“. . . we will continue our prayers and conjure new seasons for our lives . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ Analysis: The end of normalcy for Israeli settlements?
❷ Israeli forces seize Palestinian vehicles, equipment in Jordan Valley
❸ Israeli forces open fire on Palestinian farmers, shepherds in Gaza
❹ Jerusalem court slams police over arrests of left-wing activists
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The Israeli government is as responsible for Duma murders as those who threw the firebomb
❻ Poetry by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
+972 MAGAZINE
THE  END  OF  NORMALCY  FOR  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS?
Michael Schaeffer Omer-Man
January 29, 2016
The United States appears to be following the European Union in taking symbolic steps to challenge the aura of normalcy with which Israel has cloaked its settlement enterprise for decades.
___United States Customs officials published a notice last week clarifying that U.S. law does not permit goods manufactured in the West Bank, including in Israeli settlements, to be labeled as “made in Israel.”   More
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  SEIZE  PALESTINIAN  VEHICLES,  EQUIPMENT  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY
Jan. 30, 2016
Israeli forces late Friday confiscated trucks and equipment being used to build a new agricultural road in the Palestinian village of Khirbet al-Dir in the northern Jordan Valley.
___The head of a local council in the occupied West Bank village, al-Maleh Arif Daraghmah, told Ma’an that military forces had seized the equipment, without citing a reason for its removal.
___Daraghmah added that days before, Israeli forces had ruined dozens of acres of agricultural land and roads while carrying out military drills in the area.    More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  ON  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS,  SHEPHERDS  IN  GAZA
Jan. 30, 2016
Israeli forces deployed at the borderline between the Gaza Strip and Israel opened fire at a group of Palestinian farmers and shepherds who were in nearby agricultural lands.
___Witnesses told Ma’an that the group was forced to leave the area after the forces opened fire east of the city of Khan Younis. No injuries were reported. . . .
___Israeli military forces have opened fire on Palestinian farmers near the border at least four times this month, one of whom was injured on Friday.    More . . .
+972 MAGAZINE
JERUSALEM  COURT  SLAMS  POLICE  OVER  ARRESTS  OF  LEFT-WING  ACTIVISTS
Haggai Matar
Jan. 29, 2016
The Jerusalem Magistate’s Court freed Israeli left-wing activists Ezra Nawi and Guy Butavia from house arrest on Thursday, with Judge David Shaul Gabai Richter chastising police for not substantiating their suspicions against the pair.
___Nawi and Butavia, activists with anti-occupation direct-action group Ta’ayush, were arrested following the broadcast of a right-wing hidden camera “sting,” on suspicion of making contact with a foreign agent (Palestinian security services). . . .    More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
THE  ISRAELI  GOVERNMENT  IS  AS  RESPONSIBLE  FOR  DUMA  MURDERS  AS  THOSE  WHO  THREW  THE  FIREBOMB
Dan Cohen
Jan. 29, 2016
Since the announcement of an indictment in the deadly firebombing in the occupied West Bank village of Duma, Israeli media outlets have analyzed the likelihood that the killers will be punished, given that the main suspect’s confession were extracted by torture.
___But they have not mentioned the elephant in the room: culpability for the murder of baby Ali Dawabshe and his parents lies not only with those who threw the firebomb, but with the Israeli government which promotes, subsidizes and protects their presence in the West Bank.   More . . .

“PRAYER,”  BY  IBRAHIM  NASRALLAH

Farah, we will begin our prayers
amid this bloody sorrow
and among the lonely pine.
What makes the mountains this morning much kinder,
the sun more glamorous,
the wind a song that celebrates the heights?
What makes our beloved jasmine
more pure than we imagined
and more disobedient than we had thought?
What makes these mountains
and these trees that we allowed to be taller than us
much shorter than us now?
Farah, we will continue our prayers
and conjure new seasons for our lives,
new rivers to flow in our veins
and a new place for the world’s singing.
We will continues our prayers
and when love is total,
when our fingers shyly and tenderly come together
like beads of the fig’s milk,
we will climb the mountain to bless all creatures
and together whisper: Amen . . . amen.

About Ibrahim Nasrallah
From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN INSIDE: SELECTED POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Amazon.

“. . . if our words are not heard echoing in the world . . .” (‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud)

dead boy
Muhammad Nabil Halabiya, 17 from Abu Dis, died Saturday night when a pipe bomb exploded prematurely. His unarmed grandfather was killed by Israeli soldiers in 2002. (MaanImages)

❶ Hundreds mourn teen killed in pipe bomb accident
❷ In the Jewish state, equality for Arabs is impossible by definition
❸ Sliman Mansour and the art of steadfastness
❹ ‘This is a totally political arrest, they will not thwart human rights!’ Guy Butavia tells the courthouse
❺ Opinion/Analysis: HOUSE  DEMOLITIONS  BACKFIRE  ON  THE  OCCUPATION
❻ Poetry by ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud (1948)
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
HUNDREDS  MOURN  TEEN  KILLED  IN  PIPE  BOMB  ACCIDENT
Jan. 24, 2016
Hundreds of mourners joined on Sunday the funeral procession of Muhammad Nabil Halabiya, 17 and from the occupied East Jerusalem town of Abu Dis, who was killed Saturday night by a pipe bomb that exploded prematurely. . . .
___Muhammad had been holding the bomb near an Israeli military site in the area when it exploded in his hands. . . .
___ Muhammad left behind a mother and two brothers Ahmad, 15, and Mahmoud 13. Muhammad’s father Nabil died in 2002 only 40 days after his grandfather, Darwish was killed by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
+972 MAGAZINE
IN  THE  JEWISH  STATE,  EQUALITY  FOR  ARABS  IS  IMPOSSIBLE  BY  DEFINITION
Umar al-Ghubari (translated by Richard Flantz)
Jan. 24, 2016
This week the Israeli army radio, Galei Tzahal, conducted a survey . . . of Israeli Jews regarding full equal rights for Arab citizens of Israel. The results of the survey . . . revealed that the Jewish public in this country is almost equally divided on this issue. 45 percent oppose full equal rights for the state’s Arab citizens, 43 percent are in favor. . . .
___ . . . in a militaristic society like Israel, it is not surprising that an army radio station intervenes in the civil realm without question, reflecting the clear overlap between (Jewish) civil society and the military in Israel . . . only asked Jews, and are thus acting on the idea that Jews in this country have the sole authority to determine whether and how equal the Arab can be. . . .    More . . .

1-SLIMAN MANSOUR
Sliman Mansour. The Camel of Heavy Burdens, 1980. (Photo: The Palestine Poster Project, 2009)

THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
SLIMAN  MANSOUR  AND  THE  ART  OF  STEADFASTNESS
Linda Paganelli
Jan. 22, 2016
The history of modern Palestine can be traced through the work of its artists.
___After the 1948 ethnic cleansing of Palestine, what has become known as the Nakba, the theme of refugees — “hopeless, helpless and without homes” — dominated.
___But, as veteran artist Sliman Mansour explains, after the emergence of the armed struggle in the 1960s, “Palestinian art became proud.”    More . . .
Related . . .
MONDOWEISS
“THIS  IS  A  TOTALLY  POLITICAL  ARREST,  THEY  WILL  NOT  THWART  HUMAN  RIGHTS!”  GUY  BUTAVIA  TELLS  THE  COURTHOUSE
Phil Weiss and Annie Robbins
Jan. 23, 2016
This Activestills video records Guy Butavia greeted by supporters while being led through the halls outside the Jerusalem Magistate’s Court. Butavia is one of three activists, along with Ezra Nawi and Nasser Nawajah, who are being held in custody, their identities previously placed under a sweeping gag order in a “witch hunt” after a sting operation aired on Israel’s primetime show Uvda, set up by undercover activists from a rightwing group Ad-Kan. While investigators are scurrying around trying to drum up bogus trumped up murder charges against them, everyone already knows no murder has ever taken place!   More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
HOUSE  DEMOLITIONS  BACKFIRE  ON  THE  OCCUPATION
Dr Hani Al-Masri
(Director General of Masarat, the Palestinian Center for Policy Research & Strategic Studies)
http://masarat.ps/en/content/home
Jan. 21, 2016
The wave of the intifada that has been ongoing for four consecutive months has not yet turned into a comprehensive popular intifada with a united leadership and specific goals for many reasons mentioned by me and others. The most important of these reasons is that the leadership did not adopt the intifada and remained content with its hesitant support . . . .
___. . . some actions that gave the intifada more popularity and we cannot diminish their importance, such as the popular gatherings . . . calling for the return of the martyrs’ bodies as well as forming human chains around their homes. This hindered and postponed the execution of demolition orders on several occasions.    More . . .

(This poem was written before 1948. The line “the martyr’s body sprawled on sands” are especially poignant in light of the way in which Muhammad Nabil Halabiya’s grandfather died, which he must have known.)

“THE  MARTYR,”  BY  ‘ABD  AL-RAHEEM  MAHMOUD  (1913-1948)

I shall carry my soul on the palm of my hand,
tossing it into the cavern of death!
Either a life to gladden the hearts of friends
or a death to torture the hearts of foes!
An honorable man’ spirit has two aims:
to die fighting, or to achieve victory.
Otherwise, what is life? I want no life
if we’re not respected in our land;
if our response is not feared,
if our words are not heard
echoing in the world.

By your life, I see my own death,
but I hasten my footsteps.
No greater wish than to die defending stolen rights
and my country,
My ears love the clashing of swords,
my soul is proud of martyrs’ blood.
Behold the martyr’s body
sprawled on sands, attacked by vultures,
his blood tinting the earth crimson,
haunting northern breezes with its scent.
His radiant brow covered with dust
only seems more luminous.
The smile on his lips
mocks this earthly life,
and his dreams of eternity,
shape blissful visions.

I swear this is how men should die
for how can I tolerate the harm of my enemy’s malice,
how can I endure his aggression?
Would fear stop me if it is easy to sacrifice my life?
Am I humble? I simply can endure no scorn!
With my own heart I’ll fight the enemy;
my heart of steel, my ravenous flames,
I’ll stalk my land with the blade of this sword
so my people know I’m their defender.
――Translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

About ‘Abd al-Raheem Mahmoud
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

1-holy land 1 046
Israeli Home Demolition, Jerusalem, June 2008. (Photo: Harold Knight)