“. . . the splendor of life Is being born within the walls of my prison . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

rimon
Israeli occupation forces stormed Palestinian prisoners in their cells, Ramon prison, in occupied Negev. (Photo: Alresalah English)

❶ Israeli forces raid PFLP section in Ramon prison, impose total closure
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)   Statement No. 8 from the PFLP Prison Branch

  • background from South Atlantic Quarterly

❷ Free Bilal Kayed! Report from the international week of action for Palestinian Prisoners

  • background from Public Health Ethics

❸ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAELI  JUSTICE:  JUDGE,  JURY  AND  JAILER
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  RAID  PFLP  SECTION  IN  RAMON  PRISON,  IMPOSE  TOTAL  CLOSURE
Ma’an News Agency
July 17, 2016
The Palestinian Prisoners’ Society said on Sunday morning that Israeli Prison Service (IPS) forces raided section 5 of Israel’s Ramon prison, where they searched room number 72 and imposed a total closure on the section, which holds exclusively prisoners affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
___The group added in a statement that the acts of the prison administration and its forces are part of its collective punishment on PFLP prisoners across all Israeli prisons, in response to their support of Bilal Kayid, who has been on a hunger strike since June 14 in protest of his administrative detention order.
[. . . .]
___Israel considers the majority of Palestinian political parties to be “terrorist organizations.” As a result, most Palestinians who participate in the political arena in the ccupied Palestinian territory risk being imprisoned by Israeli authorities.     MORE . . .  
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)   STATEMENT  NO.  8  FROM  THE  PFLP  PRISON  BRANCH:  ESCALATION  BY  THE  PRISON  ADMINISTRATION  WILL  MEET  OUR  ESCALATION  OF  PROTEST
Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza
July 15, 2016
The prisons of the occupation are in a state of flux, escalation, and rapid developments in the battle for freedom waged by the prisoners of the Popular Front against the fascist prison administration, for victory for their comrade, the leader Bilal Kayed, on hunger strike for a month. The Front organization in all prisons is continuing to escalate their protest, and prepare more serious steps of escalation, intent on their demands, drawing inspiration from the steadfastness of Comrade Kayed, and with the support of the Prisoners’ Movement which was expressed in an important statement a few days ago. This is expected to culminate in a program of unified steps of struggle involving the entire prisoners’ movement soon. In this context, we as the leadership of the branch of the organization of the Front in the occupation prisons emphasize the following . . .MORE . . . 

From South Atlantic Quarterly
Sumud, translated roughly as “steadfastness,” has no fixed meaning . . . . the practice of sumud destabilizes the colonial order and its power relations. This steadfastness constitutes a Palestinian relational political-psycho-affective subjectivity [. . . .]
___As a theoretical frame, sumud signifies a revolutionary becoming . . . .  it is a continuing process of reorganization of the revolutionary self that would be actualized in practice. Each practice of sumud in the [prison] interrogation is an actualization of the potentiality of the revolutionary becoming. . . . Palestinians are therefore constituted as they resist . . . . Palestinians-in-sumud correspond to “being caught in the act of legending.” These heroes-mediators are not individual heroes but a series; they embody others and others embody them [. . . .]
___Approximating the possibility of sumud, then, offers an alternative to hegemonic liberal modes of the individual autonomous subject that are dominant worldwide . . . . Palestinians have undertaken efforts “not merely for the endurance and victory of their people’s just cause but also as a Palestinian contribution to the protection and maintenance of the human values of freedom and liberation”. . . . sumud as a particular liberating Palestinian mode of being encodes a liberational potential for humanity. Thus, in approaching sumud as a particular Palestinian mode of being, we can consider its potential to reflect a universal mode of “revolutionary becoming” . . .

  • Meari, Lena. “Sumud: A Palestinian Philosophy Of Confrontation In Colonial Prisons.” South Atlantic Quarterly 113.3 (2014): 547-578.   SOURCE.

BILAL❷ FREE  BILAL  KAYED!  REPORT  FROM  THE  INTERNATIONAL  WEEK  OF  ACTION  FOR  PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS
Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network
July 17, 2016
As Bilal Kayed enters his second month on hunger strike in Israeli prisons, events and actions were organized around the world on 8-15 July in a coordinated week of action organized by Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network in support of Kayed’s struggle and that of fellow Palestinian prisoners, and in memory of Ghassan Kanafani, the Palestinian writer, artist and political leader and thinker assassinated on 8 July 1972 in Beirut.
___Events were organized in New York City, Arklow, Enniscorthy, London, Naples, Tampa, Milan, Beirut, Amman, and Berlin, as well as events inside occupied Palestine – in Gaza, Haifa, Nablus, El Bireh, Asira al-Shamaliya, Dheisheh camp, and elsewhere. Online advocacy for Kayed’s release also escalated with a “Twitterstorm” on 14 July, in which thousands of tweets highlighted #freedom4bilal.      MORE . . .   

From Public Health Ethics
The liberal perspective that focuses on the individual’s dilemma tends to be oblivious to the asymmetrical relation of power that characterizes the prison system and to the socio-political context in which hunger strikes take place. The liberal perspective poses the problem in similar terms to the ethical dilemma facing a doctor whose patient refuses a life-saving procedure. However . . . the relation between the physician and his/her hunger striking patient is not the typical doctor/patient encounter. The patient is there against his/her will, and the prisoner is treated by a physician s/he did not choose, at least in the first instance. Moreover, the physician usually makes his/her choices torn apart between loyalty for his/her patient and  for  the  system  in  which  s/he  works. Finally, the prisoner is not just refusing treatment. Hunger striking is a political act. . . .
___Hunger-strikers should not be simplistically compared with a patient willingly avoiding medical treatment that can alleviate his/her sufferings. Hunger-strikers do not choose death over life, neither do they want to put an end to their lives. Theirs is a political struggle in which, even though they are prepared to risk life, they would gladly go on living if they achieve their goals. Bilad Diab, who was released from administrative imprisonment in an Israeli prison after a 66-day hunger-strike, exemplified this when saying: ‘No one dies for the sake of dying. No one becomes a martyr for the sake of dying. We love life in its natural form. A hunger-strike is a real struggle which the person undertakes and risks his life in order to be released and given freedom.’

  • Filc, Dani, et al. “Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger-Strikes In Israeli Prisons: Beyond The Dual-Loyalty Dilemma In Medical Practice And Patient Care.” Public Health Ethics 7.3 (2014): 229-238.     SOURCE.  

❸ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAELI  JUSTICE:  JUDGE,  JURY  AND  JAILER
The Palestinian Information Center
Gregory Shupak
January 22, 2016
Mohammed al-Qeeq has been on hunger strike since 25 November 2015 [freed on May 9, 2016] in protest against Israel placing him under six-month administrative detention and his condition has deteriorated. . . administrative detention [is] a practice whereby Israel jails Palestinians for renewable periods of up to six months on the basis of secret evidence and without charge or trial. Administrative detention has been condemned several times by the UN Human Rights Office and the Human Rights Committee. Similarly, the Israeli NGO B’tselem notes “the substantial injury to due process inherent in this measure.” Addameer, the Palestinian political prisoners’ rights group, says that Israel is holding 660 Palestinians in administrative detention. . .
[. . . .]
Meanwhile, Israel wants Bulgarian authorities to give them Omar Nayef Zayed, who escaped Israeli detention in May 1990 after an Israeli military court convicted him of the killing of an Israeli settler yeshiva student and sentenced him to life. For now Zayed has taken refuge in the Palestinian Authority’s embassy in Sofia [assassinated February 16, 2016 in the embassy]. Under the Oslo Accords, all Palestinian political prisoners were supposed to be released and Zayed seems to fall within this purview.     MORE . . .

“LETTER FROM A PRISON CAMP,” BY SAMĪH AL-QĀSIM

Mother, it grieves me,
That because of me, throughout your night of agony,
You shed silent tears, anxiously awaiting the return
Of my beloved brothers from their chores;
That you are not able to eat
While my seat remains empty, and there is no talk or laughter.
How it pains me, Mother,
That tears rush to your eyes
When friends drop by to ask about me.
But I believe, Mother,
That the splendor of life
Is being born within the walls of my prison,
And I believe that the last of my visitors
Will not be an eyeless bat, coming to me by night.
Surely, the light of day will dawn,
And, dazzled by it, my jailer will be humbled.
He will fall to the ground . . . broken,
Shattered, burnt by daylight.
Translated by A. M. Elmesseri

Samīh al-Qāsim (1939-2014)
From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.

“. . . As he witnessed the wounds of oppression . . .” (Kamal Nasser)

1-Assasination_Verdun_Nashabe_Main_pic_1
Yasser Arafat sits between Kamal Nasser (L) and Kamal Adwan (R) in this archive photo. (Photo: Al-Akhbar)

❶ Israeli soldiers kill 14-year-old Palestinian boy in occupied village for allegedly throwing Molotov cocktail
❷ Israel to ‘close and confiscate’ homes of 4 teens accused of stone throwing attacks
❸ EU calls on Israel to stop home demolitions, settlement expansion
❹ Palestinian Prisoners Club: 18 journalists are detained in Israeli jails
❺ Ghassan Kanafani: In Our Memory
❻ Poetry by Kamal Nasser
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MONDOWEISS
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  14-YEAR-OLD  PALESTINIAN  BOY  IN  OCCUPIED  VILLAGE  FOR  ALLEGEDLY  THROWING  MOLOTOV  COCKTAIL
Feb. 6, 2016
Israeli soldiers killed a 14-year-old Palestinian and detained another young boy in the occupied West Bank town of Halhul north of Hebron, after the two allegedly tried to throw Molotov cocktails at passing vehicles.
___“During routine activity to secure Route 60,” Israeli forces “spotted two suspects attempting to throw Molotov cocktails at vehicles” on the highway, an Israeli army spokesperson told Ma‘an. The forces then opened fire on the teenagers, killing one and detaining another.     More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL  TO  ‘CLOSE AND  CONFISCATE’  HOMES  OF  4  TEENS  ACCUSED  OF  STONE  THROWING  ATTACKS
Feb. 7, 2016
Israeli authorities on Sunday gave a notice of “closure and confiscation” on the family homes of four Palestinians aged 16-19 accused of causing an Israeli driver’s death by throwing stones at his car in early September, the families said . . . .
The families . . . said their homes in the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Sur Baher are being confiscated in order to deter future attacks against Israelis . . . .
The families said the decision to kick them out of their homes is unfair, particularly because the Israeli court has yet to reach a final judgement in the case of the four teens. More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
EU  CALLS  ON  ISRAEL  TO  STOP  HOME  DEMOLITIONS,  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION
Feb. 7, 2016
The European Union on Saturday called on Israel to stop demolishing Palestinian homes in the occupied West Bank, and reiterated “the EU’s firm opposition to Israel’s settlement policy.”
___In a statement, the EU said Israel’s most recent moves in the occupied West Bank — from settlement expansion to Palestinian home demolitions — undermine “the viability of a future Palestinian state” and only continue to “driv(e) the parties yet further apart.”
___The EU specifically mentioned Israel’s actions on Feb. 3, when Israeli forces demolished a number of Palestinian structures in the south Hebron hills.   More . . .

1-memo child prisoner
A former child prisoner reads out a letter in support of Muhammad al-Qaq in demonstration in Ramallah. (Photo: MEMO Photographer Rich Wiles.)

THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS  CLUB:  18  JOURNALISTS  ARE  DETAINED  IN  ISRAELI  JAILS
Feb. 8, 2016
The Palestinian Prisoners Club said on Sunday that there are 18 Palestinian journalists currently being held in Israeli jails, including Muhammad Al-Qeq, a journalist who has been on hunger strike for 75 days.
___In a press release, the group said that Mahmoud Moussa Issa is the oldest journalist in prison and he is also serving the longest sentence. From the West Bank town of Anata, his arrest pre-dates the signing of the Oslo Accords.    More . . .
Background of Kamal Nasser’s execution by the Israelis
AL-AKHBAR ENGLISH
GHASSAN  KANAFANI:  IN  OUR  MEMORY
As’ad AbuKhalil
Dec. 7, 2012   More . . . .

“THE  LAST  POEM,”  BY  KAMAL  NASSER

Beloved, if perchance word of my death reaches you
As, alone, you fondle my only child
Eagerly awaiting my return,
Shed no tears in sorrow for me
For in my homeland
Life is degradation and wounds
And in my eyes the call of danger rings.
Beloved, if word of my death reaches you
And the lovers cry out:
The loyal one has departed, his visage gone forever,
And fragrance has died within the bosom of the flower
Shed no tears . . . smile on life
And tell my only one, my loved one,
The dark recesses of your father’s being
Have been touched by visions of his people.
Splintered thoughts bestowed his path
As he witnessed the wounds of oppression.
In revolt, he set himself a goal
He became a martyr, sublimated his being
even changed his prayers
Deepened their features and improvised
And in the long struggle his blood flowed
His lofty vision unfolded shaking even destiny.
If news reaches you, and friends come to you,
Their eyes filled with cautious concern
Smile to them in kindness
For my death will bring life to all;
My people’s dreams are my shrine
at which I pray, for which I live.
The ecstasy of creation warms my being, shouting of joy,
Filling me with love, as day follows day,
Enveloping my struggling soul and body.
Immortalized am I in the hearts of friends
I live only in others’ thoughts and memories.
Beloved, if word reaches you and you fear for me
Should you shudder and your cheeks grow pale
As pale as the face of the moon,
Allow it not to look upon you, nor
feast on the beauty of your gaze
For I am jealous of the light of the moon.
Tell my only one, for I love him,
That I have tasted the joy of giving
And my heart relishes the wounds of sacrifice.
There is nothing left for him
Save the sighs from my song. . . Save the remnants of my lute
Lying piled and scattered in our house.
Tell my only one if he ever visits my grave
And yearns for my memory,
Tell him one day that I shall return
― to pick the fruits.

About Kamal Nasser
From PoemHunter.com

‘ . . . “Does this rock have a story?” . . .” (Ghassan Kanafani)

Several large eagles inhabit the Middle East. This is the White-tailed Eagle, a fairly common eagle in Palestine. (Photo: Birding Is Fun Blog.) See short story excerpt below.
Several large eagles inhabit the Middle East. This is the White-tailed Eagle, a fairly common eagle in Palestine. (Photo: Birding Is Fun Blog.) See short story excerpt below.

❶ Palestinian prisoners have the will to persevere in the face of the oppressor
❷ VIEW! Israeli occupation of Hebron
❸ Israeli exports hit hard by Palestinian boycott, World Bank says
❹ Solar power pays off for enterprising Palestinians
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Oslo has become a tool for Israeli expansionism — it’s time to let go
❻ Short story excerpt by Ghassan Kanafani (1936-1972)
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
PALESTINIAN  PRISONERS  HAVE  THE  WILL  TO PERSEVERE  IN  THE  FACE  OF  THE  OPPRESSOR
Dr Fayez Rasheed
Oct. 2, 2015
There are 17 Palestinian prisoners on hunger strike in Israeli prisons. Altogether, almost 5,000 Palestinians are being held by Israel, including 20 women, 230 children and a number of elderly men. They are all subject to the worst types of cruelty and torture in prison. According to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society in Ramallah, 95 per cent of Palestinian prisoners are suffering from a form of torture . . . . Over 1,000 of the Palestinians in Israeli jails are ill; 160 have chronic illnesses, including cancer. Eighty are being held under arbitrary administrative detention, based on a law left over from British Mandate days.
____Israel is still holding 30 “old prisoners”, the term describing those who were imprisoned prior to the Oslo agreement . . . .
More . . .
CHRISTIAN PEACEMAKER TEAMS
VIEW!  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  OF  HEBRON
Oct. 1, 2015
See a week of Israeli occupation in the southern West Bank city of Hebron. [Weekly series of photographs from Christian Peacemakers Teams.]
More . . .
ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
ISRAELI  EXPORTS  HIT  HARD  BY  PALESTINIAN  BOYCOTT,  WORLD  BANK  SAYS
Maureen Clare Murphy
Oct. 2, 2015
The Palestinian campaign to boycott Israeli goods has exacted a major cost on Israel’s exports to the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
____This victory is quietly acknowledged in a World Bank report released this week.
____Palestinian imports from Israel dropped by 24 percent during the first quarter of 2015, the report states.
____The World Bank explains that the drop “is the result of reduced economic activity, but also a growing trend among Palestinian consumers to substitute products imported from Israel by those from other countries, as a result of which non-Israeli imports were up 22 percent.”
More . . .
AL-MONITOR (PALESTINE PULSE)
SOLAR  POWER  PAYS  OFF  FOR  ENTERPRISING  PALESTINIANS
Aziza Nofal
October 2, 2015
RAMALLAH, West Bank — Three years ago, Rabia al-Rabi stopped purchasing electricity from the Jerusalem Electricity Company, the official power provider in the city of Ramallah.
____The Palestinian woman actually started selling electricity to the very same company for 800 shekels (about $200) per month after she started a renewable energy generation project at her home.
____Rabi had carefully studied the economic feasibility of the project. Despite the high cost of installing the solar cells, she decided to run the risk and make her house one of the first in Ramallah to generate electricity from solar energy. Solar cells are installed on rooftops. . . .
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
OSLO  HAS  BECOME  A  TOOL  FOR  ISRAELI  EXPANSIONISM — IT’S  TIME  TO  LET  GO
Nathan Hersh
Oct. 3, 2015
(Nathan Hersh served in the Israel Defense Forces from 2009 to 2011. He has an MA in Conflict Resolution from Tel Aviv University. He was managing director of Partners for Progressive Israel.)
The Oslo Accords are the banner accomplishment of the Israeli peace movement. But their impact on the West Bank is no longer to orchestrate a phased withdrawal of Israeli forces, which they intended to do. Instead, the leadership in Israel has become increasingly populated by settlers and their sympathizers, and it has used the Oslo Accords for its own ideological pursuits.
____The lasting accomplishments of the Oslo Accords—the division of the West Bank into Areas A, B and C; the cooperation between Israeli and Palestinian security forces and the creation of the Palestinian Authority—have different uses under Netanyahu’s premiership. . . . The Oslo Accords have been manipulated to strengthen the occupation, not dismantle it.
More . . .

(Note: The following departure from poetry is intended to spotlight more of the vast tradition of Palestinian literature. These excerpts will appear with regularity.)

FROM  “SIX  EAGLES  AND  A  CHILD,”  A  SHORT  STORY  BY  GHASSAN  KANAFANI
. . . I put up with all of this grudgingly. . . but the one thing that could really break down all my dignified reserve, was when a peasant would give me a nudge in that old car rocking and hurtling over the rough mountain road. . . then I was expected to take part in the conversation and show interest for the rest of the way.
____“Do you see that rock, professor?” said an old peasant one day, pointing through the window to a tall tapering stone standing on a small hill. . .
____“Yes, in fact I see it three times a week.”
____His fingers remained extended in the direction of the rock and he asked again: “Do you know its story?”
____“Does this rock have a story?” I asked out of curiosity, since even though I knew full well that everything in the villages had a story, I didn’t know that this rock, way out here on this desolate road, had its story too. Nonetheless, my question had a certain grumbling to it, and raising the newspaper in front of my eyes, I began to read it desultorily.
____“It began a long time ago . . .”
____I ignored him and went on reading, certain that the old peasant wasn’t looking at me, but was gazing at the rock as it slowly disappeared from the window’s range of vision.
____“I used to travel this way every other day . . . and always when I passed this rock I would see a grey eagle perched on top of it as if it were some kind of stuffed eagle . . . it was in the morning . . . spreading its enormous wings, it would fly to the top of the rock and then alight quietly. It remained there like that until evening when it would fly off again to return to the mountains . . .”
[ . . . . ]
____“Love . . . love does that to everyone . . . .”
[ . . . . ]

Kanafani, Ghassan. PALESTINE’S  CHILDREN:  RETURNING  TO  HAIFA  AND  OTHER  STORIES. Trans. Barbara Harlow and Karen E. Riley. Boulder, CO: Lynne Riener, 2000.
Available from Amazon.
About Ghassan Kanafani
(From the introduction to the collection: “There is, in addition, a certain dissonance in Kanafani’s imagery that serves to highlight no only the violence of 1948, but also its brutal abruptness and the powerlessness felt by the Palestinians in the face of it” (Riley and Harlow)).

A Palestinian laborer installs solar panels at a photovoltaic plant in the West Bank city of Jericho, March 27, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)
A Palestinian laborer installs solar panels at a photovoltaic plant in the West Bank city of Jericho, March 27, 2012. (photo by REUTERS/Mohamad Torokman)