“. . . I’d rather a grapevine be planted (in my name) . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Jakarta, 14 Jul 2014, demonstration in support of Gazans. (Photo: Rifat Iqbal @rifat00009)
Jakarta, 14 Jul. 2014, demonstration in support of Gazans. (Photo: Rifat Iqbal @rifat00009)

❶ Palestinian companies protest Israeli decision to ban their products
❷ What’s behind Israel’s call for ‘economic peace’?
❸ PLO’s Ashrawi meets with US officials in DC visit
❹ Israel is holding sixteen Palestinian journalists behind bars
❺ Opinion/Analysis: SEND  THEM  TO  GAZA,  ISRAEL’S  PENAL  COLONY
. . . . . ❺― (ᴀ) Israel denies entry to Indonesia’s foreign minister visiting Palestine
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINIAN  COMPANIES  PROTEST  ISRAELI  DECISION  TO  BAN  THEIR  PRODUCTS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
March 13, 2016
Israeli troops used tear gas to suppress a march held by five Palestinian food production companies on Sunday near the Israeli Ofer prison in the occupied West Bank.
___The companies protested by parking their trucks near the prison, after Israeli authorities banned their products from entering Jerusalem and Israel. . . .
___Israel informed the companies on Wednesday that their products were banned from entering Jerusalem through the Beitunia commercial crossing.      MORE . . . 
WHAT’S  BEHIND  ISRAEL’S  CALL  FOR  ‘ECONOMIC  PEACE’?
AL-MONITOR (PALESTINE PULSE)
Uri Savir
6 Mar. 2015
Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, the Israeli military chief of staff, gave the Israeli Cabinet a periodic security briefing Feb. 21. According to press reports, Eizenkot expressed concern over the deteriorating political situation within the Palestinian Authority (PA) and the continuation, for six months by now, of almost daily terror attacks by individual Palestinians. He recommended to the Cabinet that the economic situation in the West Bank be ameliorated, primarily by allowing a greater number of Palestinians to work in Israel.      MORE . . .  
PLO’S  ASHRAWI  MEETS  WITH  US  OFFICIALS  IN  DC  VISIT
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
March 12, 2016
Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee member Hanan Ashrawi conducted a series of meetings this week in Washington, D.C., to discuss the latest political developments in the occupied Palestinian territory and the escalation of Israeli violations of international law, a PLO press release said on Saturday.
___In a meeting with US officials working on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Ashrawi called for the United States to support an initiative to organize an international peace conference launched by the French foreign ministry in January.
___She provided a briefing on the deteriorating conditions in the Gaza Strip . . . .     MORE . . . 
ISRAEL  IS  HOLDING  SIXTEEN  PALESTINIAN  JOURNALISTS  BEHIND  BARS
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR
12 Mar. 2016
Sixteen Palestinian journalists are currently being detained by the Israeli occupation authorities, the Palestinian Prisoners’ Club has revealed.
___In a statement to Anadolu, the organisation said that the Israelis arrested Farouq Aliyat, the director of Palestine Today TV . . .  The correspondent of Al-Fajr Al-Jadid TV, Sami Al-Sa’e, was arrested. . . .
___ According to the prisoners’ group, nine journalists are serving prison terms inside Israel, three are being held without charge or trial under administrative detention and four, including Aliyat, are still being detained on remand.      MORE . . .  

Palestinians in Gaza read books as they stage a demonstration called 'Gaza reads' against Israeli violations in West Bank and Jerusalem, on 3 March, 2016 (Photo: Middle East Eye―AA).
Palestinians in Gaza read books as they stage a demonstration called ‘Gaza reads’ against Israeli violations in West Bank and Jerusalem, on 3 March, 2016 (Photo: Middle East Eye―AA).

OPINION/ANALYSIS:  SEND  THEM  TO  GAZA,  ISRAEL’S  PENAL  COLONY
MIDDLE EAST EYE
Gideon Levy
8 Mar. 2016
By deporting Palestinians to Gaza, Israel would officially be admitting, for the first time, that the besieged Strip is a prison, the largest in the world.
___An hour’s drive from Tel Aviv: a ghetto. Possibly the largest ghetto in the world, with about two million people. The latest figures from Gisha, Legal Centre for Freedom of Movement (an Israeli NGO): Gaza unemployment is at 43 percent; 70 percent of Gazans need humanitarian assistance; 57 percent live in the shadow of food insecurity.      MORE . . . 
. . . . . ❺― (ᴀ) ISRAEL  DENIES  ENTRY  TO  INDONESIA’S  FOREIGN  MINISTER  VISITING  PALESTINE
THE NEW ARAB
13 Mar. 2016
The Israeli authorities have denied entry to Indonesia’s foreign minister, who was scheduled to visit the occupied Palestinian territories. . . .
___”The Israeli occupation authorities prevented today morning the Foreign Minister of the Republic of Indonesia Ms. Retno Lestari Priansari Marsudi and her delegation from entering Palestinian territories,” said a statement by the Palestinian Foreign Ministry on Sunday.
___The Indonesian official was set to make an official visit to Ramallah . . . .
___ Indonesia, the world’s most populous Muslim nation, is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian struggle for nationhood and has no formal diplomatic relations with Israel.      MORE . . .

“HE WHISPERED BEFORE HE TOOK HIS FINAL BREATHS,” BY SAMIH AL-QASIM
Don’t honor me with a monument
and song!
Of all the sad songs,
I prefer my mother’s sadness.

Do not pay your last respects
with laurel and a royal display!
Of all the tender wreaths
I prefer my mother’s palm.

Don’t glorify me by giving my name
to a city square
or a street and public garden!
I’d rather a grapevine be planted
(in my name)
and grow into a vineyard and farm!

Do not preserve my memory
by giving a speech each year in my honor!
I’d rather a fine machine
pounding away in a factory
speak in my name.

Tell my mother―
tell her what you plant in my name,
tell the factory’s machine
that I loved life, from the bottom of my heart,
and therefore took my final breaths
at peace and happy.

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  New  and  Selected  Poems. Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Amazon
Samih Al-Qasim
BDS FINAL LOGO_v5WEB_URL_side

FOCUS ON GAZA “. . . A chronic, dizzying nausea permeates the air . . .” (Asma Shaker)

This posting draws together articles from reliable sources readily available on the internet. All are concerning the Israeli bombardment of Gaza last  year. (Note: this posting begins the series of “Featured Poet” in which a poem by a Palestinian poet will be included in each post.)

FROM
haaretz
THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL’S ACTIONS IN GAZA

Getting the head of the UN panel fired won’t change the outcome of its probe into possible war crimes committed in Gaza — unless his replacement is either a racist or a liar.

By Gideon Levy | Feb. 5, 2015
What a huge diplomatic achievement: Israel has succeeded in getting the Canadian law professor William Schabas to resign from his post as head of a UN inquiry panel into potential war crimes in Gaza. (Article printed in full at end of this post)
________________________________________________
FROM
Washington-Post-Logo
WAR PUNISHES GAZA
February 12, 2015
Half a year after devastating hostilities, life in the region seems worse than ever. Thousands remain displaced, internal violence is increasing – and Hamas is preparing for battle. (Illustrated article here.)
________________________________________________

EYEWITNESS TO GAZA, CONVERSATION WITH  MAURINE AND BOB TOBIN
In December 2014 Robert and Maurine Tobin traveled to Gaza to witness and report on the horrible bombing of Gaza by the Israeli Military in July of that year. They were devastated by what they saw: houses, apartment buildings, schools, factories, the zoo and children’s playgrounds were all destroyed. 250,000 people are now homeless and 10,895 are wounded and 2,191 were killed. Maurine says, what is common knowledge in Israel and that is “Gaza is used as a testing ground for the Israeli Military hardware”. (Their conversation here.)
maurine and bob

__________________________________________________

FROM
wrmeaorgbannerlogo7

Special Report
CEASE-FIRE FOLLOWS CEASE-FIRE BUT GAZA REMAINS A PRISON
By Rachelle Marshall
October 2014

Israel began the process of dismantling Gaza’s economy almost as soon as it captured the strip of territory from Egypt in 1967. Most of Gaza’s inhabitants were refugees from Palestine who had been forced off their land in 1948 when Israel became a state. Once in Gaza they built up a thriving fishing industry and an international market for their fruits and vegetables, but after 1967 Israel’s export restrictions and diversion of Gaza’s water to settlers did so much damage to the economy that by 2006 Gaza’s annual per capita gross domestic product was down to $600, a fraction of what it had been before the occupation. (Full article here.)
_________________________________
FROM
nsnewlogo_2014
LIFE AMONG THE RUINS: TEN DAYS INSIDE THE GAZA STRIP
By Donald Macintrye.
13 August 2014
The grossly asymmetrical casualties inflicted on the Palestinians have obscured another important question: how far have they even been worth it from Israel’s point of view? (Full article here.)
________________________________
FEATURED POET

AN IMAGINARY RAID
by Asma Shaker

Everything shakes – the floor, the door, even the plastic on the windows. A chronic, dizzying nausea permeates the air during every raid.
A formation of F16 planes flies over: right there – just above us. It marks a dead-straight line of smoke, tearing up the whiteness of the clouds.
‘It’s a pretend raid,’ says my father, as we tremble like we’re sitting on little earthquakes.
‘They’re just messing about. I reckon they’re just little planes training…don’t be scared.”
Then a different type of bombardment: successive tremors, air pressure and noise making everything convulse…the sound of explosion after explosion, it can’t be…it definitely can’t just be the wind.

Asma Shaker was born in Libya in 1987. She returned to Gaza with her family in the late 1990s. She studies journalism at the Islamic University of Gaza, and has worked as a literary correspondent for several publications, both Palestinian and pan-Arab. She currently works as a writer on visual arts for Aljazeera’s documentary site. Her stories have been published in regional and pan-Arab newspapers and magazines.
_________________________________
(Complete article from above.)

THE UGLY TRUTH ABOUT ISRAEL’S ACTIONS IN GAZA
Getting the head of the UN panel fired won’t change the outcome of its probe into possible war crimes committed in Gaza — unless his replacement is either a racist or a liar.
By Gideon Levy | Feb. 5, 2015

What a huge diplomatic achievement: Israel has succeeded in getting the Canadian law professor William Schabas to resign from his post as head of a UN inquiry panel into potential war crimes in Gaza.

Through persistent surveillance, Israel’s intelligence and propaganda branches revealed that Schabas had once received a $1,300 fee from the PLO. Conclusion: he sold his soul to the devil. The ref sucks. Q.E.D.

One needs a great deal of chutzpah and arrogance to dig anew into the pasts of Israel’s critics in an effort to assassinate their character, as in the case of Richard Goldstone, merely because they dared to criticize the state. As far as Israel is concerned, the fate of anyone who criticizes the country is sealed. He’s an anti-Semite, anti-Israeli, greedy or driven by ulterior motives.

In Israel’s eyes there’s no such thing as conscientious individuals who are genuinely and truly shocked by its acts, even without being paid $1,300 from the PLO. As far as Israel is concerned, there are no justice-seeking people of law, or simply decent ordinary people, who were aghast at what it did in the Gaza Strip last summer. If they were shaken – they’re either anti-Semites, or receive money from the PLO. There’s no other possibility.

But the truth is just the opposite. Those who weren’t shocked deserve to be condemned, have their character assassinated and their past scrutinized. They either live in blindness, denial and repression, or their moral standards are fundamentally distorted and flawed.

It was impossible not to be appalled by what the Israel Defense Forces did in Gaza last summer — unless you’re a propagandist, a liar or a racist. In any case, it’s impossible to support Israel in view of what it is doing to the Palestinians. Nor is there a way to be an international law expert and sympathize with what Israel is doing. Schabas’ sin is that he doesn’t. He should be proud of it.

Only an inquiry panel for the Anti-Defamation League, the Micronesian government or Habayit Hayehudi party would not have castigated the IDF’s rampage in the Gaza Strip, which was more brutal and savage than any of its previous rampages. A B’Tselem report released last week (“Black Flag: the legal and moral implications of attacking residential buildings in the Gaza Strip, summer 2014”) recounted what had so rapidly been forgotten: war crimes.

B’Tselem investigated 70 cases of bombarding residential buildings, in which 606 people were killed in their homes or near them, over 70 percent of them children, women and elderly people. The mind boggles. The most moral army in its most immoral spectacle yet, with the missiles aimed at buildings’ rooftops and all its “warnings.”

The victims’ blood is crying out. But not in Israel. Here the propaganda and media have done their job. In the election campaign there’s no mention of the most important event in the outgoing government’s term. Even the opposition dares not mention it. The Zionist Camp knows it would have done the same (“in the war on terror there’s no coalition and opposition,” Isaac Herzog said last week).

Even the fate of 20,000 people who still remain homeless, about half a year after the bombardment, in Gaza’s winter, is of no concern to anyone here. They’re Palestinians. Besides, they fired Qassam rockets and hid in residential buildings and only Hamas is to blame. And all the buildings that were bombed – they were Hamas outposts and situation rooms, and all the people killed were terrorists or children of terrorists.

Soon the report of the panel without Schabas will be released. It won’t be “balanced,” as Israeli propaganda is demanding, because the situation is far from being balanced. The five Israeli citizens and 67 soldiers who were killed will likely be mentioned in it, as will the thousands of rockets fired at Israelis. But even with the panel’s new, “balanced” head, the report will mention that in the summer of 2014 Israel committed atrocities beyond all proportion in the Gaza Strip. There’s just no other fair way to describe it.