“. . . Time has grown up on its own without me . . .” (Yousef El Qedra)

❶ Palestine hosts an international meeting for first time

  • Background: “The International Community’s Role in Israeli History.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Why Israel shelved the ‘Greater Jerusalem Law’
❸ President Abbas meets Saudi crown prince
❹ POETRY by Yousef El Qedra
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Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA   
Nov. 8, 2017 ― For the first time, the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics hosted on Tuesday the meeting of the members of the United Nations High-level Group for Partnership, Coordination and Capacity-Building for statistics for the 2030 Sustainable Development Agenda.
___Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah said during the meeting, “Palestine is suffering from the exceptional conditions resulting from the continuation of the Israeli occupation. Facing this challenge, we are determined to achieve sustainable development by investing in the talents and capabilities of our people, especially our youth, who constitute almost half of the Palestinian society.”
___“This meeting reflects our determination to fully realize the goals of the 2030 agenda and to implement it fully. I truly commend your great efforts for achieving the sustainable development. Palestine hosted this meeting to reaffirm our commitment toward achieving the sustainable development goals,” Hamdallah added.   MORE . . .   ..

Schenker, Hillel.
“The International Community’s Role in Israeli History.”
Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture,
vol. 20, no. 2/3, Jan. 2015, pp. 101-106.
The fact that after over 20 years of fruitless negotiations the Palestinians have chosen an internationalization strategy to try to achieve national independence is considered by the current Israeli government and its supporters to be illegitimate “unilateral action” that bypasses the need for bilateral negotiations with Israel to resolve the conflict. What those opponents of internationalization are conveniently forgetting is the major role that internationalization has played in Israeli history.
___ To put it simply, just as the Palestinian national liberation movement, represented by the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO), is now seeking help from the international community and its institutions to achieve its goals, the Jewish national liberation movement, represented by the World Zionist Organization (WZO), also sought help from the international community and its institutions to help achieve statehood.        [. . . .] So here we are today. The Palestinians have retroactively accepted UNGA Resolution 181 and included that acceptance in their Declaration of Independence of 1988. And the neighboring Arab states, via the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, have also accepted the principles of the Partition Plan, citing UNSC Resolutions 242 and 338 — “land for peace.”
___Since serious bilateral negotiations between the government of Israel under Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and the PLO under Abbas do not seem to be in the cards, the only nonviolent way forward is via internationalization, a strategy which in the final analysis is not only based on the lessons of Israeli history, but also in the best interests of both Israel and the Palestinians.   FULL ARTICLE . . .    …

The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 8, 2017 ― The postponing of an Israeli Knesset bill that would have annexed major illegal Jewish settlements in the West Bank to the Jerusalem municipality is the result of behind-the-scenes US and, possibly, European pressure. But the story of the so-called “Greater Jerusalem law” does not end there.
___Israel wants to maintain an absolute demographic Jewish majority in Jerusalem, including in occupied and illegally annexed Palestinian East Jerusalem. There is enough support in the Knesset and among the public to ensure that coveted Jewish dominance. But the political balances, and possible drawbacks, are just too delicate and great for Israel to get exactly what it wants, even if there is a clear consensus among Israeli Jewish politicians and the public to permanently change the status of the city.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Nov. 8, 2017 ― President Mahmoud Abbas met in Riyadh on Wednesday with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.
___The President briefed the Crown Prince on the latest developments in the Palestinian issue and US efforts to move the peace process forward as well as the developments in the Palestinian reconciliation.
___The two sides discussed bilateral relations and ways to develop them. They agreed to continue consultations on issues of concern to both countries.   MORE . . .   ..

I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms—
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him what he looks like.
My small defeats answered me.
So I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
Stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.
――Translated by Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

Yousef El Qedra
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.  Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . The raging conflict rests in my heart . . .” (Kamal Nasser)

Church of the Nativity, Bethlehem. (Photo: Pietro Pecco, Jun. 20, 2013)

❶ Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed Monday morning al-Aqsa Mosque

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israel imposes ‘general closure’ on Palestinian territory for Jewish holiday
. . . ❷― (a) Israeli forces detain 15 Palestinians in Jerusalem ahead of Jewish holiday
❸ 13 Palestinians killed, 170 others wounded last month
❹ POETRY by Kamal Nasser
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The Palestinian Information Center
Oct. 3, 2016
Dozens of Israeli settlers stormed Monday morning al-Aqsa Mosque under the protection of Israeli forces in coincidence with the Jewish new year. According to Quds Press, Israeli forces were deployed in large numbers in the holy Islamic compound in order to pave the way for the settlers’ break-in via al-Magharibeh gate.        More . . .  

  • “Religion And The Conflict.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 129-144.  Source.  

On July 29, 2015, the Palestine-Israel Journal (PIJ) convened a roundtable discussion at the PIJ offices in Jerusalem on the topic of “Religion and the Conflict.”  [Note that the panel did not include a Christian.]
Hillel Schenker [Co-editor of Palestine-Israel Journal]: Look at the origins of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the two national movements: On the Palestinian side, the PLO [Palestinian Liberation Organization] advocated a democratic secular state — there was no religion in the formulation; on the Israeli side, the 1948 Declaration of Independence did not mention God or Jerusalem, and the founders were all essentially secular. Yet now we seem to be at a very different point in both societies and in the region. So, to begin, how do you look at the history, versus where we are today?
Hillel Cohen [Professor of Islamic and Middle Eastern Studies at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem]: The Jewish people is defined by its religion. There is no other definition that I know, and there was no other when the Zionist movement was established. You can invent or change the definition, but this was the original definition. People were not invited to be a part of the Jewish national movement. People were Jews by religion. The Palestinian national movement was different because Palestinian Arab national movements were secular in the sense of what we used to say, al-din li-llah wal-watan lil-jami, meaning there should be a separation between religion and nationalism — also because it was a national movement of Muslims, Christians and Jews. But the developments in Muslim societies also caused the Palestinian national movement to become more and more religious. If we take the Mandate period, it’s not a coincidence that the leader of the Palestinian national movement was Haj Amin al-Husseni, the head of the Supreme Muslim Council. The most serious and bloody events of 1929 were a religious intifada; the Al-Aqsa intifada of 2000 was a religious intifada again. So any attempt to separate religion and nationalism in the Israeli-Palestinian case misses an important component in both societies.
Azzam Abu Saud [novelist, playwright and columnist and former head of the Palestinian Chamber of Commerce in East Jerusalem]: I don’t agree that Haj al-Husseni was a religious leader; he was a nationalist. If you look at his history, he was a schoolteacher in Jerusalem. He was not a sheikh, nor a religious figure. He unexpectedly was chosen as mufti while his elder brother was the mufti. I want to emphasize that al-Husseni came from a nationalist movement, not from a religious movement. True, the Arab national movements were started by three sheikhs, by three religious people, who began the movement known as the Arab National Movement. At first, the Arab national movement was directed against the Turks. This movement arose nearly at the same time as Zionism, and we know it was not religious in the beginning. I don’t agree that the Arab national movement has any relationship with religion.

Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 2, 2016
Israeli authorities announced Saturday evening that a general closure would be imposed on all passage between the blockaded Gaza Strip and Israel, as well as between the occupied West Bank and Israel, over the Jewish holiday of Rosh Hashanah.        ___According to a statement from Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri, the closures began one minute after midnight on Sunday Oct. 2, and are to last until one minute before midnight on Tuesday Oct. 4.        More . . .   
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 2, 2016
Israeli forces raided several homes in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City before dawn on Sunday, detaining at least 15 Palestinians for several hours before releasing them and banning most of them from the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound.
___Nasir al-Qaws, the director of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) in Jerusalem said Israeli forces detained Zahra Qaws, and 14 other Palestinian youths who were later released. Of the 15 who were detained, 12 were banned from Al-Aqsa for 15 days. More . .

Christmas Lutheran Church, Bethlehem (Photo: Harold Knight, Aug. 2008)

The Palestinian Information Center
Oct. 2, 2016
13 Palestinians, including three children, were killed and 170 others were wounded by the Israeli occupation forces (IOF) in the West Bank, Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip during last September. 10 of those victims were killed in cold blood at Israeli checkpoints, according to a recent report released by Abdullah Hurani Center for Studies and Documentation. The IOF also arrested and detained about 380 citizens, many of them children, during the same month.    More . . .

“O  GOD,  NOW  I  KNOW,”  BY  KAMAL  NASSER  (1924 – 1973)

O God, why have you inspired me? To rejoice and to suffer?.
Why have you baptized me with vision? To laugh and to cry?
Why have you imbued me with ambition?
To elevate me and to humiliate me

I wish I were heartless, soulless, aimlessly living life, observing it from a far. Approaching eternity with a new heart, a new soul which affirms my wandering, subdues my passions and crucifies me in the void.

O God, why have you tempted me, awakened me, inflamed my passions and with sublimity infused me?

Why have you cleansed me, aroused me?
Why have you crowned me with hope, plunged me in greed and recklessness. Why?

How I long for silence, for stillness
I am lost, questioning
Who am I?
Numb my heart is, lifeless, my visions blind
I drift in the darkness of futility and despair.

O God why have you nourished me, starved me and appeased my hunger
Why have you deprived me, defiling and cleansing me?
Why have you defeated my purpose?
Enlightening me, then leading me astray

I am both free and a slave amongst men
I am a grave and cradle in the hands of fate
Miserable in what I need
Born of reality
Born of chains
Led by wounds, by the years
Who am I?
And life cries out at God
Embarrassing Him in His heaven
Lips screaming:
You, have given me life – created me.
And I ask the void
Why O God have you created me?

Storms of life roar within me
Paths are flooded with blood
Our days shake with pain and helplessness and beauty wanders away from my paradise.
Crucifying my homeland in the wilderness

Wounded are hope and dignity
In my waking hours, deprivation rose, shaking me, pulling me from the depths of darkness.
Guiding me to goodness, devotion, self-sacrifice and giving.
My eyes are opened – I find the way
The raging conflict rests in my heart
The wounds are cleansed with my tears
And in my eyes, You rise, O God
For I know why You have created me!
― Prose translation by Tania Tamari Nasir

Tania Tamari Nasir is Kamal Nasser’s cousin. Unpublished translation.
About Kamal Nasser, was a much-admired Christian Palestinian poet, who due to his renowned integrity was known as “The Conscience.” He was a member of Jordan’s parliament in 1956. He was murdered in 1973 by an Israeli death squad whose most notorious member was future Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Barak.
A family memory of Nasser written by another of his cousins, is at page 35 in her memoir:
Khoury, Samia Nasir. REFLECTIONS FROM PALESTINE: A JOURNEY OF HOPE – A MEMOIR. Limassol, Cyprus: Rimal Publications, 2014.