“. . . and struggle ardently for my liberty My liberty My liberty . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

IMG_2914 - Copy 314x419
Jerusalem: Dr. Naim Ateek of Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Center
leads a group on the Via Dolorosa
(Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 4, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . 
| PALESTINIAN  GOVERNOR  OF  JERUSALEM  RELEASED  TO  HOUSE  ARREST    A court in Israel has released the Palestinian governor of Jerusalem from detention to house arrest for three days as part of an investigation related to a land sale.    ___Adnan Gheith, who was arrested on November 25, was released on Sunday from prison, but will remain under house arrest until Tuesday, Jerusalem magistrate court justice Chavi Toker ruled.    __Police have been investigating Gheith over suspicions he was involved in the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) arrest in October of US citizen Issam Akel, who is accused of involvement in selling an occupied East Jerusalem building to Jewish buyers. . . More . . .
. . . . Related  Report: Israel Abducts Dozens of Palestinians in Crackdown on Palestinian Authority
. . . . Related  Top court gives Israel even broader powers to use torture
. . . . Related  Israel committed 355 violations against Palestinians in November
. . . . Related  Israel demolished 19 Palestinian facilities in November
| PRESIDENT  ABBAS  ARRIVES  IN  ROME  ON  AN  OFFICIAL  VISIT    President Mahmoud Abbas Sunday arrived in the Italian capital, Rome, on an official visit where he is scheduled to meet with his Italian counterpart, Sergio Mattarella.    ___President Abbas will meet with Italian President Sergio Mattarella, Italy’s Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, and Pope Francis during his official visit to Rome, to discuss the latest political developments in the region as well as bilateral relations between the two countries and ways to develop them.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Hamas hails Fatah’s criticism to US’ draft resolution condemning resistance at UN
. . . . Related  President Abbas meets Pope Francis at the Vatican
. . . . Related  Islamic Jihad delegation from Gaza heads to Lebanon through Egypt
|  TURKEY’S  RED  CRESCENT  DONATES  8.5  TONS  OF  MEDICAL  AID  TO  GAZA   The Palestinian Ministry of Health dispatched from its warehouses in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus, about 8.5 tons of medical aid donated by the Turkish Red Crescent to the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday.    ___According to the Palestinian Health Minister, Jawad Awwad, the ministry dispatched two truckloads of medical supplies worth $274,000, which included medicines to treat chronic diseases such as cancer and kidney diseases.    ___Awwad praised Turkey’s continued support to Gaza, pointing to the many vital projects that have been provided by Turkey to Palestine in all fields.   More . . .
. . . . Related  WHO: ‘Israel approved only 15% of medical permits for injured Gazans’
. . . . Related  Sharp rise in number of people with disabilities in Gaza Strip in last 10 years – statistics
. . . . Related  Israel undercover forces [in Gaza] posed as medical workers, used ID cards of real Palestinians

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . . GAZA  –  TWENTY  YEARS  LATER     By Mkhaimar Abusada     The Gaza Strip. . .  is no more than 365 square kilometers with two million people. Population pressure has been critical in an area with limited water and arable land, weak infrastructure. . .  and many internal and external barriers that have resulted from the Israeli siege and blockade, which has turned it into the largest open-air prison in the world.    ___The . . .  golden days of Gaza [were about] 1998. At that time, Gaza was the center of Palestinian politics after the signing of the Oslo Agreement in September 1993, and the establishment of the Palestinian Authority (PA) in 1994. Gaza was promised by the international community to be the Singapore of the Middle East. . .  [. . . .] The outbreak of the second Palestinian Intifada in September 2000, and the ensuing violence and armed resistance against the Israeli army and settlers in Gaza triggered massive Israeli retaliation against infrastructure and the economy, and . . .  restricted the movement within and in and out of Gaza.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“MY  LIBERTY,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN

My liberty―my liberty―my liberty,
a sound I repeat
with angry lips
under the exchange of fire
and flames
I run after it
despite my chains
and follow its tracks
despite the night
and struggle ardently
for my liberty
My liberty
My liberty

And the Holy River
and Bridge repeat:
my liberty
and the two banks reiterate:
my liberty
and the raging wind and thunder,
tornadoes and rain
echo the sound:
my liberty

I shall carve its name
while I resist
on the land
by the walls and the doors
in the Temple of the Virgin
in the altar
and in the field,
on every hill
and every valley
and every curve
and road
in prison
in the torture rooms
and on the gallows
Despite the chains
and the house demolition
I shall carve its name
until I see it again
extending to my Homeland
and flourish
and flourish
until every inch of the land is covered
until every door is opened
by red liberty.
And the night vanishes
and the day breaks
My liberty―my liberty―my liberty

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.   Available from abebooks.com

“. . . blindfold me But here I will stand tall . . .” (Fouzi el Asmar)

❶ Israel demolishes 2 Palestinian homes in occupied East Jerusalem
❷ Hamas and Fatah meet in Cairo to continue reconciliation talks

  • Background: “Indispensible but Elusive: Palestinian National Reunification.” Middle East Policy.

❸ Israel arrests 19 Palestinians including 6 Fatah activists taken for interrogation
❹ Save the Children: rights of Palestinian children being eroded in West Bank
❺ POETRY by Fouzi el Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  2  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  IN  OCCUPIED  EAST  JERUSALEM    
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 22, 2017 ― Israeli forces reportedly demolished two Palestinian homes on Wednesday in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
___Locals told Ma’an that staff from Israel’s Jerusalem Municipality, under the protection of police forces, raided the neighborhoods of al-Issawiya and Shufat and demolished two homes, under the pretext that they were built without difficult-to-obtain Israeli building permits.
___Israeli forces first demolished the home of Sharif Muhsein in al-Issawiya, which according to local activist Muhammad Abu al-Hummus, was still under construction. The demolition reportedly caused damages to the house next door.   MORE . . .
❷  HAMAS  AND  FATAH  MEET  IN  CAIRO  TO  CONTINUE  RECONCILIATION  TALKS
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 21, 2017 ― Palestinian political factions are set to meet on Tuesday in Cairo, Egypt, in the newest round of national reconciliation talks, following the reconciliation agreement signed by feuding factions Hamas and Fatah in October.
___Official Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa news agency reported that the “national dialogue” is to last for three days, and will review what has been achieved so far from the October agreement, and review elements from the failed 2011 agreement.  MORE . . .

(Note: While this article is four years old and is about the previous agreements which failed, it offers valuable information for understanding the current work toward reconciliation between the two entities. We will continue with more articles written in the intervening years.)

Ibish, Hussein.
“INDISPENSIBLE  BUT  ELUSIVE:  PALESTINIAN  NATIONAL  REUNIFICATION.”
MIDDLE EAST POLICY,
vol. 21, no. 3, Fall2014, pp. 31-46.
[. . . .] Egypt has always regarded the Gaza border area and the Rafah crossing as more of a domestic and national-security issue than a foreign-policy challenge. . .  [but] Egypt moved to shut down smuggling tunnels, make it much harder for anything or anyone to pass between Egypt and Gaza, and close the crossing except for humanitarian purposes or other special exceptions. Gaza had never in its history been this cut off. The Egyptian blockade was, if anything, tighter than the Israeli blockade. And Egypt was in no way constrained, as Israel is, by the responsibilities accruing to the officially designated (by the UN Security Council) occupying power in Gaza.  Egypt’s lawful prerogatives are much more elastic [than srael’s]. Hamas soon found itself politically isolated, diplomatically squeezed and economically strangled at a whole new level, even considering that the blockade had existed since the 2007 split with the PA in the West Bank.
[. . . .] As Hamas was facing an unprecedented meltdown in Gaza during 2013-14, the Ramallah leadership was also in a severe, albeit less extreme, crisis of its own. Like Hamas, its leaders lacked a popular mandate. . . .  Its policy of negotiating with Israel had not produced any tangible benefits in years, but had occasioned significant frustration. Its controversial policy of security coordination with Israel helped to secure law and order and stability . . . was painted as simply providing calm for the occupier. The sense of patriotic duty and national purpose was being weakened . . .
[. . . .] The calculations of all parties regarding the unity agreement [2011] were reshaped by the hostilities in Gaza, the subject of an uneasy truce and uncertain negotiations. Indeed, the Hamas-Israel war appeared to breathe new life into an arrangement . . .
[. . . .]  Israel will have to change its implicit, and perhaps even explicit, position towards the unity agreement. It could well be argued that Israel has already done so, by signaling a willingness to go along with such an arrangement if it is coupled with a “demilitarization” regime . . .  If Israel does not adapt its policies towards the Ramallah leadership, it can virtually guarantee that Hamas will eventually and plausibly insist that the 2014 war with Israel constituted a “victory” for the Islamist organization and its policy of armed struggle. . .  If Israel does decide to adapt its policies in order to deny Hamas that opportunity, this will require a new approach to the PA and, if there is an explicit understanding on a lasting ceasefire or reconstruction, perhaps also to the Palestinian national-unity agreement.    SOURCE . . .    ..

❸ ISRAEL  ARRESTS  19  PALESTINIANS  INCLUDING  6  FATAH  ACTIVISTS  TAKEN  FOR  INTERROGATION    
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Nov. 20,2017 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) launched a large-scale arrest campaign at dawn on Tuesday arresting 19 people most of them in Jerusalem and targeted girls and leaders from Jerusalem.
___The Palestinian Prisoners Society (PPS) said that the occupation arrested 13 Palestinians from Jerusalem.
___According to an attorney with the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society, Mufeed al-Haj, Israeli police is also interrogating six Fatah activists, including one woman, from East Jerusalem detained in earlier raids at their homes for their alleged activity in the occupied city.
___He said that the six detained include Hatem Abdul Qadder, one of the top Fatah officials . . . .   MORE . . .
❹ SAVE  THE  CHILDREN:  RIGHTS  OF  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  BEING  ERODED  IN  WEST  BANK   
Ma’an News Agency     Nov. 20, 2017 (Updated Nov. 21, 2017) ― On the anniversary of Universal Children’s Day, international NGO Save the Children released a statement highlighting ongoing the rights violations of Palestinian children in the occupied territory by Israel.
___Jennifer Moorehead, the country director of Save the Children in the occupied Palestinian territory called for greater protection of schools and children’s right to education, saying that “children’s most fundamental right to education is being eroded” in the territory.
___Moorehead highlighted the cases of 55 Palestinian schools in Area C, the more than 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli civilian and security control, that are under threat of demolition by Israeli forces.
___“Distance, risky roads, the presence of settlers or of military checkpoints had presented insurmountable challenges for many children to reach the nearest schools,” Moorhead said.   MORE . . .

“I  AM  THE  SON  OF  THE  LAND,”  BY  FOUZI  EL  ASMAR
You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

Yes
You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970)

From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON.  Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
Available from Amazon
About Fouzi El Asmar

“. . . Each river has its own springs . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Palestinian  officials  begin  transferring  control  of  Gaza  borders  from  Hamas  to  Fatah
❷ Fatah official: Cairo reconciliation accords a bridge to end the split

  • Background: “Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.” Third World Quarterly

❸ Israeli  settlers  steal  olive  harvest,  attack  Palestinian  farmers  in  West  Bank
❹ The pedagogy of apartheid
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIAN  OFFICIALS  BEGIN  TRANSFERRING  CONTROL  OF  GAZA  BORDERS  FROM  HAMAS  TO  FATAH
Ma’an News Agency  
Oct. 17, 2017   Head of the Palestinian Authority (PA) borders and crossing committee Nathmi Muhanna arrived in the Gaza Strip on Monday in order “to carry out the first article of the reconciliation agreement signed in Cairo regarding taking over the crossings,” Muhanna told Ma’an.
___Muhanna entered Gaza through the Israeli-controlled Erez crossing, and was welcomed by the Palestinian Minister of Public Work Housing Mufid al-Hasayna.
___Upon his arrival in Gaza, Muhanna told Ma’an that a committee to oversee the takeover of Gaza border crossings by the Fatah-led PA was formed upon instructions by President Mahmoud Abbas.
___In the reconciliation agreement signed last week by Hamas and Fatah, it was agreed that the Rafah border crossing between Egypt and Gaza would be operated by PA presidential guards by November 1.     MORE . . .
FATAH   OFFICIAL:   CAIRO   RECONCILIATION   ACCORDS   A   BRIDGE   TO   END   THE   SPLIT
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 17, 2017   Fatah Central Committee member Hussein al-Sheikh said the agreement signed between Fatah and Hamas in Cairo under Egyptian auspices is the bridge that will lead to an end to the division and to achieve reconciliation.
___Sheikh said in an interview on Palestine TV aired on Monday night that the real test for the success in ending the division is found in the full empowerment of the government of national reconciliation, which was not given an opportunity in the past to function in the Gaza Strip as in the West Bank, expressing hope that this time it will succeed in its mission.   MORE . . .

(NOTE: While being two years old, this article presents historical information of value in understanding the current situation.)

Pogodda, Sandra, and Oliver P. Richmond.
“Palestinian Unity and Everyday State Formation: Subaltern ‘Ungovernmentality’ Versus Elite Interests.”
Third World Quarterly 36.5 (2015): 890-907.
The outburst of inter-factional violence between Fatah and Hamas in 2007 came as a shock to a society that sees itself as the victim, not the perpetrator of violence. Between October 2006 and August 2010 more than 470 Palestinians were killed in inter-factional fighting, while torture in Palestinian prisons became pervasive. In addition, inter-factional structural violence perpetuates the repressive and discriminatory conduct of the occupation: campaigns of political arrests, the obstruction of political participation, crackdowns on political rights and civil liberties, and discrimination in public sector employment. Structural violence is thus disruptive of civil society, political life and socioeconomic development in the occupied Palestinian territories. After eight years of bitter rivalry and three failed attempts at creating a unity government, Fatah and Hamas signed another unity agreement on 23 April 2014. Accordingly, a technocratic government under the leadership of Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah was sworn in in June 2014 and is supposed to rule the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, while overseeing new elections in 2015. Given the continuing tensions between the two parties, doubts remain with regard to the durability of the unity government. Elections have again been indefinitely postponed, while Fatah and Hamas are competing over the control of the pledged reconstruction assistance.   SOURCE.

ISRAELI  SETTLERS  STEAL  OLIVE  HARVEST,  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS  IN  WEST  BANK
Ma’an News Agency 
Oct. 16, 2017   Israeli settlers on Sunday stole olive pickings from dozens of trees belonging to Palestinian farmers from the occupied West Bank districts of Ramallah and Nablus.
___Gassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlements activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that dozens of Israeli settlers raided Palestinian lands in Ramallah and Nablus under protection of armed Israeli forces, and stole olives from dozens of Palestinian trees.
___Daghlas told Ma’an that Israeli settlers stole the pickings of more than 65 olive trees in the Nablus-area village of al-Sawiyeh and the Ramallah-area village of al-Janiyeh.
___Meanwhile, NGO Rabbis For Human Rights (RHR) released a statement saying that the settlers, from the illegal Zayit Raanan outpost, were arrested by Israeli security forces “following the swift intervention of the head of the field department of Rabbis for Human Rights, Zakaria Sadah, who informed the security forces.”    MORE . . .
THE  PEDAGOGY  OF  APARTHEID
Mondoweiss 
Jonathan Ofir
Oct. 15, 2017   Two months ago, Israel’s education ministry introduced a compulsory four-part question in civics matriculation exams. Students are asked to give their opinion on a “controversial public issue”, including for example “allowing different population groups to live in separate neighborhoods”. In the circulation to teachers, it was stated that since teachers “sometimes encounter inflammatory or racist statements against groups or individuals” on the exam, “It’s important to make clear to the students that racist or inflammatory statements in any part of the question will disqualify the entire answer” (which is worth 11 points out of a total of 100).
___But last week, the head of the ministry’s pedagogical secretariat, Moshe Weinstock, overruled the ministry’s civics supervisor and rescinded the rule. An update was sent to teachers, wherein the ban on racist statements was dropped, and the fourth part of the question was eliminated, in which students had to defend their position in light of their own values.   MORE . . . 

“CONCERNING HOPES,” BY MAHMOUD DARWISH
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a baker in Algeria
To sing with a fighter.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a shepherd in Yemen
To sing for resurrection.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a waiter in Havana
To sing the victories of the oppressed.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a young porter in Aswan
To sing for the rocks.
The Nile will never flow into the Volga,
Nor will the Congo or the Jordan flow into the Euphrates.
Each river has its own springs,
Its own course and its own life.
Our land, my friend, is no barren land.
Each land gives birth in due time,
And each fighter will see the dawn.

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.  Available from Amazon.
About Mahmoud Darwish.  

 

“. . . thieves have not broken down the door of my life . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

  • “In terms of what it aimed to achieve, the [Oslo] Agreement is geared at transforming Palestinian factions into amiable partners in negotiations, concerned with the governing and policing of the Palestinian territories  . . .  while posing a minimal military/security threat to the Jewish state” (Somdeep Sen).

❶ Abbas suspends all contacts with Israel over Al-Aqsa Mosque

  • Background: “It’s Nakba, Not a Party”: Re-Stating the (Continued) Legacy of the Oslo Accords.” Arab Studies Quarterly.

❷ 3 Palestinians killed in Al-Aqsa clashes in Jerusalem, West Bank
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Scores of Palestinians wounded in Jerusalem in protest against Israeli measures at Al-Aqsa
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli forces violently suppress Al-Aqsa protests in West Bank, Gaza
❸ UN chief deplores Israeli killing of Palestinians in Jerusalem
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Syndicate, ministry protest Israeli treatment of Palestinian journalist in the field
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ABBAS  SUSPENDS  ALL  CONTACTS  WITH  ISRAEL  OVER  AL-AQSA  MOSQUE
Palestine News Network – PNN 
July 22, 2017.   President Mahmoud Abbas said last night that he has decided to suspend all contacts with Israel until the latter cancels all measures it has implemented against Jerusalem and Al-Aqsa Mosque.
___According WAFA official news agency Abbas, who cut short a trip to China and returned home following the deterioration in the situation at Al-Aqsa Mosque, headed an urgent joint meeting for the Palestine Liberation Organization and Fatah Central Committee to discuss strategy in confronting the Israeli measures.
[. . . .] “In the name of the Palestinian leadership, I declare the suspension of all contacts with the occupying country on all levels until Israel revokes all its measures against our Palestinian people and Jerusalem, particularly at Al-Aqsa Mosque, and preserve the historic status quo at Al-Aqsa Mosque,” Abbas said at the end of the leadership meeting held in Ramallah.   MORE . . .

Sen, Somdeep.
“IT’S  NAKBA,  NOT  A  PARTY”:  RE-STATING  THE  (CONTINUED)  LEGACY  OF  THE  OSLO  ACCORDS.”
Arab Studies Quarterly, vol. 37, no. 2, Spring2015, pp. 162-176.
[. . . .] . . . the least discussed effect of Oslo is in fact rooted not in what it failed to do but in what it aimed to achieve. . .  the Accords created a realm of “official politics” that incentivizes a certain brand of Palestinian liberation factions (that are unarmed and recognize Israel) . . .  it continually influences and affects the brand of Palestinian political organizations that are able to operate, uninhibited, within the occupied Palestinian territories (oPt). On the basis of these legacies, one could then assert that the Oslo Accords features prominently in the Palestinian political  consciousness today not only through its failures but also the continued influence it has on the manner in which Palestinian politics can be conducted.
[. . . .] The most tangible manifestation of this aspect of the Accords is evident in its creation of a realm of official Palestinian politics. At the very outset, entrance into this realm is limited to Palestinian organizations that have publicly renounced an armed struggle and recognized Israel. Subsequently, the faction would be deemed a “legitimate” representative of the Palestinian populace and granted a permanent seat in negotiations with Israel and Western stakeholders. Once a Palestinian faction abides by this pre-condition, it is given the responsibility of governing the Palestinian territories and would subsequently have access to the financial resources earmarked for the PA. As the PA is responsible for key sectors such as education, culture, health, social welfare, direct taxation, and tourism, the resultant expectation would be that the recognized Palestinian faction, through its entrance into official politics, would be socialized into the reasoning of the state and out of the logic of resistance. Finally, in keeping with the “statist logic” of Oslo-mandated official politics . . .  the recognized Palestinian faction would also be responsible for ensuring the primacy of the mandate of the state-like PA (evocative of the logic of “official politics”) through the Palestinian internal security forces.
[. . . .] In terms of what it aimed to achieve, the Interim Agreement is geared at transforming Palestinian factions into amiable partners in negotiations, concerned with the governing and policing of the Palestinian territories (than militarily engaging with Israel), while posing a minimal military/security to the Jewish state. Then, in addition to its failures, the agreement today can be characterized as an institutional embodiment and framework geared at changing the foundational characteristics and subjective identity of Palestinian liberation factions. (Somdeep Sen is a postdoctoral researcher at Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen, Denmark. His current research focuses on spatial politics in Palestine.)    SOURCE . . .

❷ 3  PALESTINIANS  KILLED  IN  AL-AQSA  CLASHES  IN  JERUSALEM,  WEST  BANK    
Ma’an News Agency  
July 21, 2017.  Three Palestinians were reportedly shot and killed during clashes in occupied East Jerusalem and the occupied West Bank on Friday, amid large-scale clashes across the occupied Palestinian territory over new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.  The deaths comes amid a large-scale demonstration across East Jerusalem on Friday to denounce new Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound following a deadly attack last week.     MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) SCORES  OF  PALESTINIANS  WOUNDED  IN  JERUSALEM  IN  PROTEST  AGAINST  ISRAELI  MEASURES  AT  AL-AQSA
Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.   Tensions were running high in occupied East Jerusalem on Friday as thousands of Palestinians were marching towards the Old City to denounce increased Israeli security measures in the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound, which Israeli authorities decided to maintain early on Friday, despite recommendations from Israel’s own security agencies.
___A Palestinian Red Crescent spokesperson told Ma’an that at least 72 Palestinians had been injured in East Jerusalem, and at least 390 had been injured in East Jerusalem and the West Bank in total.     MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) ISRAELI  FORCES  VIOLENTLY  SUPPRESS  AL-AQSA  PROTESTS  IN  WEST  BANK,  GAZA    

Ma’an News Agency
July 21, 2017.   Israeli forces violently suppressed demonstrations in the occupied West Bank and Gaza on Friday, injuring scores who had gathered in solidarity with a massive protest in occupied East Jerusalem to denounce increasing Israeli security measures at the Al-Aqsa compound.
___Palestinian demonstrators performed prayers outdoors across the occupied Palestinian territory in solidarity with Al-Aqsa, to denounce the installation of metal detectors, turnstiles, and additional security cameras in the compound after a deadly shooting attack took place there on July 14.     MORE . . .
❸ UN  CHIEF  DEPLORES  ISRAELI  KILLING  OF  PALESTINIANS  IN  JERUSALEM

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 22, 2017.   United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres “deeply deplores” Israeli police killing of three young Palestinians in clashes that raged in Jerusalem and the West Bank on Friday calling for these incidents to be fully investigated, according to a statement by Farhan Haq, deputy spokesman for the Secretary-General.
___“His (Guterres) thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims,” said the deputy spokesman.    MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) SYNDICATE,  MINISTRY  PROTEST  ISRAELI  TREATMENT  OF  PALESTINIAN  JOURNALIST  IN  THE  FIELD 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 22, 2017.   The Palestinian Journalists Syndicate (PJS) and the Ministry of Information denounced in two separate press releases on Saturday treatment by the Israeli security forces of Palestinian journalists doing their work in the field.
___The two organizations accused Israeli security of intentionally targeting Palestinian journalist, some of whom were hit by rubber bullets or tear gas canisters.
___They said WAFA photographers Afif Amira was shot by a rubber bullet in the chest while covering the Jerusalem clashes and Mashhour Wahwah was hit by a concussion bomb in his foot while covering the clashes in Hebron.
___Maan news agency reporter Mirna Atrash was intentionally hit by a stun grenade in the face during her coverage of the clashes at Bethlehem’s northern outskirts.    MORE . . .

“NORMAL  JOURNEY,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI
I have not seen any horrors,
I have not seen a dragon in the land,
I have not seen the Kraken* in the sea,
nor a witch or a policeman
at the outset of my day.
Pirates have not overtaken mu desires,
thieves have not broken down the door of my life,
my absence has not been long,
it only took me one lifetime.

How come you saw scars
on my face, sorrow in my eyes,
and bruises in my bones and in my heart?
These are only illusions.
I have not seen any horrors,
everything was extremely normal.
Don’t worry,
your son is still in his grave, murdered,
and he’s fine.

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

*a legendary sea monster of large proportions

 

“. . . [Palestinian] landscape as a place of ‘drifting sand and exposed rock’ populated by the morally, spiritually and politically degenerate . . .” (Joanna C. Long)

img_2983
Ruins of village of Lifta, Jerusalem, with Israeli-planted trees engulfing it. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov., 2015)

❶ . B’Tselem: ‘Dispossession of Palestinians most consistent trend in Israeli policy’
. . . ― (a) Lieberman: Postpone controversial ‘formalization’ bill until Trump takes over
❷ . Fatah’s seventh congress says people have right to resist occupation
. . . ❷ ― (a) Abbas tells Fatah the greater struggle is to come

  • Background: “Rooting Diaspora, Reviving Nation: Zionist Landscapes Of Palestine–Israel.” Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers

❸ . The IDF’s new ‘Visit Palestine’ campaign refuses to say Palestine
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . B’TSELEM:  ‘DISPOSSESSION  OF  PALESTINIANS  MOST  CONSISTENT  TREND  IN  ISRAELI  POLICY’  
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 5, 2016
As Israel’s Knesset considers a bill which would retroactively legalize settlement outposts in the occupied West Bank, Israeli authorities have used both official and unofficial means to expropriate Palestinian lands for decades which has “devastasted” the Palestinian territory, according to a report published on Monday by Israeli human rights group B’Tselem.
___In its latest report, entitled “Expel and Exploit: The Israeli practice of taking over rural Palestinian land,”  B’Tselem used a case study of Azmut, Deir al-Hatab, and Salem — three Palestinian villages in the northern West Bank district of Nablus — to illustrate a number of official and indirect ways used by the Israeli government over the years to slowly isolate Palestinian communities from their lands.       More . . .  
. . . ― (A) LIEBERMAN:  POSTPONE  CONTROVERSIAL  ‘FORMALIZATION’  BILL  UNTIL  TRUMP  TAKES  OVER   
Ma’an News Agency 
Dec. 3, 2016
Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman suggested on Friday that the controversial “formalization bill,” which would legalize Israeli settler outposts throughout the occupied West Bank and is set to be voted on this Monday, should be postponed until US President Barack Obama leaves office.
___According to Israeli media, the statement was made in Washington D.C. during the Saban Forum where the right-wing defense minister called for postponing the vote until Jan. 20, when President-Elect Donald Trump will be officially sworn in as the new American president.      More . . .

❷ . FATAH’S  SEVENTH  CONGRESS  SAYS  PEOPLE  HAVE  RIGHT  TO  RESIST  OCCUPATION    
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
December 5, 2016
The concluding statement of Fatah’s seventh congress said the Palestinian people have the right to popular resistance to end the Israeli occupation of their land and determine their future.
___The statement, read at the conclusion of six days of Fatah congress held at the Muqata, the presidential headquarters in Ramallah, also underscored the right of the Palestinian people to self-determination, to sovereignty, and to having an independent state of their own with East Jerusalem as its capital.       More . . .  
. . . ❷ ― (a) ABBAS TELLS FATAH THE GREATER STRUGGLE IS TO COME        
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 5, 2016
President Mahmoud Abbas told members of the seventh Fatah congress on Sunday night that the greater struggle is still ahead of them.
___“When you go back to your towns, villages and camps tomorrow or the day after tomorrow, remember at every moment that what you have accomplished in this conference is the lesser struggle and now we have a mission ahead of us and that is to fight the greater struggle,” Abbas told the members at the closing session of the Fatah congress.        More . . .    

  • Long, Joanna C. “Rooting Diaspora, Reviving Nation: Zionist Landscapes Of Palestine–Israel.” Transactions Of The Institute Of British Geographers 34.1 (2009): 61-77.   SOURCE.

In this paper I explore some possibilities of what the trees were for and why they were (and are) so important to the Jewish National Fund. My main concern is with the entanglement of cultures of landscape with a cultural politics of trees and how these have been enrolled in a project of colonisation and nationbuilding . . .  Specifically, I examine how trees have figured in various constructions of Palestine as an aesthetic and embodied landscape, and how both trees and landscapes have been mobilised in pursuit of an Israeli national space and subjectivity.
[. . . .]  In JNF discourse, however, these notions of subjects embedded in the natural environment, and of subjectivities springing from contact with the natural environment, are inseparable from both scenic renderings of the Palestinian homeland-scape as historically verdant and heroically re-forested by Zionist settlers, and pathologised imaginaries of the diasporic landscape as a place of ‘drifting sand and exposed rock’ populated by the morally, spiritually and politically degenerate . . . [the] implications of casting a landscape as political territory in this way are intimately bound up with the planting of trees, as this drew ‘unproductive’ lands under the control of the state . . . enabled the exercise of territorialised sovereignty, in accordance with long-established European traditions of articulating monarchical and colonial power.
[. . . .] There is, of course, nothing natural about the process of Zionist colonisation or the resulting forested landscape. . . these landscape imaginaries and the trees populating them have been mobilised . . . to perform important geopolitical and ideological work towards the establishment and perpetuation of Israeli nationhood. By positing Palestine as a formerly verdant landscape, currently denuded and empty but being rejuvenated and redeemed by Zionist settlers . . . [the myths] now physically exclude Palestinians from the landscape and efface the history of their presence.
[. . . .] The political geographies of Eretz Israel . . .  helped to generate ideological and financial support . . .  for the acquisition and later the seizure of lands, for the ‘development’ of those purchased and captured lands to legally secure Jewish ownership and to prevent Palestinians from returning.
[. . . .] I have deliberately focused on the planting of pines, rather than on the Israeli practice of uprooting Palestinian olive trees . . .   .   [Trees] are also the guardians to another story, this time of expulsion and dispossession, which is inextricably bound to the first.

❸ .  THE  IDF’S  NEW  ‘VISIT  PALESTINE’  CAMPAIGN  REFUSES  TO  SAY  PALESTINE
+972 Magazine
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
Dec. 4, 2016
The Israeli army’s new tourism campaign wants you to visit Palestine — just don’t call it that.    ___The Israeli military launched a truly bizarre rendition of a Visit Palestine tourism campaign over the weekend. Except the army couldn’t bring itself to say Palestine, the West Bank, or even mention that Palestinians live there.     ___The video was published on the Facebook page of the IDF’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), the Israeli military government that oversees the occupation of the Palestinian territories.      ___ The video mentions sites like Wadi Qelt, the Mar Saba Monastery and Nabi Musa, sites in the West Bank to which Israel makes no claims. Likewise, while the army’s new tourism initiative advertises the Church of the Nativity as a site in “Judea and Samaria,” the biblical name for the West Bank, there is no mention of Rachel’s Tomb, also in Bethlehem but which Israel claims as its own.     More . . .  

“. . . the major obstacle to any peace negotiations has always been Israel’s incessant building of settlements on Palestinian lands . . .” (Ghada Hashem Talhami)

mideast-israel-palest_horo-635x357
Israeli settler looks at the West Bank settlement of Ma’ale Adumim the eastern outskirts of Jerusalem. Sep. 5, 2013. (Photo: AP/Sebastian Scheiner)

❶ . Israeli forces detain Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmaker in Hebron

  • Background: “The Conundrum Of The Palestinian Two-State, One-State Solution.” Arab Studies Quarterly

❷ . Hamas, Islamic Jihad invited to attend Fatah conference
❸ . Foreign Minister says resolution on settlements in few days
. . . ❸ ― (a) Tayseer Khaled : Betting on International Initiatives is futile, Unless Coupled with Encountering Occupation on the Ground
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  HAMAS-AFFILIATED  PALESTINIAN  LAWMAKER  IN  HEBRON 
Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 28, 2016
Israeli forces detained Hamas-affiliated Palestinian lawmaker Azzam Nuaman Salhab during a raid in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron on Monday morning, his family told Ma’an.
___According to the family, large numbers of Israeli troops stormed the home of 60-year-old Salhab and thoroughly searched the house before taking the Palestinian MP into custody.
___Separately, Israeli forces detained Anas Hatim Qafisha — the son of oft-imprisoned Hamas MP Hatem Qafisha — and Asim Amr Ubeido in Hebron, locals reported.  More . . .   

  • Talhami, Ghada Hashem. “The Conundrum Of The Palestinian Two-State, One-State Solution.” Arab Studies Quarterly 38.2 (2016): 468-480.     SOURCE.

Since the Nixon and Ford administrations, the US has assiduously attempted to ban any unfriendly government, such as the Soviet Union, from participating in the Middle East peace negotiations and to maintain control of the peace process itself. Now, there seems to be a palpable willingness to relinquish the entire arena of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict to the initiatives of Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.
___Unfortunately, the US’s withdrawal will only perpetuate the current territorial status quo favoring Israel. This has already delineated the weakness of the Palestinian Authority (PA) and energized the simmering debate among supporters of the two-state and one-state solution, with the latter claiming the backing of a wide spectrum of Palestinians, as well as international sympathizers. Not surprisingly, the debate has acquired an ideological tinge, turning into a referendum on the future of the PA.
[. . . .]  No one questions that the major obstacle to any peace negotiations has always been Israel’s incessant building of settlements on Palestinian lands. The bi-partisan determination to choose this form of establishing facts on the ground, which the Palestinians describe as creeping annexation, constricted any possibility of achieving a genuine peace settlement.
[. . . .] Israel recognizes that the only time in which the outside world will accept its own borders is through the signing of an agreement to create an independent Palestinian state. It is generally believed that such an eventuality would act as an inducement for Israel to hasten moving in this direction. But the two-state solution which has been predicated on such a plan was perceived by Israel to be advantageous on another level, namely, the prevention of the creation of a unified Israeli-Palestinian state, or the one-state solution. Israel continues to fear this development, assuming that it will threaten its own security when the demographic balance inevitably tilts in the Palestinians’ direction. According to this majority view, an influx of Arabs will also erode the democratic nature of the state.

. HAMAS,  ISLAMIC  JIHAD  INVITED  TO  ATTEND  FATAH  CONFERENCE  
Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 27, 2016
The Hamas movement is currently discussing the possibility of attending Fatah’s seventh conference later this week, Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasim told Ma’an on Sunday.
___The announcement came almost a week after Hamas denied reports that it had been invited to attend the congress.
___Qasim said that Hamas had recently received an invitation to attend the Nov. 29 event in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
___Meanwhile, Islamic Jihad spokesman Daoud Shihab told Ma’an that the political faction had also received an invitation to the conference, and that it would send a representative to participate.     More . . .  

hatem
Feb. 28, 2007, IOF troops kidnapped Palestinian MP Hatem Qafisha bringing the number of Palestinian lawmakers kidnapped. (Photo: The Palestinian Information Center)

❸ . FOREIGN  MINISTER  SAYS  RESOLUTION  ON  SETTLEMENTS  IN  FEW  DAYS   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Nov. 28, 2016
Foreign Minister Riyad Malki said Monday work on a draft resolution on the illegal Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories to be submitted to the United Nations Security Council is underway and will be ready in few days.
___Speaking to Voice of Palestine radio, Malki said consultations with the Arab countries are continuing to ensure their support to the Palestinian bid in the international organization.       More . . .    
. . . ❸ ― (A) TAYSEER  KHALED :  BETTING  ON  INTERNATIONAL  INITIATIVES  IS  FUTILE,  UNLESS  COUPLED  WITH  ENCOUNTERING  OCCUPATION  ON  THE  GROUND   
Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 25, 2016
The so called French Peace Initiative is facing obstacles and impediments. Betting on reaching settlements in Paris is, in fact, running after a delusion,” said Tayseer Khaled, member of the PLO’s Executive Committee , Head of the Palestinian Expatriate Affairs Department during an interview with local mass media.
___“The alternative is an actual confrontation of the Israeli procedures on the ground, in addition to a truthful implementation of the National Consensus Paper, aka. The Detainees’ National Consensus Paper,” asserted Khaled.      More . . .    

“. . . The joy of daylight embraces the darkness . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians. Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).
Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians.
Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).

❶ Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian teen in Tulkarem clashes
❷ Red Crescent declares ‘state of emergency’ after attacks on staff
❸ Soldiers Kidnap Nine Palestinians, Many Residents Injured
❹ Al-Shajara al-Mubaraka (“The blessed tree”
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Why Israel wants a religious war over Al-Aqsa
❻ Poetry by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  IN  TULKAREM  CLASHES
Oct. 5, 2015
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the northern West Bank village of Bala, east of Tulkarem, overnight Sunday, medics said.
____Red Crescent officials told Ma’an that 18-year-old Huthayfa Othman Suleiman was shot in the chest during clashes and died in the operating room.
____Three other young men were shot with live fire during the clashes and taken to Thabit Thabit hospital to be treated for their injuries.
[. . . . .]
“What happened in Tulkarem is clear evidence that the Netanyahu government is trying to escalate the situation in the West Bank to torture angry Palestinian citizens who protest what is going on in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as settler attacks against Palestinian towns,” a senior Fatah official in Tulkarem, Muayyad Shaaban, told Ma’an.
More . . .
Related . . . VIDEO:  AL-MAYADEEN  JOURNALIST  INJURED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  IN  JERUSALEM
Related . . . RED  CRESCENT:  96  PALESTINIANS  WOUNDED  BY  LIVE,  RUBBER  BULLETS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
RED  CRESCENT  DECLARES  ‘STATE  OF  EMERGENCY’  AFTER  ATTACKS  ON  STAFF
Oct. 4, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Sunday declared a state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territory following an upsurge in violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers, including 14 attacks on the society’s ambulances in just three days.
____The society said in a statement that it was declaring a level 3 state of emergency and putting all its staff, teams and volunteers on standby.
____The society decried Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, saying that in a 72-hour period, it had faced 14 attacks against its staff and vehicles “in a serious escalation of violations against PRCS, its teams and the humanitarian services they render.”
More . . .
INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  NINE  PALESTINIANS,  MANY  RESIDENTS  INJURED
Oct. 05, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, several Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, violently searched homes and property, and kidnapped nine Palestinians. The army attacked and injured a woman in her home, while many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
____The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the soldiers invaded the home of Badea’ Shafiq Snober, 47, in Yitma village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped him, after violently searching his property, causing damage.
____The soldiers also attacked Badea’ wife, Eman ‘Othman, 45, as she tried to stop them from ransacking her home and kidnapping her husband, causing various cuts and bruises.
____Dozens of army vehicles also invaded the towns of Huwwara, Beit Forik, Osarin and Qabalan, searched and ransacked several homes, and withdrew without conducting any arrests.
More . . .
Related . . . PCHR:  “ISRAELI  FORCES  ESCALATE  THEIR  ARBITRARY  MEASURES  IN  THE  WEST  BANK”
Related . . . SEVERAL  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  IN  JENIN,  ONE  KIDNAPPED  IN  BETHLEHEM
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
AL-SHAJARA  AL-MUBARAKA  (“THE  BLESSED  TREE”)
Nada Atrash and Sami Backleh
The Olive Tree is a synonym for Palestine, and Palestine is a synonym for the Olive Tree. They exist together. They have formed a confluence for eternity, and they still maintain the passion between them. Never a morning or an evening passes, unless the Olive Tree, or ‘the Tree of Light’ as it is called by the Palestinians, is a part of it in one way or another.”
[. . . . . ]
____ Although universally regarded as the symbol of peace, the olive tree has become a symbol of steadfastness in Palestine. Since the Nakba in 1967, Israel has uprooted more than 1.5 million olive trees. Moreover, farmers are forbidden to pick olives from their trees that are located near the Wall or close to the settlements.
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
AL JAZEERA
ANALYSIS:  WHY  ISRAEL  WANTS  A  RELIGIOUS  WAR  OVER  AL-AQSA
The struggle over Al-Aqsa Mosque is a colonial and not a religious one, Palestinian experts say.
Sep. 21, 2015
Much of the media coverage of recent raids and protests by Israeli police and settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque have focused on the “exclusive Muslim control” over the compound in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem, and Palestinian fears of the demand by Jewish settlers to “divide it”. Lost in the religious warfare narrative is the colonial impulse governing both Israeli actions and Palestinian reactions. Where does the struggle for Al-Aqsa fit within the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
____Four leading Palestinian figures give their take on the latest round of Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa.
More . . .

“TO  THE  BELOVED  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  FOUZI EL-ASMAR
Night in my cell
is life still in bud.
Beloved, you are like the breaking of light,
Like truth
Like a song dissolved into longing
Tearing apart the draped evening
Wrecking the flow of moans.

Beloved,
The joy of daylight
embraces the darkness
in my cell;
persistent silence here
will turn back the blade
of the swindler, the torturer
the thief of my childhood dreams
in the day’s heat.

Beloved, in your name
dusk has touched my forehead
grey dreams flooded my head
But my will remains uncowed
for since I came to manhood
with my eyelashes
I have borne your ancient love
You remain my lighthouse
and only refuge.

Beloved,
we are here to nurse at life
Your full breast
stretches are lightening
of hope and will
It shall flower a new prophecy
in our souls
It shall loosen the chains
and hurl light over our love.

Beloved,
The prison is a brief cloud
The bitter winds
of a cold journey
which we must accomplish.

Our road is wrapped in sighs, tears, and thorns
In all that dark claws can weave
but our love shall triumph
At the end of the road.

There
We shall meet with the sun
Its rays shall enter every house
Fill every crack
Flooding mountains, hills, and plains.

As I sit in a corner of my dim cell
lacing the seeds of the little light
stretching them to these lines for you
I am struck with the joy of a child:
Beloved,
With all that tears this life apart
They forget they cannot put
my mind in jail.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1979.
Available at Amazon. 
About Fouzi El-Asmar.

Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)
Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)