“. . . . Return is more than a reclamation of the land stolen by an enemy . . .” (Jabra Ibrahim Jabra)

Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City: ruins of abandoned Ottoman era churches. (Photo: MEMO/Mohammed Asad)
Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City: ruins of abandoned Ottoman era churches. (Photo: MEMO/Mohammed Asad)

❶ Unearthing Gaza’s history
❷ Qalandiya International 2016 Edition to Explore Subject of Return
❸ Israeli forces raid, destroy property at al-Quds University
. . . . . ❸―(ᴀ) Video: Israel demolishes every home in West Bank Bedouin village
❹ IOF demolish municipal slaughterhouse, east of Bethlehem
❺ Opinion/Analysis: BEFORE  ZIONISM:  THE  SHARED  LIFE  OF  JEWS  AND  PALESTINIANS
❻ From an essay by Jabra Ibrahim Jabra
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
UNEARTHING  GAZA’S  HISTORY
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
April 2016
Palestine Square in the heart of Gaza City has been the focus of excavation works by the Ministry of Endowments to unearth ruins dating back to the Byzantine era. The 1,500 year old remains include crowns, columns and a cross, which indicates there may have been a church on the site, Director of Museums and Antiquities at the Ministry of Tourism Hiam Al-Bitar told MEMO.
___It is expected that the city centre may have contained many churches from the Byzantine era.      MORE . . .

QALANDIYA  INTERNATIONAL  2016  EDITION  TO  EXPLORE  SUBJECT  OF  RETURN
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Qalandiya International’s executive council announced that the third edition of its collaborative artistic program will be launched between the 5th and the 30th of October 2016 and will be built around the theme of return. . . .
___ . . . the over-riding aim of the festival this year is to open up an in-depth discussion around the important subject of Palestinian return – particularly in the context of the terrible events currently unfolding in the region.
___This is a period in which the Nakba’s repercussions are revealed as harsher as and more devastating than ever before.     MORE . . .  

ISRAELI  FORCES  RAID,  DESTROY  PROPERTY  AT  AL-QUDS  UNIVERSITY
Ma’an News Agency
April 5, 2016
Israeli forces stormed the campus of al-Quds University in the occupied West Bank village of Abu Dis east of Jerusalem’s Old City early on Tuesday morning, damaging property, local sources told Ma’an.
___Israeli troops raided the university campus at 3 a.m. and left at 5 a.m. For two hours, the soldiers locked campus security guards in one room after breaking their walkie-talkies.
___The soldiers then ransacked a building hosting the Dean of Students . . . .   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸―(ᴀ)  VIDEO:  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  EVERY  HOME  IN  WEST  BANK  BEDOUIN  VILLAGE
Mondoweiss
Sheren Khalel and Abed Al Qaisi
April 4, 2016
Israeli forces have demolished every home in the Bedouin village of Khirbet Taha in the northern West Bank district of Nablus during three separate demolitions since the start of the year.
___Unlike most Bedouin villages, the residents in Khirbet Taha own their own land. However that land falls in Area C, territory in the occupied West Bank under full Israeli control.     MORE . . .  

IOF  DEMOLISH  MUNICIPAL  SLAUGHTERHOUSE,  EAST  OF  BETHLEHEM
Palestine News Network – PNN
April 5, 2016
Israeli Occupation bulldozers on Tuesday morning tore down the municipal slaughterhouse in Beit Sahour town east of Bethlehem, claiming it has no building permit.
___Eyewitnesses told PNN that an intense number of troops broke into the town and demolished the slaughterhouse that’s property of the town municipality, preventing locals from approaching the area.
___The demolition comes as part of a wave of demolitions which IOF embarked months ago.      MORE . . .

The old church in Kafr Bir’im. The Palestinian villagers were expelled from their homes two years after the founding of the State of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)
The old church in Kafr Bir’im. The Palestinian villagers were expelled from their homes two years after the founding of the State of Israel. (Photo: Activestills.org)

Opinion/Analysis:   BEFORE  ZIONISM:  THE  SHARED  LIFE  OF  JEWS  AND  PALESTINIANS
+972 Magazine Blog
April 4, 2016
Noam Rote
Menachem Klein’s book, Lives in Common: Arabs and Jews in Jerusalem, Jaffa and Hebron, is a depressing one. Originally released in English, the book — which is being published in Hebrew  — paints a picture of a shared life between Palestinians and Jews at the end of the 19th and the beginning of the 20th centuries, bringing us face-to-face with daily life, commerce, education, celebrations, and sadness. It shows that us this kind existence, despite everything we were taught by the Israeli education system, is possible. And then Klein goes on and destroys this delicate balance, burning everything that is left of it today.      MORE . . .

From “JERUSALEM, TIME EMBODIED,” BY JABRA IBRAHIM JABRA (1919–1994)

The city of Jerusalem is not just a place; it is also a time. One cannot understand it only in its limited physical boundaries. It must be seen in its historical perspective, as if it were history itself. As if an observer might grasp the history of four thousand years in a single glance.

In this city, history lives. Every stone pronounces it. This history is full of contradictions, full of disasters, but it is also the story of a city for which all of humanity has yearned. Because it has never been, not for one day, merely a city composed of stone and dirt, business and politics. It has always been a city of dreams and longing, and of the human spirit’s gaze toward God.  [. . . . ]

When an enemy comes and crushes sidewalks with armored cars, when he blows up houses with everyone in them, when he tears family and friends up from their roots, when he casts a boy—now a young man—across valleys and deserts, from one road to another, from one home to another, is this not a brazen attempt to sever Self from Self?

From this experience comes every Palestinian’s feeling that he must return. Return is more than a reclamation of the land stolen by an enemy. It is winning back that part of the Self that had been taken, and returning it to itself so it can be whole again.

From: Jabra Ibrahim Jabra. THE  EIGHTH  JOURNEY.  Beirut: Modern Library (al-Maktaba al-‘Asriya) Press, 1967 (collection of literary and social criticism). Republished by ARAB  STUDIES  JOURNAL (January 26, 2015). Web.
About JABRA IBRAHIM JABRA (1919–1994)
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“. . . when the sea gazelle was stabbed, And the moon became an eye of glass. . .” (Mu’in Bseiso)

A picture taken on March 19, 2013 shows workers at the archaeological site of the Saint Hilarion Monastery, one of the largest Christian monasteries in the Middle East, in Tel Umm al-Amr close to Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. AFP photo. More. . .
A picture taken on March 19, 2013 shows workers at the archaeological site of the Saint Hilarion Monastery, one of the largest Christian monasteries in the Middle East, in Tel Umm al-Amr close to Deir al-Balah, in the central Gaza Strip. AFP photo.  More. . .  

❶ From: PALESTINE NEWS NETWORK
IOF  TO  BAN  MUSLIMS,  ALLOW  SETTLERS  INTO  IBRAHIMI  MOSQUE  ON  THURSDAY
August 12, 2015
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) Tuesday night announced will to close the Ibrahimi mosque (Haram) in the old city of Hebron, southern West Bank, for the Muslim worshipers under the pretext of “Jewish occasions. “Local sources said that IOF announced the mosque will be closed in the face of Muslims Thursday early morning, until the evening, but will be opened for Israeli Jewish settlers.
____The mosque is regularly closed down by Israeli forces under the same pretext, but Jewish settlers are given full privilege to break into the mosque whenever desired.
[. . . .]
____IOF have often prevented the call for prayers (Adan) from the mosque, violating the religious freedom of Muslims.
____The Israeli minister of army, Moshe Ya’alon on Tuesday morning broke into the mosque “to carry out Jewish prayers” in midst of tight security guardianship.
More. . .

❷ From: PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
GRAND  MUFTI  CONDEMNS  ISRAEL’S  DECISION  TO  BUILD  SYNAGOGUE  IN  OLD  JERUSALEM
August 12, 2015
JERUSALEM, (WAFA) – The Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, Sheikh Mohammad Hussein, condemned on Wednesday the ongoing construction of a Jewish synagogue upon the ruins of an Islamic site in the Old City of Jerusalem.
____He said the construction of the synagogue comes as part of a “Judaization” plan which aims to transfer the holy city and areas surrounding al-Aqsa Mosque into a completely Jewish area.
____The Jordan-run Islamic Waqf, which has administrative jurisdiction over the compound, has accused Israel of attempting to “Judaize” the holy site and the city of Jerusalem.
More. . .

A view of Jerusalem’s Old City Hurva (The Ruin) synagogue, left, the Dome of the Rock mosque, center, and an Armenian church on January 24, 2011. Getty Images.
A view of Jerusalem’s Old City Hurva (The Ruin) synagogue, left, the Dome of the Rock mosque, center, and an Armenian church on January 24, 2011. Getty Images.

❸ From: AL-MONITOR (PALESTINE PULSE)
PERPETUAL  NEGLECT  JEOPARDIZES  GAZA’S  ARCHAEOLOGICAL  SITES
Rasha Abou Jalal
August 11, 2015
GAZA CITY — Some of the Gaza Strip’s most precious historical sites, dating back thousands of years, are being devastated not only by the targeted bombardments of repeated wars, but also from long-term government neglect.
____ “In addition to the Israeli attacks, cultural heritage, as well as Islamic and Christian archaeological sites, suffer from significant violations due to the neglect of successive governments,” [said] Nasser al-Yafawi, an expert on history and heritage in the Gaza Strip. . .
____He added, “These governments failed to preserve the Palestinian heritage in Gaza. They left heritage sites exposed to looting, pillaging and effacement without providing the minimal level of care that is worthy of the civilization that these sites and old buildings represent.”
More. . .

❹ From: MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
US  INTERVENES  IN  CASE  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS  OVER  ISRAEL  ATTACKS
Aug. 12, 2015
WASHINGTON ―The United States said on Tuesday it has intervened in a lawsuit against Palestinian authorities over attacks in Israel that killed and injured Americans, arguing that a high bond could compromise the Palestinians’ financial stability.
____A US jury in February found the Palestinian Authority (PA) and Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) liable for six attacks between 2002 and 2004, which killed 33 people . . .
____The families were awarded more than $218 million in damages, which was automatically tripled to about $650 million. . . .
____The US State Department said it had filed a Statement of Interest . . . to express concerns over the possible bond amount that could be issued in the case. . . for the PA to appeal the decision.
____The filing cited “US concerns about the harms that could arise if the ability of the Palestinian Authority to operate as a governmental authority is severely compromised.”
More. . .

❺ Opinion
From: MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL  STRUGGLES  WITH  RACIST  UNDERGROUND
August 11, 2015
James Dorsey
Israel is struggling with how to deal with groups . . . that are linked to a banned nationalist political party that has emerged at the core of recent racist, anti-Palestinian incidents and include a militant soccer fan group that was responsible for last month’s violent clashes during a Europa League qualifier in Belgium between Israeli club Beitar Jerusalem and Charleloi SC.
____Two government investigations of Beitar and La Familia, its notorious fan group that openly supports Kach, the banned party founded by Meir Kahane, an extremist rabbi who was assassinated in 1990, took on added significance. . . .
____ . . . the investigations have moved center stage amid recent racist and discriminatory attacks such as the firebombing of a Palestinian home that killed an 18-month-old baby . . . as well as the stabbing of participants in a gay parade by an ultra-religious repeat offender as well as allegations . . . .
[. . . .]
____Israeli leaders have condemned the firebombing as an act of terrorism and are keen to stop elements of the underground from threatening the fabric of Israeli society by escalating Israeli-Palestinian tensions.
____Israel also wants to ensure that racist incidents don’t pour grist on the mill of the growing boycott, divestment and sanctions movement that seeks to isolate Israel internationally or revive efforts by the Palestine Football Association (PFA) to get world soccer body FIFA to suspend Israel’s membership in part on the grounds of racism.
More. . .

“ALEXANDER  AND  THE  SUN  FLOWER,”  BY  MUEEN  BESSISSOU  (Mu’in  Bseiso)
The auction began,
And she was carried on a litter to Alexander’s tent.
They brought her the milk of a deer and a lioness.
And so she washed.
She was perfumed with incense;
And when they blew the horn,
A bed was fetched.
And Alexander entered.
Joys of Alexander!
He slept with her
Until the cock crowed,
Then discarded her,
To be bestowed on a king
Who abandoned her after two nights.
She was carried on a camel
And bestowed on a prince.
The incense garden burned down.
Then she was bestowed on a minister,
And down to the fifty-first man in his entourage.
And when the sea gazelle was stabbed,
And the moon became an eye of glass,
Her navel became a wine pot.
Kings and rebels drank to her health,
She learned how to lie with them.
Rainbow! Stay this winter from our skies.
Your red and blue and green
Stain our face, like mud and glue.

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 Amazon.
Mu’in Bseiso (1926 – January 23, 1984)

Fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team hold up a sign saying "beitar pure for ever" and chanted against owner Arcadi Gayadamak during Saturday evening's game against Bnei Yehuda of Tel Aviv over Gaydamak's announced intention to make two Russians the first Muslims in the teams history. Jan 26 2013. Photo by Flash90
Fans of the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team hold up a sign saying “beitar pure for ever” and chanted against owner Arcadi Gayadamak during Saturday evening’s game against Bnei Yehuda of Tel Aviv over Gaydamak’s announced intention to make two Russians the first Muslims in the teams history. Jan 26 2013. Photo by Flash90