“. . .the US cannot let the situation remain stable . . .” (Jared Kushner)

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5th-century Mosaics, floor of the Church of Loaves and Fishes, Sea of Galilee. Photo by Harold Knight, November 9, 2015.

SELECTED  NEWS  OF  THE  DAY

ISRAELI  SETTLERS  DAMAGE  40  PALESTINIAN  VEHICLES  IN  NABLUS
Israeli settlers attacked a Palestinian house, punctured and damaged vehicles in the northern West Bank district of Nablus late Thursday.  ___The attacks came after an Israeli settlers was killed by a Palestinian driver in a car accident, initially thought to be a vehicular attack, near Nablus, late Thursday night.   ___The Palestinian driver, 60, turned himself in to the Palestinian liaison, shortly after the accident, saying that he had fled the site of the accident out of fear.  MORE.
ISRAEL  EXTENDS  DETENTION  OF  PALESTINIAN  WOMAN  ON  DAY  OF  RELEASE
The Israeli authorities renewed, on Friday morning, the administrative detention of Palestinian prisoner Fidaa Muhammad Ikhlayyil, 21, from Beit Ummar in the southern West Bank district of Hebron. . .  Ikhlayyil, a university student, was detained by Israeli forces six months ago and charged with incitement against Israel via her social media pages.   MORE.
HAMAS  RESPONDS  TO  ISRAELI  THREATS  AGAINST  ITS  LEADERS
Member of Hamas Political Bureau Husam Badran responded on Sunday to Israeli threats of assassinating the Movement’s leaders. ___In a press release on Sunday, Badran said that the Israeli threats against Hamas leaders “reflect the state of confusion and hysteria the Israeli Occupation is going through.”  MORE.
REPORTS  REVEAL  KUSHNER  PLAN  TO  DISMANTLE  UNRWA
The Palestinian leadership have slammed a reported plan by the US President’s special adviser Jared Kushner to dismantle the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, saying it’s a plot to take a key issue off any future negotiations. MORE.

COMMENTARY  AND  OPINION

WHY  A  CULTURAL  CENTRE?
Samia Khoury
A few days ago Israel bombarded the Mishal  cultural centre in Gaza destroying it completely.  Why?  This centre has been the gift of Said Meshal to the youth of Gaza to help them cope with all the pressure of living under  siege for the last twelve years.  It is neither a Hamas nor a Fateh Centre. . . . Is it not enough that those young people as well as all the people of Gaza are deprived of a normal life, that it was too much for Israel to see them enjoying some fun with music art, and drama.  MORE.

ARBITRARY  DEMANDS  ON  FOREIGN  NATIONAL  ACADEMICS  WORKING  IN  PALESTINIAN  UNIVERSITIES
(Letter from Committee on Academic Freedom, Middle East Studies Association)
Dear Prime Minister and Ministers,
We write to you on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association of North America (MESA) to express our dismay regarding the severe and unreasonable limitations imposed on foreign nationals who are faculty members at Birzeit University (BZU) and other Palestinian universities in the West Bank and Gaza. These faculty, some of whom have been teaching for years in Palestinian universities, now have to deal with a wide range of arbitrary demands and conditions in order to obtain re-entry visas that permit their employment in Palestinian universities. Moreover, for the past two years, the Israeli authorities have increasingly denied visas – both new and re-entry – to such academics, to a degree that severely imperils the quality of Palestinian education and the right to education of Palestinian students.  MORE.

FOR  PALESTINIANS  IN  GAZA,  PETER  BEINART’S  DETENTION  IS  A  LUXURY.  HERE  ARE  OUR  STORIES.
Muhammad Shehada
This week, noted journalist, CNN contributor and Forward columnist Peter Beinart underwent a shocking ordeal. He was detained and interrogated at Ben Gurion Airport when trying to enter Israel, despite being Jewish and an ardent Zionist. The outrage was so swift that Prime Minister of Israel Benjamin Netanyahu himself called the episode a mistake in a quasi-apology. . . . for Gaza’s two million locked up inhabitants, it’s far worse. Israel closes Gaza’s sea, air and field spaces with its military, leaving the population with one Israeli-controlled border to leave the besieged enclave, the Erez Border Crossing. There is also the Egyptian border, the Rafah crossing. . . .  The truth is, I’d rather to be detained and interrogated at Ben Gurion for weeks on end than be imprisoned in Gaza. ___I’m not alone. Here are a few stories of Palestinians from Gaza who feel similarly.   MORE.

WEEKLY  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OCCUPIED  PALESTINIAN  TERRITORY  (09–15–2018)
Israeli forces continued to use force against Palestinian peaceful protestors in the Gaza Strip.
3 Palestinian civilians, including a volunteer paramedic, were killed while a civilian succumbed to his pervious wounds.
157 Palestinian civilians, including 27 children, 2 women, 2 journalists, and 2 paramedics, were wounded; 11 of them sustained serious wounds.
Israeli forces conducted 73 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 4 similar incursions were conducted in Jerusalem. . . .
Israeli authorities continued to create a Jewish majority in occupied East Jerusalem. MORE.

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Firebombing by Israeli seminary students, Church of Loaves and Fishes, June 17, 2015. Photo by Harold Knight, November 9, 2015.

 

“The chairs outside the cafes are taken by Western tourists. . .” (Samih Mohsen)

BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.
BDS Movement co-founder Omar Barghouti in Brussels, April 30, 2015.

(A special post about the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions Movement.)

From MONDOWEISS
THE UNITED CHURCH OF CHRIST AND DIVESTMENT
Marc H. Ellis
June 16, 2015
In less than two weeks the General Synod of the United Church of Christ will be meeting in Cleveland, Ohio. Among the resolutions includes a divestment resolution regarding Israel-Palestine: “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.”
____The resolution and the accompanying theological justification for it is quite interesting on a variety of levels. In many ways the resolution and theological justification is revolutionary. The advance is clear and substantive. Yet there are areas that warrant further attention. The question the resolution poses is important: Whether the UCC wants to remain where it has been, a liberal light that is also a minor bench player, or a trailblazer that might change the internal and public church debate on Israel-Palestine.
(More. . .)
The Accompanying Theological Statement

From MONDOWEISS
TUTU ENDORSES UCC DIVESTMENT: ‘IT IS UNCONSCIONABLE TO REMAIN SILENT’
Mondoweiss Editors
June 17, 2015
Today Archbishop emeritus Desmond Tutu issued a statement supporting the resolution [calling for the UCC to divest funds from Israel].
My dear sisters and brothers in the United Church of Christ,
____Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ, through whom we share work and witness on behalf of God’s love and God’s justice.
____I write to endorse, “A Call for the United Church of Christ to Take Actions Toward a Just Peace in the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict”, Resolution #4, which will be put to the vote at your 30th General Synod later this month in Cleveland, Ohio.
____We grieve over Israel’s decades long oppression of Palestine and Palestinians. . .
(More. . .)

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Archbishop Desmond Tutu

From +972 MAGAZINE
INTERVIEW: THE MAN BEHIND THE BDS MOVEMENT
Rami Younis
June 14, 2015
Omar Barghouti is one of the most infamous names in pro-Israel and Israeli government circles at the moment. Officials have portrayed this Palestinian human rights activist and leader of the BDS movement — which he co-founded a decade ago and now leads — as a threat to the State of Israel. How big of a threat? Well, just last week the country’s best-selling newspaper, Yedioth Ahronot, featured a front-page story about him, dubbing him “Explosive Omar.” And if he and his boycott movement are giving both Zionist officials and their media a panic attack, one can only assume he is doing something right.
(More. . .)

❹ From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
AVOIDING WEST BANK SETTLEMENT GOODS ISN’T BOYCOTT – IT’S THE LAW
According to int’l law – by which the State of Israel was established and recognized – the settlements are stolen lands, which is a war crime, and abetting war criminals, such as by financing them, is a crime, too.
By B. Michael
Jun. 10, 2015
The boycott issue is once again in the headlines, and I wish to make a confession: I don’t buy products made in the settlements. This isn’t, heaven forbid, a boycott, and it obviously isn’t a call to others to boycott. It’s forbidden to boycott. There’s a law. And I’m a law-abiding citizen. Always. Even when I don’t like the laws.
____And that’s precisely why I don’t buy products made over the Green Line: the law. Because in my view, international law is also law.
(More. . .)

From +972 MAGAZINE
WHY NOT BOYCOTT IRAN?
Haggai Matar
June 15, 2015
The fact that there are human rights abusers worse than Israel should not obscure the fact that the Palestinian-led BDS movement is asking for one thing: solidarity.
____One of the most common claims one hears against the BDS movement is that it is hypocritical. “Why don’t they boycott Iran/Syria/Hamas/ISIS?” is a question that comes up quite often.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
RIVLIN: ACADEMIC BOYCOTTS AGAINST ISRAEL ARE FIRST-RATE STRATEGIC THREAT
President meets with university heads to weigh the impact of the boycott movement and discuss strategies to fight it.
Jonathan Lis and Yarden Skop
May 28, 2015
President Reuven Rivlin yesterday described academic boycotts against Israel as a “strategic threat of the first order.”
____During a discussion of the issue at the President’s Residence in Jerusalem, the chairman of the Council of Presidents of Israeli Universities, Technion president Prof. Peretz Lavie, said it was still possible to stop the snowball effect of the movement, but warned that “we are at the 90th minute.” Lavie, who attended the meeting together with fellow university heads, called for “strategic action” to stop the boycott movement in Europe and the United States.
____“Anti-Israel student organizations were once very few; now they are at all the leading universities. We are appealing to you to place the issue on the agenda,” Lavie said, addressing Rivlin.
____During the meeting university heads noted a number of results of the boycott movement, including a significant decline in collaborative scientific research. . .
(More. . .)

From PALESTINE CHRONICLE
BIBI BOOSTS BDS – ISRAEL’S OPPOSITION PROVES IT IS NECESSARY
Ben White
Jun 14 2015
In his speech to AIPAC last year, Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu referred 18 times to the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) campaign. A year on, and it is clear that for Bibi, BDS is the new public enemy number one. Denounced as an antisemitic “strategic threat,” the Palestinian-led, global campaign to pressure Israel into ending systematic rights violations is now very much in Tel Aviv’s cross-hairs.
____Ironically, it is during Netanyahu’s time in office that BDS has made considerable headway. His ambiguity over Palestinian statehood (in public, veering between rejection and unreliable endorsement) is exacerbated by the unambiguous views of his hard-right ministers and coalition partners. Then there was the unprecedented bombardment of Gaza, also under Bibi’s watch, and a slew of anti-democratic, hyper-nationalist legislative initiatives.
(More. . .)

From HAARETZ.COM (the online edition of Haaretz Newspaper in Israel)
IT’S ISRAELIS, NOT BDS, WHO MUST END THE OCCUPATION
If anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
Iris Leal
Jun. 16, 2015
It’s easy to give in to the sense that the increasing deterioration in Israel’s international standing is some kind of cosmic punishment being imposed on the right-wing government for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s electoral victory. Easy, but foolish. There clearly is a concerted boycott campaign against Israel, but if anything can be learned from the case of South Africa it’s that one cannot expect boycotts alone to change the situation.
(More. . .)

“LAMENTATION,” BY SAMIH MOHSEN

At Manger Square, at midday,
The chairs outside the cafes
Are taken by Western tourists, in September
They sip at their longing for God
The streets teem with passers-by
And foreign languages
We tread on the shadow
Of an old man stretched out on the pavement
With his arm and a tattered shoe for a pillow
His mattress was a story. . .
We pass by his wounds without seeing
Beer tickles our bellies to laughter
And telling inane anecdotes
We try to release the child within us
We stand in Manger Square
And mimic the dance-steps of Zorba the Greek
We step
We laugh
We step into the ring of lamentation.
–translated by Henry King

Samih Mohsen was born in the village of Naqour in Nablus, Palestine (Occupid Territories) in 1953, and has published two collections of poetry, _Exiting the Narrow Rooms_ and _Kingdoms & Peril_.
From a book review of A Bird is not a Stone: An Anthology of Contemporary Palestinian Palestinian Poetry in which this poem is published:
“It is poignant and grimly amusing to read of the Western tourists who ‘sip at their longing for God’ in Manger Square and ignore ‘an old man stretched out on the pavement’ (‘Lamentation’ by Samih Mohsen, trsl. Henry King). It is hard not to feel something of a tourist oneself when reading a book of poems like this written, as it were, from Emily Dickinson’s ‘great pain’. As Iain Crichton Smith wrote in his long essay about the Hebrides: ‘Real people in a real place’; the Palestinians are also real people in a real place. And the land itself which is the subject at the heart of most of these poems, guarding the bones of their relatives and ancestors, is sacred to them.” From the online magazine, “The Bottle Imp.”
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