“You bereaved me from the light . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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Entrance to Ofer Prison, between Jerusalem and Ramallah. Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015.


SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
   

ISRAEL  TO  BUILD  650  NEW  SETTLEMENT  UNITS  IN  WEST  BANK
The Israeli government decided on Tuesday to build 650 new settlement units, for the benefit of expanding the illegal Israeli settlement of Beit El, one of the biggest settlements, located in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah.   ___A Hebrew-language news outlet reported that the Israeli government decided to build the 650 new settlement units along with another 296 units, which had been previously approved for Beit El.   ___The Israeli government reportedly justified the illegal Israeli settlement expansion as a “compensation” to Israeli settlers who were removed from their settlement outposts of Olbana in 2012 and Darinov in 2015.   More. . .
AFTER  SLAYING,  ARABS  BLAME  APATHETIC  POLICE  IN  ISRAEL
Rasha Abou Jalal
Protests continue in the Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye in northern Israel, with citizens accusing Israeli police of neglecting their duty to protect citizens there. Demonstrations began Aug. 11 when one or more unidentified assailants killed local businessman Ahmad Athamneh, 40, and wounded another man.     ___Since Athamneh’s shooting, residents demonstrated for the third time Aug. 17 in front of a mosque to protest the prevalence of crime in their city. The protesters demanded that the Israeli police do their job: Arrest the perpetrators and fight violence in the Arab community.    More. . .
CAMPAIGN    FORCES    ISRAEL’S    ZIM    TO    HALT    SHIPMENTS    TO    TUNISIA        Ali Abunimah 
Palestinians are hailing a campaign that has led Israel’s Zim shipping line to halt its routes to Tunisia.   ___“Zim was forced to indefinitely suspend its services to the Tunisian port of Radès following a popular and trade union boycott campaign in Tunisia and the Arab world,” the Palestinian Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions National Committee (BNC) said on Sunday.   ___The BNC is the steering group for the worldwide boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement that aims to pressure Israel to end its violations of Palestinian rights.   ___The BNC called this “the first victory of its kind in the Arab world.”   More. . .
PALESTINIAN  PRISONER  STATISTICS,  JULY  2018.
Total number of political prisoners – 5820. Administrative detainees – 446.  Child prisoners – 270.  More. . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION

SAMIDOUN  SOLIDARITY  STATEMENT  WITH  THE  U.S.  NATIONAL  #PRISONSTRIKE
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network stands in solidarity with the National Prison Strike launching on 21 August in jails across the United States. This important struggle, involving work stoppages, sit-ins, boycotts and even hunger strikes, is a critical confrontation of racism, capitalism and oppression taking place in the center of the U.S. prison system.   ___The dates of the strike are not accidental; instead, they underline the political legacies that have inspired and continue to push forward the movement. August 21 marks the 47th anniversary of the assassination of imprisoned revolutionary and Black Panther George Jackson.  More. . .

NO  POWER,  NO  SUPPLIES,  NO  WAY  OUT:  A  YEAR  WITHOUT  THE  RIGHT  TO  HEALTH  IN  THE  GAZA  STRIP  (Mar 02, 2018)
Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP)
[. . . .] Instead of advancing, medical care and access in the Gaza Strip is moving backwards, against time. Ten years of Israel’s air, land and sea blockade on the Gaza Strip has played a strong hand in this de-development, bottlenecking the entering stream of both material and human resources into a weak trickle.   ___Current best practice may not even be in reach in the Gaza Strip, where the blockade has seen shelves wiped clean of some pharmaceutical drugs and supply cupboards sit empty. Even during periods of easement, goals often only reach as high as restocking, replacing parts of worn out equipment, or rebuilding bombed buildings.   More. . .

IT TOOK ME THREE DECADES TO DRIVE ONE HOUR FROM GAZA TO JERUSALEM     Abier Almasri
Earlier this year, the Israeli army gave me a permit to leave the 11-by-40 kilometer Gaza Strip for the first time in my life and travel to the United States for work. Last month, I left again – this time, to see the rest of Palestine and Israel. The one-hour trip from the Israel-Gaza crossing to Jerusalem felt like a journey to a distant world.   ___I have always dreamed of smelling Jerusalem’s air and hearing the call to prayer ring from its mosques. When the prospect of traveling there was still a distant dream, I told a colleague, “I just hope to have the chance to pray in al-Aqsa Mosque before I die.”    More. . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS   

EYEWITNESS  PALESTINE:  JOURNEYS  FOR  JUSTICE  WITH  PALESTINIAN  AND  ISRAELI  PEACE-BUILDERS
UPCOMING DELEGATIONS
   There’s only one way to truly understand the realities of Palestine/Israel – through the eyes of those who live there. Palestinians and Israelis welcome us into their homes, offices, and places of worship to learn from them about their lives. Are you ready for an unforgettable journey for justice?   More. . .

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL  ASMAR

You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April 1970)

–From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON.  KNOW Books, 1973.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“. . . It’s fine to have an undustful death . . .” (Mourid al-Barghouti)

WASHINGTON  POST, Jan. 17, 2016: The parents of Mohanad Halabi, who killed two Israelis and wounded two more in October, walk through the debris of their home in the West Bank village of Surda after it was demolished by the Israeli army. The 19-year-old was shot dead by police at the scene. (Abbas Momani/ Agence France‑Presse /Getty Images).
WASHINGTON POST, Jan. 17, 2016: The parents of Mohanad Halabi, who killed two Israelis and wounded two more in October, walk through the debris of their home in the West Bank village of Surda after it was demolished by the Israeli army. The 19-year-old was shot dead by police at the scene. (Abbas Momani/ Agence France‑Presse /Getty Images).

THIS  UPRISING  IS  ABOUT  MORE  THAN  KNIVES
❷ Jerusalem municipality carries out demolition of 2 Palestinian homes
. . . . . ❷―(ᴀ) Israeli forces demolish 4 Bedouin homes, leaving 22 homeless
❸ Undercover forces shoot Palestinian, detain 19 in West Bank raids
❹ Academic boycott of Israel takes off in Italy
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ‘AN  ARAB  IS  AN  ARAB’
❻ Poetry by Mourid al-Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
THIS  UPRISING  IS  ABOUT  MORE  THAN  KNIVES
Budour Youssef Hassan
Jan. 29, 2016
When the “intifada of the knives” set off in October last year, Western reporters flooded in to Jerusalem to cover the new “escalation” . . . .
___Inevitably, the journalists left once a massive crackdown significantly reduced the number of deadly attacks against Israelis in the city. It is an all too familiar pattern for Palestinians, who know by now that it’s only “escalation” when there are dead or wounded Israelis. Deaths, injuries, arrests and home demolitions inflicted on Palestinians by Israel are deemed . . . too routine to be considered newsworthy.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
JERUSALEM  MUNICIPALITY  CARRIES  OUT  DEMOLITION  OF  2  PALESTINIAN  HOMES
Feb. 2, 2016
Israeli forces on Tuesday morning demolished two Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem reportedly built without proper permits from the Jerusalem municipality, locals said.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that large numbers of Israeli soldiers and police officers raided the village of Sur Bahir, surrounding a home in the Wadi Abu al-Hummus area of the village and closing off nearby roads before carrying out its demolition.    More . . .
. . . . .―(ᴀ)  MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  4  BEDOUIN  HOMES,  LEAVING  22  HOMELESS
Feb. 1, 2016
Israeli forces demolished four corrugated iron Bedouin homes in the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah on Monday, leaving 22 people homeless, locals said.
___The four homes were located in the Ein Ayub area between the villages of Ras Karkar and Deir Ammar, northwest of Ramallah city.
___Locals said Israeli military vehicles stormed the area from a bypass road near the homes leading to illegal Israeli settlements. . . .
___Locals added that Israeli forces did not give the families enough time to evacuate their belongings before they destroyed the dwellings.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
UNDERCOVER  FORCES  SHOOT  PALESTINIAN,  DETAIN  19  IN  WEST  BANK  RAIDS
Feb. 2, 2016
Undercover Israeli forces shot and injured a young Palestinian man and detained 19 throughout the occupied West Bank during predawn military raids on Tuesday.
___ . . . a squad of six undercover Israeli officers stormed a mobile phone shop in the village of Qabalan near Nablus and confiscated a desktop computer and a tablet.
___During the raid, the forces shot a Palestinian identified as Yousif Shahrour in the foot before detaining him and two others . . . .    More . . .

The prototype of the Oblijet supersonic drone lifts off on its maiden flight under the gaze of ITS TECHNION UNIVERSITY DEVELOPERS. (Photo: REUTERS)
The prototype of the Oblijet supersonic drone lifts off on its maiden flight under the gaze of ITS TECHNION UNIVERSITY DEVELOPERS. (Photo: REUTERS)

THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ACADEMIC  BOYCOTT  OF  ISRAEL  TAKES  OFF  IN  ITALY
Stephanie Westbrook, Rome
Jan. 31 2016
There have been major breakthroughs in Italy for the campaign to boycott Israeli academic institutions.
___More than 200 academics from 50 Italian universities have signed a call for the boycott of Israeli academic institutions until Israel complies with international law.
___This is the first time a significant number of Italian academics have taken a public stand in support of the Palestinian-led campaign of boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS).    More . . .
Related . . .

Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
‘AN  ARAB  IS  AN  ARAB’
Jonathan Ofir
Jan. 31, 2016
“An Arab is an Arab,” said my close acquaintance. . . .
___The sentence might seem neutral at first. And yet it holds a myriad of insinuations, prejudice and ideological supremacy which deserves to be analysed in historical perspective. . . .
___For Israel to be the state of all Jews worldwide, it must reserve their supposedly “ethnic” privilege under a “nationality” which is separate to the citizenship definition. Not doing so would imply that Israel is the state of its citizens. But it is not. It is self declared as the state of the Jews – the Jewish State.     More . . .

“IT’S  ALSO  FINE,”  BY  MOURID  AL-BARGHOUTI
It’s also fine to die in our beds
on a clean pillow
and among our friends.

It’s fine to die, once,
our hands crossed on our chests
empty and pale
with no scratches, no chains, no banners,
and no petitions.

It’s fine to have an undustful death,
no holes in our shirts,
and no evidence in our ribs.

It’s fine to die
with a white pillow, not the pavement, under our cheeks,
our hands resting in those of our loved ones
surrounded by desperate doctors and nurses,
with nothing left but a graceful farewell,
paying no attention to history,
leaving this world as it is,
hoping that, someday, someone else
will change it.
–From PEOPLE  IN  THEIR  NIGHTS, 1999

Online: Contemporary Palestinian Poetry
Mourid al-Barghouti was born in 1944 in the village of Deir Ghassaneh near Ramallah, and lived most of his life in exile. He has a BA in English literature from Cairo University. He worked as a teacher in Kuwait and Cairo, in Budapest as PLO representative and in Cairo as a radio journalist with “Palestine Radio”. He has published 13 collections of poetry, and his collected works. He won the AUC 1997 Naguib Mahfouz Literature Prize for his autobiographical novel Ra’aytu Ramallah (I Saw Ramallah), and in 2000 the Palestine Award for Poetry. He lives in Cairo.   On Facebook
On Wikipedia

‘ . . . “Does this rock have a story?” . . .” (Ghassan Kanafani)

Several large eagles inhabit the Middle East. This is the White-tailed Eagle, a fairly common eagle in Palestine. (Photo: Birding Is Fun Blog.) See short story excerpt below.
Several large eagles inhabit the Middle East. This is the White-tailed Eagle, a fairly common eagle in Palestine. (Photo: Birding Is Fun Blog.) See short story excerpt below.

❶ Palestinian prisoners have the will to persevere in the face of the oppressor
❷ VIEW! Israeli occupation of Hebron
❸ Israeli exports hit hard by Palestinian boycott, World Bank says
❹ Solar power pays off for enterprising Palestinians
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Oslo has become a tool for Israeli expansionism — it’s time to let go
❻ Short story excerpt by Ghassan Kanafani (1936-1972)
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS  HAVE  THE  WILL  TO PERSEVERE  IN  THE  FACE  OF  THE  OPPRESSOR
Dr Fayez Rasheed
Oct. 2, 2015
There are 17 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Altogether, almost 5,000 Palestinians are being held by Israel, including 20 women, 230 children and a number of elderly men. They are all subject to the worst types of cruelty and torture in prison. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Ramallah, 95 per cent of Palestinian prisoners are suffering from a form of torture . . . . Over 1,000 of the Palestinians in Israeli jails are ill; 160 have chronic illnesses, including cancer. Eighty are being held under arbitrary administrative detention, based on a law left over from British Mandate days.
____Israel is still holding 30 “old prisoners”, the term describing those who were imprisoned prior to the Oslo agreement . . . .
More . . .
CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS
VIEW!  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  OF  HEBRON
Oct. 1, 2015
See a week of Israeli occupation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. [Weekly series of photographs from Christian Peacemakers Teams.]
More . . .
ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ISRAELI  EXPORTS  HIT  HARD  BY  PALESTINIAN  BOYCOTT,  WORLD  BANK  SAYS
Maureen Clare Murphy
Oct. 2, 2015
The Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli goods has exacted a major cost on Israel’s exports to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
____This victory is quietly acknowledged in a World Bank report released this week.
____Palestinian imports from Israel dropped by 24 percent during the first quarter of 2015, the report states.
____The World Bank explains that the drop “is the result of reduced economic activity, but also a growing trend among Palestinian consumers to substitute products imported from Israel by those from other countries, as a result of which non-Israeli imports were up 22 percent.”
More . . .
AL-MONITOR (PALESTINE PULSE)
SOLAR  POWER  PAYS  OFF  FOR  ENTERPRISING  PALESTINIANS
Aziza Nofal
October 2, 2015
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Three years ago, Rabia al-Rabi stopped purchasing electricity from the Jerusalem Electricity Company, the official power provider in the city of Ramallah.
____The Palestinian woman actually started selling electricity to the very same company for 800 shekels (about $200) per month after she started a renewable energy generation project at her home.
____Rabi had carefully studied the economic feasibility of the project. Despite the high cost of installing the solar cells, she decided to run the risk and make her house one of the first in Ramallah to generate electricity from solar energy. Solar cells are installed on rooftops. . . .
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
OSLO  HAS  BECOME  A  TOOL  FOR  ISRAELI  EXPANSIONISM — IT’S  TIME  TO  LET  GO
Nathan Hersh
Oct. 3, 2015
(Nathan Hersh served in the Israel Defense Forces from 2009 to 2011. He has an MA in Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University. He was managing director of Partners for Progressive Israel.)
The Oslo Accords are the banner accomplishment of the Israeli peace movement. But their impact on the West Bank is no longer to orchestrate a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces, which they intended to do. Instead, the leadership in Israel has become increasingly populated by settlers and their sympathizers, and it has used the Oslo Accords for its own ideological pursuits.
____The lasting accomplishments of the Oslo Accords—the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C; the cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces and the creation of the Palestinian Authority—have different uses under Netanyahu’s premiership. . . . The Oslo Accords have been manipulated to strengthen the occupation, not dismantle it.
More . . .

(Note: The following departure from poetry is intended to spotlight more of the vast tradition of Palestinian literature. These excerpts will appear with regularity.)

FROM  “SIX  EAGLES  AND  A  CHILD,”  A  SHORT  STORY  BY  GHASSAN  KANAFANI
. . . I put up with all of this grudgingly. . . but the one thing that could really break down all my dignified reserve, was when a peasant would give me a nudge in that old car rocking and hurtling over the rough mountain road. . . then I was expected to take part in the conversation and show interest for the rest of the way.
____“Do you see that rock, professor?” said an old peasant one day, pointing through the window to a tall tapering stone standing on a small hill. . .
____“Yes, in fact I see it three times a week.”
____His fingers remained extended in the direction of the rock and he asked again: “Do you know its story?”
____“Does this rock have a story?” I asked out of curiosity, since even though I knew full well that everything in the villages had a story, I didn’t know that this rock, way out here on this desolate road, had its story too. Nonetheless, my question had a certain grumbling to it, and raising the newspaper in front of my eyes, I began to read it desultorily.
____“It began a long time ago . . .”
____I ignored him and went on reading, certain that the old peasant wasn’t looking at me, but was gazing at the rock as it slowly disappeared from the window’s range of vision.
____“I used to travel this way every other day . . . and always when I passed this rock I would see a grey eagle perched on top of it as if it were some kind of stuffed eagle . . . it was in the morning . . . spreading its enormous wings, it would fly to the top of the rock and then alight quietly. It remained there like that until evening when it would fly off again to return to the mountains . . .”
[ . . . . ]
____“Love . . . love does that to everyone . . . .”
[ . . . . ]

Kanafani, Ghassan. PALESTINE’S  CHILDREN:  RETURNING  TO  HAIFA  AND  OTHER  STORIES. Trans. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley. Boulder, CO: Lynne Riener, 2000.
Available from Amazon.
About Ghassan Kanafani
(From the introduction to the collection: “There is, in addition, a certain dissonance in Kanafani’s imagery that serves to highlight no only the violence of 1948, but also its brutal abruptness and the powerlessness felt by the Palestinians in the face of it” (Riley and Harlow)).

A Palestinian laborer installs solar panels at a photovoltaic plant in the West Bank city of Jericho, March 27, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
A Palestinian laborer installs solar panels at a photovoltaic plant in the West Bank city of Jericho, March 27, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)