“. . . the cataclysm comes that will seed them from the borders of Palestine. . .” (Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh)

Correction by Waqf of item from August 8, 2017.

❶ Israel demolishes 3 homes belonging to alleged Palestinian assailants in Ramallah

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture: “Occupied East Jerusalem: A Continuous Colonial Scheme,”
     and “Jewish Settlements in the Israeli Occupied State of Palestine: Undermining Authentic Resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”

❷ The new normal in Palestine
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Locals stop Israeli demolitions in Bethlehem town
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli forces abduct 37 Palestinians in West Bank
❸ POETRY by Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Correction by Waqf of item from August 8, 2017.

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 10, 2017.   Israeli forces demolished at three homes belonging to the families of alleged Palestinian attackers, while another home was sealed, in the villages of Deir Abu Mashaal and Silwad in the central occupied West Bank district of Ramallah during pre-dawn hours on Thursday, leaving dozens of Palestinians homeless.
___Israeli forces demolished the family homes of two alleged attackers in Deir Abu Mashaal: Baraa Ibrahim Saleh, 18, and Osama Ahmad Atta, 19.
___Meanwhile, the family home of the third alleged assailant Hassan Ankosh, 18, was sealed, not demolished, according to an Israeli army spokesperson.
___The families received demolition orders last month after the youths allegedly carried out a deadly attack near Damascus Gate in the Old City of occupied East Jerusalem, which left an Israeli police officer dead. The three Palestinians were shot dead at the scene by Israeli forces.   MORE . . .

Abdelrazek, Adnan.
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 126-132.
[. . . .] According to an Ir Amim report (reference), 66% of building violations in Jerusalem occur in the Jewish neighborhoods, yet 65-70% of house demolitions take place in the Palestinian neighborhoods . . .  as part of an overall policy designed to force Palestinians to leave the city. HOUSE  DEMOLITION  POLICY is viewed as an instrument of COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT that the Israeli government uses against Palestinians in East Jerusalem . . .   during the years 2003-05 house demolitions reached one of the highest rates following the second intifada, and again in 2015-16 in response to the so called “individual intifada.”   SOURCE . . .

Isaac, Jad.
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 85-91. A viable, contiguous Palestinian state remains a challenging concept, as Israel has spared no effort to undermine the “two-state solution” and the peace process altogether with its persistence in continuing with its land seizure policy, HOUSE  DEMOLITION  STRATEGY,  matrix of control on movement  and sustaining the dependency of the Palestinian economy, which ultimately eradicated the essence of the entire peace process and only restructured and repositioned the presence of the Israeli occupation army in the OPT.   SOURCE . . .

Palestine News Network – PNN 
By Iris Mark
Aug. 10, 2017.   On the 14 of May 1948, the state of Israel was declared. By the time Israel and the Arab States signed the Armistice agreement in 1948, Israel had gained control over 75% of mandate Palestine. . . .  800 000 were expelled or forced to flee and 15,000 were killed in a series of mass atrocities, including more than 70 massacres. This is known as the Nakba, and is a violation of international law.
___Israelis uphold their discriminatory policies in several ways and are severely affecting life in the West Bank.
___The enforced permit system, were the Palestinians have to apply for living in their own homes, travel a few kilometers to see their family, harvest on their own land and traveling to occupied east Jerusalem to pray. There are more than 100 different types of permits, which includes movement, residency, travel, work, farming, trade and money transfer, education, worshipers, visiting holy sites, construction, renovation and health. With only 19% of the West Bank being controlled by the Palestinian Authorities, the Israeli are using checkpoints to control where and when the Palestinians can travel.   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center   
Aug. 10, 2017.   Local residents in Walaja town, south of Bethlehem, managed Thursday morning to stop Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) from demolishing the exterior wall of a house and from bulldozing a nearby agricultural land.
___Head of the village council told Quds Press that Israeli forces stormed the town early today to demolish a home wall only to find a large number of Palestinian standing outside the property to stop its demolition.   MORE . . .
Days of Palestine
Aug. 10, 2017.   Israeli occupation forces abducted on Wednesday night 37 Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian rights group said.
___Reporting local sources, the Palestinian Prisoner Club (PPC) said that the Israeli occupation forces raided several Palestinian villages, towns and cities.
___In a statement, the PPC said that the Israeli occupation forces abducted at least 37 Palestinian civilians during the raids.
___The PPC also said that the Israeli occupation inspected houses of the Abductees and confiscated mobiles, laptops and money.   MORE . . .

On my way to them, I pass Him by,
(as, on his way, God passes me by)
for as we go our separate ways
we see no one but those on high.
The beds are allotted before the violet dawn.
The black and endless night is spent alone
and then the cataclysm comes
that will seed them from the borders of Palestine
the Great Thorn.
They are the only roses that grow.
From where they stalk the edge of paradise
the first paradise.
From where the children use thorns
to draw maps of this paradise.
From this spot.
We raise in the sky a glorying arc
the first milestone to Mecca
and we leave a kiss for those who left
with neither luggage nor papers for their passage.
This is the way the journey will always be.
They leave their bags for the postman to deliver
He takes them from the hands
of those who follow
And those who follow leave their packages
as the first ones do.
It’s hard for the post to make it to paradise.
There is no address
neither here nor there.
—translated by Rachel McCrum

Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh is from Jerusalem. He teaches philosophy, history, and creative writing at Bir Zeit University and the Qattan Center in Ramallah, and is the author of many literary and academic books.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

“. . . Both his knife and the storm Are his destiny . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Israeli forces tighten closure on the town of Yatta. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, June 15, 2016)

❶ Israeli army commander testifies soldier had no justification for shooting al-Sharif
❷ PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (09 – 15 June 2016)

POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 16, 2016
An Israeli army commander [Maj. Tom Neeman] testified in court Thursday that Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot dead Abdel Fattah al-Sharif while he was lying wounded on the ground after an alleged attempted stabbing in Hebron, saying there was no “operational justification” for Azaria’s actions, according to Israeli news media [. . . .]  __”I approached him and asked, ‘Why did you do it?’,” Neeman continued, “He answered me, ‘This terrorist was alive, and he needs to die.'” Neeman added: “I was angry at him for doing this. Essentially a shooting had been conducted at the scene that I was in charge of, without my permission.”     MORE . . .  

[Note: the two articles quoted today are not specifically about extra-judicial killings by individual IDF soldiers in the moment of a perceived attack by Palestinians. They, however, provide background for the general attitude of the IDF toward the killing of “terrorists.”]  

The IDF suggested . . . that the setting of the conflict between Israel and the different Palestinian organizations be referred to as a “state of armed conflict short of war”—a state that on the one hand is more than a police action that necessitates a law enforcement paradigm, and less than a “total war” that would not have been acceptable on the international community [. . . .]
___Jean-Philippe Kot attests that Palestinian civilians were deliberately put at risk due to a flawed interpretation of civilian immunity. Kot attests that in practice, the Israeli soldiers’ right to life unjustifiably superseded the rights of its enemy population. (Jean-Philippe Kot, “Israeli Civilians versus Palestinian Combatants?” Leiden Journal of International Law.)
___Philosophy professor Asa Kasher, who . . .  specializes in moral doctrines that shape parameters of military actions, says that the principle of distinction is a most important moral principle. Yet . . . a soldier’s life should not be put in unreasonable risk in favor of enemy citizens. The value of an enemy civilian life does not outweigh the value of the soldier’s life. In Kasher’s contentious view, the State’s primary responsibility is to protect the lives of its citizens and its “responsibility for one’s own citizens takes precedence over the other responsibility to the non-dangerous neighbors.”

  • Falk, Ophir. “Permissibility Of Targeted Killing.” Studies In Conflict & Terrorism 37.4 (2014): 295-321.     SOURCE.  
Still from video footage was expected to be shown to the Israeli military court at the trial of Elor Azaria. (Photo from Ma’an News Agency, June 16, 2016)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 16, 2016
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (09 – 15 June 2016).
___Shootings: Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties [. . . .]
___Incursions: During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 89 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs [. . . .]
___ Collective Punishment Policy:  On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli bulldozers closed the northern main entrance to Yatta, south of Hebron, in addition to the bypass roads leading to the city and its villages. Israeli forces imposed this cordon after declaring the city as a closed military zone [. . . .]      MORE . . .   

. . . this is precisely the argument that the Rapporteur and others make . . .  Article 51(3) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention, [ ] provides that ‘[c]ivilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.’ [Rapporteur] reads this to mean except when actually firing on enemy soldiers, ‘… and as soon as they cease to do so, they regain protection …. They maintain their civilian status …. They cannot be hunted down and summarily executed’.
___Amnesty International similarly holds that “Armed Palestinians who directly participate in hostilities—for example by shooting at Israeli soldiers or civilians—lose their protected status for the duration of the attack …. [But t]hey are civilians …. Because they are not combatants, the fact that they participated in armed attack at an earlier point cannot justify targeting them for death later on.”
[. . . .]  Michael Schmitt offers a more plausible perspective on the same passage:
“. . . assume that the group has committed terrorism against the state and is expected to do so again in the future. In this scenario … the various terrorist acts may be regarded as part of a continuous operation. This characterization is analogous to the battle/war distinction. Once war has commenced, the initiation of each battle is not evaluated separately. . . .”
___On this more plausible reading, terrorists are assumed to be engaged in ongoing struggle and therefore remain legitimate targets.

  • Plaw, Avery. “Terminating Terror The Legality, Ethics And Effectiveness Of Targeting Terrorists.” Theoria: A Journal Of Social & Political Theory 54.114 (2007): 1-27.    SOURCE.

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Adnan Abu Amer
June 15, 2016
The pace of the attacks against Israelis during the Jerusalem intifada, which broke out in October 2015, has been increasing at times and decreasing at others. Up until early March, 620 attacks had been carried out in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, resulting in the death of 33 Israelis and 209 Palestinians.
___The Tel Aviv attack June 8 was the most ruthless Palestinian armed attack against Israelis, targeting a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, a short walk from the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Cousins Mohammad and Khaled Mahamra from the town of Yatta in Hebron governorate were able to pass through the security measures and the Israeli military checkpoints, and started shooting at people killing four Israelis and wounding six others.
___On june 9, the Israeli government promptly decided to impose a series of collective punishments on the Palestinian residents of Yatta        MORE . . .  


Since our life is barren
like desert sands
As are our minds
We sow our hopes
in plains of deadly gold
and set up our own temptations
to lure us like a mirage
at dawn

When a man is reduced to a butchered lamb
And his will to a helpless, flapping sail
Lost in the ocean
Both his knife and the storm
Are his destiny.

We are consumed in guarding
Against the bit of the adder,
Meanwhile neglecting
The labour of the ant on our land.

Oh, brothers
The thorn bears no fruit
Its stem throbs with a deadly poison.
It shall be uprooted.

About Fouzi El-Asmar  
From El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS.  Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.    Available from Amazon.

“. . . The deadly silence in the hearts of the living . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Israel’s separation wall surrounds the Shuafat Refugee Camp, which is technically inside Jerusalem’s municipal borders and was unilaterally annexed by Israel. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

❶ Israel demolishes Hebron home of 16-year-old Palestinian accused of killing Israeli settler
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) UN slams Israel’s punitive measures against Palestinians following Tel Aviv attack
❷ How to end cycle of violence between Palestinians, Israelis
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 11, 2016
Israeli forces early Saturday raided the village of Beit Amra in the municipality of Yatta and destroyed the family home of a 16-year-old Palestinian accused of stabbing and killing an Israeli settler in January, amid an ongoing Israeli blockade imposed in central Yatta.
___Popular resistance coordinator in the village Ratib Jbour told Ma’an that after a large number of Israeli forces at 2 a.m. raided Beit Amra west of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli bulldozers razed the two-storey house belonging to Mourad Badir Adais’s family to the ground. The building housed ten people.     MORE . . 

House demolitions are another example of violations that Israel commits and justifies in a manner that is inconsistent with its obligations under the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since the start of Israel’s occupation in 1967, Israel has demolished thousands of Palestinians’ houses. Many of these houses have been demolished because a family member participated in what Israel calls a ‘terrorist’ attack.
___This act qualifies as a form of collective punishment as Israel is in fact punishing an entire family for the alleged conduct of one of its members. However, Israel does not recognise such acts as collective punishments prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It has referred to the demolitions as ‘deterrence’, intended to dissuade others from attacking Israeli soldiers or civilians. In so doing, Israeli authorities ignore the protected status of the family members and their home. In other words, it is a message to those who think about committing similar acts and their families that they will face the same consequences.
___To avoid referring to such actions by their correct name – that is, collective punishment – and evade possible criminal responsibility for an act that qualifies as a war crime, Israel calls it ‘deterrence’. By providing this justification, Israel violates IHL and the core humanitarian tenets referred to by the president of the ICRC.

  • Jabarin, Shawan. “The Occupied Palestinian Territory and International Humanitarian Law: A Response to Peter Maurer.” International Review of the Red Cross 95.890 (2014): 1415-1428.     ARTICLE.

Ma’an News Agency
June 10, 2016
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned on Friday the deadly Tel Aviv shooting which took place on Wednesday, while slamming the punitive security measures implemented by Israel in the aftermath as constituting collective punishment against Palestinians.
___”We are also deeply concerned at the response of the Israeli authorities, which includes measures that may amount to collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement released by the United Nations.      MORE . . .   

As its name implies, international humanitarian law is primarily designed to serve the basic humanitarian interests of people affected by armed conflict. Whether displaced, under siege or occupation, facing attacks from a regular army or rebel groups, in detention or held hostage, all are in dire need of protection. The international community is well aware of the dangers inherent in armed conflict marked by unregulated violence. The purpose of humanitarian law is to lay down a series of inviolable standards of humanity, as well as to preserve and safeguard core values even in the midst of horrendous violence.
___International humanitarian law is meant to strike a balance between military necessity and humanitarian considerations. It does not allow military endeavours that aim to make permanent changes to occupied territory; to force people to leave their homes; or to unlawfully seize land and resources from communities. Humanitarian law is and will remain a tool for the protection of the life and dignity of civilians and combatants and thus for a modicum of stabilisation in the midst of conflict.

  • Maurer, Peter. “Challenges to International Humanitarian Law: Israel’s Occupation Policy.” International Review of the Red Cross 94.888 (2012): 1503-1510.  ARTICLE.
Israeli policemen work inside a restaurant following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv
Israeli policemen work inside a restaurant following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Daoud Kuttab
June 10, 2016
The cycle of violence in Palestine and Israel has become so predictable that almost anyone following the news can easily forecast what will happen next. For Palestinians, Israelis and the international community, the predictability of the cycle of violence points to lifting the Israeli occupation as the most effective way to end the violence. The June 8 attack on a market in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis dead is no exception to this dynamic.      MORE . . .

When it comes to directly dealing with Palestinians, the Israeli discourse is to argue that all measures are necessary for security. All Palestinians are considered a threat. As such, Israel has never fully endorsed the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the oPt. Rather, it has expressed its willingness to abide by the ‘spirit’ of the convention. The ‘spirit’ of the convention is increasingly being couched in humanitarian terms, a trend that has become uncomfortable for many of the participants interviewed.
___Framing the ‘spirit’ of International Law in humanitarian terms has enabled Israel to resemble the ‘good guy’ while completely sidestepping any legal responsibilities. By acknowledging International Law, Israel would be compelled to respect it.
___ Israel has been empowered to sidestep international law in such a manner because of its support from the USA [emphasis added]. This support dates back to the pre-Oslo period, but is most evident in the Oslo agreement itself.

  • Whittall, Jonathan. “‘It’s Like Talking To A Brick Wall’: Humanitarian Diplomacy In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Progress In Development Studies 9.1 (2009): 37-53.    SOURCE.

+972 Blog
June 11, 2016
Last weekend was the 49th anniversary of Jerusalem’s “reunification.” This anniversary comes in the context of a popular uprising in the city unlike any since 1967. Although “Jerusalem-the-eternal-undivided-capital-of-Israel” was never more than a hollow myth, 49 years post-“unification” the city is physically divided by walls of mutual fear and hatred, buttressed by violence and mistrust, as never before.      MORE . . .


Of what benefit is it, if man were to gain the whole world
But lose the green almond in his father’s orchard?
Of what benefit is it, if man
Were to drink coffee in Paris
But none in his mother’s house?
Of what benefit is it, if man were to tour the whole world
But lose the flowers on the hills of his native land?
He gains nothing but deadly silence
Within the hearts of the living.

You look through the mirror of lands not your own
And see your exiled face;
You recognize your face
Despite the deadly dust of travel
From Jaffa, to Lydda, to Haifa,
Through the Mediterranean to exile;
You recognize your face
And try to deny that face!
Your worship your own face
Even though exile has obliterated its features;
The hangman of the twentieth century assumes the countenance
Of the eternal face!
You close your eyes
To worship your face in the darkness of this century.
You deny . . . you worship,
You deny . . . you worship,
And the God of truth cries to your face:
“He who denies his face
Is renounced by all the birds of paradise in this universe,
And those whom silence has turned mute
Will never be heard by the roses of the field
He who kills the nightingale of his dreams
Will be buried in the forgotten graveyard of the living.”
You open your eyes
And see the face of your country in the mirror of exile.

The deadly silence in the hearts of the living
Strips away the skin of your face
It cuts and dries your flesh.
Then hangs what remains on poles
Under the forgotten sun of the West.

From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.
Remembering Fouzi El-Asmar.