANK
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Israel’s Attorney General on Monday issued a decision stating that all new laws from now on will include the West Bank settlements.
[. . . .] Bennett stressed that they will no longer approve the passage of any law unless it is applied to the West Bank settlers.
___For her turn, Israel’s Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked hailed the decision and said that the Israelis living in the West Bank are not “second class citizens” and that she will work to develop new measures to make sure that the new legislations will be applied to them too.   MORE . . . 

Weiss, Peter.
“INTERNATIONAL  LAW  AND  THE  OCCUPIED  TERRITORIES.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL JOURNAL OF POLITICS, ECONOMICS & CULTURE, vol. 21, no. 3, Jan. 2016, pp. 96-101.
[. . . .] There is virtually unanimous international agreement that Israel’s presence in the West Bank constitutes an occupation within the meaning of Section III of the Fourth Geneva Convention, which deals with the protection of civilian persons in times of war. The United States, the United Nations Security Council and the International Court of Justice have all upheld the agreement. A number of important consequences flow from this fact:
* The settlements are illegal because, under Article 49, “the occupying power shall not deport or transfer parts of its own civilian population into the territory it occupies”;
* Under Article 3, “outrages upon personal dignity, in particular humiliating and degrading treatment” are prohibited, as well as violence to life and person, in particular murder and torture”;
* Under Article 5, persons suspected of activity hostile to the occupying power shall be treated with humanity;
* Under Article 13, the provisions of the convention are to be applied “without any adverse distinction based, in particular, on race, nationality, religion or political opinion”;
* Under Article 16, the wounded, sick, infirm and expectant mothers “shall be the object of particular protection and respect”;
* Under Article 31, No physical or moral coercion shall be exercised against protected persons, in particular to obtain information from them or from their parties”;
* Article 32 prohibits the commission of murder, torture and corporal punishment against protected persons, as well as “any other measures of brutality whether applied by civilian or military agents”;
* Under Article 33, “No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or terrorism are prohibited. Reprisals against protected persons and their property are prohibited.”
[. . . .] It requires no evidentiary brief to demonstrate that these and similar provisions are, by the current occupying power, more honored in the breach than in the observance.
[. . . .] There are, of course, many principles of international law beyond those derived from the law of war. To take only one example: The International Covenant on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, to which Israel is a party, contains provisions dealing with, inter alia, the rights of self-determination, the right to work, an adequate standard of living and the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health. Similar legal obligations flow from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which, while not a treaty, is widely regarded as another source of basic rights applicable in occupied territories, as well as in the territory of the occupier.     SOURCE . . . 

PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED,  HOMES  RANSACKED  IN  PREDAWN  SWEEP  BY  IOF
The Palestinian Information Center   
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Several Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Wednesday in abduction sweeps launched across the West Bank and Jerusalem.
___Clashes burst out in Jenin’s southern town of Qabatiya shortly after the IOF stormed the area and ransacked civilian homes.
___The occupation forces showered residential neighborhoods with spates of bullet fire and teargas grenades, resulting in injuries.    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  DETAINEES  NARRATE  HOW  THEY  WERE  TORTURED  DURING  INTERROGATION  IN  ISRAELI  CENTERS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Jan. 3, 2018 ― Omar Zuhour, from Beit Kahil village near Hebron, WAS ONLY 14 YEARS OLD when he was detained by Israeli soldiers who hit him on the head and knees with their bullet case, kicked him all over his body . . .
___This testimony from Zuhour was given to the Prisoners’ Commission and was distributed on Wednesday in a statement on the torture of Palestinians in Israeli detention and interrogation centers.  MORE . . . 
❸ GOV’T  TO  SUPPLY  GAZA  WITH  ELECTRICITY  FOLLOWING  BANK  GUARANTEE
The Palestinian Information Center 
Jan. 3, 2018 ― After receiving a bank guarantee from the electricity distribution company in the Gaza Strip, the Ramallah-based consensus government decided to supply the besieged enclave with its power needs.
___An informed source told the Palestinian Information Center (PIC) on Tuesday that the government took such decision after the distribution company provided it with a bank guarantee worth 10 million dollars.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  GAZA:  HEALTH  SECTOR  MAY  COLLAPSE  DUE  TO  SHORTAGE  OF  MEDICINES 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 3, 2018 ― The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said it’s deeply concerned over the severe lack of medicines and medical consumables in the Gaza Strip Hospitals, warning that conditions of the Gaza Strip patients would deteriorate due to the shortage of medicine and periodic medications, which are not available in the Gaza healthcare facilities.
___PCHR called upon the Ministry of Health in Ramallah to guarantee the free and secure flow of all consignments of medicines and needed medical supplies for the health facilities in the Gaza Strip.    MORE . . .  
❹ HANAN  ASHRAWI  TO  TRUMP:  ‘WE  WILL  NOT  BE  BLACKMAILED’   
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 3, 2018 ― A senior Palestinian official has responded with defiance to Donald Trump’s threat via Twitter to cut aid to the Palestinian Authority.
___Hanan Ashrawi’s rebuke followed the US president’s tweet admitting that the Middle East peace process was in difficulty and warning Palestinians that they could lose US aid worth more than $300m a year.
___”We will not be blackmailed,” Ashrawi said in a statement on Wednesday.
___”President Trump has sabotaged our search for peace, freedom and justice. Now he dares to blame the Palestinians for the consequences of his own irresponsible actions!” MORE . . . 

“THE  FIRE  OF  THE  MAGI,  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
I take my time!
I take my time!
I draw the first thread of light
From the deep darkness of night;
I tend the nursery of dreams
At the source of the torrent,
And dry the tears of loved ones
With a kerchief of jasmine.
I plant the most verdant oases
Amidst the scorched sands,
And shape a life for the outlaws
From fragrance, plenty, and justice.
If someday, on the road, my foot should stumble,
My roots will uphold and support me.

I take my time
For I am unlike the match
That flickers once, then dies.
I am more like the fire of the magi, burning bright
From my cradle to my grave.
And from my forebears to my offspring.
My endurance is as limitless as the horizon,
And the skill of the ant I’ve mastered.

I take my time,
For it is the function of history
To follow our dictates.
We have prepared for the downfall of the giants of the earth,
We will pay them back in kind;
We will give them enough rope, not that they may live longer,
But that they might have enough to hang themselves.

About Tawfiq Zayyad.
From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from  Palestine Online Store.

“. . . you will only reach a dignity . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Hunger striker, Muhammed Al Qeeq was held by Israel in administrative detention and released May 20, 2016. (Photo: Al Jazeera)

❶ Hunger Striker, Mohammed Al-Qeeq Finally Set Free by Israel
❷ Israel interrogates 2 Palestinian children for 6 hours over allegations of stone throwing
❸ Israeli legal plan for settlements raises red flag in West Bank
❹ Hamas: Lieberman’s threats of assassination do not scare us
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ZIONIST  IDEOLOGY  AND  WHERE  IT  HAS  LED  ISRAEL
❻ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ HUNGER  STRIKER,  MOHAMMED  AL-QEEQ  FINALLY  SET  FREE  BY  ISRAEL
Palestine Chronicle
May 20 2016
Mohammed Al-Qeeq, a Palestinian activist and journalist, has been released from prison by Israel. After a 94-day hunger strike in protest against his treatment by Israeli authorities, a deal was reached in February securing his release.
___Al-Qeeq, 33 worked as a news reporter for the Saudi-owned TV network, Al Majd. He was held in Israeli detention, without trial since November 2015. Only four days later, he began his hunger strike.       MORE . . .    

❷ ISRAEL  INTERROGATES  2  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  FOR  6  HOURS  OVER  ALLEGATIONS  OF  STONE  THROWING
Ma’an News Agency
May 21, 2016
Israeli authorities Friday released two Palestinian children after detaining them for six and a half hours for allegedly throwing stones at settlers in the village of al-Tur in occupied East Jerusalem, according to the Wadi Hilweh Information Center.
___Israeli forces detained Muhammad Samih Ulayan, 10, and Mustafa Abu al-Hawa, 12, as they were walking in al-Tur, before transporting them to a nearby illegal Israeli settlement and then to the al-Tur police station. After transferring the children to the Salah al-Din police station, they were interrogated for six and a half hours, the information center reported.
___The center added that the Israeli police interrogated the children without anyone present.       MORE . . .  
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ)  MILITARY  COURT  WATCH Briefing Note – March 2016      MORE . . . 

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Ramla Prison where Muhammed Al Qeeq was held (Photo: Active Stills)

❸ ISRAELI  LEGAL  PLAN  FOR  SETTLEMENTS  RAISES  RED  FLAG  IN  WEST  BANK
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Rasha Abou Jalal
May 19, 2016
Numerous Palestinian groups are condemning Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked’s plan to apply Israeli laws to Jews living in West Bank settlements, which the groups said would further divide Palestinians and Israelis and give Israel the chance to annex the settlements.       MORE . . .   

❹ HAMAS:  LIEBERMAN’S  THREATS  OF  ASSASSINATION  DO  NOT  SCARE  US
Ma’an News Agency
May 20, 2016 5:00 P.M. (Updated: May 21, 2016)
A Hamas official on Friday said threats by ultranationalist Israeli politician Avigdor Lieberman, who was offered the position of defense minister at the Israeli Knesset a day earlier, would not scare the movement’s leaders.
___Member of Hamas’ politburo, Fathi Hammad, said Lieberman’s threats of assassinating Hamas political and military leaders would not affect the movement [. . . .]
___“We do not call for war, but we would fight if it was imposed upon us,” Hammad said.
MORE . . .   

❺ Opinion/Analysis:  ZIONIST  IDEOLOGY  AND  WHERE  IT  HAS  LED  ISRAEL
Palestine Chronicle
Jeremy Salt
May 18 2016
Israel beyond redemption? Should we conclude, after seven decades of worsening behavior, that while there’s life there’s hope – life for the Zionists and Israel, of course, and, in fact, no hope for Palestine and the Palestinians, at least as far as the state of Israel is concerned.
___The binary divide is marked on the 68th anniversary of Israel’s ‘independence’. While the Zionists celebrated with street parties and flyovers, the Palestinians in the West Bank were put under lockdown. This was no more a war of ‘independence’ than was the ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ (UDI) by the Rhodesian white minority leader, Ian Smith, in the 1960s.  It was a war of colonial conquest, the most extreme ever waged, even worse than the French invasion of Algeria. It ushered in the Nakba, the takeover of Palestine which has proceeded in stages ever since.       MORE . . .

“DETERMINATION,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
(From “Letters from an Israeli prison,” 1977 ―Fouzi El-Asmar was imprisoned for a year in 1969-1970, then subject to a year of house arrest in 1971.)

I.
Man, whenever you reach out
to snatch my bread
and the remaining rays of light
in my eyes,
to dissolve some dream
of mine . . . a remaining pride
to delay a rising sun.

Deep in my loins
you will only reach
a dignity and
a solid determination.

II.
Whip me
Fetch more whips
more executioners
by the thousands
Turn my skin
into shoe soles
Rub salt in every wound
old wounds
new wounds
Search my mind
for every thread of a new image
of a new poem,
Take away the pen and the pencil.
With my blood
I shall write
every day
a million songs.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.   Available from Amazon.
An interview with Fouzi El-Asmar about “Al-Ard.”