“. . . my people’s tragedy Has turned to farce . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

❶ Japan deplores Israel’s approval of 3000 settlement units in West Bank

  • Background: “The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Germany Warns of ‘One-state Reality’, Slams Israel Settlement Expansion
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Grants to Israeli settlements could breach UK law, Charity Commission warns
❷ Extremist settlers attack residents in Hebron’s Tel Rumeida, threaten to close [YOUTH AGAINST SETTLEMENTS] office
❸ Israel to demolish homes in Jerusalem’s Silwan neighborhood
❹ POETRY by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
JAPAN  DEPLORES  ISRAEL’S  APPROVAL  OF  3000  SETTLEMENT  UNITS  IN  WEST  BANK  NEIGHBORHOOD
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA    
Oct. 22, 2017   The Government of Japan deeply deplored Israel’s approval of plans for the construction of about 3,000 housing units in settlements in the West Bank despite repeated calls from the international community including Japan for freezing such activities, foreign Press Secretary Norio Maruyama said in a press release.
___The release was issued following reports that Israel has stepped up plans to build almost 3000 new housing units in settlements in the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.   MORE . . .

Reuveny, Rafael.
“The Last Colonialist: Israel In The Occupied Territories Since 1967.”
Independent Review 12.3 (2008): 325-374.
During the past five hundred years, three primary types of colonies have been established: colonies of exploitation, colonies of settlement, and colonies of contested settlement. Colonies of exploitation, the large majority, overworked natives in labor intensive sectors and did not include many settlers. In colonies of settlement, the settlers became the majority and gained full control. In Spanish America, for example, settlers intermarried with the local elites, killed many natives, and enslaved others, and in British North America and Australia, settlers ousted the natives and decimated them demographically, turning them into a small minority in the land they had previously inhabited. Some of these settler societies also imported slaves from Africa. In colonies of contested settlement in Africa and Asia, many settlers went to live in the colonized lands, but they remained a minority rejected by the natives.
[. . . .] Recent settler actions in the West Bank city of Hebron and the former settlement of Homesh provide additional insight. Seeking to gain control over Hebron’s old city, settlers have attacked Palestinians since 2001, playing a key role in driving out 15,000 to 20,000 Palestinian residents and 1,500 to 1,700 Palestinian businesses from the city. Settlers also have often attacked verbally and physically the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) personnel sent to enforce order. In early 2007, settlers took over a large Palestinian house in Hebron and returned to Homesh, from which the government had removed them during 2005.
[. . . .]  In line with historical colonial examples, Israeli settlers have often built settlements, so-called outposts, without state approval. By 2007, some two thousand settlers lived in about one hundred outposts, seizing 75 percent of their lands from Palestinians. Some Israeli governments have promised to remove outposts and have even removed a few, but all the governments have essentially accepted them after the fact.  FULL ARTICLE.

. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ)  GERMANY  WARNS  OF  ‘ONE-STATE  REALITY’,  SLAMS  ISRAEL  SETTLEMENT  EXPANSION
The Palestine Chronicle
Oct 20 2017   The German government has condemned the latest steps taken by Israeli authorities to expand settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory.
___In a statement released by the German Foreign Office yesterday, Berlin noted how “plans to construct almost 3,000 additional housing units in the West Bank were adopted this week”.
___The German government stated it “would like to take this opportunity to reiterate the fact that it will not recognize any changes to the June 4, 1967 lines, including with regard to Jerusalem, other than those agreed by the parties through negotiations”.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) GRANTS  TO  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENTS  COULD  BREACH  UK  LAW,  CHARITY  COMMISSION  WARNS 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom) 
Ben White
Oct. 22, 2017   The Charity Commission has warned that making grants to Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt) could potentially constitute a breach of the Geneva Conventions Act of 1957, in a significant hardening of the Commission’s approach to the issue.
___It is understood to be the first time that the Charity Commission has specifically cited the 1957 Act in communication with a charity regarding Israel and oPt.
___The new statement from the Commission comes in response to questions about UK Toremet, a charity which, as revealed by Middle East Monitor in September 2015, is acting as a conduit for donations to Israeli settlements in the oPt.
___Settlements are considered a serious violation of international law, a position held by the United Nations Security Council, the International Court of Justice in The Hague, the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, and the British government, among others.   MORE . . .
❷ EXTREMIST  SETTLERS  ATTACK  RESIDENTS  IN  HEBRON’S  TEL  RUMEIDA,  THREATEN  TO  CLOSE  YAS  OFFICE  

Palestine News Network – PNN
Oct. 22, 2017   Israeli settlers on Sunday attacked the neighbourhood of Tel Rumeida in the old city of Hebron, where they raided Palestinian’s properties under claims that an Israeli settler was injured last night by a stone.
___The settlers attacked residents of the neighborhood, destroyed the property of the citizens and their homes, where they threw rocks, broke the windows, threatened residents and were cussing them.
___The settlers renewed demands to close the YOUTH AGAINST SETTLEMENTS HEADQUARTERS in the area, accusing the movement of being the main instigator of the attacks on settlers [. . . .] Israeli soldiers prevented Palestinian journalists from the Palestinian and international media from covering settler attacks. A group of Israeli soldiers prevented journalists and threatened them to make them leave the area.   MORE . . .
❸ ISRAEL  TO  DEMOLISH  HOMES  IN  JERUSALEM’S  SILWAN  NEIGHBORHOOD      Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Oct. 22, 2017 Israeli forces on Sunday notified a number of Palestinians from Silwan neighborhood, in occupied East Jerusalem, about their intention to demolish their homes, according to local sources.
___WAFA correspondent said staff from the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem backed by a police escort broke into Silwan and handed over notices to a number of local citizens informing them about the municipality’s intent to demolish their homes, under the pretext of construction without a permit.
___Over the years, the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem has demolished hundreds of Palestinian-owned homes in the city for lack of a construction permit. The municipality claims that compared to the Jewish population, it receives a disproportionately low number of permit applications from Palestinian communities.   MORE . . .

“A  HOMELAND,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
So what,
When in my homeland
The sparrow dies of starvation,
In exile, without a shroud,
While the earthworm is satiated, devouring God’s food!

So what,
When the yellow fields
Yield no more to their tillers
Than memories of weariness,
While their rich harvest pours
Into the granaries of the usurper!

So what,
If the cement has diverted
The ancient springs
Causing them to forget their natural course,
When their owner calls,
They cry in his face: “Who are you?”

So what,
When the almond and the olive have turned to timber
Adorning tavern doorways,
And monuments
Whose nude loveliness beautifies halls and bars,
And is carried by tourists
To the farthest corners of the earth,
While nothing remains before my eyes
But dry leaves and tinder!

So what,
When my people’s tragedy
Has turned to farce in others’ eyes,
And my face is a poor bargain
That even the slave-trader gleefully disdains!

So what,
When in barren space the satellites spin,
And in the streets walks a beggar, holding a hat,
And the song of autumn is heard!

Blow, East winds!
Our roots are still alive.

Samih Al-Qasim
From THE  PALESTINIAN  WEDDING:  A  BILINGUAL  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  POETRY. Ed. and Trans. A. M. Elmessiri. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2011. Reprint from Three Continents Press, Inc., 1982. Available from Palestine Online Store.

“. . . raze to the ground every farm and every village . . .” (Fawaz Turki)

1-IMG_3404
Israeli By-Pass Road over Cremisan Valley near Bethlehem as seen from Palestinians-only road (Photo: Harold Knight, November 18, 2015)

❶ Report: Israel plans massive land takeover in Hebron Governorate through bypass road
❷ Israeli civil administration remapped 62,000 West Bank hectares to expand settlements
❸ Palestinians to form ‘protection committees’ against Israeli settler violence
❹ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAEL’S  COLONIALISM  IS  FAILING  AND  FALLING
❺ POETRY by Fawaz Turki
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
REPORT:  ISRAEL  PLANS  MASSIVE  LAND  TAKEOVER  IN  HEBRON  GOVERNORATE  THROUGH  BYPASS  ROAD
Palestine News Network
May 31, 2016
Since the beginning of April 2016, the Israeli machinery and bulldozers affiliated to the so-called Israeli Civil Administration (ILA) commenced the construction of a new bypass road on lands of Halhul town in the northern Hebron Governorate. The work being implemented on the ground is . . . a new Israeli bypass road that extends all the way from Al Arroub refugee camp north of Hebron to reach Halhul town, through lands of Beit Ummer.       MORE . . .  
First published:
poica.org – Monitoring Israeli Colonization Activities in the Palestinian Territories
April 26, 2016

The closure system in the West Bank refers to a series of restrictions placed by the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to control the movement of more than 2.3 million Palestinians living there . . . .
___The closure system has become steadily more sophisticated and has increasingly channelled Palestinian traffic onto smaller, local roads, leaving main . . . routes reserved exclusively for Israeli settlers to travel to settlements inside the West Bank [. . . .]
___ The construction of the Barrier has meant that Palestinians can no longer travel through Jerusalembut instead have to take a winding road around the city. Once the Barrier is completed this road will pass under the Barrier through specially constructed tunnels thereby preventing Palestinians from using Israeli roads that go to settlements [. . . .]
___ The urban and manufacturing hub of the main towns of Nablus, Ramallah, Hebron and Jericho, that are critical for Palestinian jobs and the economy, are also difficult to access because of tight restrictions. [. . . .]
___As the closure system becomes more institutionalised it has a myriad of other impacts [. . . .]

  • Shearer, David. “Territorial Fragmentation Of The West Bank.” Forced Migration Review 26 (2006): 22-23.    ARTICLE. . .

❷ ISRAELI  CIVIL  ADMINISTRATION  REMAPPED  62,000  WEST  BANK  HECTARES  TO  EXPAND  SETTLEMENTS
Palestine News Network
May 31, 2016
The Israeli civil administration in 2015 has re-mapped an area of 62 thousand hectares in the West Bank in order to expand illegal Israeli settlements. The old maps are being digitally scanned to enhance their accuracy.
___The report, composed by Dror Etkes, founder of Kerem Navot, an NGO that monitors the Israeli settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, is based over the map digitizing at COGAT.
___“It’s important to understand that the mapping efforts are directed almost exclusively at the depth of Judea and Samaria (West Bank) and to settlements which are well outside the ‘settlement clusters,’ as well as, most emphatically, to areas declared by Israel to be ‘fire zones’ despite the fact that in reality they are part of the lands reserve which Israel gradually assigns to settlement,” Etkes told Ha’aretz.       MORE . . . 

Recognizing now that the Palestinian narrative gets erased and misappropriated through a biblical theology of dispossession, what does this mean, in practical terms, for the conflict? How does it function on a daily basis? If a people have no history, then their ability to interrogate the past and engage with it for the present will constantly encounter insurmountable limits. In this regard, the first act of true liberation and freedom is to be located in the mind, with the reclamation of the history and memory of the Palestinians and Palestine.
___We must also note that to interrogate the above ques­ tions would be a normal academic exercise if it had to do with any other region in the world, but when it comes to Palestine and its people, the starting point for many tends to be the rendition of the familiar biblical narrative, ending with the creation of modern Israel by Zionism. Indeed, the success of modern Zionism in Palestine complicates our attempts to locate and treat the history of the indig­ enous Palestinians, since the colonial project undertook the normative strategy of negating or problematizing the relationship of the people to their ancestral lands.

  • BAZIAN, HATEM. “The Indigenous Palestinians.” Harvard International Review 35.3 (2014): 40-43.   ARTICLE . . .
Israel-Settlements
Israeli West Bank Settlement (Photo: Flikr, posted in The Oxford University Politics Blog, March 1, 2013)

❸ PALESTINIANS  TO  FORM  ‘PROTECTION  COMMITTEES’  AGAINST  ISRAELI  SETTLER  VIOLENCE
Middle East Eye
May 30, 2016
Nearly 200 members of the most isolated and under threat Palestinian communities living in the occupied West Bank came together on Monday for the launch of a new project aimed at establishing “protection committees” to document Israeli human rights violations.
___Community leaders and families from villages across the governorates of Hebron and Bethlehem met at a school in the tiny poverty stricken village of Imnezel, which is surrounded by Israeli settlements filled with new and luxurious homes deemed illegal under international law.
___Sheltered from the hot sun by a beige tarpaulin in a makeshift marquee, Palestinians welcomed the launch of a new three-year project by international aid agency ActionAid, which will see the formation of local community protection committees that will document human rights violations in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.    MORE . . .

[. . . . ]
As we have seen, the ambiguity surrounding the formal status of the Israeli state in the OTP creates a governmental void. This void is filled, inter alia, by greater freedom of action of the settlers, who, in effect, act as informal agents of the state, behaving as vigilantes and taking the law into their own hands. The settlers’ violence . . . brings Israeli dominance to areas with a scarce presence of military forces, generating ad hoc ‘effective control’ over Palestinian territory and population even in the absence of state officials. . .  based on permanent-temporariness and political ambivalence. Such actions contribute to the ambivalence surrounding the identity of ‘the sovereign’ and form localized, temporary ‘sovereign’ domains [. . . .]
___The elusive political and legal structural frameworks of the Israeli occupation are important factors of this phenomenon, generating the necessary ‘degrees of freedom’, so to speak, that allow, and even support, a proliferation of settlers’ violence against Palestinian civilians. In other words, the Israeli state itself, assisted by its agents, works in collusion with the settlers, and maintains the structural preconditions for this provisional political activity, even if it challenges its exclusive jurisdiction.

  • Gazit Nir. (Ruppin Academic Center, Israel). “State-sponsored Vigilantism: Jewish Settlers’ Violence in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.”  Sociology 49.3 (2015): 438–454.

❹ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAEL’S  COLONIALISM  IS  FAILING  AND  FALLING 
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Zaakir Ahmed Mayet
May 30, 2016
It is often easy to be absorbed by plebeian geopolitics, the sectarian divides plaguing Syria or the outward lack of unity amongst various resistance movements within the Middle East and North Africa. On the face of it, the situation is particularly bleak . . . .
___ . . . . However, the world has unmasked the [Israeli] state as one which cannot function within the fabric of normal society. It has become harder to protect and defend the outlandish action of Israel, be it the continued illegal blockade of the Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and slow strangulation by the Apartheid Wall of those in the West Bank; the occupation in contravention of international law; or the continued development of colonial-settlements on stolen Palestinian land. . . .       MORE . . .   

“THE  SEED  KEEPERS,”  BY  FAWAZ  TURKI 
(A Recital)

Burn our land
burn our dream
pour acid onto our songs
cover with sawdust
the blood of our massacred people
muffle with your technology
the screams of our imprisoned patriots,
destroy,
destroy
our grass and soil
raze to the ground
every farm and every village
our ancestors had built,
destroy every city and every town
every tree and every home
every book and every law,
flatten with your bombs
every valley,
erase with your edicts
our past
our literature
our metaphor,
denude the forests
and the earth
till no insect
no word
can find a place to hide.
Do that and more,
I do not fear your tyranny.
I guard one seed
of a tree
my forefathers have saved
that I shall plant again
in my homeland.

About Fawaz Turki (b. 1940)
From ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press

“. . . In which storm may my heart play? . . .” (Yousef Abdul-Aziz)

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Israeli left-wing activists march to protest the recent incitement against “Breaking the Silence” and other left wing NGOs, in central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

❶ 5 East Jerusalem youth indicted for ‘terrorist’ activities
❷ Israeli forces raid Duheisha refugee camp, tear gas residents
❸ Hundreds march in Tel Aviv against growing right-wing incitement
❹ Analysis: Israel and UN incitement against Palestinian resistance
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The  Occupation  Cannot  Hold  Back  the  Palestinians  Forever
❻ Poetry by Yousef Abdul-Aziz
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
5  EAST  JERUSALEM  YOUTH  INDICTED  FOR  ‘TERRORIST’  ACTIVITIES
Dec. 21, 2015
JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — Five Palestinian youths from occupied East Jerusalem were indicted Monday for a range of “terrorist attacks,” the Israeli police said.
___Israeli police spokesperson Luba al-Samri said in a statement that the findings came after investigations by Israeli police in cooperation with Israel’s international security agency, Shin Bet.
___Al-Samri said that the “large number of local terrorist attacks included throwing rocks, fireworks, and Molotov cocktails at security forces and Jews” in the Ras al-Amud neighborhood and near the Jewish cemetery on the Mount of Olives.  More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  3  PALESTINIANS  ON  FRIDAY
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  RAID  DUHEISHA  REFUGEE  CAMP,  TEAR  GAS  RESIDENTS
Dec. 21, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces early Monday stormed the Duheisha refugee camp south of Bethlehem in the occupied West Bank during an arrest raid, locals said.
___Locals told Ma’an that snipers deployed on rooftops as groups of soldiers surrounded the home of 24-year-old Salih Jueidi. . . .
___Jueidi’s home was searched before Israeli soldiers detained him. Locals across the camp told Ma’an that they came under heavy tear gas fire as well as live ammunition when military vehicles and undercover forces that raided the camp remained in the area following the arrest.
___Several residents of Duheisha were evacuated to the hospital following tear gas inhalation. . . .  More . . .  
Related . . .
ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  19  PALESTINIANS  FROM  ACROSS  WEST  BANK

zzzzzzgaza tires
Palestinians burn tires and throw stones at Israeli security forces during clashes between Palestinians and Israeli security forces after Friday prayer in Gaza city, Gaza on December 18, 2015.

+972 MAGAZINE
HUNDREDS  MARCH  IN  TEL AVIV  AGAINST  GROWING  RIGHT-WING  INCITEMENT
Haggai Matar
Dec. 20, 2015
Over a thousand Israelis marched Saturday night in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against incitement and occupation, and in support of Israeli human rights organizations, peace, equality, and social justice.
___The protest was organized by the group “Omdim Beyachad” (Standing Together) in response to the recent incitement by far-right group Im Tirzu and government ministers against Breaking the Silence and other human rights organizations last week.  More . . .
Related . . . WATCH:  INCITEMENT  AGAINST  THE  ISRAELI  LEFT  JUST  GOT  A  LOT  SCARIER
Related . . . WHY  DO  SO  MANY  ISRAELIS  HATE  “BREAKING  THE  SILENCE?”
Analysis
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
ISRAEL  AND  UN  INCITEMENT  AGAINST  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE
Ramona Wadi
Dec. 17, 2015
While Israel continues with its premeditated and systematic oppressive policies, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights issued a statement which, as is typical of the organisation, is devoid of both coherence and context . . . . the statement seeks to disguise the organisation’s feigned ignorance with rhetorical ambiguities.
___While the refusal to recognise the Palestinian uprising is the primary and recurring error in every official UN statement, the latest omission has depicted a historical turning point as a merely untenable situation which, although precarious, is no longer of concern to the international community.  More . . .
Related . . . ISRAEL  THREATENS  TO  REVOKE  JERUSALEM  RESIDENCY  FOR  230,000  PALESTINIANS
Opinion/Analysis
THE NEW ARAB
THE  OCCUPATION  CANNOT  HOLD  BACK  THE  PALESTINIANS  FOREVER
Vijay Prashad
Everything is known of the everyday indignities of living under the Israeli occupation: the checkpoints, the separation wall, the embargo, the settlers, the IDF raids . . . .
___Much has been written about individual acts of violence and inconvenience. The fundamental immobility of the Palestinians is not often underlined. Palestinians in Gaza are cut off from this in the West Bank, who are themselves not allowed into Israel proper. . . .
___This is the myth of the IDF and Mossad:: that they are invincible and legendary. Each retelling affirms the Israeli project. The Palestinian movement is tossed into purgatory.
___Nothing is further from the truth.
___Israeli occupation is a failure. The arrogance and anxiety of the IDF at the checkpoints shows their tenuous hold on power.  More . . .

“THE  BOOK  OF  DOUBT,”  BY  YOUSEF  ABDUL-AZIZ

Tonight
I stumbled across Solitude I my house.
Not only wearing my best shirt
and drinking my coffee
but also
smoking my tobacco
it was thrashing about the pages
of what looked like my manuscript.
It sat in my chair like a queen
and from its hands
rose an enchanted fog. . .

Still cloaked in my dreams I stood close by
trembling like a branch of the night
raining down bitter
questions:

What is woman?
In which storm
may my heart play?
Where did I bury the fire?!

As though I were a ring on its finger
it didn’t give me much thought.
Unfazed by my stiff shadow at the door
Solitude went on
with a sneer
scrambling pages
tearing them out of the manuscript.
I saw myself cast out to blind lands
and I hollered;
I saw before me a sphere of water
rising up in the wind
and above, a cracked moon,
and slain butterflies
strewn around me.

I’m sure
you will soon wrap up this farce! I yelled.
Solitude glanced at me with its two eyes of a gazelle―
my own eyes.
And it handed me
the book of doubt―it was my own book.
—  Translated by Juana Adcock

From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014).
— Yousef Abdul-Aziz was born in Jerusalem and studied in Amman and Beirut. He is a teacher, a committee member of the online journal Awraq, and recipient of literary awards, including the (Jordanian) Arar prize.