“. . . Even her dreams are besieged . . .” (Samih Faraj)

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Members of delegation from Sabeel Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem,
in Hebron’s al-Shuhada Street with gates closing the street and
Israeli soldier in guard tower above. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

UN  APPOINTS  NEW  CHAIR  OF  COMMISSION  ON  VIOLATIONS  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS
The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) . . .  announced the appointment of Santiago Canton of Argentina to serve as a member and chairperson of the Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   Canton . . .  will replace David Michael Crane of the United States who recently stepped down as a member of the three-person Commission.   ___The Commissioners have been mandated by the Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the blockaded Gaza Strip. . .    More . . .

SPAIN  READY  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINIAN  STATE
Spain has become the latest country to voice its readiness to recognize the State of Palestine and that it will promote a European Union (EU) move to recognize Palestine as an independent state.   ___Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, spoke at a conference of EU leaders in Austria, saying that the Spanish government will promote an EU move to recognize Palestine.   ___Borrell said that “if the EU is not able to reach a unanimous decision, then each to their own.”   More . . .
Related . . . MEMBERS  OF  EU  PARLIAMENT  CALL  ON  EU  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINE

ISRAELI  FORCES  SEVERELY  ASSAULT,  DETAIN  HEBRON  RESIDENTS    Israeli forces raided a Palestinian home, on Wednesday night, the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and assaulted its residents.   ___Locals said that Israeli forces raided the home of Palestinian, Ghaleb Abu Sbeih, in the Old City of HEBRON and thoroughly searched it, damaging most of his furniture and personal belongings.  ___Israeli forces assaulted two Palestinians, Shaher and Ibrahim Abu Sbeih, during the raid. . .   More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  INJURE  DOZENS  OF  PALESTINIAN  STUDENTS  IN  HEBRON

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

HEBRON:  6  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENTS,  95  PHYSICAL  OBSTACLES,  2200  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  TO  PRIVILEGE  850  ILLEGAL  SETTLERS.
For centuries, Al-Khalil (Hebron) has been considered a holy city, primarily because of the Ibrahimi Mosque/The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which followers of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity consider a sacred site of pilgrimage. Today, Al-Khalil is an openly segregated city. The daily lives of its 215,000 Palestinian residents are severely disrupted to privilege just 850 hard-line Israeli settlers, enabled by hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. More . . .   Join  Visualizing Palestine . . .
Related . . .  OCCUPATION  CAPTURED  09/18:  PHOTOS  OF  PALESTINIAN  LIFE  AND  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  CITY  OF  HEBRON
Related . . .  PALESTINIAN  POLICE  PAY  FIRST-EVER  SYMBOLIC  VISIT  TO  HEBRON’S  OLD  CITY

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

ECUMENICAL  ACCOMPANIERS  PROGRAM  IN  PALESTINE  AND  ISRAEL  (EAPPI)    The World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was created in 2002 by the WCC. . .    1,800 ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) have worked to create conditions for a just peace.   EAPPI advocates for justice and peace based on non-violence and a non-partisan approach. . . To insure adherence to these vital principles at a local level in Israel and Palestine, a Local Reference Group (LRG) with representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, is appointed . . .     More . . .   Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“A WOMAN,” BY SAMIH FARAJ

Take one step towards the old house
And another down the stairs to the home
Where a woman sits in the early evening light:
Light, the radiance of a dove, shining;
Or light like the light from a shrine.
No one knows where she has come from –
Through which quarter or distant land she passed.
What shadow the light cast when she’d gone.
No one knows the flood she passed through –
The risks she took, the daily deluge.
No one can measure the vast sea she crossed,
The hazards she held in her small hands.
An ordinary woman: one step at a time, one step
On the land lacking, on the barren soil; one step
On the time passing; one step on the clock ticking.
Except for something in her now rising, hot, scolding,
Even her dreams are besieged, it seems; yet
In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream.
A dream of the old house, and her first step.
—Translated by Jackie Kay

Samih Faraj is a teacher in Deheishe Refugee Camp and a lecturer at HEBRON and Bethlehem Universities. He has been editor-in-chief of several journals, including VOICE OF THE NATION.
Poem from A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).

“. . . What feast is being offered at the last supper of moral disintegration . . .” (Shukri Abu Baker)

eapi
2014, Ecumenical Accompanier provides protective presence to children walking to school in Nablus. (Photo: EAPPI/B. Viney-Wood) EAPPI is a World Council of Churches NGO program that brings internationals to the West Bank as Ecumenical Accompaniers.

❶ Israel’s controversial ‘NGO bill’ passes into law amid international criticism

  • background from International Journal Of Mental Health Systems
  • an Israeli response from Israel Affairs

❷ Israel prevents Italian convoy from entering Gaza

  • background from George Washington International Law Review

❸ Opinion/Analysis: EVERYTHING YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ISRAEL’S ‘NGO LAW’
❹ POETRY by Shukri Abu Baker
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL’S  CONTROVERSIAL  ‘NGO BILL’  PASSES  INTO  LAW  AMID  INTERNATIONAL  CRITICISM
Ma’an News Agency
July 12, 2016
Israel’s Parliament, the Knesset, passed the controversial “NGO bill” into law late Monday with 57 votes in favor and 48 against, following a contentious six-hour plenary debate, as human rights groups and opposition Knesset members condemned the legislation for seeking to “silence criticism” of Israel and delegitimize left-wing groups.
___The legislation — also referred to as the “transparency bill” — compels organizations to reveal their sources of funding if more than 50 percent came from public foreign entities.
___Organizations in Israel that rely on public foreign funding also tend to oppose the government’s right-wing policies and human rights violations in the occupied Palestinian territory.       MORE . . . 

From International Journal Of Mental Health Systems
The history of Palestine is marked by conflict. This challenging political context has exerted effects on Palestinian mental wellbeing and lifestyles. The 1948 War . . . The 1967 War . . . Palestinians ended up living in an unstable environment or facing dramatic changes. Many experienced persecution, deprivation, discrimination and injustice [. . . .]
___After 1967, mental health services for Palestinians in West Bank and Gaza were managed by the Israeli government and became neglected and underdeveloped. . .  Since 1987, the NGOs have tried to help the Palestinians as much as possible and fill the gap in governmental services. However, overall mental health services became stagnant at a time when conflicts and troubles meant they needed more development [. . . .]
___A few governmental and nongovernmental institutions delivered psychosocial and community mental health services, but most were limited and depended on externally funded programmes. Moreover, the number of mental health professionals remained seriously limited.

  • Marie, Mohammad, Ben Hannigan, and Aled Jones. “Mental Health Needs And Services In The West Bank, Palestine.” International Journal Of Mental Health Systems 10.(2016): 1-8.   FULL ARTICLE.

From Israel Affairs
Disproportionate and unsubstantiated allegations of human rights violations, war crimes and racism have been employed as a form of political warfare designed to isolate Israel internationally. This strategy, based on the model used to defeat the apartheid government in South Africa, was adopted in 2001at the NGO Forum of the UN-sponsored Durban Conference on racism, in which 1500 organizations participated [. . . .]

  • Steinberg, Gerald M. “From Durban To The Goldstone Report: The Centrality Of Human Rights Ngos In The Political Dimension Of The Arab–Israeli Conflict.” Israel Affairs 18.3 (2012): 372-388.  SOURCE.
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Members of Yesh Din, Israeli NGO human rights group, protest attacks on Al-Haq, Palestinian NGO human rights organization in Ramallah, West Bank. (Photo: Yesh Din, 15 Mar 2016)

❷ ISRAEL  PREVENTS  ITALIAN  CONVOY  FROM  ENTERING  GAZA
Days of Palestine
Jul 12, 2016
Israel occupation authorities prevented on Monday Italian convoy led by Deputy Parliament Speaker Luigi de Mayo from entering Gaza Strip.
___Italy’s Five Star Movement said the Italian Embassy in Israel informed De Mayo and parliamentarians Manlio Di Stefano and Ornella Bertorauta that the Israeli government would not allow them to cross into the Gaza Strip to visit the Italian projects in Gaza, a statement said.      MORE . . .

From George Washington International Law Review
[. . . .] the most coherent and precise definition of an NGO, within the framework of the Treaty Bodies [countries that are signatories of the Treaty] , is as follows: “Human rights NGOs are advocacy organizations whose goals are to monitor and report human rights violations, exert pressure on governments to promote human rights, hold them accountable, and build pressure to create international machinery to end human rights violations [. . . .]
___Israel is a party to seven Core Human Rights Conventions, most of which were ratified in 1991. . . .   Israel takes the position that it provides effective protection and remedies for the basic rights in the conventions through existing Israeli legislation and case law. However, NGOs and scholars argue that the rights enshrined in the conventions should be self-executing and that the current legislation [prior to this week] does not give expression to all the obligations that Israel took upon itself in its ratification of the conventions.
___The Treaty Bodies also criticize Israel in this regard and call for the integration of the rights and provisions of the conventions into domestic legislation. The Israeli High Court of Justice has ruled that customary international law is part of Israeli law, unless there is a specific domestic law that contradicts it. As for international conventions, the domestic law operates under the “presumption of compatibility” developed by the courts, according to which both international customary law and international treaty law affect the interpretation of Israeli Law. As such, the Core Human Rights Conventions constitute an important source of interpretation of national legislation and are referenced by Israeli courts when adjudicating human rights issues.

  • LEVIN, AYELET. “The Reporting Cycle To The United Nations Human Rights Treaty Bodies: Creating A Dialogue Between The State And Civil Society – The Israeli Case Study.” George Washington International Law Review 48.2 (2016): 315-376.   SOURCE.

❸ Opinion/Analysis: EVERYTHING  YOU  NEED  TO  KNOW  ABOUT  ISRAEL’S  ‘NGO  LAW’
+972 Blog
July 12, 2016
Israel’s parliament passed the so-called “NGO Law” Monday night [. . . .]
___The intended effect of the NGO Law is to send a dangerous and stifling message to the Israeli public. The message it sends is that the values espoused and advanced by these organizations — like B’Tselem, Breaking the Silence, and others — do not exist organically in Israel; lawmakers are saying that the values of human rights and opposing the occupation are being imposed on Israel from the outside-in, and only for the malicious purposes.     MORE . . .  

NO  ONE’S  LIFE  MATTERS,  BY  SHUKRI  ABU  BAKER

Breaking News:
Another delicious raw day for yet another hungry wooden coffin.
At peace are killers with their killer schemes:
In the name of God. In the name of Godlessness
In the name of Law. In the name of Lawlessness
In the name of Fame. In the name of Namelessness
Everywhere, Anywhere, whichever way inhumanely possible.
What feast is being offered at the last supper of moral disintegration?
No need for the little red-dot stickers on laminated maps on anyone’s walls.
Your streets, my streets, our whole stricken world is now perfectly mobbed.
Equally mobbed by a glob of ever-fresh, brash, innocent human blood.
No city celebrated or long forgotten is now safe from foreign invasion.
Foreign objects no longer barred from speedy entry right into the jugular vein of our homes: highly manicured or mid-class or systemically semi-broken.
And the souls that gave golden life and warmth to all things and places lie face down, Swiss-cheesed by the “proudly made in the USA” lead bullets.
Universal neighbor, let your heart and mine beat and bleed all together, for since you and I have become menial, our short precious lives no longer matter.

Shukri Abu Baker is a Palestinian-American who is imprisoned for life for “providing material support” to the “terrorist” group Hamas. Read the story of his political conviction here.
From Shukri’s blog.