“. . . But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying . . .” (Blake Alcott)

World_Israel_Mar_Saba_Monas
Great Lavra of St. Sabas, Bethlehem. (Photo: St. Peter and Paul Serbian Orthodox Church of Atlanta, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY     
| ARMED  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  RAID  SAINT  SABA  MONASTERY  NEAR  BETHLEHEM    Hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided Saint Saba Monastery (Mar Saba) area, near the al-Ubeidiya village east of the southern occupied West Bank district of Bethlehem, on predawn Tuesday.    ___Security sources told the Palestinian Authority (PA)-owned Wafa News Agency that hundreds of armed Israeli settlers raided the Greek Orthodox monastery area and performed religious rituals, under armed security by Israeli soldiers.    More . . .
~~ SCORES  OF  JEWISH  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
About 71 Jewish settlers, including soldiers, desecrated the Aqsa Mosque on Tuesday morning under security guard by police forces.    ___According to Quds Press, 71 settlers escorted by police officers entered the Mosque through al-Maghariba Gate and toured its courtyards.    ___Three of those settlers were identified as police officers wearing civilian clothing.    ___According to the Islamic Awqaf Authority in Occupied Jerusalem, the Israeli police, as always, closed al-Maghariba Gate. . .  More . . .
~~ ISRAELI  SETTLER  VANDALISM  OF  PALESTINIAN  PROPERTY,  WRITING  HATE  SLOGANS  CONTINUE  UNABATED
Vandalism by Israeli settlers of Palestinian property in the occupied West Bank continued unabated on Tuesday when settlers sneaked into the village of Yasouf, east of the city of Salfit in the north of the occupied West Bank, slashed tires of several vehicles and spray-painted racist graffiti in the village, witnesses said.    ___They said the settlers wrote graffiti in Hebrew on the wall of the village’s mosque such “I will not sleep when blood is shed here,” and “Jews wake up.”    ___Settlers’ raids into Palestinian villages and terrorizing the local population as well as attacks on West Bank roads has become almost a daily occurrence in light of the Israeli government and military’s sanctioning of these attacks and their failure to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators.    More . . .
| PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  OCCUPIED  JERUSALEM  DEMOLISHED  FOR  LACK  OF  BUILDING  PERMIT 
Bulldozers of the Israeli municipality of West Jerusalem Tuesday demolished a Palestinian-owned house in the neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkaber, southeast of the occupied city of Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking a building permit, according to witnesses.    ___Israeli police cordoned off the area before the bulldozers proceeded to demolish the house owned by Moath Aqil, which was in its last stage of construction.  More . . .
~~ ISRAEL  PLANS  TO  DEMOLISH  ANOTHER  PALESTINIAN  HOUSE  PART  OF  ITS  COLLECTIVE  PUNISHMENT  POLICY
As part of its collective punishment policy against the Palestinian people, the Israeli military government informed the family of Khalil Jabarin on Tuesday that it intends to demolish its house in the town of Yatta, in the south of the occupied West Bank.    ___The military said Jabarin, 16, stabbed and killed an Israeli settler in the south of the West Bank in September before he was shot and killed by an Israeli passerby.    ___Local and Palestinian security sources told WAFA that the army informed the Jabarin family of its plan to demolish its home as a punishment for the act of its son.     More . . .
|  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  24  PALESTINIANS,  INCLUDING  WOMAN,  FROM  WEST  BANK
Israeli forces detained 24 Palestinians from across districts of the occupied West Bank, including the wife of a former prisoner, on predawn Tuesday.    ___The Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said that Israeli forces detained one Palestinian from the southern West Bank district of Hebron; he was identified as Mutaz Abu Sil, 19, from the al-Arroub refugee camp.    ___In the southern West Bank district of Bethlehem, Israeli forces detained two Palestinians; PPS identified them as Muhammad Nassim Sbeih and Hadi Azab Salah. . . .    More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION
WHAT  DOES  ISRAEL  ‘OCCUPY’?  
By  BLAKE  ALCOTT 
In what is written and said about Israel and Palestine the word ‘occupation’ is ubiquitous. But what territory, exactly, is the ethnocratic state occupying? Is it just the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, or all of Palestine?    ___Everybody agrees that the territories Israel took over in 1967 are occupied. However, both pro-Palestinians and liberal Zionists routinely write of ‘the Occupation’ or ‘occupied Palestine’ to refer to these territories only. The demeaning acronym ‘OPT’ means only the West Bank and Gaza Strip only. But if those territories are ‘occupied’, then by the same token so is the 80% of historic Palestine called ‘Israel’. All of Palestine has been taken over.    ___When we demand freedom ‘from the river to the sea’ what are we demanding other than an end to rule, control, and occupation by a non-indigenous Power? When Palestinians use the term ihtilal they always distinguish between the ‘1948 occupation’ and the ‘1967 occupation’. Why, then, does the international discourse in Western languages ignore the 1948 occupation, in denial of the fact that Israel in 1948 merely took over from the British-Mandate occupation of 1917-1948?    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY

“FROM  THE  DOORSTEP  TO  HEAVEN,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-MAGHUT **

Now,
With the sad rain
Drenching my sad face,
I dream of a ladder of dust,
Collected from hunched backs
And hands clinging onto knees,
To mount to highest heave
And discover
What becomes of our prayers and sighs.

O my beloved,
All the prayers and sighs,
All the laments and cries for help,
Springing from
Millions of lips and hearts,
Through thousands of years and centuries,
Must be gathered somewhere in heaven,
Like clouds.
And maybe
These words of mine
Are now close to those of Jesus.
So let us await the tears of heaven,
O beloved.

(**Sources disagree about Maghut’s birthplace. Some say he was Syrian. This poem, however, is appropriate regardless.)

–From AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  ARABIC  POETRY. Translated by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. University of California Press, 1974. Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . And the green olive tree rose high Embracing the house . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

nc-alexandrahandal-imagecatalogue-11june09
Alexandra Handal. From  “Bed & Breakfast Notebooks, 2007-2008,” Video (Still from Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2009 Catalogue)

❶ Israeli security cabinet freezes plan for Palestinian housing in Qalqiliya
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces demolish Palestinian homes in Jabal al-Mukabbir, Silwan

  • Background: “Be/Come Closer to Home.” Third Text

❷ Israel will not slow settlement on Palestinian land, Says Netanyahu
❸ Population, housing and institutions general census 2017 kicks off
❹ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶   ISRAELI  SECURITY  CABINET  FREEZES  PLAN  FOR  PALESTINIAN  HOUSING  IN  QALQILIYA    
Ma’an News Agency
July 13, 2017.   The Israeli security cabinet voted on Wednesday to postpone discussions regarding plans to expand the Palestinian city of Qalqiliya in the northern occupied West Bank, weeks after Israeli officials condemned the planned construction.
___According to Israeli news outlet Ynet, the security cabinet ruled for no further steps to be taken with regards to the plan, which would see some 5,000 housing units built in Qalqiliya, until it convenes to discuss the matter on July 23.
___The security cabinet also called on Israeli Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit to issue a ruling on how control of Area C, the 60 percent of the West Bank under full Israeli control, should be divided between the Israeli army and government, and how this would affect the plan.     MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI   FORCES  DEMOLISH  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  IN  JABAL  AL-MUKABBIR,  SILWAN 
Ma’an News Agency
July 12, 2017.   Israeli forces targeted Palestinian-owned buildings in occupied East Jerusalem with demolitions for the second day in a row, under the pretext that the structures lacked the nearly impossible to obtain construction permits from Israeli authorities.
___Locals told Ma’an that Israel’s Jerusalem municipality enforced the demolition of three buildings, which included two homes, in the East Jerusalem neighborhoods of Jabal al-Mukabbir and Silwan. Amid the tense atmosphere in Silwan, Israeli forces reportedly assaulted a local youth during the demolition.
___In Jabal al-Mukabbir, Musa Obidat told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers raided the neighborhood around dawn time and razed his house to the ground for being built without a permit.
___Obidat noted that he was away from his home when the demolition was carried out, and was informed by his neighbors of the raid. When he attempted to return to the house, Israeli forces prevented him from accessing the area and imposed a complete siege around the premises.   MORE . . .

Photiou, Maria. “BE/COME CLOSER TO HOME.” Third Text, vol. 29, no. 4/5, Jul-Sep2015, pp. 340-355. (Article about the Palestinian artist, Alexandra Handal)
[. . . .]   Handal’s ongoing process of this web documentary exposes the reality of the absurd post-1948 political situation in West Jerusalem where expropriated Palestinian houses are being sold on Israeli real-estate agents’ websites. The realisation of this absurd political reality was the persuasive point for Handal’s engagement in this issue:
“The idea for the work grew from an encounter I made in the early 1990s. During a trip to NYC, I met a Palestinian refugee and he showed me a real estate advertisement that featured upscale residential properties in West Jerusalem. At first glance, there was nothing particularly special about this ad, but the absurd political reality around it became evident after he explained to me that this was in fact his family’s expropriated home that was now on sale for an Israeli international clientele. I was a teenager at the time and the story had an enduring impact on me – beneath the glossy surface of the ad was a cruel reality” [From Karmah Elmusa, ‘Alexandra Handal Combines Palestinian History and Art in Web Documentary,
found at
. . .].
[. . . .]  The concept of homeland and the limitations of the Green Line are obvious in Alexandra Handal’s practice. Born in 1975 into a Palestinian family in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Handal is influenced by the 1948 Palestinian depopulation from West Jerusalem and the ongoing Palestinian occupation by Israel.
[. . . .] The desire to document the socio-political events of her homeland is obvious in Handal’s work. In the artist’s statement for No Parking without Permission, Jerusalem, Handal describes her longing to explore the occupied areas:
“I wanted to go see first-hand what had become of those neighbourhoods whose stories had shaped my image of the city. So I decided to undertake a number of walks there. Although walking through a city would almost anywhere in the world be seen as a mundane activity, for a Palestinian drifting in Jerusalem is politicised and loaded with emotional ramifications. Through numerous walks, I explored these areas by looking through all sorts of barriers, fences, gates and bushes in an attempt to remove the distance and be/come closer to the spaces that Palestinians were torn apart from in 1948. These drifts culminated into a series of photos, each image – a visual testimony of my yearning” [Author’s Communication with Alexandra Handal, 2015].       SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAEL WILL  NOT  SLOW  SETTLEMENT  ON  PALESTINIAN  LAND,  SAYS  NETANYAHU 
The Palestinian Information Center  
July 12, 2107.   Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has denied media reports claiming that Tel Aviv had agreed to slow the construction of illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank to kick-start the peace process.
___The Prime Minister’s Office denied reports by Hebrew-speaking and Arab news outlets that the White House special envoy Jason Greenblatt and senior Israeli and Palestinian Authority (PA) leaders had secured backing for new final status agreement talks, including assurances from Israel that construction in the occupied West Bank would be slowed during negotiations with the PA.   MORE . . .
❸ POPULATION,  HOUSING  AND  INSTITUTIONS  GENERAL  CENSUS  2017  KICKS  OFF 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
July 13, 2017.   Ola Awad, president of the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS), Thursday announced the start of field operations for the population, housing and institutions 2017 general census.
___Awad said in a press release, “This is the third general census, fully conducted by Palestinians. Modern technology will be used to collect information, such as tablets and geographic information systems.”
___The general census is considered the biggest on the national level and is conducted every 10 years and will officially start on Saturday July 15. It was conducted in 2007 and 1997.   MORE . . 

“THE  LAST  KNOCK,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN
Will you not open this door for me?
My hand is exhausted from knocking at Your door.
I have come to Your vastness to beg
Some tranquility and peace of mind
But Your door is closed in my face,
Drowned in silence.
Lord of the house,
The door was open here,
A refuge for all burdened with grief.
The door was open here,
And the green olive tree rose high
Embracing the house.
The oil lamb kindling without fire,
Guiding steps of one walking at night,
Relieving those crushed by the burden of Earth,
Flooding them with satisfaction and ease.
Do you hear me, O Lord of the house,
After my loss in the deserts;
Away from You I have returned to You
But Your door is closed
In my face, drowned in silence.
Your house is shrouded
With the dust of death.
You are here. Open, then, the door.
Do not veil your face.
See my orphanhood, my loss,
Amid the ruins of a collapsing world,
The grief of the world on my shoulders
And terrors of a tyrant destiny
To be undone.

From: A  Lover  From  Palestine  and  Other  Poems:  An  Anthology  of  Palestinian  Poetry.  Ed. Abdul Wahab Al-Messiri. Washington, DC: Free Palestine Press, 1970. Available from Amazon.
Fadwa Tuqan obituary.

“. . . The twenty revolutions that will eternalize this cell . . .” (Fouzi El Asmar)

Aug. 19, 2016, Philadelphia: Friday Protest: Free Bilal Kayed! End Administrative Detention! (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)
Aug. 19, 2016, Philadelphia: Friday Protest: Free Bilal Kayed! End Administrative Detention! (Photo: Samidoun Palestinian Prisoner Solidarity Network)

❶ Palestinian released, placed on house arrest after serving 14 year sentence in Israeli prisons
❷ Palestinian PM Office: Israel’s ‘horrific treatment’ of Bilal Kayid amounting to ‘torture’
❸ Seven Palestinians arrested in WB, Jerusalem
❹ Opinion/Analysis:  “HUNGER STRIKE: STILL AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF RESISTANCE FOR PALESTINIAN PRISONERS?”
❺ POETRY by Fouzi El Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PALESTINIAN RELEASED, PLACED ON HOUSE ARREST AFTER SERVING 14 YEAR SENTENCE IN ISRAELI PRISONS 
Ma’an News Agency 
Aug. 24, 2016
An Israeli judge Tuesday ordered the release of a Palestinian from the occupied East Jerusalem neighborhood of Jabal al-Mukkabir who was redetained four days after being released from a 14-year sentence in Israeli prisons, according to local sources.
___Israeli Magistrate Court’s judge ordered the release of Jerusalemite prisoner Sufian Fakhri Abdo from Israeli prison and imposed 14 days of house detention and a 10,000 shekel ($2,653) fine on him.  MORE . . .

❷ PALESTINIAN PM OFFICE: ISRAEL’S ‘HORRIFIC TREATMENT’ OF BILAL KAYID AMOUNTING TO ‘TORTURE’
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 23, 2016
The Palestinian Prime Minister’s office called on Tuesday for the immediate release of Bilal Kayid, saying that Israel’s “horrific treatment” of the hunger-striking prisoner amounted to “torture.”
___Kayid has been on hunger strike for 70 days after Israeli authorities sentenced him to administrative detention — internment without trial or charges — on the day he was scheduled to be released from prison after serving a 14-and-a-half year sentence.  ___Kayid has since been hospitalized after his health severely deteriorated. However, the Israel Prison Service (IPS) has kept him shackled to his hospital bed and has had guards surrounding him at all times.     MORE . . .    

❸ SEVEN PALESTINIANS ARRESTED IN WB, JERUSALEM
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 24, 2016
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) arrested on Wednesday morning seven citizens in raids to different parts of the occupied West Bank.
___The public Israeli radio said that the occupation forces accused four of the detainees in involving in “terrorist actions.”
___Local sources said that Israeli forces raided several houses in the town of Halhul in Hebron, and arrested three citizens identified as Abed Jnazrah, Ayman al-Omran, and Ali Sarayaa.       MORE . . .

❹ Opinion/Analysis: “HUNGER STRIKE: STILL AN EFFECTIVE MODE OF RESISTANCE FOR PALESTINIAN PRISONERS?”
Bailey, Pam.  Washington Report On Middle East Affairs 33.3 (2014): 21-22.

Prisoners are perhaps the most powerless individuals in the world. They are at the mercy of their captors–deprived of freedom of movement, stripped of virtually all personal resources, limited in communication with the outside to rationed, supervised moments.  ___But the human spirit is not easily extinguished and, particularly when people are imprisoned for their belief in a cause, the natural leaders among them fight back with what little they have: their brains and their bodies.
[. . . .]   The Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association has joined the World Organization Against Torture to express concern about their health and harsh treatment, as well as call on international activists to protest to Israeli authorities. Meanwhile, the Israeli government is considering a new rule that would allow the force-feeding of hunger-striking prisoners whose lives are in danger. Israel had previously stopped the practice after three prisoners died as a result.
[. . . . ]  Sometimes, however, what seems like individual wins can carry larger symbolism–as in the case of Samer Issawi. Over the course of a partial hunger strike of 266 days, Issawi lost half his body weight and suffered numerous health problems–yet rejected offers to release him if he agreed to be deported someplace other than East Jerusalem. By insisting on going home, he captured the hearts of activists and caught the fickle media’s attention–and won.
___”My victory was a Palestinian victory that proves nothing is impossible in the face of our will,” he says now. “If I had to do it over again, I would, because nothing is more valuable than freedom.”     FULL ARTICLE . . . . 

“TWENTY  COMRADES,”  BY  FOUZI  EL ASMAR  (1970)
Beloved, you ask me
Of life in this prison, this cell
what of the chains
chafing my wrists
what of my food and drink
and the comrades of my cell?

Beloved, let me tell you:
Our clouds are indeed heavy
But our being here
is a smile of spring,
The shock of thunder
in autumn, after draught.
We are not defeated
Like our jailers.

Life in this prison, this cell
is a palm tree impregnated
at the dawn.
My chains are the round
echo of a muezzin,
Their clank is the ringing
of my people’s bells.

Beloved, you as me
of the meaning of my food
Here beloved
we grow like the wild flowers.

And what of
my comrades in this cell? You ask
They are the twenty candles
lighting the darkness of this cell
The twenty songs
shaking the walls of this cell
The twenty revolutions
that will eternalize this cell
And we, beloved
we shall not be stopped.  (June, 1970)

El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
Available from Amazon.
About Fouzi El Asmar.

“. . . I shall carve the record of my sufferings . . . On an olive tree. . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

uproot
Suspended in space: uprooting of olive trees for the expansion of Zufin, Jewish settlement in the Tulkarm district (Photo: B’Tselem/ Christoph Gocke – EAPPI)

❶ Israeli forces demolish Palestinian-owned structures in Nablus
. . . ―❶ (ᴀ) Israeli Occupation uproots 300 trees west of Hebron
. . . ―❶ (ᴃ) Israel demolishes multiple Palestinian structures in Jerusalem area
. . . ―❶ (ᴄ) Israeli forces uproot 50 olive trees as Palestinian farmer awaits court date to appeal

  • Background: “Uprooting Identities: The Regulation of Olive Trees in the Occupied West Bank.”

❷ Gaza Strip: Attacks in the Border Areas and their Consequences
❸ POETRY by Tawfiq Zayyad
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  PALESTINIAN-OWNED  STRUCTURES  IN  NABLUS
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2016
Israeli forces on Wednesday demolished two rooms used for agricultural purposes and leveled stone walls in the villages of Khirbet al-Marajim and Qusra in the southern part of the occupied West Bank district of Nablus.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a Palestinian official who monitors Israeli settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli bulldozers, escorted by Israeli forces, demolished a room belonging to Tariq Dirawi in Khirbet al-Marajim.    MORE . . .  

. . . ―❶ (ᴀ) ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  UPROOTS  300  TREES  WEST  OF  HEBRON
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 17, 2016
Hebron. ALRAY. Israeli military bulldozers uprooted about 300 olives trees on Wednesday morning and swept lands in Oula town, West of Hebron in the south of the occupied West Bank.
___Isa Al Omla, the activist in the wall and settlements resistance, said that the Israeli bulldozers broke into Al- Najar Valley area, near the apartheid wall, and swept away some lands ( 15 acres) owned by the family of Mohammed Khalil Abdul Aziz Al Omla.  MORE . . .

. . . ―❶ (ᴃ) ISRAEL  DEMOLISHES  MULTIPLE  PALESTINIAN  STRUCTURES  IN  JERUSALEM  AREA
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 16, 2016
Israeli forces demolished multiple Palestinian structures in the Jerusalem area on Tuesday, the same morning that Israeli-enforced demolitions left more than 70 Palestinians homeless in the Hebron and Bethlehem districts of the occupied West Bank.
___In the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, bulldozers escorted by Israeli police officers and Jerusalem municipality inspectors demolished a single-room house and several outdoor walls, because the structures were built without licenses issued by the Jerusalem municipality.     MORE . . .  

Event marking Rachel Corrie's death, Qariyut, West Bank, 15.3.2
Israeli soldiers attack Palestinians during an olive tree planting commemorating (March, 2015). Corrie, an American, was killed by an Israeli military bulldozer in 2003, blocking the demolition of a Palestinian home in the Gaza Strip (Photo: Activestills.org)

. . . ―❶ (ᴄ ) ISRAELI  FORCES  UPROOT  50  OLIVE  TREES  AS  PALESTINIAN  FARMER  AWAITS  COURT  DATE  TO  APPEAL
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 16, 2016
Israeli bulldozers uprooted more than 50 olive trees on Tuesday morning in the Palestinian village of Shufa in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tulkarem, Palestinian farmers told Ma’an, two weeks before a court hearing was scheduled to be held to appeal the Israeli-ordered confiscation of the land.
___One of the farmers, Abed Hamid, said he received a phone call from a neighbor notifying him that Israeli forces brought bulldozers to his olive tree orchard and started to uproot the trees, which were planted between 15 and 20 years ago.
___After Hamid rushed to his land, he said he witnessed Israeli forces “stealing” the majority of his trees, which were left intact.    MORE . . .    

  • Braverman, Irus. “UPROOTING IDENTITIES: THE REGULATION OF OLIVE TREES IN THE OCCUPIED WEST BANK.” Polar: Political & Legal Anthropology Review 32.2 (2009): 237-264.    FULL ARTICLE.   

Trees in general, and olive and pine trees in particular, perform a pivotal role in both the Zionist and the Palestinian national narratives. Since 1901, the Jewish National Fund (JNF) . . . has planted over 240 million trees in Israel, most of which are pines. This massive enterprise has fundamentally transformed the Israeli/Palestinian landscape. Indeed, over the years, the pine has come to be perceived as the quintessential symbol of the Zionist project . . .  If the Jewish tree is the pine, the Palestinian tree is the olive. As Ismat Shbeta, a refugee from the depopulated Palestinian village Miske, tells me in an Interview, “The olive is the Palestinian tree . . . . That’s the olive’s nationality”
[. . . .]  A fusion of humans and trees is thereby constructed: the olive embodies the Palestinian people, the green of its foliage is perceived as interchangeable with the red of their blood. However, the olive is not only a proxy witness; it also provides a model of survival for the Palestinian people. In this sense, the olive not only stands for but also speaks for the mute and uprooted Palestinian . . .
[. . . .]  Since its inception, and increasingly in the last two decades, Israel has been uprooting Palestinian olive trees. . . . . Israel’s central rationale for uprooting olive trees in the occupied territories has not been framed as punitive, or at least not explicitly so. Israel explains these uprootings, rather, as essential for its national security. First, Israel has been uprooting olives to make way for the recently built Separation Barrier. In the same vein, Israel’s Defense Forces have uprooted thousands of olive . . .  to secure roads, increase visibility, and make way for watchtowers, checkpoints. . . .
[. . . .]  In addition to the uprooting of Palestinian olive trees by the State of Israel, for the last decade or so Jewish settlers have also been targeting Palestinian trees. . . . The tree warfare conducted by the New Settlers adds another layer of meaning to the relationship between humans and trees in the occupied West Bank. . . .  the sabotage of olive trees is still an everyday occurrence in the West Bank. As a result, Palestinian access to agricultural land is frequently jeopardized.
[. . . .]   Although both the New Settlers and the human rights activists interviewed here have insisted that the Israeli/Palestinian war is not really about trees but about land, it is nonetheless clear that the emotional, cultural, ritualistic, and economic significance of the tree has been at the forefront of their actions. [Palestinians] would never have claimed that trees are unimportant in this battle. However, they also see clearly the connection between the trees and the overall power struggle over land, autonomy, identity, and power . . . .

❷ GAZA  STRIP:  ATTACKS  IN  THE  BORDER  AREAS  AND  THEIR  CONSEQUENCES
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Aug. 16, 2016
Following disengagement from the Gaza Strip in September 2005, Israel unilaterally and illegally established a so-called “buffer zone”, an area prohibited to Palestinians along the land and sea borders of the Gaza Strip.
[. . . .]
Preventing Palestinians from accessing their lands and fishing areas violates numerous provisions of international human rights law, including the right to work, the right to an adequate standard of living, and the right to the highest attainable standard of health. Enforcing the “buffer zone” through the use of live fire often results in, inter alia, the direct targeting of civilians and/or indiscriminate attacks, both of which constitute war crimes.     MORE . . .

“ON  THE  TRUNK  OF  AN  OLIVE  TREE,”  BY  TAWFIQ  ZAYYAD
Because I do not weave wool,
And daily am in danger of detention,
And my house is the object of police visits
To search and “to cleanse,”
Because I cannot buy paper,
I shall carve the record of my sufferings,
And all my secrets
On an olive tree
In the courtyard
Of my house.

I shall carve my story and the chapters of my tragedy,
I shall carve my sighs
On my grove and on the tombs of my dead;
I shall carve
All the bitterness I have tasted,
To be blotted out by some of the happiness to come

I shall carve the number of each deed
Of our usurped land
The location of my village and its boundaries.
The demolished houses of its peoples,
My uprooted trees,
And each crushed wild blossom.
And the names of those master torturers
Who rattled my nerves and caused my misery.
The names of all the prisons,
And every type of handcuff
That closed around my wrists,
The files of my jailers,
Every curse
Poured upon my head.
I shall carve:
Kafr Qasim, I shall not forget!
And I shall carve:
Deir Yassin, it’s rooted in my memory.
I shall carve:
We have reached the peak of our tragedy.
It has absorbed us and we have absorbed it,
But we have finally reached it.

I shall carve all that the sun tells me,
And what the moon whispers,
And what the skylark relates,
Near the well
Forsaken by lovers.

And to remember it all,
I shall continue to carve
All the chapters of my tragedy,
And all the stages of the disaster,
From beginning
To end,
On the olive tree
In the courtyard
Of the house.

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.
About Tafiq Zayyad. 

“. . . towards what remained of her home . . .” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

1-home demo
Israeli police at the scene of a home demolition in East Jerusalem’s Shuafat refugee camp on Wednesday, December 2, 2015 (Israel Police)

❶ Israeli forces demolish homes of 2 Palestinian attackers in Jerusalem
❷ Settlers breach wall of Palestinian home in Jerusalem’s Old City
❸ Israeli settlers attack Palestinian home near Nablus
❹ Netanyahu targets Palestinians in Israel
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The road to hell is paved with ‘national security’
❻ Poetry by Majid Abu Ghoush
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  HOMES  OF  2  PALESTINIAN  ATTACKERS  IN  JERUSALEM
Jan. 4, 2016
Israeli forces on Monday demolished the family home of a Palestinian attacker killed in October and sealed off the home of another attacker’s family with cement, the families told Ma’an.
___The homes, in the Jabal al-Mukabbir neighborhood of East Jerusalem, belonged to relatives of Alaa Abu Jamal and Baha Elayyan who were both shot dead on Oct. 13 after carrying out separate attacks that left four Israelis dead.
___Israeli forces reportedly stormed the homes and ordered the families to evacuate them before they proceeded with the demolitions.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
SETTLERS  BREACH  WALL  OF  PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  JERUSALEM’S  OLD  CITY
Jan. 4, 2016
Israeli settlers on Sunday made a number of breaches through the wall of a Palestinian home belonging to Noura Sub Laban in the Old City of Jerusalem, family members told Ma’an.
___Noura’s son, Ahmad Sub Laban, said the family was shocked to find at least six breaches through the wall, which borders a settler enclave that was established just two weeks ago.
___Ahmad said the family called Israeli police, who arrived on the scene and asked that the settlers repair the damage without bringing any formal procedures against them, despite the settlers admitting to breaching the wall.   More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  HOME  NEAR  NABLUS
Jan. 3, 2016
Israeli settlers on Saturday attacked a Palestinian home in the village of Beit Furik near Nablus in the occupied West Bank, a Palestinian Authority official said.
___Ghassan Daghlas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that settlers threw stones at the home of Nihad Hanani before leaving behind a Molotov cocktail and a letter.
___Daghlas said that the settlers — believed to be from the nearby illegal settlement of Itamar — were chased by locals as they fled the scene after attacking the home. The attack is the most recent to be carried out by settlers in the occupied West Bank.   More . . .

1-benjamin_netanyahu_01
Netanyahu remained committed to invigorating incitement against Palestinian citizens of Israel at Sunday’s Cabinet meeting. (Photo: Alternative News Agency)

ALTERNATIVE NEWS AGENCY
NETANYAHU  TARGETS  PALESTINIANS  IN  ISRAEL
Sergio Yahni
Jan. 4, 2016
Following Friday’s attack in Tel Aviv, which Israeli police suspect was carried out by a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu opened Sunday’s cabinet meeting with a call for greater law enforcement in “the Arab sector.”
___On Friday, two people were shot dead and six others were wounded in a shooting at a crowded pub at 130 Dizengoff Street in Tel Aviv.
___The police have yet to officially refer to Friday’s shooting as a terrorist attack. . . .
___Nertanyahu visited the scene on Saturday and immediately treated the event as a terrorist attack.   More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
INTIFADA PALESTINE
THE  ROAD  TO  HELL  IS  PAVED  WITH  ‘NATIONAL  SECURITY’
CJ Werleman (from Middle East Eye)
Jan. 3, 2016
If you wanted to trace the roots of any of the world’s evil, conflict and chaos, you could start where you first heard the words “national security”.
___In the name of “national security,” Germany invaded Poland, the Nazis cleansed the Jews . . . while Israel ethnically cleansed more than 500 Arab villages, annexed Palestinian land, and enclosed it with a “security barrier”.
___More recently, it is the god of “national security” that has not only given us the self-defeating “war on terror” but also Guantanamo Bay . . . . It is also under the guise of national security that the US homeland-security-industrial complex has boomed to more than $50 billion per year . . . .
___In the wake of the recent Paris and San Bernardino attacks, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government is turning the West’s fixation on Islamic State-inspired terrorism into an opportunity to expand both its apartheid laws and its militarisation of the West Bank.  More . . .

“RETURNING,”  BY  AMJID  ABU  GHOUSH

the woman was dragging her feet
and what remained of her children
towards what remained of her home
towards what remained
of the sea
towards what remained
of the heart
towards what remained of the heart

she raised her hand softly
wiped a tear which rolled down her cheek
and smiled when the beautiful one
she met on the way asked her:
why are you going back?

to water the jasmine tree
to shade the names of the martyrs

—translated by Magi Gibson

MAJID ABU GHOUSH was born in Amwas. He is a prolific poet, a member of the Secretariat of the General Union of Palestinian Writers and a founding member of Poets Without Borders Palestine.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY  (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.