“. . . when Mother Earth runs out of room for you and me . . .” (Ramzy Baroud)

Illustrative: Smoke from Gaza City after Israeli aircraft bombed it on November 30, 2017. (Mahmud Hams/AFP)

Israeli warplanes carried out an airstrikes’ campaign across the besieged Gaza Strip, on predawn Thursday.   ___Local sources said Israeli warplanes fired two missiles towards a military site belonging to Izz al-Din al-Qassam Brigades, the military wing of the Hamas movement, in Rafah district, in southern Gaza.    ___Sources confirmed that Israeli warplanes targeted a site in Khan Younis district, also in southern Gaza.    ___Israeli warplanes also targeted a site in al-Shiekh Zayid City, in northern Gaza.    ___No injuries were reported, however, the airstrikes led to extensive material damages in the targeted areas.    More . . .
. . . . Related   Israeli forces shoot, injure 8 Palestinians in Gaza
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against unarmed civilians and peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip:   ___A Palestinian youngster was killed in eastern Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.   342 civilians, including 60 children, 4 women, 6 journalists and 3 paramedics, were wounded; 14 of them sustained serious wounds.    ___Israeli forces killed a Palestinian civilian and wounded 6 others in the West Bank.    ___Israeli warplanes launched 2 missiles at the protestors and wounded two of them.   More . . .
Israeli Occupation Authorities (IOA) on Wednesday approved the expansion of bypass road 60, which runs between Jerusalem and Hebron.    ___Head of the Wall and Settlement Resistance Committee in Bethlehem, Hassan Breijiya told WAFA news agency that Israeli Minister of Communications Yisrael Katz gave orders to start expanding the street according to a plan to surround Al-Arroub refugee camp. . .     More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  seize  house  after  forcing  Palestinian  owners  to  leave  at  gunpoint

Paula Malan
It all started 25 years ago when  Mr.  Heikki  Kokkala,  a  senior  education  specialist  from  Finland,  and the late Mr. Khalil Mahshi, then director general of external relations at the Ministry of Education in Palestine, met at a UNESCO conference on education. This was a time when educationists globally had started to pay more attention to the effectiveness of education systems and to the assessment of learning outcomes.    ___In Palestine, work had already started on developing the first-ever unified national curriculum which would replace the Jordanian and Egyptian curricula used in the West Bank and Gaza, respectively.  [. . . .] At the same time, the Finnish government was looking for ways to support the newly established Palestinian Authority and decided to direct its support to the education sector.    ___Thus, Mr. Kokkala and Mr. Mahshi, with their many colleagues, began to design the  first  cooperation  project  between  Finland  and  Palestine.    More . . .

– There are 87,277 students enrolled in schools, including basic education (grades 1 to 10) and secondary education (grades 11 and 12).
– Approximately 4,300 children are not enrolled in any educational institution.
– Thirty-three percent of children in East Jerusalem fail to complete a full 12 years of schooling.
– Provision of education is fragmented across five different providers: the Palestinian Ministry of Education operating under the Jordanian Islamic Awqaf umbrella, the private sector, the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Israeli Jerusalem Municipality, and the contractor’s schools that are financed by the Israeli Authorities.
– There is a chronic shortage of classrooms, estimated at around 2,200, with an anticipated annual growth rate of 3 to 4 percent.
– The area available in class for every student is approximately 0.5 square meters, less than the international standards that recommend at least 1.25 square meters.
– Twenty percent of students and teachers and 40 percent of school staff cross a checkpoint on a daily basis to access their schools.
Source: 2016 Jerusalem Directorate of Education Statistics/Geo-mapping Data

. . . . Related    ‘A  cruel  choice’:  Why  Israel  targets  Palestinian  schools

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

I’ll etch your name
on a secret star
we’ll both go there
on frightful nights

when Mother Earth
runs out of room
for you and me

I’ll hold you tight
and sing you songs
of a distant land
beyond the stars

and watch you grow
between my heart
and the highest high

I’ll draw your face
on a single seed
and hold your palm
to face the sun

when you’re awake
and call out my name
don’t moan or cry

I’ll return
to raise your hand
at a shooting star
and with for you

another day
another sun
another world

where Palestine
is a mountain top
of soil and air
and a purple sky

For (Miriam), a refugee child from Palestine

From: I  REMEMBER  MY  NAME:  Poetry  by  Samah  Sabawi,  Ramzy  Baroud,  Jehan  Bseiso. Vacy Vlanzna, ed. London: Novum Publishing, 2016. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . It’s fine to have a clean death, with no holes in our shirts . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

Israel demolished two apartments of the el-Salaima family, Beit Hanina (Photo: +972 Magazine, May 21 2013)

❶ Palestinian families forced to raze their homes amid spike in Israeli-enforced demolitions

  • Background from Geopolitics

. . . ❶― (ᴀ) Israeli Army Displaces Bedouin Families To Conduct Military Training
. . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Israelis raze Palestinian olive orchards to expand illegal settlement
. . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) IOF opens fire towards farmers east of Deir al-Balah
❷ PPS: “Israeli Soldiers Kidnap 13 Palestinians In The West Bank”
❸ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Sep. 28, 2016
Two Palestinian families in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Beit Hanina were forced to demolish their own homes for being built without licenses on Wednesday, in order to avoid the expensive demolition fines imposed by the Jerusalem municipality when its employees carry out the demolition themselves.
___Between the two families, 15 Palestinians were displaced as a result of the demolitions.
___Owner of one of the homes Imad Jaber told Ma’an he was forced to rent a bulldozer to demolish his house, after receiving an order from the municipality.     MORE . . .  

  • Tawil-Souri, Helga. “Uneven Borders, Coloured (Im)Mobilities: ID Cards In Palestine/Israel.” Geopolitics 17.1 (2012): 153-176     SOURCE    

Upon the insistence of its first Prime Minister, David Ben-Gurion, Israel’s Declaration of Independence did not define the state’s borders so as to keep the option for future expansion possible. Already by the time statehood was declared in May 1948, Israel had expanded beyond the boundaries of the Jewish state delineated in the 1947 UN partition plan; it expanded even more in the months leading up to the Armistice Agreements in 1949; and has been expanding ever since (with the one occasion of ‘shrinking’ when it returned the Sinai to Egypt between 1973 and 1982 which it had held since the 1967 war).
[. . . .]
Palestinians in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, Jerusalem and ‘inside’ Israel, claim that the state of Israel through various methods simultaneously attempts to thwart, isolate, fragment, transfer and erase them away: slowly kill them all; send them off to neighbouring Arab countries; strangle them geographically, politically, economically, and militarily until they accept their subordination. This is not a chimerical claim of ethnic cleansing, but a reality that can be analysed as a ‘problem’ of the geo-political conditions of Palestinians’ status. Moreover, it is no secret that “the mere existence of the Palestinian people is a major strategic impediment to the realization of classical Zionist ambitions”; and thus, exclusion, throughout Palestine/Israel, “forms the logical background of a segregational policy that erects defensive walls of legal, institutional, and physical kinds to prevent Palestinians access to land, institutions, or other rights that could threaten Jewish hegemony.”57 These realities seem to form a cognitive dissonance: on the one hand the Israeli state is accused of trying to eradicate Palestinians, on the other hand the state institutes an impressive infrastructure of control and containment based on Palestinians’ continued presence in Palestine/Israel.  [. . . .]
(Note 57: Nils Butenschon, Uri Davis, and Manuel Hassassian (eds.), Citizenship and the State in the Middle East: Approaches and Applications [Syracuse: Syracuse University Press 2000] pp. 20–21.)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sep. 29, 2016
Dozens of Israeli soldiers invaded, Thursday, the Hamsa al-Fouqa area, near Tubas in central West Bank, and removed 19 Bedouin families from their dwelling, so that the army can conduct life fire training in their community.
___The soldiers surrounded Abu Hamsa al-Fouqa area before invading it, and handed the military orders for the families before removing them.        MORE . . .  
Sep. 29, 2016
Israeli settler gangs residing in the illegal Leshem settlement, in western Salfit, uprooted Palestinian olive trees, paving the way for settlement expansion.
___Palestinian farmers said Israeli bulldozers leveled their olive orchards in eastern Deir Balout town, to the west of Salfit, in an attempt to expand illegal settlement at the expense of their own lands.    MORE . . .     
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Sep. 29, 2016
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) opened fire on Thursday morning towards farmers’ land east of Deir al-Balah in the central of the Gaza Strip.
___Israeli occupation troops positioned in military towers in vicinity of “Kissufim” site penetrated towards the border southeast of the city and opened fire with machine guns towards farmers’ lands in the region.      MORE . . .      

Israeli settlers uprooted 450 olive trees in Deir Istiya, northern Salfit (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, Apr. 21, 2015)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sep. 29, 2016
The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) has reported that Israeli soldiers have kidnapped overnight and on Thursday morning, thirteen Palestinians in different parts of the occupied West Bank.
___The Hebron office of the PPS, in the southern part of the West Bank, said the soldiers invaded various communities in the district, searched many homes and kidnapped four Palestinians, two of them identified as Mohammad Qassem Shallash and Abdul-Nasser Abu Mariyya.      MORE . . .    


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 a clean death,
with 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 cheek,
with 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.

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

“Taking a leaf from the Bush-Blair weapons of mass destruction hoax . . .” (Vacy Vlazna)

Sunday, August 1, all that mattered between 14 Palestinian kids and 40 Irish children was one thing – “the beautiful game” (Photo: Ireland Today)

❶ UNRWA: Unemployment in Gaza is the Highest in the World
❷ Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian farmers, shepherds in central Gaza
❸ Israeli Navy Kidnaps Five Fishers In Gaza

  • Background from Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal

. . . ❹ ― (ᴀ) Israel and World Vision: Are journalistic ethics dead?
❺ Gaza football club dazzles Ireland
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine Chronicle
Aug 9 2016
The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA) said in a news report that the social and economic situation in Gaza is the worst in the world with the highest unemployment rate.
___UNRWA added that finding a job in Gaza is not an easy task and that unemployment, according to statistics revealed by the Central Bureau for Statistics, was 41.2% among men and 62.6% among women in the first quarter of the year.     MORE . . .  

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 12, 2016
Israeli forces Thursday opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherds in the eastern part of Deir al-Balah in the central Gaza Strip.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers stationed in military towers in eastern Deir al-Balah opened live fire at Palestinian farmers and shepherd. No injuries were reported
[. . . .]
___On a near-daily basis, the Israeli army fires “warning shots” at Palestinian fishermen, farmers, and shepherds entering the Israeli-enforced “buffer zone” on land and sea, implemented after Israel imposed a blockade on the Gaza Strip nearly a decade ago.
[. . . .]
___Approximately 35 percent of Palestinian agricultural land in Gaza is inaccessible without high personal risk, according to the center.     MORE . . .

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Aug. 12, 2016
A number of Israeli navy ships attacked, earlier on Friday, a number of Palestinian fishing boats, opened fire on them and kidnapped five fishers, before confiscating their boats.
___Zakariyya Bakr, an official in charge of the Fishers Committee of the “Union of Agricultural Workers Committees,” said the navy ships opened automatic fire, approximately at 7 in the morning, targeting several boats in the al-Waha area, north of Gaza city.
___Bakr added that the navy then assaulted the fishers, who jumped into the water to avoid the bullets, and kidnapped five of them in addition to confiscating their boats.    MORE . . .

  • Pfingst, Annie. “Militarised Violence In The Service Of State-Imposed Emergencies Over Palestine And Kenya.” Cosmopolitan Civil Societies: An Interdisciplinary Journal 6.3 (2014): 6-37.

[. . . .] Even before the military attack of July 2014 the seven yearlong siege of Gaza produced conditions where the maintenance of life itself is compromised in the extreme. Controlling the capacity for life, also through carefully controlled abandonment produces conditions in which the maintenance of life is restricted and curtailed – the production of extreme precarity threatens, at the same time as it ‘indefinitely suspends’, catastrophic (humanitarian) emergency.
[. . . .]
During the 2014 Israeli aerial bombing and land offensive across the Gaza Strip, more than 16,700 housing units were destroyed or severely damaged (UNOCHA oPt 12 August 2014). In order to control and limit movement and deny access to food and supplies, colonial emergency practices delineate zones of exclusion across which it is forbidden to pass and in which growing crops was prohibited. . .  Israel delineated a military buffer zone inside the Gaza border – the most fertile of Gaza’s land no longer available for cultivation.
[. . . .]
A system . . . emergency laws, together with belligerent occupation, construct a fluid and enduring system, enabling shifts and turns to developing situations, always maintaining a semblance of legality to veil its political intentions and always maintaining a state of emergency to authorize laws and legal orders . . .  Inhabiting a geography designated by Israel as an enemy entity, the people of Gaza, 80% of whom are refugees from the expulsions from Southern Israel in 1948, are simultaneously inside and outside political space. Participation in ‘hostile acts against the State of Israel’ renders Gazans illegal combatants subject to the provisions of the Incarceration of Unlawful Combatants Law.
[. . . .]
Israeli liability for the deaths of civilians throughout the military offensive against Gaza in July-August 2014 is framed by the abrogation of internationally recognised norms of humanitarian law . . . and of the obligation of the occupying entity to protect the lives of those under occupation . . . . for Palestinians it is the continuation of al Nakba authorised under the conditions of a colonial declared emergency as the state attempts to effect ‘calm’ – the end of disorder, the end to resistance.  FULL ARTICLE

Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
Aug. 8, 2016
Vacy Vlazna
The crackpot Israeli Hasbara Circus featuring the four clowns of the truth apocalypse, Shin Bet, the Israel government, Shurat HaDin and the mainstream media fools, has, yet again, hit the world stage with the usual lame show of fact contortions, tight rope slander and smoke and mirrors fantasies.
___Taking a leaf from the Bush-Blair weapons of mass destruction hoax, Israel is going all out to divert anti-Israel opinion on its monumental humanitarian disaster to a fictitious crime allegedly perpetrated by the very victims of said humanitarian disaster- Israel’s wars on Gaza -by concocting an elaborate false crime of embezzlement and terrorism by Mohammed el-Halabi, the dedicated zonal manager for World Vision in the West Bank, Jerusalem and Gaza.     MORE . . .   

Mohammed El Halabi, World Vision’s Area Development Programme Manager in Gaza, meets with children displaced by the violence during the brief ceasefire. (Photo by Mohammad Awed)

Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
Julie Webb-Pullman
Aug.7, 2016
Widespread publication by media such as the New York Times and the Guardian, of Israeli allegations against the Gaza manager of World Vision Mohammad Al-Halabi, without any independent corroboration or substantiation, breach the most fundamental journalistic ethical principles – respect for and the right of the public to the truth, and to not publish unfounded accusations.
___As Peter Beaumont, author of the Guardian article, admits, “The Guardian was unable immediately to independently corroborate the claims against Halabi, who remains in custody.”        MORE . . .  

The Electronic Intifada
Ciaran Tierney
Aug. 10, 2016
Fourteen boys from Gaza have brought joy to Ireland by displaying their football skills during a tour of the country.
___Three weeks after the crushing disappointment of being refused exit permits by the Israeli authorities, the youngsters from al-Helal football academy were special guests of Galway United Football Club on 5 August.
___The talented young Palestinian footballers got to showcase their talents before Galway United’s biggest crowd of the season.     MORE . . .


“. . . He moves in an absolute indistinction of fact and law, of life and juridical rule . . .” (Derek Gregory)

1-stone throwers
New [July 2015] Israeli law only targets Palestinians protesters, but spares Israeli settlers. (Photo: Al Jazeera, July 21, 2015)
❶ Israeli settlers throw rocks at Palestinian vehicles in northern West Bank
Related: Palestinian stone throwers face up to 20 years in jail

  • background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Using stolen water to irrigate stolen land

  • background from Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography 

❹ POETRY by Samih al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 16, 2016
Israeli settlers Friday evening reportedly threw rocks at Palestinian cars on the Wadi Qana road which runs between the occupied West Bank districts of Qalqilya and Salfit, according to local witnesses.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that Israeli settlers threw rocks at a group of Palestinian cars that were returning from a wedding, causing damage to a bus from the Salfit Bus Company and breaking the windshield of a car belonging to Ali Taha from the village of Bidya in Salfit.
___While Israeli settlers routinely throw stones and harass Palestinians in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem, they are rarely reprimanded for it.
___Palestinian stone-throwers, in stark contrast, face harsh penalties by Israeli authorities. . .     MORE . . .

From Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture
[. . . .] For years the Israeli human rights community has been trying to defy Israeli demolitions of Palestinian houses and other structures in the West Bank. Their opposition is based on individual human rights arguments and international humanitarian law, focusing attention on the unlawful policies of the [Israelis] in the West Bank and their devastating humanitarian consequences on the protected civilian Palestinian population. These included . . . the obligation of the occupying power to ensure public order for the occupied population, according to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
[. . . .]
No frameworks of legal analysis fully explain the dual system in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.
[. . . .] moving beyond the national conflict, the main problem in the comparison to the Apartheid framework is that although it is based on similarly applied practices of racial segregation and discrimination as the International Convention On the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid states, it does not emphasize what seems to be the main motivation behind the legal segregation and discrimination: the Israeli spatial expansionist interests [emphasis in original] to advance and reinforce the settlement project until the full conversion of the Israelis in the West Bank from settlers to indigenous peoples.

  • Amar-Shiff, Netta. “Planning Apartheid And Human Rights In The Occupied Palestinian Territories.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 65-68.
wall water
A segment of the Israeli separation wall near Beit Hanina, Jerusalem, 2012 (Photo: Tanya Habjouqa)

+972 Blog
Dror Etkes
July 16, 2016
The recent reports on water crisis in Palestinian areas of the West Bank were accompanied by a story of another water shortage: this time in Israeli settlements. Let’s get one thing straight — there has never been a “water shortage” in the settlements. When settlers open up the tap at home or in their garden, the amount and quality of the water is identical to that which comes out in most homes to the west of the Green Line. Yes, there were several recent instances in which the water supply was cut off temporarily in a number of settlements (generally for a few hours), during which the authorities provided settlers water from water tanks. One can safely say that not a single settler was left thirsty.      MORE . . .

From Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography
Palestinian towns and cities . . . have been smashed by Israeli missiles and bombs, by tanks and armoured bulldozers. . . .  The “main purpose is to deny the Palestinian people their collective, individual and cultural rights to the city-based modernity long enjoyed by Israelis” . . .   Palestinian “facts on the ground” were erased with almost machine-like efficiency: coolly, dispassionately and ruthlessly.
___But since the spring of 2002, the legal fictions that permitted these erasures have increasingly been dispensed with. . . .  the IDF’s spasm of destruction had created a landscape of devastation from Bethlehem to Jenin. “There is no way to assess the full extent of the latest damage to the cities and towns . . .  but it is safe to say that the infrastructure of life itself and of any future Palestinian state – roads, schools, electricity pylons, water pipes, telephone lines – has been devastated.” Taken together, these are collective assaults in city and in countryside . . .  [not only] on the integrity of Palestinian civil society and on the formation of a Palestinian state, but on what he calls “bare life” itself.
___As Mahmoud Darwish (2002) declared, “the occupation does not content itself with depriving us of the primary conditions of freedom, but goes on to deprive us of the bare essentials of a dignified human life, by declaring constant war on our bodies, and our dreams, on the people and the homes and the trees, and by committing crimes of war.”  The hideous objective . . .  is to reduce homo sacer to the abject despair of der Muselman. . .  a figure from the Nazi concentration camps – it means, with deeply depressing significance, “The Muslim” . . . .  der Muselman no longer belongs to the world of men in any way; he does not even belong to the threatened and precarious world of the camp inhabitants… Mute and absolutely alone, he has passed into another world without memory and without grief.

  • Gregory, Derek. “Defiled Cities.” Singapore Journal Of Tropical Geography 24.3 (2003): 307.

❸  Opinion/Analysis:  LIFE  TURNED  UPSIDE  DOWN  IN  GAZA
The Electronic Intifada
Sarah Algherbawi
July 15, 2016
Inas Abu Muhadi cannot understand that she will never see her dad again [. . . .]
___The young girl’s father passed away from natural causes in July 2013.
___“Our life turned upside down after that day,” said her mother, Rajaa Abu Khalil. “Now, I have to be their father and mother at the same time. The burden is too heavy and I am tired.”
___On top of Rajaa’s loss of her husband, the home where the couple lived with their six children in the central Gaza town of Deir al-Balah was bombed and destroyed during Israel’s 51-day onslaught in the summer of 2014.     MORE . . .


So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While noting remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samih Al-Qasim
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.