“. . . is it my country or the source of my exile . . .” (Zuhair Abu Shaib)

1666520508
Inhabitants of YITZHAR – a reputation as being among the most extreme Israeli settlers in the West Bank. (The Palestinian Information Center Sunday, December 3, 2017)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY    
|  WEST  BANK  WITNESSES  WORST  ESCALATION  IN  THIS  YEAR,  ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  4  PALESTINIAN  CIVILIANS  WITHIN  ONLY  48  HOURS;  TWO  OF  THEM  WERE  EXTRA-JUDICIALLY  EXECUTED
The West Bank is witnessing the worst and most violent escalation by the Israeli forces and settlers in this year.  Only within 48 hours, the Israeli forces killed 4 Palestinian civilians, including an elderly and 2 extra-judicially killed, and wounded dozens due to use of armed force against the peaceful demonstrators.  The Palestinian cities have witnessed large-scale incursions; mostly in the cities of Ramallah and al-Bireh, and a strangulating closure on both cities.  Meanwhile, the Israeli settlers have escalated their attacks against the Palestinian civilians and their property in light of the Israeli military and political leaders’ calls for incitement against the Palestinians.  The Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) emphasizes that the Israeli forces continue to pursue the policy of Extra-judicial executions that have publicly carried out for the first time in the so-called “Bus 300” operation on 10 April 1984 when 4 Palestinians were killed.  More . . .
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAZE  PALESTINIAN  LANDS  TO  EXPAND  [YITZHAR] NABLUS-AREA  SETTLEMENT  
Israeli bulldozers, belonging to settlers from the illegal Israeli settlement of Yitzhar in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, razed Palestinian lands in the Assira al-Qibliya village, on Wednesday morning.    ___Ghassan Daghlas, an official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that several Israeli settlers from Yitzhar razed lands in eastern Assira al-Qibliya to expand their settlement.    ___Daghlas confirmed that these lands belong to several Palestinians.    More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  FORCES  UPROOT  200  CACTUS  SEEDLINGS  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY
Israeli forces uprooted hundreds of cactus seedlings belonging to a Palestinian resident in the Bardala village in the northern occupied West Bank, on Tuesday afternoon.    ___A Palestinian official in charge of Jordan Valley’s Israeli settlements file at the Palestinian Authority (PA), Mutaz Bisharat, said that Israeli forces uprooted 200 five-month-old cactus seedlings.    ___Bisharat added that the seedlings belong to local resident Faris Sawafta in Bardala in the Jordan Valley.   More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  UPROOT  OVER  100  TREES  WEST  OF  HEBRON
Israeli settlers Tuesday evening uprooted over 100 trees belonging to the Palestinian villagers of Tarqumiya, west of Hebron, said a local official.    ___Head of the Agricultural Damage Documentation Section Hashem Badarin told WAFA that settlers from Adora settlement uprooted and destroyed over 100 fruitful trees belonging to the village.  More . . .
| OFFICIAL:  WE  INFORMED  ISRAEL  THAT  WE  ARE  GOING  TO  RECONSIDER  ALL  SIGNED  AGREEMENTS
Hussein al-Sheikh, head of the Civil Affairs Commission, said on Monday that the Palestinian Authority has informed Israel that it is going to reconsider all the agreements signed between them.    ___”We have told the Israeli side a clear message and that was as long as the agreements are being slaughtered and murdered every day on the ground by the behavior of the settlers and the army, we are going to reconsider all the agreements signed between us and them,” he said in an interview.    [. . . .] “We have delivered a very clear message that the current serious escalation is targeting all the occupied territories.    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
| KHAN  AL-AHMAR:  SETTING  THE  RECORD  STRAIGHT
By Angela Godfrey-Goldstein
The story of Khan al-Ahmar has been told countless times in the media in recent months. The way it is being told, however, is chock full of misconceptions. Here’s the real story behind the embattled village.    ___ The village of Khan al-Ahmar, home to 193 Palestinian Bedouins and a school, is under the very real and imminent threat of demolition and forcible displacement by Israeli authorities. Israel wants to remove Khan al-Ahmar to facilitate its “E-1” development plan, which envisions 3,910 housing units for Israelis and over 2,000 hotel rooms, and which would connect the Israeli settlement of Ma’ale Adumim to East Jerusalem. The separation wall would then be built around that bloc, with Greater Jerusalem “Judaized” and the viability of a Palestinian state jeopardized.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“NAME  OF  THE  SOIL,”  BY  ZUHAIR  ABU  SHAIB
what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

“. . . whoever writes a poem in the days of the atom and the wind . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Israeli violations of Palestinian media freedoms in October highest for 2017
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israel releases Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq

  • Background: “Changing Trends in Palestinian Political Activism: The Second Intifada, the Wall Protests, and the Human Rights Turn.” Geopolitics.

❷ IOF arrests 9 citizens from WB
❸ Israeli settlers assault Palestinian farmers, injure 3 in Nablus area
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  VIOLATIONS  OF  PALESTINIAN  MEDIA  FREEDOMS  IN  OCTOBER  HIGHEST  FOR  2017 
Ma’an News Agency 
Nov. 9, 2017 ― The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms (MADA) monitored 28 violations against media freedoms in the occupied Palestinian territory during October, 27 of which were carried out by Israeli forces, according to a statement released by the group on Wednesday.
___According to the group, the number of violations committed by Israeli forces increased from 22 in September to 27 during October, all of which were “serious attacks.” The statement added that the violations in October constituted the most serious of all violations of media freedoms in the territory recorded since the beginning of 2017.
___Israeli violations of media freedoms in October included storming 10 offices and headquarters of Pal Media, Trans Media and Ramsat media companies in the cities of Ramallah, Hebron, Bethlehem and Nablus, “confiscating their property and turning 94 journalists and employees working in these institutions jobless,” MADA said.
[. . . .] Palestinian journalists often describe their work as a form of “resistance,” as they believe their stories show the world the devastating effects of Israel’s policies on Palestinians and provide Palestinians an outlet for their voices in a media climate that is often overshadowed by pro-Israeli narratives.   MORE . . .   ..
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ISRAEL  RELEASES  PALESTINIAN  JOURNALIST  MUHAMMAD  AL-QEEQ    
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO 
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Israeli occupation authorities yesterday released Palestinian journalist Muhammad Al-Qeeq after he completed his sentence, Quds Press reported.
___Thirty-five-year-old Al-Qeeq was arrested in 2015 and placed under administrative detention – detention without charge or trial. He went for a hunger strike that lasted 94 days in protest against his detention.
___He was released in 2016, but in January 2017, he was re-arrested at an Israeli military checkpoint in the north of the occupied West Bank city of Ramallah.   MORE . . .    ..

Mall Dibiasi, Caroline.
“CHANGING  TRENDS  IN  PALESTINIAN  POLITICAL  ACTIVISM:  THE  SECOND  INTIFADA,  THE  WALL  PROTESTS,  AND  THE  HUMAN  RIGHTS  TURN.”
Geopolitics, vol. 20, no. 3, Jul-Sep2015, pp. 669-695.
[. . . .] Palestinian spatiality has been the focus of much academic writing since the Oslo Accords. The transformation of the Palestinian landscape through the separation of Palestinians and Israelis, as envisaged in the Oslo Agreement, enforced through checkpoints and a number of other physical and functional barriers, has not only affected the Palestinian national project but also Palestinian society in everyday life.
[. . . .]  ‘The spatial organization of the Occupied Territories is a reflection not only of an ordered process of planning and implementation, but, and increasingly, so, of “structured chaos”, in which the – often deliberate – selective absence of government intervention promotes an unregulated process of violent dispossession. The actors operating within this frontier – young settlers, the Israeli military, the cellular network provider and other capitalist corporations, human rights and political activists, armed resistance, humanitarian and legal experts, government ministries, foreign governments, “supportive” communities overseas, state planners, the media, the Israeli High Court of Justice – with the differences and contradictions of their aims, all play their part in the diffused and anarchic, albeit collective authorship of its spaces.’  SOURCE . . .

❷ IOF  ARRESTS  9  CITIZENS  FROM  WB  
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested at dawn on Thursday eight Palestinian civilians, from different parts of the occupied West Bank.
___Local sources said that the IOF stormed the town of Qabatiya south of Jenin.
___They arrested five Palestinian youths named as: Mustafa Zakarneh, Mahmoud Zakarneh, Ahmad Abu al-Rub, Jawad Kmail and Mustafa Abu al-Rab.
___According to the sources, Israeli soldiers arrested Bassel Belidi and Mohammed al-Alimi from Tulkarm. They also arrested Khader Abo Rafea, resident of Aida refugee camp in Bethlehem, and Baraa Asafra from Hebron.
___The IOF arrested at the morning a girl and her brother after storming the town of Hizma, northeast of occupied Jerusalem.   MORE . . .
❸ ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ASSAULT  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS,  INJURE  3  IN  NABLUS  AREA 
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 9, 2017 ― Three Palestinians were injured on Wednesday morning after Israeli settlers assaulted a group of farmers picking olives in the Urif village in the Nablus district of the northern occupied West Bank.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors settlement activity in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli settlers from the nearby Yitzhar settlement attacked and assaulted several Palestinian farmers.   MORE . . .   ..

“OF  POETRY,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH
I
Yesterday, we sang to a star behind a cloud
and bathed in our tears.
Yesterday, we bickered with the vine trees and the moon
with the nights, and fate,
and made love to women.
The hour struck, Khayyam drank on
and under the rhythm of his drugged songs
we remained poor as ever.
Poets, friends
we are in a new world!
What has passed is dead, and whoever writes a poem
in the days of the atom and the wind
creates prophets.
II
Our poems are without colour,
voiceless and tasteless.
If poetry does not carry a lantern from house to house,
if the poor to not know what it ‘means’
we had better discard it!
It is better that we seek immortal silence
III
I would that these poems were
the chisel in the labourer’s hand,
the bomb in the extremist’s―
I would that these words
were the plough between a peasant’s hands,
a shirt, a door, or a key!
Someone has said,
If my poems please those who love me
and anger my enemies
then I am a poet. . .
But as for me―
(1964)

Mahmoud Darwish
From WHEN  THE  WORDS  BURN:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY:  1945-1987.
Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Available from Barnes & Noble.

“. . . When cement has chocked the ancient springs . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Mohammed Abu Tair
Israeli occupation authorities deporting from his home in Jerusalem Palestinian member of parliament Mohammed Abu Tair to West Bank, Oct. 12, 2010. (Photo: Al Qassam Website, 2010)

❶ Israeli forces detain Palestinian lawmaker, at least 22 others
❷ Israel advances settlement plans despite international outcry
. . . . .❷―(ᴀ) The fraud of Gush Etzion, Israel’s mythological settlement bloc
❸ Qatar warns of Israel’s persistence in blockading Gaza [and expanding settlements]
❹ Israel to Evict Several Families in Nablus Locality
. . . . .❹―(ᴀ) Israel demolishes mosque in Negev Desert village
❺ Opinion/Analysis: AMONG  THE  SETTLERS
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  PALESTINIAN  LAWMAKER,  AT  LEAST  22  OTHERS
Jan. 28, 2016
Israeli forces detained Palestinian lawmaker Muhammad Abu Tair and at least 22 others from across occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank during raids carried out early Thursday . . . .
___The Ahrar Center for Prisoners Studies and Human Rights condemned Abu Tair’s detention, with the head of the center Fouad al-Khafsh calling the detention raid a “war crime.”
___The 65-year-old MP has spent at least 32 years in Israeli prison previously, and saw his permanent residency status in Jerusalem revoked on Oct. 8, 2010 after five months of detention.
___He joins at least six other members of PLC members held in Israeli prisons including Hatim Qafisha, a Hamas-affiliated MP who was detained on Sunday.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL  ADVANCES  SETTLEMENT  PLANS  DESPITE  INTERNATIONAL  OUTCRY
Killian Redden
Jan. 27, 2016
In defiance of mounting international criticism, Israel has started to formally approve a burst of new settler housing construction across the occupied Palestinian territory.
___Israeli media reported Tuesday that Israel’s Civil Administration had approved a further 153 settler units in settlements across the West Bank last week.
___The approval reportedly came through for 65 homes in the settlements of Etz Efraim and Rachelim in Nablus, 28 apartments in Carmel in the South Hebron Hills, and another 60 in Alon Shvut in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc south of Bethlehem.   More . . .
. . . . .❷―(ᴀ) +972 MAGAZINE
THE  FRAUD  OF  GUSH  ETZION,  ISRAEL’S  MYTHOLOGICAL  SETTLEMENT  BLOC
Hillel Bardin and Dror Etkes
Feb. 1, 2015
Destroyed by Arab armies during the 1948 War, Gush Etzion was repopulated after Israel occupied the West Bank in 1967. Since then, successive Israeli governments have done everything they can to expand the area of the mythological bloc, while settling Israelis on privately-owned Palestinian land.   More . . . 

watch tower
A watchtower peeks out over the road from Nablus to Ramallah, outside an Israeli settlement in Palestine. (Photo: Postcards from Palestine.com; Sep. 6, 2013)

THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
QATAR  WARNS  OF  ISRAEL’S  PERSISTENCE  IN  BLOCKADING  GAZA  [and  expanding  settlements]
Jan. 28, 2016
Qatar has warned of Israel’s persistence in blockading the Gaza Strip, expanding its settlements, and Judaizing the holy sites in Jerusalem, and committing many violations against the Palestinians and their land.
___Qatar demanded the UN Security Council to compel Israel to respect the international law, to express its rejection clearly of all Israeli illegal practices, and to necessarily take all measures to stop such violations, and provide the Palestinian people with international protection.   More . . .
PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
ISRAEL  TO  EVICT  SEVERAL  FAMILIES  IN  NABLUS  LOCALITY
Jan. 28, 2016
Israeli forces overnight handed several Palestinian families eviction orders from Ein al-Rushrash, a locality southeast Duma village, south of Nablus, said a local activist.
___WAFA reported on Ghassan Daghlas, who monitors settlement construction in northern West Bank, that Israeli forces handed a number of Palestinian families orders notifying them of the intention to evict them from Ein al-Rushrash.
___Daghlas noted that there are about 85 Palestinians living in 30 residential structures in this locality.   More . . .
. . . . .―(ᴀ) THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  MOSQUE  IN  NEGEV  DESERT  VILLAGE
Jan. 28, 2016
Israeli forces on Thursday demolished a mosque in the Bedouin village of Rakhma in the Negev Desert under the pretext that it had been built without a permit, eyewitness said.  More . . . 
Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
AMONG  THE  SETTLERS
Philip Weiss
Jan. 26, 2016
This is the first half of a piece about my tour of four Israeli settlements in mid-January. The second half is here. http://mondoweiss.net/2016/01/the-world-the-settlers-made
On my first night in an Israeli settlement, David served chicken soup left over from Sabbath and told me an unsettling story about the birth of Israel. His great uncle had escaped Europe to come to a Jewish kibbutz called Ein Harod. On the next hill was a Palestinian village. When hostilities broke out between Jews and Palestinians in 1948, the Jews went up to the village and announced that the next day they were bringing bulldozers to level the place, the people should leave. The next day they went back and were surprised to find that the Palestinians had all fled– fearing a massacre like the one that took place in Deir Yassin. The Jews then leveled the village and used the stones to build a stadium in their kibbutz. David said his uncle had told this story “with a twinkle in his eye.” More . . .  

“A  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
What,
When in my country
Dies the swallow of starvation,
In exile and without a shroud,
While the earthworm is over-fed
On God’s food?

What,
When the yellow fields
Yield to their tillers
Nothing except their weary memories,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of their usurpers?

What,
When cement has chocked
The ancient springs
And caused them to forget
Their courses,
They cry in the face
Of their creator, “Who are you?”

What,
When the olive and almond
Have become timber
Decoration on the doorway of inns,
Idols,
Whose nudity charms halls and bars,
And souvenirs for tourists
To carry to the far corners of the world,
While nothing meets my eyes
But dry timber and yellow leaves.

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.
Samih Al-Qasim obituary