“. . . the shedding of blood cleanses nothing . . .” (Aftab Yusuf Shaikh)

PCF-WAFA
Palestine Circus Festival, Ramallah. (Photo courtesy Circus School)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

PALESTINE  CIRCUS  FESTIVAL’S  ‘UNITED  FOR  FREEDOM’  OPENS  IN  RAMALLAH
The second edition of the PALESTINE CIRCUS FESTIVAL, entitled “United for Freedom,” opened over the weekend in the central West Bank district of Ramallah, with the participation of about 200 local and international artists.    ___Palestinian officials, a representative of the European Union, representatives of international and local cultural and artistic organizations . . .   watched the opening ceremony, the Carnival and XY company show, held at the Istiklal Park.    ___The European Union Head of Cooperation, Alessandra Viezzer, said “Circus has long been a strong tool for self-expression, entertainment and storytelling around the world. It brings all people together, whether young or old. In Palestine, the EU is proud of being one of the main supporters of the Palestine Circus: the first to exploit the great potential of Palestinian youngsters in artistic productions.”   More . . .
PALESTINE:  1ST  ARAB  COUNTRY  TO  JOIN  INTERNATIONAL  CITY  ASSOCIATION
The Association of Palestinian Local Authorities (APLA) signed a partnership and cooperation agreement, on Saturday, with the International City Management Association (ICMA) to be the first Arab association to join the organization.    ___According to a press statement, Abdullah Anati of APLA and Mark Otte of ICMA, signed the partnership and cooperation agreement on the sidelines of the annual ICMA conference held in Baltimore, Maryland, in the United States.    ___The agreement stated that the two associations will be committed to strengthening the relationship and partnership between them through specific activities, such as participating in the annual conferences of each association, hosting representatives and speakers from each association during the annual conferences . . .   More . . .
PERCENTAGE  OF  ELDERLY  IS  LOW  IN  PALESTINE,  SAYS  STATISTICS  BUREAU  The Palestinian society is considered a young society where the percentage of young  people is high and the percentage of the elderly is relatively low, said the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on Sunday on the occasion of the World Elderly Day.    ___In 2017, the number of the elderly aged 60 and above reached 233,269 persons (5.0%), (152,443 persons  (5.4%) in the West Bank and 80,826 persons (4.3%) in Gaza Strip).     __PCBS said even though, the percentage of the elderly will be increasing during the coming years in Palestine, but their percentage will stay relatively low . . .     ___Palestine witnessed improvement in life expectancy . . .  Life expectancy has increased about 6-8 years during the last two decades.    More . . .

circus_081211-269_0
Palestinian Circus School. (Photo: MIDDLE EAST REVISED, 2014)

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

WHAT  VOX  GETS  WRONG  WITH  ITS  “11  BIGGEST  MYTHS  ABOUT  ISRAEL-PALESTINE”
Jeremy R. Hammond
I’ve written an article titled “Top Ten Myths about the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” . . .  so when I learned that Vox has a feature called “The 11 biggest myths about Israel-Palestine”, I naturally took an interest. Unfortunately, while Vox gets some things right, what it gets wrong it gets badly wrong.  So, to set the record straight, here’s a quick examination of each of Vox’s eleven supposed myths and corrective for its egregious misinformation.   ___“Myth #1: The conflict is too complex to possibly understand”   Although I don’t include it on my own list of myths, I agree this is indeed false. In fact, I’ve written an article titled “The Simplicity of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict” that starts with, “There is a general perception that the reason the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has continued for so long is because it is extremely complex. Nothing could be further from the truth.     More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

BRIGHT  STARS  OF  BETHLEHEM:  “Room  for  Hope,”  (Dallas,  Austin,  Houston,  Texas,  USA),  Oct.  5-7,  2018.    It’s finally here! Bright Stars is coming to Texas for a multi-city festival of Palestinian culture.  After postponing last year’s festival due to Hurricane Harvey, we are thrilled to be in Texas this fall.   Information . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“JERUSALEM,”  BY  AFTAB  YUSUF  SHAIKH
If this city were a woman,
She must have earned a bad name by now,
For the number of swords unsheathed,
For the cauldrons of blood shed,
For the haunting silence that rings in wombs,
For the innocent childhoods weeded,

But, No!
This is a city, and a holy one!
Holy for whom? The ones who heap
unholiness on it.

O children of Abraham!
You are not pagans or witches,
You must remember very sharply,
That the shedding of blood cleanses nothing,
And nothing cleanses the shedding of blood,

Man remembers the Promises of God,
But very casually forgets
The Promise God took from him.

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.   

“. . . our days of sacrifice have arrived; they shine, radiant. . .” (‘Abd Al-Raheem Mahmoud)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . .  

IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  IN  [JERUSALEM]
Israeli bulldozers demolished two Palestinian homes in the Anata village in northeastern the central occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, on Tuesday evening.    ___Local witnesses told Ma’an that a large number of Israeli forces stormed the village escorting staff members from the Jerusalem Municipality and several bulldozers, and surrounded the neighborhood in which the two homes are located. [. . . .] . . .both of the demolished homes were built long before the Israeli occupation of Jerusalem.  [. . . .] More . . .
IN  VIDEO  –  ISRAELI  FORCES  BEGIN  DEMOLITION  CAMPAIGN  IN  AL-WALAJA  [between  Jerusalem and Bethlehem]    More . . .
ISRAEL  TO  DEMOLISH  189  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  IN  [Bethlehem]   More . . .

ISRAELI  HIGH  COURT  RULES  TO  DEMOLISH  KHAN  AL-AHMAR  COMMUNITY        The Israeli High Court gave on Wednesday the green light to the Israeli military to demolish the Palestinian village of Khan al-Ahmar, located east of Jerusalem, paving the way for removing it, displacing its 180 residents and replacing it by a Jewish settlement.    ___According to Walid Assaf, head of the anti-wall, anti-settlement commission in the Palestinian Authority, the court gave the army one week to remove the village and said that its residents will not be allowed to return to it and live there again.   More . . .

US  AMBASSADOR:  JERUSALEM  MADE  ISRAEL’S  CAPITAL  ‘UNDER  GOD’S  DIRECTION’  3,000  YEARS  AGO
US Ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, has praised President Donald Trump’s administration for putting US-Israeli relations on “more solid [ground] than ever before”, reported the Jerusalem Post.   ___Speaking at a pre-Rosh Hashanah reception in his Herzliya residence, Friedman singled out for praise the US decision to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.   ___“Now, the United States did not make Jerusalem the capital of Israel. That was done by King David some 3,000 years ago under God’s direction,” Friedman declared.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

WHEN  IDEOLOGY  LEADS  TO  DESTRUCTION:  HOME  DEMOLITIONS  IN  EAST  JERUSALEM
Home demolitions that target the Arab population of East Jerusalem is an issue that deserves attention and further exposure, as it is often overlooked in Israeli-Palestinian peace talks and ignored by the international community. While several key organizations within Israel are working hard to expose the unjust policies behind many of the demolitions of Arab homes, there is very little that civil society is actually able to achieve. In fact, driven by an ideological motive, the Israeli authorities have developed strategies to preserve the Jewish population’s demographic and geographic advantage over the Palestinians, thus protecting the interests and stability of the Jewish state. There is much to consider when analyzing this topic: the motivations and mechanisms used by the Israeli authorities to carry out home demolitions, the effects of such policies on the Palestinian population and the international community’s response.
Dimova, Nicoletta. “When Ideology Leads to Destruction: Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 15, no. 3, Sept. 2008, pp. 92-98.  (NOTE: this article is not yet available online but may be accessed through any EBSCO database.)

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

BRIGHT  STARS  OF  BETHLEHEM  PRESENTS  THE  JERUSALEM  CONFERENCE,  HOUSTON,  TX    Featuring Rev. Jim Winkler, President of National Council of Churches, Rev. Dr. Mae Cannon of Churches for Middle East Peace, Sojourners’ Founder and President Jim Wallis, and Bright Stars of Bethlehem President, Rev. Dr. Mitri Raheb.  As part of the Room for Hope festival, The Jerusalem Conference is a one-day conference on THURSDAY, OCTOBER 11 that brings together scholars, ecumenical theologians, and peace-doers around the topic    Register . . .

PLAYGROUNDS  FOR  PALESTINE  ANNUAL  GALA          SATURDAY,  SEPTEMBER  22,  2018  |  5PM  –  9PM  | Bodek  Lounge  |  Houston  Hall  |  University  of  Pennsylvania  |  PHILADELPHIA      Tickets  .  .  .

“CALL  OF  THE  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  ‘ABD  AL-RAHEEM  MAHMOUD  (1913-1948)
The slain motherland called for our struggle
and my heart leapt with joy.
I raced the winds, but did not boast.
Isn’t it my simple duty to redeem my country?
I carried my soul in my hands asking
any who feared death: do you hesitate
before the enemy?
Would you sit still when your country begs for your help?
Would you back away from facing the enemy?
If so, then go hide in your mother’s bedroom!
May your hesitation humiliate you!
The motherland needs mighty defenders
who meet aggression
but never complain;
true lions on the battlefield.

People of my country, our days of sacrifice have arrived;
they shine, radiant, across the hills of this holy land.
Redeemed by our young men too proud
to endure oppression,
what can we do but fight bravely
when the fire’s kindled?
March on, to the field! Pour fire
on the heads of the enemy everywhere.
Nothing’s humbler that a people who shun the fight
when their country calls for it.

Neighbors, brethren, arise from your sleep!
How can you sleep through this oppression?
Never stop even if the sky should grow dark.
Never retreat even if the sandstorms flare up behind you!
Don’t give up even if the world should face you
with weapons from every direction
unite, unite everywhere!
If Palestine should be lost while you still live,
I’ll say: our people have
abandoned the path.
――Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye. From 
ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi.  1992. 

 

RIGHT OF RETURN JEOPARDIZED BY TRUMP

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . .

US  TO  ANNOUNCE  REJECTION  OF  PALESTINIAN  RIGHT  OF  RETURN      The United States Donald Trump administration will announce a suspension of funding to the United Nations Relief and Work Agency for Palestinian refugees (UNRWA) and the rejection of the right of return for Palestinian refugees.   ___According to Hebrew-language news outlets, the US administration is expected to announce its new policy early September, which would effectively cancel the right of return for Palestinians through several steps.  More. . .   Related. . .   Related. . .
VIDEO:  GAZA  MOURNS  CULTURAL  CENTER  DESTROYED  BY  ISRAEL      More. . .
KHREISHA  CALLS  FOR  EXPANDING  GREAT  MARCH  OF  RETURN  PROTESTS        Deputy speaker of the Palestinian Legislative Council Hasan Khreisha on Sunday called for expanding the Great March of Return protests to include the occupied West Bank.   ___In an interview with the PIC, Khreisha asked the Palestinian Authority president Mahmoud Abbas to lift the sanctions imposed on Gaza and treat the Palestinians living in the West Bank and Gaza Strip equally.   ___Khreisha called on the Palestinian Authority to boycott meetings with US officials and stop normalization and negotiations with the Israeli side as a protest step against the “Deal of the Century”.    ___The Great March of Return was launched in Gaza on 30th March with five major camps set up along Gaza’s border with the 1948 occupied Palestinian territories.    More. . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . . 

ISRAEL,  THE  OCCUPATION  IS  AT  THE  CORE  OF  WHO  YOU  ARE          Nadav Bigelman      If Jewish leaders and activists are going to speak up against Israel’s recent anti-democratic trends, they cannot remain silent on what has been corrupting its democracy for decades.    More. . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

US Campaign for Palestinian Rights. “TOGETHER  WE  RISE.”  NATIONAL  CONFERENCE  in the Twin Cities, MN on September 28-30, 2018. Together We Rise will be a space for people to connect with and learn from others working in support of Palestinian rights.   More. . .
Bright Stars of Bethlehem.   ROOM  FOR  HOPE  TEXAS  FESTIVAL.  OCTOBER 5-13. It’s finally here! Bright Stars is coming to Texas for a multi-city festival of Palestinian culture. After postponing last year’s festival due to Hurricane Katrina, we are thrilled to be in Texas this fall.   More. . .