“. . . usurped the right of peaceful men who did not sin . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

Palestinian refugees of the Six-Day War fleeing the West Bank across the Allenby Bridge between Jericho and Jordan (Photo: UNRWA archive, 1967)

Understanding the Six Day War

Al-Shabaka: The Palestinian Policy Network      
Nadia Hijab, Mouin Rabbani
June 6, 2017
On the eve of June 5, 1967, the Palestinians were dispersed among Israel, the Jordanian-ruled West Bank (including East Jerusalem), the Gaza Strip administered by Egypt, and refugee communities in Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, and beyond. Their aspirations for salvation and self-determination were pinned to Arab leaders’ pledges to “liberate Palestine” . . . .
___The Six-Day War, which resulted in Israel’s occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, East Jerusalem, the Gaza Strip, the Syrian Golan Heights, and the Egyptian Sinai Peninsula, brought dramatic changes to the geography of the conflict. It also produced a sea change in the Palestinian body politic. In a sharp break with previous decades, Palestinians became the masters of their own destiny rather than spectators to regional and international decisions affecting their lives and determining their fate.       MORE . . . 
1A – WAMU 88.5   
Joshua Johnson, Host
Jun 05 2017
If the ongoing conflict in the Middle East confuses you, then the Six Day War 50 years ago is a good place to start to gain an understanding. During this conflict, Israel came to occupy East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip defeating the armed forces of Egypt, Jordan and Syria.       ___Why is the Six Day War so important and why does it still impact relations in the region today?       AUDIO . . .
Peter Maurer
International Review of the Red Cross, vol. 94, no. 888, Dec. 2012, pp. 1503-1510.
[. . . .] without respecting the basic tenets of international humanitarian law (IHL) in these testing times, it is most unlikely that the various communities will find their way toward reconciliation or be prepared to share the burden of a just peace after decades of conflict. Considering that the customary core of that law is older than the state- based system itself, the specific nature and extraordinary significance of IHL in today’s armed conflicts provide a legitimacy beyond the current international system. Far from being outdated, humanitarian law is very much a contemporary and future-oriented body of law.
___ While respect for IHL is a crucial element of the protection of victims    of armed conflict, and ultimately of fostering stability in such contexts, a critical analysis of the policies underpinning the status quo in conflict-affected states is also indispensable.
___Turning secifically to the situation in Israel and the Occupied Palestinian Territory, the particular challenges facing humanitarian action there cannot be tackled without an honest look at certain Israeli policies that have become key features of the occupation.
___Israel has exercised ‘actual authority’1 over the West Bank and the Gaza Strip for almost half a century, making its presence in these areas one of the longest sustained military occupations in modern history. . . .       MORE . . .  
❹ Opinion/Analysis:  WHAT  IS  ANTISEMITISM?      
Michael Neumann
June 4, 2002
[. . . .] Israel is building a racial state, not a religious one. Like my parents, I have always been an atheist. I am entitled by the biology of my birth to Israeli citizenship; you, perhaps, are the most fervent believer in Judaism, but are not. Palestinians are being squeezed and killed for me, not for you. They are to be forced into Jordan, to perish in a civil war. So no, shooting Palestinian civilians is not like shooting Vietnamese or Chechen civilians. The Palestinians aren’t ‘collateral damage’ in a war against well-armed communist or separatist forces. They are being shot because Israel thinks all Palestinians should vanish or die, so people with one Jewish grandparent can build subdivisions on the rubble of their homes. This is not the bloody mistake of a blundering superpower but an emerging evil, the deliberate strategy of a state conceived in and dedicated to an increasingly vicious ethnic nationalism.     MORE . . . 

What did you hide
for to-morrow
You shed my blood
and dimmed the light
of my eyes
You silenced my pen
and usurped the right
of peaceful men
who did not sin

What did you hide
for to-morrow
you rent my flag
and opened wounds
in my skin
You stabbed my dreams
What did you hide?

We’re deeper than the sea
and taller than the stars
Our breath is long
longer than space

Which mother, I wonder
bequeathed you half the Canal
Which mother bequeathed you the Jordan Bank
the sand, petroleum, and the Heights
He who forcibly takes a right
must guard his own
When the balance shifts

From: Aruri, Naseer and Edmund Ghareeb, eds. ENEMY  OF  THE  SUN:  POETRY  OF  THE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE. Washington, DC: Drum and Spear Press, 1970.
Available from Amazon.
About Tawfiq Zayyad

“. . . The deadly silence in the hearts of the living . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Israel’s separation wall surrounds the Shuafat Refugee Camp, which is technically inside Jerusalem’s municipal borders and was unilaterally annexed by Israel. (Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

❶ Israel demolishes Hebron home of 16-year-old Palestinian accused of killing Israeli settler
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) UN slams Israel’s punitive measures against Palestinians following Tel Aviv attack
❷ How to end cycle of violence between Palestinians, Israelis
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
June 11, 2016
Israeli forces early Saturday raided the village of Beit Amra in the municipality of Yatta and destroyed the family home of a 16-year-old Palestinian accused of stabbing and killing an Israeli settler in January, amid an ongoing Israeli blockade imposed in central Yatta.
___Popular resistance coordinator in the village Ratib Jbour told Ma’an that after a large number of Israeli forces at 2 a.m. raided Beit Amra west of Yatta in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron, Israeli bulldozers razed the two-storey house belonging to Mourad Badir Adais’s family to the ground. The building housed ten people.     MORE . . 

House demolitions are another example of violations that Israel commits and justifies in a manner that is inconsistent with its obligations under the provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention. Since the start of Israel’s occupation in 1967, Israel has demolished thousands of Palestinians’ houses. Many of these houses have been demolished because a family member participated in what Israel calls a ‘terrorist’ attack.
___This act qualifies as a form of collective punishment as Israel is in fact punishing an entire family for the alleged conduct of one of its members. However, Israel does not recognise such acts as collective punishments prohibited under Article 33 of the Fourth Geneva Convention. It has referred to the demolitions as ‘deterrence’, intended to dissuade others from attacking Israeli soldiers or civilians. In so doing, Israeli authorities ignore the protected status of the family members and their home. In other words, it is a message to those who think about committing similar acts and their families that they will face the same consequences.
___To avoid referring to such actions by their correct name – that is, collective punishment – and evade possible criminal responsibility for an act that qualifies as a war crime, Israel calls it ‘deterrence’. By providing this justification, Israel violates IHL and the core humanitarian tenets referred to by the president of the ICRC.

  • Jabarin, Shawan. “The Occupied Palestinian Territory and International Humanitarian Law: A Response to Peter Maurer.” International Review of the Red Cross 95.890 (2014): 1415-1428.     ARTICLE.

Ma’an News Agency
June 10, 2016
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights condemned on Friday the deadly Tel Aviv shooting which took place on Wednesday, while slamming the punitive security measures implemented by Israel in the aftermath as constituting collective punishment against Palestinians.
___”We are also deeply concerned at the response of the Israeli authorities, which includes measures that may amount to collective punishment and will only increase the sense of injustice and frustration felt by Palestinians in this very tense time,” Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein said in a statement released by the United Nations.      MORE . . .   

As its name implies, international humanitarian law is primarily designed to serve the basic humanitarian interests of people affected by armed conflict. Whether displaced, under siege or occupation, facing attacks from a regular army or rebel groups, in detention or held hostage, all are in dire need of protection. The international community is well aware of the dangers inherent in armed conflict marked by unregulated violence. The purpose of humanitarian law is to lay down a series of inviolable standards of humanity, as well as to preserve and safeguard core values even in the midst of horrendous violence.
___International humanitarian law is meant to strike a balance between military necessity and humanitarian considerations. It does not allow military endeavours that aim to make permanent changes to occupied territory; to force people to leave their homes; or to unlawfully seize land and resources from communities. Humanitarian law is and will remain a tool for the protection of the life and dignity of civilians and combatants and thus for a modicum of stabilisation in the midst of conflict.

  • Maurer, Peter. “Challenges to International Humanitarian Law: Israel’s Occupation Policy.” International Review of the Red Cross 94.888 (2012): 1503-1510.  ARTICLE.
Israeli policemen work inside a restaurant following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv
Israeli policemen work inside a restaurant following a shooting attack that took place in the center of Tel Aviv June 8, 2016. (REUTERS/Baz Ratner )

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Daoud Kuttab
June 10, 2016
The cycle of violence in Palestine and Israel has become so predictable that almost anyone following the news can easily forecast what will happen next. For Palestinians, Israelis and the international community, the predictability of the cycle of violence points to lifting the Israeli occupation as the most effective way to end the violence. The June 8 attack on a market in Tel Aviv that left four Israelis dead is no exception to this dynamic.      MORE . . .

When it comes to directly dealing with Palestinians, the Israeli discourse is to argue that all measures are necessary for security. All Palestinians are considered a threat. As such, Israel has never fully endorsed the applicability of the Geneva Conventions to the oPt. Rather, it has expressed its willingness to abide by the ‘spirit’ of the convention. The ‘spirit’ of the convention is increasingly being couched in humanitarian terms, a trend that has become uncomfortable for many of the participants interviewed.
___Framing the ‘spirit’ of International Law in humanitarian terms has enabled Israel to resemble the ‘good guy’ while completely sidestepping any legal responsibilities. By acknowledging International Law, Israel would be compelled to respect it.
___ Israel has been empowered to sidestep international law in such a manner because of its support from the USA [emphasis added]. This support dates back to the pre-Oslo period, but is most evident in the Oslo agreement itself.

  • Whittall, Jonathan. “‘It’s Like Talking To A Brick Wall’: Humanitarian Diplomacy In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Progress In Development Studies 9.1 (2009): 37-53.    SOURCE.

+972 Blog
June 11, 2016
Last weekend was the 49th anniversary of Jerusalem’s “reunification.” This anniversary comes in the context of a popular uprising in the city unlike any since 1967. Although “Jerusalem-the-eternal-undivided-capital-of-Israel” was never more than a hollow myth, 49 years post-“unification” the city is physically divided by walls of mutual fear and hatred, buttressed by violence and mistrust, as never before.      MORE . . .


Of what benefit is it, if man were to gain the whole world
But lose the green almond in his father’s orchard?
Of what benefit is it, if man
Were to drink coffee in Paris
But none in his mother’s house?
Of what benefit is it, if man were to tour the whole world
But lose the flowers on the hills of his native land?
He gains nothing but deadly silence
Within the hearts of the living.

You look through the mirror of lands not your own
And see your exiled face;
You recognize your face
Despite the deadly dust of travel
From Jaffa, to Lydda, to Haifa,
Through the Mediterranean to exile;
You recognize your face
And try to deny that face!
Your worship your own face
Even though exile has obliterated its features;
The hangman of the twentieth century assumes the countenance
Of the eternal face!
You close your eyes
To worship your face in the darkness of this century.
You deny . . . you worship,
You deny . . . you worship,
And the God of truth cries to your face:
“He who denies his face
Is renounced by all the birds of paradise in this universe,
And those whom silence has turned mute
Will never be heard by the roses of the field
He who kills the nightingale of his dreams
Will be buried in the forgotten graveyard of the living.”
You open your eyes
And see the face of your country in the mirror of exile.

The deadly silence in the hearts of the living
Strips away the skin of your face
It cuts and dries your flesh.
Then hangs what remains on poles
Under the forgotten sun of the West.

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.
Remembering Fouzi El-Asmar.