“. . . How is the message to reach you, Deaf Washington . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

[NOTE: This post contains more about the U.S. than usual, but the President’s appointment is a dangerous sign for U.S.-Palestinian relations in general.]

❶ Israeli forces attack olive harvesters, supporters in village near Nablus
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian olive harvest season disrupted by Israeli settler violence – report
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) From Whom Is the IDF Protecting Palestinian Farmers?

  • Background: “Academic Freedom, Ideological Boundaries, and the Teaching of the Middle East [In the United States].” Arab Studies Quarterly.

❷ Trump taps head of anti-Palestinian group as top civil rights enforcer
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Over 100 faculty oppose nomination of Kenneth Marcus to head Office for Civil Rights at the Department of Education
❸ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  ATTACK  OLIVE  HARVESTERS,  SUPPORTERS  IN  VILLAGE  NEAR  NABLUS 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Oct. 28, 2017 – Israeli forces attacked on Saturday Palestinian farmers and supporters as they harvesting olives in the Nablus area village of al-Sawiyeh, according to Ghassan Daghlas, a local official.
___He told WAFA that the soldiers assaulted a Palestinian woman volunteer and an international solidarity member as they helping the farmers harvest olives in village land located near the settlement of Eli, south of Nablus.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶  ― (ᴀ) PALESTINIAN  OLIVE  HARVEST  SEASON  DISRUPTED  BY  ISRAELI  SETTLER  VIOLENCE – REPORT  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 28, 2017 ― Olive harvest in the period between 10 to 23 October in a number of hotspots across the West Bank was disrupted by Israeli settler violence, which resulted in the physical assault and injury of two farmers, damage to 550 trees, and the theft of several tons of produce, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of  Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) in the occupied Palestinian territories said on Friday.
___In its biweekly report on Protection of Civilians in the occupied territories, OCHA said all but one of the nine documented incidents of settler violence against Palestinian olive harvesters took place in areas in the vicinity of settlements, where Palestinian access is restricted by the Israeli authorities.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) FROM  WHOM  IS  THE  IDF  PROTECTING  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS?
+972 Magazine (Blog)
By Yael Marom
Oct. 25, 2017 ― The Israeli military wants you to believe that it alone is responsible for  ensuring that Palestinians can harvest their olive trees in peace. A new video, published on the Facebook page of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) . . .  shows how COGAT, in its words, is “ensuring that Palestinian residents can harvest until the last olive this harvest season in Hebron.”
___The video shows a farmer from Hebron who describes how secure he feels while harvesting his 90 olive trees because of the Israeli soldiers sent by COGAT to protect him. According to Hebron District Coordination Liaison Safa Izz al-Din, the harvest season “continues without problems.”
___COGAT officials may be carrying out their respective roles, coordinating between farmers and security forces in order to allow them to work their land, but . . . Why do Palestinian farmers need protection in the first place? And from whom?    MORE . . .

Ismael, Tareq.
“ACADEMIC FREEDOM, IDEOLOGICAL BOUNDARIES, AND THE TEACHING OF THE MIDDLE EAST [In the United States].”
ARAB STUDIES QUARTERLY, vol. 33, no. 3/4, Summer/Fall2011, pp. 125-130.
[. . . .] Attacks on [U.S.] scholars engaged in research on the Middle East are extensive and unrelenting. In ideological terms, the field of Middle East Studies has been labeled a failure . . .  and its preeminent [U. S.] organization, the Middle East Studies Association (MESA), has been branded as inordinately Arab in its composition and ideological/intellectual “character.” Chiefly, it has been argued that the field of Middle East Studies and its scholars have “ill-served” America, essentially implying that academia ought to act on the behalf of US strategic interests, rather than the unfettered pursuit of truth.
___In practical terms, those opposed to developments in the field of Middle East Studies have organized formal lobbies to target offending academics . . .  Campus Watch organization, [was] launched in 2002, with a mission to “monitor and gather information on professors who fan the flames of misinformation, incitement, and ignorance.” Campus Watch, alongside similar groups as well as the traditional pro-Israel lobby, have been at the fore of successive campaigns against vulnerable academics.
[. . . .] Hostility to Middle East Studies, as well as the larger humanities/social sciences, has sometimes given way to serious efforts at attacking funding sources, including a failed effort in 2004 to amend title VI funding for area studies, putting such funding under review of an advisory board that academics feared would amount to political interference in scholarship. . .   a trend that could quite conceivably be extended to de-funding of title VI, Pell Grants, and other sources of public funding for universities.  SOURCE.  …

❷ TRUMP  TAPS  HEAD  OF  ANTI-PALESTINIAN  GROUP  AS  TOP  CIVIL  RIGHTS  ENFORCER 
The Electronic Intifada 
By Nora Barrows-Friedman
Oct. 27, 2017 ―  In a troubling move for students and Palestine rights activists, the Trump administration has tapped Kenneth Marcus as the top civil rights enforcer at the US Department of Education.
___He will lead the department’s Office of Civil Rights.
___Marcus is the head of the Brandeis Center for Human Rights, an Israel advocacy group that has for years worked to smear Palestine solidarity activism as anti-Semitism. It has no affiliation with the better known Brandeis University.
___Since 2010, Marcus’ key strategy has been to file civil rights complaints with the Office of Civil Rights claiming that universities were failing to protect Jewish students by not cracking down on the Palestine solidarity movement, especially the boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) movement for Palestinian rights.
___The tactic was unsuccessful. But now, Marcus himself will be in charge of investigating such complaints.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) OVER  100  FACULTY  OPPOSE  NOMINATION  OF  KENNETH  MARCUS  TO  HEAD  OFFICE  FOR  CIVIL  RIGHTS  AT  THE  DEPARTMENT  OF  EDUCATION
Jewish Voice for Peace 
Oct. 27, 2017 ― In the last 24 hours, over 100 faculty signed a statement through Jewish Voice for Peace opposing Trump’s nomination of Kenneth Marcus as Assistant Secretary for Civil Rights at the U.S. Department of Education. Marcus heads the Brandeis Center for Human Rights under Law and has dedicated the past decade to defining criticism of Israel and anti-Zionism as anti-Semitism.
[. . . .] Marcus, who in 2011 founded the Brandeis Center with the express mission of promoting “the civil and human rights of the Jewish people,” has tried to silence students and faculty that advocate for Palestinian rights . . .   he has continued to equate the movement to boycott Israel with antisemitism, casting free speech, criticism and nonviolent resistance as violations of civil rights.
[. . . .] Marcus’ nomination is the latest in an ongoing campaign to equate criticism of the Israeli government with religious discrimination, a campaign that has proven to violate the First Amendment rights of students and faculty. Last year, the “Anti-Semitism Awareness Act” failed in Congress on free speech grounds, and the American Civil Liberties Union recently filed a federal lawsuit arguing that a Kansas law requiring all state contractors to certify that they are not boycotting Israel violates the First Amendment.     MORE . . .

“THE  UNKNOWN  CONTINENT,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM 
How do we reach you
Slums of Chicago?
How is the spark to reach you?
How is the fire to be born?
Skyscrapers!
Stacked huts!
Stretch your arms out of the darkness―
For the big banner
Spreads its warmth, its light
Forever
Into the depths of night
And the big banner is
Forever
A sail for the drowning.

How are the storms to reach you
Jazzband Club in New York?
The black man is hungry and fearful,
The wolves of the KKK roam the forest
―the current overpowering
And the conscience of the statue shaken
And the heart of night.
The wind is frozen,
And the waves of the sea unmoving?
How is the message to reach you
Deaf Washington,
with the humming of the machine?
In Vietnam slaughter,
And you export
Cokes and medicine to the sad moon!
And you sweep over the blood of victims.
How is the message to reach you?

Descendants of Old Abe!
My voice has become hoarse
And the wind
Has become tired of my shouts!
Descendants of Old Abe!
Shake the marble of history,
Rise to the sky,
Rise above the band of stupid maggis
And halt ― for
The earth grumbles
The rivers of blood. . . .

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY OF THE SUN: POETRY OF THE PALESTINIAN RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970. Available WORLD CAT  and ABEBooks.com     
Samih Al-Qasim 

“. . . raze to the ground every farm and every village . . .” (Fawaz Turki)

1-IMG_3404
Israeli By-Pass Road over Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem as seen from Palestinians-only road (Photo: Harold Knight, November 18, 2015)

❶ Report: Israel plans massive land takeover in Hebron Governorate through bypass road
❷ Israeli civil administration remapped 62,000 West Bank hectares to expand settlements
❸ Palestinians to form ‘protection committees’ against Israeli settler violence
❹ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAEL’S  COLONIALISM  IS  FAILING  AND  FALLING
❺ POETRY by Fawaz Turki
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
REPORT:  ISRAEL  PLANS  MASSIVE  LAND  TAKEOVER  IN  HEBRON  GOVERNORATE  THROUGH  BYPASS  ROAD
Palestine News Network
May 31, 2016
Since the beginning of April 2016, the Israeli machinery and bulldozers affiliated to the so-called Israeli Civil Administration (ILA) commenced the construction of a new bypass road on lands of Halhul town in the northern Hebron Governorate. The work being implemented on the ground is . . . a new Israeli bypass road that extends all the way from Al Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron to reach Halhul town, through lands of Beit Ummer.       MORE . . .  
First published:
poica.org – Monitoring Israeli Colonization Activities in the Palestinian Territories
April 26, 2016

The closure system in the West Bank refers to a series of restrictions placed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to control the movement of more than 2.3 million Palestinians living there . . . .
___The closure system has become steadily more sophisticated and has increasingly channelled Palestinian traffic onto smaller, local roads, leaving main . . . routes reserved exclusively for Israeli settlers to travel to settlements inside the West Bank [. . . .]
___ The construction of the Barrier has meant that Palestinians can no longer travel through Jerusalembut instead have to take a winding road around the city. Once the Barrier is completed this road will pass under the Barrier through specially constructed tunnels thereby preventing Palestinians from using Israeli roads that go to settlements [. . . .]
___ The urban and manufacturing hub of the main towns of Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jericho, that are critical for Palestinian jobs and the economy, are also difficult to access because of tight restrictions. [. . . .]
___As the closure system becomes more institutionalised it has a myriad of other impacts [. . . .]

  • Shearer, David. “Territorial Fragmentation Of The West Bank.” Forced Migration Review 26 (2006): 22-23.    ARTICLE. . .

❷ ISRAELI  CIVIL  ADMINISTRATION  REMAPPED  62,000  WEST  BANK  HECTARES  TO  EXPAND  SETTLEMENTS
Palestine News Network
May 31, 2016
The Israeli civil administration in 2015 has re-mapped an area of 62 thousand hectares in the West Bank in order to expand illegal Israeli settlements. The old maps are being digitally scanned to enhance their accuracy.
___The report, composed by Dror Etkes, founder of Kerem Navot, an NGO that monitors the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, is based over the map digitizing at COGAT.
___“It’s important to understand that the mapping efforts are directed almost exclusively at the depth of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and to settlements which are well outside the ‘settlement clusters,’ as well as, most emphatically, to areas declared by Israel to be ‘fire zones’ despite the fact that in reality they are part of the lands reserve which Israel gradually assigns to settlement,” Etkes told Ha’aretz.       MORE . . . 

Recognizing now that the Palestinian narrative gets erased and misappropriated through a biblical theology of dispossession, what does this mean, in practical terms, for the conflict? How does it function on a daily basis? If a people have no history, then their ability to interrogate the past and engage with it for the present will constantly encounter insurmountable limits. In this regard, the first act of true liberation and freedom is to be located in the mind, with the reclamation of the history and memory of the Palestinians and Palestine.
___We must also note that to interrogate the above ques­ tions would be a normal academic exercise if it had to do with any other region in the world, but when it comes to Palestine and its people, the starting point for many tends to be the rendition of the familiar biblical narrative, ending with the creation of modern Israel by Zionism. Indeed, the success of modern Zionism in Palestine complicates our attempts to locate and treat the history of the indig­ enous Palestinians, since the colonial project undertook the normative strategy of negating or problematizing the relationship of the people to their ancestral lands.

  • BAZIAN, HATEM. “The Indigenous Palestinians.” Harvard International Review 35.3 (2014): 40-43.   ARTICLE . . .
Israel-Settlements
Israeli West Bank Settlement (Photo: Flikr, posted in The Oxford University Politics Blog, March 1, 2013)

❸ PALESTINIANS  TO  FORM  ‘PROTECTION  COMMITTEES’  AGAINST  ISRAELI  SETTLER  VIOLENCE
Middle East Eye
May 30, 2016
Nearly 200 members of the most isolated and under threat Palestinian communities living in the occupied West Bank came together on Monday for the launch of a new project aimed at establishing “protection committees” to document Israeli human rights violations.
___Community leaders and families from villages across the governorates of Hebron and Bethlehem met at a school in the tiny poverty stricken village of Imnezel, which is surrounded by Israeli settlements filled with new and luxurious homes deemed illegal under international law.
___Sheltered from the hot sun by a beige tarpaulin in a makeshift marquee, Palestinians welcomed the launch of a new three-year project by international aid agency ActionAid, which will see the formation of local community protection committees that will document human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.    MORE . . .

[. . . . ]
As we have seen, the ambiguity surrounding the formal status of the Israeli state in the OTP creates a governmental void. This void is filled, inter alia, by greater freedom of action of the settlers, who, in effect, act as informal agents of the state, behaving as vigilantes and taking the law into their own hands. The settlers’ violence . . . brings Israeli dominance to areas with a scarce presence of military forces, generating ad hoc ‘effective control’ over Palestinian territory and population even in the absence of state officials. . .  based on permanent-temporariness and political ambivalence. Such actions contribute to the ambivalence surrounding the identity of ‘the sovereign’ and form localized, temporary ‘sovereign’ domains [. . . .]
___The elusive political and legal structural frameworks of the Israeli occupation are important factors of this phenomenon, generating the necessary ‘degrees of freedom’, so to speak, that allow, and even support, a proliferation of settlers’ violence against Palestinian civilians. In other words, the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity, even if it challenges its exclusive jurisdiction.

  • Gazit Nir. (Ruppin Academic Center, Israel). “State-sponsored Vigilantism: Jewish Settlers’ Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”  Sociology 49.3 (2015): 438–454.

❹ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAEL’S  COLONIALISM  IS  FAILING  AND  FALLING 
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Zaakir Ahmed Mayet
May 30, 2016
It is often easy to be absorbed by plebeian geopolitics, the sectarian divides plaguing Syria or the outward lack of unity amongst various resistance movements within the Middle East and North Africa. On the face of it, the situation is particularly bleak . . . .
___ . . . . However, the world has unmasked the [Israeli] state as one which cannot function within the fabric of normal society. It has become harder to protect and defend the outlandish action of Israel, be it the continued illegal blockade of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and slow strangulation by the Apartheid Wall of those in the West Bank; the occupation in contravention of international law; or the continued development of colonial-settlements on stolen Palestinian land. . . .       MORE . . .   

“THE  SEED  KEEPERS,”  BY  FAWAZ  TURKI 
(A Recital)

Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of our imprisoned patriots,
destroy,
destroy
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
destroy every city and every town
every tree and every home
every book and every law,
flatten with your bombs
every valley,
erase with your edicts
our past
our literature
our metaphor,
denude the forests
and the earth
till no insect
no word
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more,
I do not fear your tyranny.
I guard one seed
of a tree
my forefathers have saved
that I shall plant again
in my homeland.

About Fawaz Turki (b. 1940)
From ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press

“. . . Do you say ‘my country’? I say my country. . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

A Palestinian youth is evacuated after being injured during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem's flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque on September 13, 2015 (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)
A Palestinian youth is evacuated after being injured during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli police at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa mosque on September 13, 2015 (AFP/Ahmad Gharabli)

(Please read “purpose” above. Thank you.)

❶ Israeli forces storm Al-Aqsa Mosque, assault worshipers
❷ Mainstreaming administrative detention
❸ Settlers torch Olive fields in Nablus
❹ Israeli gov’t used my image for propaganda purposes without my consent
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Palestine is a Global, Not a Western Issue
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim

◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊ ◊

MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  STORM  AL-AQSA  MOSQUE,  ASSAULT  WORSHIPERS
Sept. 13, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Israeli police clashed with Palestinians at Jerusalem’s flashpoint Al-Aqsa Mosque compound on Sunday just hours before the start of the Jewish New Year, police and witnesses said.
____The clashes came with tensions running high after Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon last week outlawed two Muslim groups that protect the mosque, and confront Jewish visitors to the compound, which is holy to both faiths.
____Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli forces stormed the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound Sunday morning, firing rubber-coated steel bullets and stun grenades and injuring several worshipers. . . .
____The forces then surrounded worshipers inside Al-Aqsa Mosque and closed its doors with “chains and bars” before they started to fire rubber-coated bullets inside the mosque, witnesses said.
More . . .
Related . . .
History and current status . . . 

+972 MAGAZINE
MAINSTREAMING  ADMINISTRATIVE  DETENTION
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Sept. 12, 2015
Activists in the West Bank city of Nablus on Thursday demanded that the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) intervene on behalf of Palestinians being held by Israel in administrative detention.
____Administrative detention is a practice, taken from British Mandate law, which Israel uses to detain Palestinians (and some Jews) without charge or trial — indefinitely [. . . .]
____ Israel is currently holding 350 Palestinians and three Jewish Israelis in administrative detention.
More . . .

Palestinians protest in front of the ICRC building in Nablus holding photos of loved-ones being held in administrative detention by Israel. The demonstrators were demanding that the ICRC intervene to stop the practice, Nablus, West Bank. September 10, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)
Palestinians protest in front of the ICRC building in Nablus holding photos of loved-ones being held in administrative detention by Israel. The demonstrators were demanding that the ICRC intervene to stop the practice, Nablus, West Bank. September 10, 2015. (Ahmad Al-Bazz/Activestills.org)

PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
SETTLERS  TORCH  OLIVE  FIELDS  IN  NABLUS
Sept. 10, 2015
A group of Israeli settlers Wednesday dawn have torched tens of dunums of Olive fields in Burin village near Nablus city, northern West Bank.
____Security sources said that a group of settlers from the Yetshar settlement, which is constructed on the village lands, have torched the trees and attacked the villagers.
More . . . http://english.pnn.ps/2015/09/09/settlers-torch-olive-fields-in-nablus/
Related . . .

MONDOWEISS
ISRAELI  GOV’T  USED  MY  IMAGE  FOR  PROPAGANDA  PURPOSES  WITHOUT  MY  CONSENT
Mukarram AbuAlouf
Sept. 12, 2015
Mukarram AbuAlouf is a graduate student at the University of Oklahoma, and currently working part-time as a teacher of Arabic, as allowed by her F1 visa.
My response to COGAT’s photo of me as I crossed Erez from Gaza
Not only was I shocked to see the Israeli “Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories” photo of myself on their facebook post, but even more disgusted by the fact they have used it to make a claim that is 100% false. This is ME in this picture- the Palestinian woman [. . . .]
____This picture was published WITHOUT my consent and is an example of how the camera lies. But what do I expect from an occupation that evolved into a state that was built on manipulation, aggression, lies and the destruction of other peoples’ lives?
More . . .
Related . . .
Related . . .

❺ Opinion/Analysis
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
PALESTINE  IS  A  GLOBAL,  NOT  A  WESTERN  ISSUE
Ilan Pappe
Sept. 9 2015
A few weeks ago, a very important conference took place in London organised by the NGO, Middle East Monitor, focusing on Latin America’s engagement with the cause of Palestine. The most striking feature of the conference was the ease with which several speakers, who came from the continent, spoke of Palestine, totally liberated from the inhibitions that obfuscate the discourse on the issue in the West.
____The most notable inhibition absent from their straightforward support for the human and civil rights of the Palestinians was the fear of being accused of anti-Semitism. We heard in that meeting politicians and professors from South and Central America supporting these rights as an obvious position for anyone with a modicum of decency and humanity in them. They were not walking on eggshells, as their Western counterparts would do, when criticising the criminal policies of Israel on the ground.
More . . .

“EXCERPT  FROM  AN  INQUEST,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

– And what do you call this country?
– My country.
– So you admit it?
– Yes, sir. I admit it.
I’m not a professional tourist.
– Do you say “my country”?
– I say “my country.”
– And where is my country?
– Your country.
– And the claps of thunder?
– My horses’ neighing.
– And the gusts of wind?
– My extension.
– And the plains’ fertility?
– My exertion.
– And the mountains’ size?
– My pride.
– And what do you call the country?
– My country.
– And what should I call my country?
– My country . . .

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

Conference: Palestine & Latin America in the 21st Century. We are in support of the Palestinian cause because “it is an anti-colonial one,” affirms Cuban diplomat Jorge Luis Garcia. “My people have been subject for more than 55 years to a genocidal blockade by the government of the United States.” (Photo: Middle East Monitor)
Conference: Palestine & Latin America in the 21st Century. We are in support of the Palestinian cause because “it is an anti-colonial one,” affirms Cuban diplomat Jorge Luis Garcia. “My people have been subject for more than 55 years to a genocidal blockade by the government of the United States.” (Photo: Middle East Monitor)