“. . . Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy . . .” (Diab Rabie)

❶ ‘You choose apartheid’, Netanyahu told in Knesset session
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settler celebration of life of Sarah turns into a torment for Palestinians in Hebron

  • Background:  “Opposed or Intertwined? Religious and Secular Conceptions of National Identity in Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”  Politics, Religion & Ideology.

❷ Israel to seize Palestinian land for settlement expansion
❸ Tension hits peak as Israeli army browbeats Palestinian resistance
❹ POETRY by Diab Rabie
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‘YOU  CHOOSE  APARTHEID’,  NETANYAHU  TOLD  IN  KNESSET  SESSION
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was accused of choosing “apartheid” and permanent military occupation of the Palestinians during a special session of the Knesset yesterday.
___The debate focused on “the Israeli government’s political challenge in light of new opportunities that have been created”, and was initiated by opposition party Meretz.
___Speaking at the session, Joint List leader Ayman Odeh stated that “we are at a crossroad where it is clearer than ever that we have only two options: peace or apartheid”.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLER  CELEBRATION  OF  LIFE  OF  SARAH  TURNS  INTO  A  TORMENT  FOR  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON
Mondoweiss
Nov. 12, 2017 ― Hebron activist Badee Dwaik sent us the video below showing a group of settlers celebrating the “feast of Sarah” on Thursday night in Hebron by threatening Palestinians who live in a locked-down portion of the city. Dwaik said some of the settlers carried guns, according to Palestinians who witnessed the action, and chanted “Am Yisrael Chai” — the people of Israel live.
___“Israel is the only state in which there are two armies, namely the organized official army and the army of settlers armed with weapons,” Dwaik said. “Where Jewish settler festivals have become a hell for Palestinian families.”    MORE . . .

Baumgart-Ochse, Claudia.
“OPPOSED  OR  INTERTWINED?  RELIGIOUS  AND  SECULAR  CONCEPTIONS  OF  NATIONAL  IDENTITY  IN  ISRAEL  AND  THE  ISRAELI-PALESTINIAN  CONFLICT.”
Politics, Religion & Ideology
, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2014, pp. 401-420.
[. . . .] When Israel’s founding elite institutionalized the role of religion in the new State of Israel by way of consociational governance, they could not foresee that religion would ever become such a powerful force as it is in contemporary Israel. Rather, Ben-Gurion and others acted on a common belief of the time that religion was on the retreat in the wake of the economic and political modernization of societies around the world. Granting religious parties and communities a special status served the short-term goal of integrative state- and nation building, Mamlachtiyut, but was not deemed dangerous as religion was expected to fade into insignificance sooner or later anyway. The consociational arrangement rather helped to keep the domestic peace and turn the state’s energy towards the integration of an enormous influx of immigrants from all over the world. Thus, instead of simply being ‘hijacked’ by religious actors, the Zionist elite of the Yishuv and of the early State deliberately aimed to integrate the diverse religious groups. But the close entanglement of Zionism and Judaism, of secular nationalism and religion, did not only express itself in institutional and political arrangements which allowed for the inclusion of the Orthodox in the statebuilding process.
[. . . .] Contrary to the state’s founders’ expectations, religion did not disappear – it became even more important. The immigration of Jews from Arab countries in the 1950s and 1960s gradually changed the demographic makeup of the young nation. Therefore, in order to live up to the task of integrating the new immigrants into Israeli society, Jewish tradition regained new significance for national identity during that time. The influx of these immigrants created a new category of Jewish identity in Israel: in addition to the distinction between ‘Datiyim’ (Religious) and ‘Chiloniyim’ (Seculars), a third segment of ‘Masortiyim’ (Traditionalists) was added, a Jewish religiosity which was less rigid in observing Jewish commandments and studying the Torah, but more based on communal customs and traditions.
___The rapprochement of Zionism and religion as well as the common theme of Messianism, early indicators for the intertwining of religion and secular nationalism, intensified when Israel won the war in 1967. The State of Israel experienced what some authors have called a ‘second republic’. It moved from the dominance of the secular-socialist concept of the state to one which emphasized the ethno-religious boundaries of membership in the nation. This process was driven by both religion and secular nationalism: Religious actors, the settlers in particular, underwent a process of politicization after the war; and the secular state began to use the religious settlement movement as a tool for its mundane politics in the occupied Palestinian territories.    SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAEL  TO  SEIZE  PALESTINIAN  LAND  FOR  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION     Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 14, 2017 ―  The Israeli military authorities notified Palestinian farmers on Tuesday that they intend to expropriate plots of land near the village of Shofeh, to the southeast of Tulkarm, in order to expand the nearby illegal settlement of Avnei Hefetz.
___The farmers told WAFA that the Israeli military informed the Palestinian liaison office that it intends to expropriate land in the village of Shofeh in order to open roads and build playgrounds and other recreational facilities for the benefit of Avnei Hefetz settlement.   MORE . . .
❸ TENSION  HITS  PEAK  AS  ISRAELI  ARMY  BROWBEATS  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Nov. 14, 2017 ― A number of Iron Dome missile defense batteries were deployed in central Israel on Monday by the Israeli army, amid heightened tensions with the Palestinian Islamic Jihad since the army blew up the group’s resistance tunnel last month.
___The Israeli occupation army confirmed the anti-missile systems had been installed in central Israel. On Sunday Iron Dome batteries were spotted on the outskirts of Occupied Jerusalem allegedly in anticipation of retaliation attacks by the Palestinian resistance.
___The occupation army claimed that the Iron Dome system, which is designed to shoot down short-range rockets and, in some cases, mortars, was deployed to counter the threats made by the Palestinian Islamic Jihad resistance group, which has vowed to avenge its members killed in the tunnel blast.   MORE . . .

“SWEARING BY YOUR JERUSALEM,” BY DIAB RABIE
The nightingale stopped singing and mourned the lost land;
It wandered into spaces where winds held command.
Tired by many nights of flight, it took its rest,
But not at wondrous sites or near a female breast.
It once rejoiced in singing, now it merely cries
All night till morning, and it will not shut its eyes.
Memories with bleeding wounds cried out in disgust:
How could you leave the country and abandon your trust.
Your trees shade strangers who oppress and occupy.
Rise, throw off the veil of shame none can justify.
Can the oppressed despise sharp swords and keep their pride?
Face daily insults silently and step aside?
You will regain your land only by sword and spear;
With their help people will see justice reappear.
Youth came into this world to battle with their hands;
Brook no pollution in this holiest of lands.
I swear by “Your Jerusalem,” maimed Palestine,
That Arab flags will wave above you for all time.

Translated by George Khoury and Edward Morin.
This poem was published in the Arabic language newspaper, Sameer, in New York City one month after the UN resolution in 1947 to divide Palestine.
“Diab Rabie (1922-2010) was the last of a group of five Diaspora poets which included Kahlil Gibran, Michael Naimeh, and Elie Abu-Madi. A newspaperman assigned to New York, he was prevented by the Israelis from reentering his homeland and settled in North Carolina. His poems were published in major Arabic newspapers and magazines around the world throughout his life. His collected poems, Shetharat El-Rabie were edited by George Khoury and published before his death (The Birzeit Society, 2010).” Before there Is Nowhere to Stand. Palestine/Israel Poets Respond to the Struggle. Ed. Joan Dobbie & Grace Beeler. Sandport, Idaho: Lost Horse Press, 2012.)  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . are Palestinians any different from other refugees . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

❶ Racist proposal to ban non-Jews from election to Israeli parliament

  • Background: “Trumpian Ethics and the Rule of Law.” Creighton Law Review.

❷ Israeli forces prevent Palestinians from accessing their lands to pick olives
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers steal olive harvest near Qalqilia
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli settlers attack Palestinian home in Hebron with rocks, stun grenades
❸ FIFA gives green light to Israeli settlement clubs
❹ POETRY by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
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❶ RACIST  PROPOSAL  TO  BAN  NON-JEWS  FROM  ELECTION  TO  ISRAELI  PARLIAMENT
Days of Palestine 
Oct 28 2017 ― The ruling Israeli coalition may propose a bill in the Israeli Knesset that blocks non-Jews from being elected to the parliament, Israeli media reported on Friday.
___The bill would apparently prevent intervention by the Supreme Court in decisions taken by the Israeli Central Elections Committee; it is the latter which would then have sole responsibility for blocking non-Jewish candidates.
___“This bill aims to return the authority and power to the Elections Committee by preventing appeals against its decision,” said its proposer, Oded Forer MK of the extreme right-ring Jewish Home party. “The Knesset has become a place for terrorists and their supporters [sic] to sit in without fear.”
___This was a reference to MKs Basel Ghattas – who is now in prison – and the head of the Arab Joint-list Ayman Odeh. At least 20 per cent of Israel’s population are non-Jews; if such a bill became law it would confirm the apartheid nature of the Israeli state.   MORE . . .   ..    From ISRAELI NEWSPAPER

McKay, John.
“TRUMPIAN  ETHICS  AND  THE  RULE  OF  LAW.”
CREIGHTON LAW REVIEW, vol. 50, no. 4, Sept. 2017, pp. 781-799.
[. . . .] The biggest obstacle to peace in the region is the unfettered building of settlements by Israel in occupied Palestinian lands. Almost everywhere you travel in the West Bank, when you look up to the hills, you will see an Israeli settlement, illegal in every way under international law. And they are building all the time. . . THE  PALESTINIANS  INSIST  ON  A  RIGHT  OF  RETURN,  AND  TO  THEM—SOME  OF  THEM—THAT  MEANS  THEY  WANT  THE  OLIVE  GROVES  OF  THEIR  GRANDPARENTS  THAT  ARE  NOW  PART  OF  THE  STATE  OF  ISRAEL. This is not a reasonable starting point for peace negotiations on the part of the Palestinians. The Israelis will not stop building settlements and have no observable way to roll back those heavily armed settlers who now number well over half a million living inside the West Bank—a land to which they have absolutely no claim under law.
[. . . .] But for peace to come about, Israel must eventually end its use of military laws of occupation. . .   the only way out is to roll back the occupation, to roll back the laws that governments give themselves when peace is threatened from within. . .
[. . . .] With this impending disaster for the Jewish State of Israel, we would likely be looking at the beginning of an almost direct parallel to South Africa and its discredited policy of apartheid. Some argue that Israel has already created such a policy, in fact.
___There are now approximately 625,000 Israeli Jews living in the West Bank in over one hundred settlements. I have no idea how this can ever be rolled back if there is to be a peace. But to look at the reality on the ground, these are all fortified mini-cities. As I personally observed, every one of them has an Israeli defense garrison close by. All are walled, all are surrounded by barbed wire, and the citizens are armed. On one occasion, I attended a barbeque in an Arab village, above which there was an Israeli settlement. There was a swimming hole, and I, of course, invited the settlers to come and eat with us, which they refused to do. But as they turned away, I could see tucked into the back of their bathing suits that each had a nine-millimeter pistol. It was not only the soldiers who carried weapons; even the Israeli settlers were heavily, heavily armed in every possible way.   FULL ARTICLE.

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  PREVENT  PALESTINIANS  FROM  ACCESSING  THEIR  LANDS  TO  PICK  OLIVES 
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Israeli forces on Sunday reportedly prevented Palestinian farmers in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah from reaching their land to pick olives, according to official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency.
___WAFA reported that Palestinians from the village of Nilin were stopped by Israelis forces on their way to pick olives on their farm lands, located on the Israeli side of the separation wall, which runs through the farmers’ lands.
___The farmers, according to Wafa, had permits from Israeli authorities to enter the area, but were denied anyway.
[. . . .] Palestinians living in the areas where Israel’s separation wall cut off their lands, are required to obtain entry permits, and cannot enter their lands for any purpose other than work or residence.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  SETTLERS  STEAL  OLIVE  HARVEST  NEAR  QALQILIA            Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Israeli settlers stole the olive harvest from Palestinian-owned land in the villages of Jitt, east of Qalqilya, Sunday said one of the land owners.
___Omar Yameen told WAFA that landowners from the village discovered when they reached their land adjacent to the illegal settlement of Kedumim that the olive crops have been harvested and many fully grown trees were damaged and dry after being sprayed with toxic chemicals.
___The owner said he also discovered sewage water being pumped from a settler’s mobile home into his land.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  HEBRON  WITH  ROCKS,  STUN  GRENADES 
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 29, 2017 ― Dozens of Israeli settlers reportedly attacked a Palestinian home in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Saturday, according to local sources.
___Local activist Jamal Iseifan told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the illegal Kiryat Arba settlement attacked a house belonging to Kayid Mansour al-Jaabari, under the protection of armed Israeli forces.
___Iseifan said that Israeli settlers threw rocks and stun grenades at the house and al-Jaabari’s family, adding that Hebron has seen a rise in attacks on Palestinian houses near the Kiryat Arba settlement, that exists in contravention of international law.   MORE . . .
❸ FIFA  GIVES  GREEN  LIGHT  TO  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENT  CLUBS 
The Electronic Intifada
By Maureen Clare Murphy
Oct. 28, 2017 ― The world football governing body FIFA stated on Friday that it would not sanction or take other measures against clubs located in Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank.
___“Today the FIFA Council shredded the organization’s statutes and declared itself a complicit organization that welcomes Israel’s illegal settlement clubs,” Stephanie Adam of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel stated.
___“FIFA is intent on providing material support for Israel’s violations of international law amounting to war crimes against one of its own member associations,” Adam added, referring to the Palestinian Football Association.
___In its statement the FIFA Council did not address Israeli rights violations and instead referred to a “current situation … characterized by an exceptional complexity and sensitivity and by certain de facto circumstances that can neither be ignored nor changed unilaterally by nongovernmental organizations such as FIFA.”   MORE . . . 

“ANY REFUGEES IN THE WORLD,” BY LAHAB ASSEF AL-JUNDI
what is the first thing that comes to mind
when you hear of refugees?
what terror drove them out of their homes?
are they getting help?
what is being done for their safe return?

are Palestinians any different from other refugees?
is it not their simple right
to return to the land they were driven from?

why are they being asked to settle
for money?
who designated the Palestinians as the chosen people
to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West?
why do politicians tell them
too much time has passed
when their grievance
is with people who went back after 2000 years?
between continued warfare and annihilation
coexistence beckons
as the only
honorable
demographic.

time for peace
now.

Jundi’s coming-of-age story is chronicled in the illuminating book, The Hour of Sunlight, co-authored with his friend, former colleague and author/documentary filmmaker/playwright Jen Marlowe. . . Jundi’s life is a tale of dislocation, of yearning, of delight in the details and a reverence for the written word. The son of refugees from both Deir Yassin and Zakarriya, Jundi was raised in the Old City of Jerusalem by two blind parents—a unique experience by any measure—and became a refugee at a young age. . . .    MORE . . .
From: BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE.  Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . the beaker of our ablution has been sold to a tourist from California . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

Ayman Odeh
Threats on his life are not “a culture off death.” Palestinian  political leader Ayman Odeh heads the Joint List. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse /Ahmad Gharabli)

❶ Netanyahu says Palestinians have ‘culture of death’
❷ Israeli extremist detained after death threats
Palestinians Call On Oscar Nominees To Reject Israel Propaganda Trip
❹ Italian municipalities demand Israel stop building fence in Bethlehem
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHY  HERZOG’S  DIPLOMATIC  PLAN  LOOKS  AN  AWFUL  LOT  LIKE  APARTHEID
❻ Poetry by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
NETANYAHU  SAYS  PALESTINIANS  HAVE  ‘CULTURE  OF  DEATH’
Feb. 11, 2016
Members of the Knesset on Wednesday argued the possibility of a two-state solution at a special plenum debate, where Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Palestinian “terror” came from a “culture of death,” according to a Knesset press release.
___During the debate, the Israeli PM and Israel’s Labor party opposition leader Isaac Herzog exchanged criticisms over the “most realistic” way to obtain a two-state solution.  More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
PALESTINIAN  MK:  ISRAELI  EXTREMIST  DETAINED  AFTER  DEATH  THREATS
Feb. 11, 2016
A far-right Israeli extremist was reportedly detained after threatening the life of Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, Ayman Odeh.
___The MK, member of the Joint List party, said the extremist was detained by Israeli police who carried out investigations into comments left by the Israeli on social media.
___Odeh said he held Israeli authorities “fully responsible” for violations committed against Palestinians, slamming attempts by the Israeli right to prevent Palestinians from realizing their rights.     More . . .
MONDOWEISS
PALESTINIANS  CALL  ON  OSCAR  NOMINEES  TO  REJECT  ISRAEL  PROPAGANDA  TRIP
Activism Palestinian BDS National Committee
Feb. 10, 2016
Palestinian human rights activists are calling on Oscar nominees not to accept travel vouchers supplied by the Israeli government as part of the gift bag . . . .
___A statement from the Israeli ministry of tourism boasted that its initiative is a chance to have “leading opinion-formers” share their visit “among millions of fans and followers”.
___Omar Barghouti from the Palestinian BDS National Committee, the largest coalition of Palestinian civil society organisations that leads the international Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement, said:
___“There are no Hunger Games in Gaza . . . .”    More . . .

1-Apartheid-wall
Israel’s Apartheid Wall at Bethlehem. (MEMO file photo)

THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
ITALIAN  MUNICIPALITIES  DEMAND  ISRAEL  STOPS  BUILDING  FENCE  IN  BETHLEHEM
Feb. 12, 2016
The National Association of Italian Municipalities has called for the Italian Foreign Minister Paulo Jantelaun to ask the Israeli authorities to stop excavation work and the building of new fence in Bethlehem . . . .
___Italian national TV reported the mayor of the Italian city of Prato Mathieu Pefoni saying in a letter sent to Jantelaun: “I would like to draw your attention towards what is going on in Palestinian Bethlehem. The Israeli authorities are building a new fence and carrying out an excavation campaign.”
___Pefoni said that the fence and new excavations “threaten the natural and cultural heritage of this area.”    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
WHY  HERZOG’S  DIPLOMATIC  PLAN  LOOKS  AN  AWFUL  LOT  LIKE  APARTHEID
Neve Gordon
Feb. 11, 2016
Looking closely at Labor’s plan, the logic behind it becomes clear: since it is difficult to envision a Palestinian state in the foreseeable future, Israel should no longer be ashamed of putting Palestinians in Bantustans.
On Sunday night, Israel’s Labor Party unanimously approved their leader’s diplomatic plan.
Labor’s premier Isaac Herzog laid out his vision . . . that he “wish[es] to separate from as many Palestinians as possible, as quickly as possible.”  More . . .  

“THERE  WAS  A  VILLAGE  CALLED  SIREEN,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

(“A Palestinian village whose feudal owner sold it for a kiss through a pane of glass…”)

Nothing remained of Sireen after the auction
apart from you, little prayer rug,
because a mother slyly stole you
and wrapped up her son who’d been sentenced to cold
and weaning – and later to sorrow and longing.

It’s said there was a village, a very small village,
on the border between sun’s gate and earth.
It’s said that the village was twice sold ―
once for a measure of oil
and once for a kiss through a pane of glass.

The buyers and sellers rejoiced at its sale,
the year the submarine was sunk,
in our twentieth century.

And in Sireen ― the buyers went over the contract ―
were white-washed houses, lovers, and trees,
folk poets, peasants, and children.
(But there was no school ―
and neither tanks
nor prisons.)
The threshing floors, the colour of golden wine,
and the graveyard
were a vault meant for life and death,
and the vault was sold!

People say that there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat along with civilization!

“And the axe is laid at the root of the tree…”
And once again at the root of the tree,
as one dear brother denies another
and existence. Officer of the orbits…
attend, O knight of death,
but don’t give in ―
death is behind us and also before us.
Knight of death, attend,
there is no time to retreat ―
darkness crowds us and now has turned
into a rancid butter,
and the forest too is full,
the serpents of blood have slithered away
and the beaker of our ablution has been
sold to a tourist from California!
There is no time now for ablution.

People say there was a village,
but Sireen became an earthquake,
imprisoned by an amulet
as it turned into a banquet―
in which the virgins’ infants
were cooked in their mothers’ milk
so soldiers and ministers
might eat, along with civilization!

From: Samih al-Qasim. SADDER  THAN  WATER:  NEW  &  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Nazih Kassis. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006. Available from Amazon.
About Samih al-Qasim.