“Here we shall stay.  A wall upon your breast . . .” Tawfiq Zayyad

NEWS

PM calls on ICC to expedite investigation of Israeli war crimes

WAFA
February 15, 2020
Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh called today upon the International Criminal Court to expedite its litigation procedures, especially after the ICC’s chief prosecutor announced in December its desire to launch a full investigation into Israeli war crimes in occupied Palestine.
– – – During a meeting with ICC’s chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda on the sideline of the Munich Security Conference 2020, Shtayyeh said he rejects all attempts to politicize the work of the ICC . . .   More . . .

Israeli Authorities displace families in Jerusalem and West Bank after razing their homes

Days of Palestine
February 15, 2020
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) on Thursday forced a Palestinian citizen to demolish his own house in Jerusalem and demolished another one in the West Bank.
– – – According to local sources, the Israeli municipality in Jerusalem forced Iyad Shuwaiki to demolish his own home in al-Thuri neighborhood, south of the Aqsa Mosque, and displaced his family in order to build a school in its place.  More . . .

Israeli Authorities Builds Settler-only Road from Nablus to Jordan Valley

The Palestine Chronicle
February 14, 2020
Israeli occupation authorities have started the build of a new road that would link the illegal Jewish settlements of Eli and Shilo  – in the north of the occupied West Bank – with the Jordan Valley.
– – – Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official in charge of the settlements file in the northern West Bank, told Wafa news agency yesterday that the settler-only road is about eight kilometers long.
– – – The road would cross fertile agricultural lands in the Palestinian villages of Duma, Telfit, Qaryut, and Al-Mughair, south of Nablus, all the way to the village of Fasayil in the central Jordan Valley.  More . . .

BACKGROUND INFORMATION/ ACTION NOTICES

How the U.S. made Palestine the exception to the rules of peacemaking
Israel has only ever offered Palestinians two things over the past century — submission or devastation — and the Americans have always backed them.

+972 Magazine
By Amjad Iraqi
February 10, 2020
Palestinians knew well before U.S. President Donald Trump announced the “Deal of the Century” that his proposed “peace plan” would be a farce. Yet even the most cynical observers could not have predicted how bone-chilling the event would be. The racism of Trump’s remarks, the grin on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s face, and the applause of the dignitaries in the room, may go down as one of the most harrowing political moments in Palestinian memory . . . . It was therefore a jarring experience to read Khaled Elgindy’s book Blind Spot: America and the Palestinians, from Balfour to Trump (Brookings Institution Press, 2019) as the “Deal of the Century” was being unveiled. Published in 2019, Elgindy’s book chronicles how the United States not only enabled this historical path, but actively designed its trajectory. Beginning with the Balfour Declaration and ending with Trump’s ascension, the book traces America’s century-long alignment with the Zionist movement and the State of Israel, which came at the direct expense of the Palestinian people.    More . . .

 Poem of the Day

“THE  IMPOSSIBLE,”  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD

It is much easier for you
To pass an elephant through a needle’s eye,
Or catch fried fish in a galaxy,
Plough the sea,
Force a crocodile to speak
Than to destroy by persecution
The shimmering glow of a belief,
Or check our march,
One single step.

As if we were a thousand prodigies
Spreading everywhere
In Lidda, in Ramallah, in the Galilee. . .
Here we shall stay,
A wall upon your breast,
And in your throat we shall stay,
A piece of glass, a cactus thorn,
And in your eyes,
A blazing fire.

Here we shall stay,
A wall upon your breast,
Cleaning dishes in taverns,
Filling cups for the masters,
Sweeping sooty kitchens
To snatch a bite from your blue fangs
For our children.

Here we shall stay.
A wall upon your breast,
Facing starvation,
Struggling with rags, defying,
Singing our songs,
Swarming the angry streets with our demonstrations,
Filling the dungeons with pride,
Rearing vengeance in new generations.
Like a thousand prodigies,
We roam along
In Lidda, in Ramallah, in the Galilee.

Here we shall stay,
Go then and jump into the lake.
We will guard even the shadow of our fig and olive trees,
And ferment our cause as yeast does dough.
Here we shall stay with steel-cold nerves,
And red hell in our hearts.
We squeeze the rock to quench our thirst
And lull starvation with dust,
But we shall not depart.
Here we shall spill our dearest blood,
Here we have a past,
A present,
A future.
Stay we will, like a thousand prodigies,
In Lidda, Ramallah, the Galilee.
Strike deep in the earth
Our living roots.

From: A  LOVER  FROM  PALESTINE  AND  OTHER  POEMS:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  PALESTINIAN  POETRY.  Ed. Abdul Wahab Al-Messiri. Washington, DC: Free Palestine Press, 1970.  Available from Google Books.

“. . . We go on dreaming oh, dream of ours . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Palestinian-children-and-UNRWA-1
United Nations Relief Works Agency for Palestinian Refugees 
(UNRWA) educates more than 500,000 Palestinian children in 711 schools.
(Photo: UNRWA website)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
| ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  14  PALESTINIANS  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces Thursday detained 14 Palestinians during multiple overnight raids across the West Bank, said Palestine Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in a statement.    ___Israeli forces detained six people during several raids in the Ramallah-district villages of al-Mughayyir, Kafr Ni’ma and Saffa.    ___This came as Israeli military jeeps raided the An-Nahda Street in Ramallah, where soldiers ransacked a printing shop and seized its equipment and publicity materials. . .  Meanwhile, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians after breaking into their homes in Hebron city. . . Forces carried out two similar raids in Halhul town and al-Arroub refugee camp, north of Hebron, detaining three Palestinians. . .    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli  forces  set  up  iron  gate  at  entrance  of  Ramallah-district  village 
. . . . Related  Israeli  occupation  grabs  Palestinian  lands  to  expand  illegal  outpost
|  AL-MALKI  PRESENTS  COMPLAINT  TO  ICC  OVER  INVESTIGATION  IN  ISRAELI  WAR  CRIMES
Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Riyad al-Malki, presented a complaint, on Wednesday, to the prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC), Fatou Bensouda, for procrastination in opening an investigation into Israeli war crimes against the Palestinian people.    ___. . .  al-Malki expressed his disappointment, to Bensouda, with the initial study carried out by the prosecutor’s office on the situation in Palestine.    ___Al-Malki’s comments were made during a meeting with Bensouda on the sidelines of the 17th session of the Assembly of States Parties of the ICC. . . .    More . . .
. . . . Related  Attorney  General  elected  to  ICC  committee
. . . . Related  Jordan:  Aqsa  Mosque  cannot  be  divided  or  shared 
. . . . Related  Resheq:  Int’l  community  in  front  of  real  test  at  General  Assembly
. . . . Related  Irish  Senate  approves  bill  criminalizing  goods  made  in  settlements
GAZA  YOUTH  LAUNCH  CAMPAIGN  TO  HIGHLIGHT  GROWING  POLLUTION  CRISIS
Hundreds of Palestinian youth in the occupied Gaza Strip formed a human chain along the blockaded enclave’s only seaport yesterday to draw attention to the growing pollution crisis.    ___According to CGTN, the initiative – named “It will come back to you” – was “part of a campaign aimed at protecting the basin of the Gaza harbor from growing levels of pollution . . .”    [. . . . ] According to Hilles, Israel’s blockade is preventing Palestinians in Gaza from “building waste recycling plants to get rid of the accumulating waste pumped into the sea every day.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  The  Environment  and  Development  in  Palestine  Harmony  or  Discord? By Ramzi Sansur

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| TWO  DECADES  OF  RESILIENCE,  ADDED  TO  THE  PREVIOUS  FIVE  DECADES
By: Sam Bahour
In 1976, a report on Palestine declared, “The Palestinian people today face problems of formidable proportions.” That was the understatement of the century! Here we are, about to enter 2019, facing a daunting reality and an even more daunting future. One could say, The Palestinian people face problems of formidable proportions every day.    ___In the nitty-gritty of the here and now in Palestine, one is consumed by what seems to be a never-ending series of challenges brought about by our military occupier, Israel, and to a lesser degree, our governing body, the Palestinian government.   [. . . .] All analysis aside, I can guarantee you this: Palestinians will not collectively vanish. We are here to stay, forever.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
| UNRWAUSA – The United States government has said no to helping Palestine refugees. But we won’t.     .. Due to the United States government’s recent decision to cut all funding to UNRWA, the Agency faces an unprecedented funding crisis.   ___It’s going to take all of us standing together to fund UNRWA’s work so the Agency can continue serving Palestine refugees in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank (including East Jerusalem) Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon.    ___Our common humanity depends on it.   ..  Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“WE  FEAR  FOR  A  DREAM,”  by  MAHMOUD  DARWISH

We fear for a dream: don’t believe our butterflies.
Believe our sacrifices if you like, believe the compass of a horse, our
. . . need for the north.
We have raised the beaks of our souls to you. Give us a grain of
. . . wheat, our dream. Give it, give it to us.
We have offered you the shores since our coming to the earth born of
. . . an idea or of the adultery of two waves on a rock in the sand.
Nothing. Nothing. We float on a foot of air. The air breaks up within
. . . ourselves.
We know you have abandoned us, built for us prisons and called them
. . . the paradise of oranges.
We go on dreaming. Oh, desired dream. We steal our days from those
. . . extolled by our myths.
We fear for you, we’re afraid of you. We are exposed together, you
. . . shouldn’t believe our wives’ patience.
They will weave two dresses, then sell the bones of the loved ones to
. . . buy a glass of milk for our children.
We fear for a dream, from him, from ourselves. We go on dreaming
. . . oh, dream of ours. Don’t believe our butterflies!

– – – From VICTIMS  OF  A  MAP:  A  Bilingual  Anthology  of  Arabic  Poetry.
Trans. by Abdullah al-Udhari. London: Saqi Books, 1984 & 2005.

“. . . my dreams took the night train and I did not know how to say goodbye . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Geneva Human Rights Centre calls on international community to halt violations in Palestine
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) FM calls on ICC prosecutor to prevent crimes against Palestinian people

  • Background: Statement of the UNRWA Commissioner-General;  PRESS STATEMENT, UNRWA

❷ US backtracks on pledge of $45 million food aid to UNRWA
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Belgium pledges $23m to UNRWA after US aid cut
❸ Abbas’ security coordination challenge
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Al-Quds Int’l: Switching off light at Aqsa Mosque serious violation
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
GENEVA  HUMAN  RIGHTS  CENTRE  CALLS  ON  INTERNATIONAL  COMMUNITY  TO  HALT  VIOLATIONS  IN  PALESTINE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Idriss Jazairy appealed to the international community, and in particular the Arab and Muslim community, “to join forces and act in concert in order to halt the violations of Palestinians human rights.”
___Ambassador Jazairy said during a speech at the two-day Al-Azhar conference in Cairo on the situation in Jerusalem, that the international community has a “moral duty” to protect and to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian people in the wake of the decision of the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___”Al Quds is a textbook case of multi-faceted and cross-cutting violations of human rights,” said Jazairy.   MORE . . .        RELATED . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❶ ―  (ᴀ)  FM  CALLS  ON  ICC  PROSECUTOR  TO  PREVENT  CRIMES  AGAINST  PALESTINIAN  PEOPLE
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Jan. 18, 2018 ― The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates [Riyad al-Malki] called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, to exercise her statutory authority, without delay, to prevent the continuation and perpetuation of crimes against the Palestinian people. On the three-year anniversary of the opening of the preliminary examination in the situation in Palestine, the Minister dispatched a letter to Ms. Bensouda pointing her attention to the recent escalation of violence by Israeli occupation forces in their implementation of unlawful colonial policies and practices in the past month, including the unlawful killing of 16 Palestinians and the injury of approximately 3000 and detention of 720, including 184 children.   MORE . . .  

STATEMENT  OF  THE  UNRWA  COMMISSIONER-GENERAL
PRESS  STATEMENT,  UNRWA

Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General
January 17, 2018 ― Not for the first time in its proud history, UNRWA faces a formidable challenge in upholding its mandate – an expression of the will of the international community – and preserving key services like education and health care for Palestine Refugees.
___Today, the US government has announced a contribution of $60 M, in support of our efforts to keep our schools open, health clinics running, and emergency food and cash distribution systems functioning for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. While important, this funding is dramatically below past levels. The total US contribution in 2017 was above $350 M.
___Since UNRWA began its operations in May 1950, every US administration – from President Truman onwards – has stood with and provided strong, generous and committed support to our Agency. The US has consistently been UNRWA’s largest single donor, something we sincerely thank the American people for, and countless American decision-makers – presidents, members of Congress, diplomats and civil servants, who embodied the commitment of assisting a vulnerable people through UNRWA.
___Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations. At the same time, given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East.   COMPLETE STATEMENT: Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza.

US  BACKTRACKS  ON  PLEDGE  OF  $45  MILLION  FOOD  AID  TO  UNRWA          The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The US State Department on Thursday announced that Washington will not provide $45 million in food aid which it pledged last month for Palestinian refugees.
[. . . .] Spokeswoman for the US State Department, Heather Nauert, said in statements, “At this time we will not be providing that, but this does not mean that it will not be provided in the future.”
___Nauert claimed that the withholding of the funds was not intended to punish Palestinians who strongly criticized the US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.
___”Other countries are required to do more,” she said, adding that the US does not have to be the chief donor to every organization around the world.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  BELGIUM  PLEDGES  $23M  TO  UNRWA  AFTER  US  AID  CUT
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 18, 2018 ― Belgium has pledged to donate 19m euro ($23m) to UNRWA, the UN’s aid organisation for Palestinian refugees, after the US government announced it would slash its funding to the agency by half.
___Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement on Wednesday that Brussels would allocate the funds over three years.
___The first annual payment is being disbursed immediately “considering the financial difficulties that UNRWA currently faces”, the statement said.      MORE . . .  
ABBAS’  SECURITY  COORDINATION  CHALLENGE
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
By Daoud Kuttab
Jan.18, 2018 ― In a fiery two-hour speech at the start of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) meeting Jan. 14, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not once raise the issue of ending security coordination with Israel. Abbas did, however, mention, several times, the futility of continuing with the Oslo process . . . Despite this omission, however, the PCC resolved the matter in the final statement.
___This was not the first time the Palestinians have resolved to end the security arrangement, a step often demanded by Hamas and other opposition groups. In March 2015 . . .
[. . . .] An online survey by the leading Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on the eve of the PCC session, revealed that an overwhelming 94% of Palestinians want the PCC to withdraw recognition of Israel and end security coordination . . .   Palestinian leaders are concerned that fully implementing the recommendation would mean the end of the Palestinian government . . .
[. . . .] Israel is unlikely to sit idly by if the recommendation were implemented. Its tolerance for the existence of the Palestinian government, with its security apparatus, is contingent on the Palestinians adhering to the minimum level of security coordination.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❸ ―  (ᴀ)  AL-QUDS  INT’L:  SWITCHING  OFF  LIGHT  AT  AQSA  MOSQUE  SERIOUS  VIOLATION
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)     Jan. 18, 2018 ― Al-Quds International Institution (QII) condemned on Wednesday Israeli attempts to cut power feeding the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
___“Switching off the light of the Dome of the Rock is an aggression against Muslims and their holy sites,” a statement by QII read.
___QII warned of Israeli attempts to control and obstruct reconstruction and maintenance works at al-Aqsa Mosque.
___QII’s director Yassin Hamoud said the fact that the Israeli authorities obstructed the entry of materials needed to fix power cuts at al-Aqsa is “a translation of Trump’s biased move into action.”   MORE . . . 

“I  HAVE  NO  PROBLEM,”  BY  MOURID  BARGHOUTI
I look at myself:
I have no problem.
I look all right
and, to some girls,
my grey hair might even be attractive;
my eyeglasses are well made,
my body temperature is precisely thirty seven,
my shirt is ironed and my shoes do not hurt.
I have no problem.
My hands are not cuffed,
my tongue has not been silenced yet,
I have not, so far, been sentenced
and I have not been fired from my work;
I am allowed to visit my relatives in jail,
I’m allowed to visit some of their graves in some countries.

I have no problem.
I am not shocked that my friend
has grown a horn on his head.
I like his cleverness in hiding the obvious tail
under his clothes, I like his calm paws.
He might kill me, but I shall forgive him
for he is my friend;
he can hurt me every now and then.

I have no problem.
The smile of the TV anchor
does not make me ill any more
and I’ve got used to the Khaki stopping my colours
night and day.
That is why
I keep my identification papers on me, even at
the swimming pool.
I have no problem.
Yesterday, my dreams took the night train
and I did not know how to say goodbye to them.
I heard the train had crashed
in a barren valley
(only the driver survived).
I thanked God, and took it easy
for I have small nightmares
that I hope will develop into great dreams.

I have no problem.
I look at myself, from the day I was born till now.
In my despair I remember
that there is life after death;
there is life after death
and I have no problem.
But I ask:
Oh my God,
is there life before death?
――Translated by Radwa Ashour
From poem hunter.com
Interview with Mourid Barghouti