“. . . men are pained by long memories . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

IMG_3195 - Copy
Palestinian orchards seen from Tent of Nations farm near Bethlehem. Photo, Harold Knight, November 6, 2015.

[Note: Please see the page “Other Sources” for a list of the sources used that are not specifically “news” sites, the location of many of the opinion pieces here.] 

SELECTED  NEWS  OF  THE  DAY 

ISRAEL  REJECTS  UN  PROPOSALS  TO  PROTECT  PALESTINIANS   Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations, Danny Danon, condemned the UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ report on improving Palestinian protection in the occupied territories.   ___Danny Danon spoke on behalf of Israel and announced Israel’s rejection of the report presented by Guterres on Friday.   More.
ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  FIRE  AT  GAZA  FLOTILLA     Israeli naval forces opened fire at dozens of Gaza flotilla boats that set sail on Saturday from the besieged Gaza Strip port in attempt to break the maritime blockade imposed by Israel.   ___According to local sources, Israeli naval forces opened fire a while after five boats of the Gaza flotilla set sail towards the northern borders of Gaza to break the nearly 12-year siege.   More.
ISRAEL  ARRESTS  PALESTINIAN  JOURNALIST  FOR  FILMING  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS     A Palestinian journalist has been arrested by Israeli authorities for filming soldiers operating in the West Bank city of Ramallah on Facebook Live. They claim he was inciting violence against Israel and the army.   ___Ali Dar Ali live-streamed two videos on Facebook on Tuesday morning, which showed Israeli soldiers . . . drawing up a plan of a Palestinian home, a procedure typically done before demolishing a building, according to Gaza-based journalist Hind Khoudary.   More.
IRISH  TOWN  TO  TWIN  WITH  BEIT  SAHOUR  A town in Ireland has completed the first step towards twinning with Beit Sahour in the occupied West Bank.   ___Kerry County Council has passed unopposed a motion to link Tralee, in County Kerry, with the Palestinian municipality.   ___Councilor Pa Daly of the Sinn Fein political party, who proposed the motion, said that he had the idea of twinning with a Palestinian town after the killing of more than 60 Palestinians by Israeli occupation forces on Nakba Day.  More.

COMMENTARY  AND  OPINION

‘FARMER  TERRORISM’  IS  THE  NEW  SLOGAN  FOR  JEWISH  SETTLERS
Ramona Wadi
In less than three months, Jewish settlers have destroyed over 2,000 trees and grapevines in the occupied West Bank. Rights group B’Tselem has issued a detailed report on this destruction, including testimony from Palestinian farmers. Bales of hay and barley fields were also destroyed. The destruction wrought by Israel’s settler-colonists equates Palestinian agriculture to terrorism; slogans sprayed on Palestinian property following the destruction included “No to farmer terrorism”.   ___The personal testimonies show that Israel has once again refused to act in order to deter settler violence against Palestinians and their land.  More.

JEWISH  NATION-STATE  LAW:  WHY  ISRAEL  WAS  NEVER  A  DEMOCRACY
Ramzy Baroud 
The head of the Arab Joint List Alliance at the Israeli Knesset, Aymen Odeh, described the passing of the racist Jewish Nation-state Law as “the death of our democracy.”    ___Did Odeh truly believe that, prior to this law, he had lived in a true democracy? 70 years of Israeli Jewish supremacy, genocide, ethnic cleansing, wars, sieges, mass incarceration, numerous discriminatory laws, all aimed at the very destruction of the Palestinian people should have given enough clues that Israel was never a democracy, to begin with.   ___The Jewish Nation-state Law is merely the icing on the cake. It simply gave those who argued, all along, that Israel’s attempt at combining democracy with ethnic supremacy was racism masquerading as democracy, the munition they needed to further illustrate the point.   More.

WHY  WE  CONTINUE  TO  MARCH  IN  GAZA
Abdalrahim Alfarra
I was sitting behind my desk in my family’s supermarket in Khan Younis on 14 May when my cousin Ali approached.     ___There was going to be another gathering in al-Faraheen for that day’s Great March of Return protest, he said. Would I join him?  [Abdalrahim continues with an account of his cousin’s shooting by Israeli soldiers.]
___For Ali and myself, the Great March of Return was a dream. Here we were, Palestinians, together, all calling for the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands from where they were expelled by Zionist forces in 1948. All of us, together, were demanding the lifting of Israel’s blockade on Gaza, now in its 11th year. We were united against the US embassy move to Jerusalem.   ___I was most motivated by the need for the rest of the world to see the protests from a Gazan perspective. There aren’t enough activists here who can tell our story in English to people abroad and reveal how Israel’s terror and inhumanity impact our lives.  More.

“SAND  AND  TEARS,”  by  Ramzy  Baroud
No water here, no humanity either;
only footprints our mothers made
crossing the Sahel into Gaza where
men are pained by long memories,
and women plot their return to die.

Wind, weeping all night, made my
eyes dry, yet when I saw yours
I remembered my name, and I was
determined to reach out for
the moon and ride her back to the

Beginning of our dreams, my hand
trembling in your firm grasp,
above the last dune where my
desert abruptly ends
and yours maps out a continent.
— For a refugee from Mali

—From I Remember My Name, Novum Pro Books, 2016.

“. . . the light of day will dawn, And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Israel’s collective punishment policy: Entire family in prison, whole village under siege

  • Background: “There Will Not Be a Stable Peace without Justice and Accountability. An interview with human rights lawyer Eitay Mack.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Army Offers Conditions for Removal of Hebron Restrictions
❸ 16 Palestinians kidnapped in abduction sweep by Israeli forces
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAEL’S  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY:  ENTIRE  FAMILY  IN  PRISON,  WHOLE  VILLAGE  UNDER  SIEGE   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Ihab Rimawi
August 14, 2017.   The family home of  OMAR EL-ABED in the Ramallah area village of Kobar stood at empty of people and furniture.
___Omar el-Abed is the 19-year-old Palestinian from Kobar who on July 21 sneaked into the illegal settlement of Halamish, not far from his West Bank village, to avenge earlier Israeli police killing of three young Palestinians during pro-Aqsa protests in East Jerusalem and stabbed to death three Israeli settlers. He was shot, wounded and arrested.
[. . . .] Army units raid their village and home almost every day in a way to punish not only the entire el-Abed family, but the whole village of 6000 young and old people.
[. . . .] The mother, Ibtisam, was arrested . . . .  along with her husband, Abdul Jalil, and two of her sons: Khaled, the eldest who works as driver of a company van, who was arrested while waiting for his wife to give birth at Ramallah hospital, and Munir, a senior at Birzeit University studying finance . . . .
___A handicapped brother and sister were the only two members of el-Abed family the army has so far spared. Yet, they were left with no one to take care of them after the arrest of their entire family.    MORE . . .

“THERE  WILL  NOT  BE  A  STABLE  PEACE  WITHOUT  JUSTICE  AND  ACCOUNTABILITY.  An interview with human rights lawyer Eitay Mack.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 21, no. 3, Jan. 2016, pp. 114-125.
[. . . .]  Are there two types of Israelis in the courts, human rights activists and settlers? What are the chances a settler will be indicted? The way the system operates is that every crime committed against a Palestinian by an Israeli, in Israel and the Occupied Territories, is first considered as a regular, criminal offense unless proven to be a hate or terror crime. When the victim is a Jew, and this applies also in Israel, and the perpetrator is Palestinian, the first option is usually that it was a security offense, a terror offense. If a settler attacks a human rights activist or a Palestinian it depends on the preliminary classification of the complaint. . . . I think they try to minimize the offenses made by Jews against Palestinians . . .
___Do Palestinians immediately have access to lawyers upon arrest or is that also problematic? It’s a big problem. In the criminal situation it’s easier for them to get a lawyer because the family can reach out to a human rights organization. In most cases, people do get a lawyer, whether from the organization, by themselves, or through the court. With victims of Jewish terror or hate crimes, and victims of the violence of the soldiers, with all the NGOs – B ‘Tselem, Yesh Din, etc. – the numbers of victims is so high that there is a large area of the West Bank that is not receiving a proper defense.
___Since last October, there was a big increase in collective punishment and the limitation of freedom of movement.
. .  I realized how many people were being harassed and not filing. . .
___The military has also blocked the entrance to many villages. When Israel left the northwestern part of the West Bank, they left areas without settlements- a bubble of Palestine. Yet, the army enters there . . .  the soldiers just come and go and they continue with their lives. There is no destabilization, thus they see this as the best way for them to survive their situation.   SOURCE . . .

❷ ARMY  OFFERS  CONDITIONS  FOR  REMOVAL  OF  HEBRON  RESTRICTIONS
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 14, 2017.   Israeli forces, on Sunday, informed locals from three Hebron neighborhoods that they would remove the security restrictions if they “behave”, via leaflets distributed in the area.
___Conditions, according to the leaflets, will depend on “the population’s non-interference in terrorist operations and stone and Molotov throwing incidents.”   MORE . . .
❸ 16  PALESTINIANS  KIDNAPPED  IN  ABDUCTION  SWEEP  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES
The Palestinian Information Center
August 14, 2017.   At least 16 Palestinians were kidnapped by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in abduction sweeps rocking West Bank provinces at daybreak Monday.
___The Israeli army claimed that weapons and ammunition were spotted in al-Khalil’s southern town of Yatta and in Beit Sahour, east of Bethlehem.
___The Palestinian young man Khaled Sabah was kidnapped by the Israeli soldiers from his family home in Deir Abu Mishaal village, west of Ramallah, before he was dragged to an unknown destination.
___The IOF also stormed al-Jalazoun refugee camp, north of Ramallah, and ravaged Palestinian homes and shops.  Clashes flared up in the area, where the occupation soldiers attacked Palestinian protesters with live rounds and sound bombs.   MORE . . .

“LETTER FROM A PRISON CAMP,” BY SAMĪH AL-QĀSIM
Mother, it grieves me,
That because of me, throughout your night of agony,
You shed silent tears, anxiously awaiting the return
Of my beloved brothers from their chores;
That you are not able to eat
While my seat remains empty, and there is no talk or laughter.
How it pains me, Mother,
That tears rush to your eyes
When friends drop by to ask about me.
But I believe, Mother,
That the splendor of life
Is being born within the walls of my prison,
And I believe that the last of my visitors
Will not be an eyeless bat, coming to me by night.
Surely, the light of day will dawn,
And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled.
He will fall to the ground . . . broken,
Shattered, burnt by daylight.
Translated by A. M. Elmesseri

Samīh al-Qāsim (1939-2014)
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.

“. . . But it became a black city . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Bethlehem blockade
Road closure, Bethlehem, May 11, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ 2 Palestinians killed, 44 injured over the past week
❷ Israeli forces close entrances to Bethlehem-area towns after shooting near Israeli settlement

  • background from International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies

❸ Israeli forces detain 4, including Oscar-nominated filmmaker and journalist, in Bilin protest
❹ BLOG: Reflections From Palestine
❺ POETRY by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ 2  PALESTINIANS  KILLED,  44  INJURED  OVER  THE  PAST  WEEK
The Palestinian Information Center
July 22, 2016
United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said in a new report issued Friday that two Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire over the past week while 44 others were injured including 13 children. . . .  from different parts of occupied Palestinian territories.
[. . . . ] 22 Palestinian-owned houses were either demolished or closed since the beginning of the year as part of Israeli punitive measures, leaving 110 persons homeless. Israeli authorities also demolished 23 homes for being allegedly built without permit in Israeli-controlled Area C, displacing 43 persons including 25 children.     MORE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  CLOSE  ENTRANCES  TO  BETHLEHEM-AREA  TOWNS  AFTER  SHOOTING  NEAR  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENT
Ma’an News Agency
July 22, 2016
Israeli forces Friday closed several entrances to villages and towns in the eastern and southeastern parts of the occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem with large cement blocks, according to a Ma’an reporter, following a shooting on an Israeli settler’s car Thursday night.
___Israeli forces set up several checkpoints in the surrounding villages and towns in the district, including one at the entrance of the town of Beit Sahour and the entrances to villages in the eastern countryside of Bethlehem, causing heavy traffic, according to the local Ma’an reporter.
Israeli forces also closed the entrance to the town of Janata, two roads leading to the town of Zaatara, and the villages of al-Khas and Marah Rabah in southeastern Bethlehem.  MORE . . .   

From International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies
The essence of the Israeli–Palestinian conflict has never been religious. The conflict is not between Muslims and Jews, as some tend to believe. It is not even a dispute over a territory. It is a protest against a post-modern colonialist project of creating an exclusive national entity for the Jewish people by eliminating and replacing the existence of Palestine. Many Israelis do not share this perception and believe that they need to have their national home and to build a Jewish and democratic state as a response to a long history of persecution and oppression particularly in Europe.
[. . . .]
The lack of visionary Israeli leadership, the destructive and racist policy of the current Netanyahu government and the lack of Palestinian national unity, resulting from the wide split between the PNA led by Fatah and Hamas, all these factors make the situation more gloomy. While Israelis are not ready yet voluntarily to relinquish supremacy, control and domination, Palestinians are determined not to give up on their legitimate rights for a decent and dignified life and for an independent and viable Palestinian state after a century of suffering and pain. Israelis as a collective national entity, for their own sake as well, must confront the wisdom of their pathological and lengthy use of dissociation and denial as effective defense mechanisms to cover up their unconscious guilt and shame and to prevent them from taking responsibility for the suffering of Palestinians, mostly endured by them.

  • JARRAR, ADIB. “Palestinian Suffering: Some Personal, Historical, And Psychoanalytic Reflections.” International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 7.3 (2010): 197-208.       SOURCE   

❸ ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  4,  INCLUDING  OSCAR-NOMINATED  FILMMAKER  AND  JOURNALIST,  IN  BILIN  PROTEST
Ma’an News Agency
July 22, 2016
Israeli forces detained four people, including a journalist and Oscar-nominated filmmaker, as soldiers dispersed weekly protests in the village of Bilin in the Ramallah district of the occupied West Bank on Friday.
___Israeli forces detained Iranian television reporter Khalid Sabarnah, the head of the local council Basil Mansur, activist Ashraf Abu Rahma, and filmmaker Emad Burnat, the Oscar-nominated director of the documentary film “5 Broken Cameras”, a film showing Burnat’s first-hand account of the protests in Bilin that began 11 years ago in response to the illegal expansion of nearby Israeli settlements, and the construction of Israel’s separation wall which separates Bilin residents from their privately owned lands.  MORE . . .

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Dozens of soldiers attacked, Friday, July 22, 2016, the weekly nonviolent protest in Bil’in village (Photo: IMEMC)

REFLECTIONS  FROM  PALESTINE,  BY  SAMIA  KHOURY  

“STORY OF A CITY,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM

There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
around and spending their money
day after day.

But it became a black city
despising strangers
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés . . . .

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  NEW  AND  SELECTED  POEMS.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008.    Available from Amazon
Samih Al-Qasim. Obituary, August 20, 2014

“. . . . Return is more than a reclamation of the land stolen by an enemy . . .” (Jabra Ibrahim Jabra)

Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City: ruins of abandoned Ottoman era churches. (Photo: MEMO/Mohammed Asad)
Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City: ruins of abandoned Ottoman era churches. (Photo: MEMO/Mohammed Asad)

❶ Unearthing Gaza’s history
❷ Qalandiya International 2016 Edition to Explore Subject of Return
❸ Israeli forces raid, destroy property at al-Quds University
. . . . . ❸―(ᴀ) Video: Israel demolishes every home in West Bank Bedouin village
❹ IOF demolish municipal slaughterhouse, east of Bethlehem
❺ Opinion/Analysis: BEFORE  ZIONISM:  THE  SHARED  LIFE  OF  JEWS  AND  PALESTINIANS
❻ From an essay by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
UNEARTHING  GAZA’S  HISTORY
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
April 2016
Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City has been the focus of excavation works by the Ministry of Endowments to unearth ruins dating back to the Byzantine era. The 1,500 year old remains include crowns, columns and a cross, which indicates there may have been a church on the site, Director of Museums and Antiquities at the Ministry of Tourism Hiam Al-Bitar told MEMO.
___It is expected that the city centre may have contained many churches from the Byzantine era.      MORE . . .

QALANDIYA  INTERNATIONAL  2016  EDITION  TO  EXPLORE  SUBJECT  OF  RETURN
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Qalandiya International’s executive council announced that the third edition of its collaborative artistic program will be launched between the 5th and the 30th of October 2016 and will be built around the theme of return. . . .
___ . . . the over-riding aim of the festival this year is to open up an in-depth discussion around the important subject of Palestinian return – particularly in the context of the terrible events currently unfolding in the region.
___This is a period in which the Nakba’s repercussions are revealed as harsher as and more devastating than ever before.     MORE . . .  

ISRAELI  FORCES  RAID,  DESTROY  PROPERTY  AT  AL-QUDS  UNIVERSITY
Ma’an News Agency
April 5, 2016
Israeli forces stormed the campus of al-Quds University in the occupied West Bank village of Abu Dis east of Jerusalem’s Old City early on Tuesday morning, damaging property, local sources told Ma’an.
___Israeli troops raided the university campus at 3 a.m. and left at 5 a.m. For two hours, the soldiers locked campus security guards in one room after breaking their walkie-talkies.
___The soldiers then ransacked a building hosting the Dean of Students . . . .   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸―(ᴀ)  VIDEO:  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  EVERY  HOME  IN  WEST  BANK  BEDOUIN  VILLAGE
Mondoweiss
Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi
April 4, 2016
Israeli forces have demolished every home in the Bedouin village of Khirbet Taha in the northern West Bank district of Nablus during three separate demolitions since the start of the year.
___Unlike most Bedouin villages, the residents in Khirbet Taha own their own land. However that land falls in Area C, territory in the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control.     MORE . . .  

IOF  DEMOLISH  MUNICIPAL  SLAUGHTERHOUSE,  EAST  OF  BETHLEHEM
Palestine News Network – PNN
April 5, 2016
Israeli Occupation bulldozers on Tuesday morning tore down the municipal slaughterhouse in Beit Sahour town east of Bethlehem, claiming it has no building permit.
___Eyewitnesses told PNN that an intense number of troops broke into the town and demolished the slaughterhouse that’s property of the town municipality, preventing locals from approaching the area.
___The demolition comes as part of a wave of demolitions which IOF embarked months ago.      MORE . . .

The old church in Kafr Bir’im. The Palestinian villagers were expelled from their homes two years after the founding of the State of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)
The old church in Kafr Bir’im. The Palestinian villagers were expelled from their homes two years after the founding of the State of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Opinion/Analysis:   BEFORE  ZIONISM:  THE  SHARED  LIFE  OF  JEWS  AND  PALESTINIANS
+972 Magazine Blog
April 4, 2016
Noam Rote
Menachem Klein’s book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, is a depressing one. Originally released in English, the book — which is being published in Hebrew  — paints a picture of a shared life between Palestinians and Jews at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, bringing us face-to-face with daily life, commerce, education, celebrations, and sadness. It shows that us this kind existence, despite everything we were taught by the Israeli education system, is possible. And then Klein goes on and destroys this delicate balance, burning everything that is left of it today.      MORE . . .

From “JERUSALEM, TIME EMBODIED,” BY JABRA IBRAHIM JABRA (1919–1994)

The city of Jerusalem is not just a place; it is also a time. One cannot understand it only in its limited physical boundaries. It must be seen in its historical perspective, as if it were history itself. As if an observer might grasp the history of four thousand years in a single glance.

In this city, history lives. Every stone pronounces it. This history is full of contradictions, full of disasters, but it is also the story of a city for which all of humanity has yearned. Because it has never been, not for one day, merely a city composed of stone and dirt, business and politics. It has always been a city of dreams and longing, and of the human spirit’s gaze toward God.  [. . . . ]

When an enemy comes and crushes sidewalks with armored cars, when he blows up houses with everyone in them, when he tears family and friends up from their roots, when he casts a boy—now a young man—across valleys and deserts, from one road to another, from one home to another, is this not a brazen attempt to sever Self from Self?

From this experience comes every Palestinian’s feeling that he must return. Return is more than a reclamation of the land stolen by an enemy. It is winning back that part of the Self that had been taken, and returning it to itself so it can be whole again.

From: Jabra Ibrahim Jabra. THE  EIGHTH  JOURNEY.  Beirut: Modern Library (al-Maktaba al-‘Asriya) Press, 1967 (collection of literary and social criticism). Republished by ARAB  STUDIES  JOURNAL (January 26, 2015). Web.
About JABRA IBRAHIM JABRA (1919–1994)
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