“. . .strangers with their rifles’ muzzles . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

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Israeli Occupation Forces bunker and watchtower in Central Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY
|  ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM  –  143  DEMOLISHED  IN  2018  
Israeli bulldozers demolished a Palestinian-owned house in Qalandiya north of occupied East Jerusalem in the central West Bank, on Wednesday morning.    ___Owner Hamzeh al-Mughrabi told Ma’an that Israeli police forces escorted municipality staff into Qalandiya, where they surrounded the house, emptied and evacuated residents before starting the demolition.    ___Al-Mughrabi added that the Shweiki family of 6 members, including a man with disability, live in the 100-square meter house.    More . . .
~~ Jerusalem  mayor  plans  to  reduce  the  sound  of  mosque  loudspeakers     More . . .
|   WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (20–26  DECEMBER  2018)
Israeli forces continued to use excessive force against the peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.     ___4 Palestinian civilians, including a child, and a person with mobility impairment were killed.   142 civilians, including 30 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and a paramedic, were wounded; the injury of 2 of them was reported serious.    ___A child was killed and 5 civilians were wounded, including a Journalist, in the West Bank.    ___Israeli forces conducted 66 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 2 limited incursions into the northern Gaza Strip.   More . . .
~~  Scores  of  Palestinians  injured  by  Israeli  bullet  fire     More . . .
~~  Civilians  kidnapped,  homes  ransacked  by  Israeli  army    More . . .
|  ISRAEL  AND  THE  UNITED  STATES  FORMALLY  QUIT  UNESCO
More than a year after announcing their withdrawal from the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), Israel and the United States’ decision officially went into effect at the last second of December 31, 2018.   ___UNESCO was the first UN body to grant full membership to Palestine in 2011, which led the Obama administration to stop paying its annual contributions. In 2017, the UN heritage agency passed a resolution designating the Tomb of Patriarchs in  Hebron  as  a  Palestinian  World  Heritage  Site. The decision was opposed by the Jewish community because of the holy cave’s significance in Judaism.     More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
NOT  WELCOME  IN  HEBRON:  ITS  ORIGINAL  RESIDENTS  AND  BREAKING  THE  SILENCE
Jonathan Cook
Ido Even-Paz switched on his body camera as his tour group decamped from the bus in Hebron. The former Israeli soldier wanted to document any trouble we might encounter in this, the largest Palestinian city in the occupied West Bank.    ___It was not Hebron’s Palestinian residents who concerned him, however. He was worried about fellow Israelis—Jewish religious extremists and the soldiers there to guard them—who have seized control of much of the city center [. . . .]  ___For more than 15 years, Israel has forbidden entry for Palestinians to what was once Hebron’s main throroughfare and central shopping area along Shuhada Street. Now it has been rebranded in Hebrew as King David Street, and declared what the army terms a “sterilized area.” The closure severs the main transport routes for Palestinians between north and south Hebron.    ___Most of the Palestinian inhabitants have been driven from the city center by endless harassment and attacks by settlers, bolstered by arrests and night raids conducted by the army, says Even-Paz.    More . . .
~~  Gaza  march  leader  to  conscientious  objectors:  ‘Turn  your  words  into  weapons’    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“STORY  OF  A  CITY,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
There was a blue city
that dreamt of foreigners wandering
Around and spending their money
day after day.

But it became a black city
despising strangers
with their rifles’ muzzles
making the rounds of its cafés.

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

“. . . Even her dreams are besieged . . .” (Samih Faraj)

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Members of delegation from Sabeel Liberation Theology Center, Jerusalem,
in Hebron’s al-Shuhada Street with gates closing the street and
Israeli soldier in guard tower above. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 7, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .

UN  APPOINTS  NEW  CHAIR  OF  COMMISSION  ON  VIOLATIONS  AGAINST  PALESTINIANS
The President of the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) . . .  announced the appointment of Santiago Canton of Argentina to serve as a member and chairperson of the Council-mandated Commission of Inquiry on the 2018 protests in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.   Canton . . .  will replace David Michael Crane of the United States who recently stepped down as a member of the three-person Commission.   ___The Commissioners have been mandated by the Human Rights Council to investigate all alleged violations and abuses of international humanitarian law and international human rights law in the Occupied Palestinian Territory, particularly in the blockaded Gaza Strip. . .    More . . .

SPAIN  READY  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINIAN  STATE
Spain has become the latest country to voice its readiness to recognize the State of Palestine and that it will promote a European Union (EU) move to recognize Palestine as an independent state.   ___Spain’s Minister of Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, spoke at a conference of EU leaders in Austria, saying that the Spanish government will promote an EU move to recognize Palestine.   ___Borrell said that “if the EU is not able to reach a unanimous decision, then each to their own.”   More . . .
Related . . . MEMBERS  OF  EU  PARLIAMENT  CALL  ON  EU  TO  RECOGNIZE  PALESTINE

ISRAELI  FORCES  SEVERELY  ASSAULT,  DETAIN  HEBRON  RESIDENTS    Israeli forces raided a Palestinian home, on Wednesday night, the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron, and assaulted its residents.   ___Locals said that Israeli forces raided the home of Palestinian, Ghaleb Abu Sbeih, in the Old City of HEBRON and thoroughly searched it, damaging most of his furniture and personal belongings.  ___Israeli forces assaulted two Palestinians, Shaher and Ibrahim Abu Sbeih, during the raid. . .   More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  INJURE  DOZENS  OF  PALESTINIAN  STUDENTS  IN  HEBRON

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

HEBRON:  6  ILLEGAL  SETTLEMENTS,  95  PHYSICAL  OBSTACLES,  2200  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  TO  PRIVILEGE  850  ILLEGAL  SETTLERS.
For centuries, Al-Khalil (Hebron) has been considered a holy city, primarily because of the Ibrahimi Mosque/The Tomb of the Patriarchs, which followers of Judaism, Islam, and Christianity consider a sacred site of pilgrimage. Today, Al-Khalil is an openly segregated city. The daily lives of its 215,000 Palestinian residents are severely disrupted to privilege just 850 hard-line Israeli settlers, enabled by hundreds of heavily armed Israeli soldiers. More . . .   Join  Visualizing Palestine . . .
Related . . .  OCCUPATION  CAPTURED  09/18:  PHOTOS  OF  PALESTINIAN  LIFE  AND  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  IN  THE  WEST  BANK  CITY  OF  HEBRON
Related . . .  PALESTINIAN  POLICE  PAY  FIRST-EVER  SYMBOLIC  VISIT  TO  HEBRON’S  OLD  CITY

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

ECUMENICAL  ACCOMPANIERS  PROGRAM  IN  PALESTINE  AND  ISRAEL  (EAPPI)    The World Council of Churches’ Ecumenical Accompaniment Programme in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) was created in 2002 by the WCC. . .    1,800 ecumenical accompaniers (EAs) have worked to create conditions for a just peace.   EAPPI advocates for justice and peace based on non-violence and a non-partisan approach. . . To insure adherence to these vital principles at a local level in Israel and Palestine, a Local Reference Group (LRG) with representatives from the Christian, Muslim and Jewish communities, is appointed . . .     More . . .   Donate . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“A WOMAN,” BY SAMIH FARAJ

Take one step towards the old house
And another down the stairs to the home
Where a woman sits in the early evening light:
Light, the radiance of a dove, shining;
Or light like the light from a shrine.
No one knows where she has come from –
Through which quarter or distant land she passed.
What shadow the light cast when she’d gone.
No one knows the flood she passed through –
The risks she took, the daily deluge.
No one can measure the vast sea she crossed,
The hazards she held in her small hands.
An ordinary woman: one step at a time, one step
On the land lacking, on the barren soil; one step
On the time passing; one step on the clock ticking.
Except for something in her now rising, hot, scolding,
Even her dreams are besieged, it seems; yet
In the middle of a siege it’s still possible to dream.
A dream of the old house, and her first step.
—Translated by Jackie Kay

Samih Faraj is a teacher in Deheishe Refugee Camp and a lecturer at HEBRON and Bethlehem Universities. He has been editor-in-chief of several journals, including VOICE OF THE NATION.
Poem from A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).

“. . . an intentional policy to exacerbate the chronic shortage of electricity in Gaza . . .” (Aeyal Gross)

PALESTINIAN-GAZA-ISRAEL-CONFLICT
Flames engulf the fuel tanks of Gaza’s only power plant, hit by Israeli shelling, on July 29, 2014. (Photo: Mahmud Hams/AFP/Getty Images)

❶ . Health Ministry: Gaza’s fuel shortage puts hospitals at serious risk

  • Background: “We Didn’t Want To Hear The Word ‘Calories'”: Rethinking Food Security, Food Power, And Food Sovereignty–Lessons From The Gaza Closure.” Berkeley Journal of International Law

❷ . Army blocks two roads near Hebron school, movement curtailed
❸ . Arresting 4 Jerusalemite children from Silwan
. . . ❸ ― (a) The Martyrdom of a Palestinian young man at Shu’fat Refugee Camp in Jerusalem
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ . HEALTH  MINISTRY:  GAZA’S  FUEL  SHORTAGE  PUTS  HOSPITALS  AT  SERIOUS  RISK      
Ma’an News Agency
Nov. 26, 2016
The spokesperson of Gaza’s health ministry said in a statement on Friday that the health ministry would face a difficult situation if fuel is not provided to hospitals in the few upcoming hours.
___Ashraf al-Qadra called upon all competent authorities to quickly intervene and provide fuel for Gaza’s hospitals, noting that the fuel crisis in Gaza is expected to have severe effects on the besieged enclave’s hospitals.
___The plead came two days after health services in a children’s hospital were suspended due to a lack of fuel to its generators.         More . . .     Related . . .

Gross, Aeyal, and Tamar Feldman. “We Didn’t Want To Hear The Word ‘Calories'”: Rethinking Food Security, Food Power, And Food Sovereignty–Lessons From The Gaza Closure.” Berkeley Journal Of International Law 33.2 (2015): 379-441.    ARTICLE.

[. . . .] . . . the movement of goods and people into and out of the Gaza Strip was restricted to a so-called humanitarian minimum. . .  Although framed at first as “sanctions,” the policy was subsequently referred to as “economic warfare.” In essence, it was designed, according to Israel, to press the residents of the Gaza Strip to pressure Hamas . . .
___ . . .  Since its occupation of Gaza following the 1967 Arab-Israeli War, Israel has controlled the land crossings as well as Gaza’s airspace and territorial waters. . . all border crossing points between Israel and the Gaza Strip have been shut except for the Erez Crossing . . .  and the Kerem Shalom Crossing, which is the sole passageway for consumer goods.
[. . . .]  ___In a September 2007 decision, the Israeli Security Cabinet stated, “The sanctions will be enacted following a legal examination, while taking into account both the humanitarian aspects relevant to the Gaza Strip and the desire to avoid a humanitarian crisis.” Hence, the closure policy was aimed at causing damage to the Gaza economy and bringing the population to the verge of a humanitarian crisis . . .  The underlying principles of this policy were challenged early on, in October 2007, in a petition brought before the Israel Supreme Court . . . which focused on the restrictions on the supply of fuel and electricity to the Gaza Strip, the petitioners argued that the deliberate worsening of the quality of life of the inhabitants of the Gaza Strip to a state of minimal existence for the sole purpose of putting pressure on Hamas constitutes collective punishment which is strictly prohibited under international law . . .  In its response, the state claimed that its closure policy is a legitimate form of “economic warfare,” and it presented a set of calculations it had used to establish the minimum humanitarian fuel needs in the Gaza Strip, including industrial diesel for the power plant. Yet this minimum was knowingly calculated based on figures below the average, but above the minimum need for electricity in the Gaza Strip and, therefore, reflected an intentional policy to exacerbate the chronic shortage of electricity in Gaza.
___The Supreme Court ruled that Israel’s positive obligations towards the Gaza Strip are based on three factors: (1) its control over the land crossings and borders; (2) Gaza’s almost complete dependency on Israel to supply its electricity, which had developed over the course of the prolonged occupation; and (3) the ongoing state of belligerence in Gaza . . .  the Court authorized the electricity and fuel restrictions . . . In so doing, it gave its stamp of approval to the closure policy in its entirety and de facto accepted the “humanitarian-minimum standard” as a legitimate benchmark   [. . . .]  

❷ . ARMY  BLOCKS  TWO  ROADS  NEAR  HEBRON  SCHOOL,  MOVEMENT  CURTAILED 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Nov. 26, 2016
The Israeli army Saturday blocked with cement cubes two roads in the vicinity of Tareq Ben Ziad school near the Ibrahimi mosque in the center of Hebron, south of the West Bank, according Rashad Muhtaseb, a local factory owner.
[. . . .]  The army put up cement cubes to close roads in the area, where several shops and factories are located, hampering as a result movement of people, mainly students.     ___Thousands of Israeli settlers are planning to converge on the Ibrahimi mosque and the old city of Hebron in the coming days to mark a Jewish event.      More . . .             Related . . . SETTLERS  TORCH  PALESTINIAN  FAMILY  HOME  IN  HEBRON       Palestine News Network – PNN      Nov. 22, 2016

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Children walking past soldiers on their way to school, May 7, 2016 (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)

❸ . ARRESTING  4  JERUSALEMITE  CHILDREN  FROM  SILWAN      
Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan
Nov. 24, 2016
The occupation forces arrested on Thursday four Jerusalemite children from the village of Silwan.
___Wadi Hilweh Information Center’s lawyer, Saleh Mheisen, explained that the Israeli forces arrested three children while heading home after school on charges of throwing stones. . . .
___Lawyer Mheisen added that the police released the three children after interrogating them for several hours on condition of house-arrest for 5 days and an unpaid bail of 5 thousand NIS for each.
___Lawyer Mheisen added that the forces also arrested 13-year old Jamal Mohammad Qaraeen and interrogated him for several hours on charges of throwing stones . . . .     More . . .
. . . ― (A) THE  MARTYRDOM  OF  a  PALESTINIAN  YOUNG  MAN  AT  SHU’FAT  REFUGEE  CAMP  IN  JERUSALEM
Wadi Hilweh Information Center – Silwan 
November 25, 2016
A young man passed away after being shot at Shu’fat Refugee Camp checkpoint north of Jerusalem.
___ Lawyer Mohammad Mahmoud said that the Martyr is 14-year old Mohammad Nabil Salam.
___Thaer Fasfoos, spokesman of Fateh movement in the Refugee Camp, said that the young men descended from a bus right before the checkpoint for unknown reasons before being shot by the occupation forces which led to his immediate Martyrdom.     More . . .

 

“. . . even more proud of guns and treachery. . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

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Street of shops in Arab Quarter, East Jerusalem, in danger of losing all customers and becoming a ghost town (Photo: Harold Knight, November 9, 2015)

❶ Israel to confiscate vast tract of land in Jericho
❷ Israeli forces detain 25 Palestinians across West Bank
❸ Home demolitions in Jerusalem
❹ Analysis: Hebron: land, settlements and settlers
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Israeli restrictions and escalating violence threaten to turn Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter into a ghost town
❻ Poetry by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL  TO  CONFISCATE  VAST  TRACT  OF  LAND  IN  JERICHO
Jan. 20, 2016
Israel is set to declare 1,500 dunams (370 acres) of land in the occupied West Bank district of Jericho as “state land,” Israel’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced Wednesday.
___The plans were revealed earlier in the day by Israeli Army Radio, which said the land was located north of the illegal Israeli settlement of Almog and had been used by settlers over the past 20 years.
___COGAT confirmed the plans were in their “final stages,” and said they were in accordance with a political ratification.
___Israeli Army Radio reportedly said: “This is a very sensitive issue which will likely garner harsh critique from Europe and the United States, and of course from the Palestinian Authority.”    More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  25  PALESTINIANS  ACROSS  WEST  BANK
Jan. 20, 2016
Israeli forces detained at least 25 Palestinians in predawn raids in occupied East Jerusalem and the West Bank on Wednesday, Palestinian and Israeli sources said.
____In Tulkarem in the northern West Bank, Israeli forces detained seven Palestinians from the city’s Thinaba neighborhood, Palestinian security sources said. . . .
___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said in a statement that Israeli forces detained five teenagers from East Jerusalem. . . .    More . . .
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
HOME  DEMOLITIONS  IN  JERUSALEM
Jan. 21, 2016
Dozens of Israeli soldiers raided Jabal al Baba, situated east of the Jerusalem-area village of Al Ezarriya . . . Three families, those of Hajja Hamda Abu Kateba, Ali Abu Kateba and Ghassan al Jahaleen, were forced out of their homes, which were then demolished under the pretext of construction without Israeli-issued permits. . . .
___Just yesterday Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah slammed the displacement of Palestinian Bedouin communities. In a statement the prime minister said . . . “Israel’s systematic violation of international laws is no longer acceptable by the international community.”   More . . .

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Israeli guard tower and Apartheid wall, center of Hebron (Photo: Harold Knight, November 7, 2015)

Analysis
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
HEBRON:  LAND,  SETTLEMENTS  AND  SETTLERS
Sergio Yahni
Jan. 19,2016
For the last two weeks Palestinian and international activists have staged a sit-in at the entrance of Hebron’s Shuhada Street to protest new policies implemented in the city that oblige residents of Shuhada Street and the nearby Tel Rumeida neighbourhood to register with Israeli military authorities. . . .
___The checkpoint leads into the Tel Rumeida neighbourhood, which Israeli authorities declared a closed military zone on November 1, 2015. This closure forced all local residents to register and be assigned numbers in order to travel to their homes. . . .
___Those measures allegedly come to protect a few hundred Israeli settlers living near Shuhada Street and in the Tel Rumeida area.
___Settlements are the most immediate problem faced by Palestinians in the West Bank. More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
MONDOWEISS
ISRAELI  RESTRICTIONS  AND  ESCALATING  VIOLENCE  THREATEN  TO  TURN  JERUSALEM’S  MUSLIM  QUARTER  INTO  A  GHOST  TOWN
Allison Deger
Jan. 20, 2016
Green metal panels shutter recently out of business storefronts along al-Wad Street, a narrow stone road inside of Jerusalem’s Old City walls that links Damascus Gate to the holy sites of the Western Wall and the al-Aqsa mosque . . . . six stores on al-Wad Street alone have closed since October . . . .
___The famed “best hummus joint in Jerusalem,” Abu Shukri’s, has taken to half-days. . . . after the loss of Jewish-Israeli customers who no longer venture into Palestinian sections of the Old City. Even more business may shut their doors in the coming weeks, threatening to turn the Jerusalem’s Muslim Quarter into a ghost town.
___“Palestinians are afraid to come and the tourists, if they come they don’t stop and they don’t talk to us,” said Jihad Rajabi who owns a t-shirt and souvenir store on al-Wad street. When Israeli police set up more than a dozen new checkpoints inside of East Jerusalem neighborhoods last October, Rajabi lost many customers. More . . .

“ENEMY,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
They come from all the ends of the earth to sit among us
they come from the ends of the winds
they bring sickness and a hissing like sakes
they come from the ends of the snows
they come smelling of death
they come with blood-dipping knives
they bring panic and terror
they are utterly not-to-be-trusted
they are utterly murderous
they are proud of their murders, they are drinkers of blood
proud of tooth and nail
even more proud of guns and treachery
they come to burn the love in our hearts
and turn it to torture and bitterness
they bring sorrow, terror, sickness. . .
How have they come to sit among us?
—Translated by DM Black

Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.

Call to prayer, early afternoon, Jericho (Video: Harold Knight, November 8, 2016)