“. . . for my city’s sake, raped and abused . . .” (Harun Hashim Rasheed)

PLEASE NOTE: The content of this blog is slightly changed: it presents fewer news items and gives more background for those items. This will provide deeper understanding of the issues shaping the news. All articles without direct links can be found through an EBSCO search in any library with online databases. 

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Inside Al-Aqsa Mosque (Photo: November 13, 2015, Harold Knight)

❶ Israeli calls for collective break-ins into al-Aqsa
❷ Israeli Justice Minister: West Bank settlements will continue
❸ Retracing Jaffa’s erased Palestinian history (Photo essay)
❹ Opinion/Analysis: IT  JUST  AIN’T  CRICKET:  HOW  ISRAEL  ‘TRANSFERS’  LAND  FROM  PALESTINIANS  TO  SETTLERS
❺ POETRY by Harun Hashim Rasheed
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  CALLS  FOR  COLLECTIVE  BREAK-INS  INTO  AL-AQSA
The Palestinian Information Center
May 26, 2016
Israeli extremist groups have called on Thursday for collective break-ins into al-Aqsa Mosque on the 5th of June that coincides with the occupation of the eastern part of Jerusalem. According to Quds Press, the extremist groups called through social media for massive participation in collective break-ins into the Islamic holy shrine and Talmudic rituals in its plazas to celebrate what they called “the anniversary of Jerusalem’s reunification.” Israeli police will provide security protection for the plan, the groups pointed out.      MORE . . . 

Jerusalem is an arena of conflicting and competing visions of both the past and the future. While Israeli political and military control over both halves of the city has not been disputed since its occupation of East Jerusalem in 1967, there is no sense in which the Zionist imaginary of a Jewish city has been achieved or is irreversible. This has meant that alternative visions of the city, both ethno-national and eschatological in nature, continue to vie for dominance and act as mobilizing forces for dissident groups.
___This battle for the sacred is most famously played out on Jerusalem’s ancient fault­ line: the Jewish “Temple Mount” [ Har haBayit] or the Muslim “Noble Sanctuary” [al­ Haram al-Sharif] , the site of the Western (Wailing) Wall and the only visible remainder of the second Jewish Temple and the al-Aqsa Mosque, the place of Muhammad’s legendary night journey to Heaven. While scholars have extensively charted the historic conquests and religious imaginings that imbue this revered 66 square acre compound, our interest is in its contemporary politicization as a dynamic symbol and site of Israeli­ Zionist domination and Palestinian-Muslim resistance.

  • Larkin, Craig, and Michael Dumper. “In Defense Of Al-Aqsa: The Islamic Movement Inside Israel And The Battle For Jerusalem.” Middle East Journal 66.1 (2012): 31-52.

❷ ISRAELI JUSTICE MINISTER: WEST BANK SETTLEMENTS WILL CONTINUE
Palestine News Network
May 26, 2016
The Israeli Justice Minister, Ayelet Shaked on Tuesday night promised that her government will continue settlement expansion in the occupied West Bank.
___Shaked’s statement came during the opening of a new school in Itamar illegal settlement.  MORE . . .

Since 1967, Israeli policy in the West Bank (referred as Judea and Samaria by Israel since 1967) have been to create facts on the ground by annexing land without its people, by constructing enclaves within and a round the Palestinian built-up areas.
___Since 1967, Israel has been attempting to create facts on the ground that would forever link East Jerusalem to West Jerusalem and Israel. Israel has been trying to limit Palestinian natural growth as much as possible. . .
___According to many Israeli criticisms, settlement polices considers as a problematic issue for both Palestinian and Israeli communities, this is due to many reasons such as the way the settlements damage the Arab-Jewish relations, the negative influence of the settlements on the Israelis security, the role of settlements in deepen the social disparities, and the way the settlements generate a massive waste of resources. In spite of that, Israel continue constructing settlements as a part of its national strategy. . .

  • Thawaba, Salem A. “Jerusalem Walls: Transforming and Segregating Urban Fabric.” African & Asian Studies 10.2/3 (2011): 121-142. EBSCO.

❸ RETRACING  JAFFA’S  ERASED  PALESTINIAN  HISTORY  (PHOTO  ESSAY)
The Electronic Intifada
Silvia Boarini
24 May 2016
In mid-May, when Israeli Jews celebrate Independence Day, Palestinians commemorate the Nakba — the ethnic cleansing of hundreds of thousands of people from cities and villages across Palestine that began in December 1947 and intensified throughout 1948, both before and after the declaration of the State of Israel.
___This process of removing Palestinians from their land continues in various forms to this very day.
___Palestinian refugees as a whole have never been allowed to exercise their right to return to their homeland.      MORE . . .  

In Jaffa, 4,000 Palestinians–a mixture of original inhabitants and refugees from surrounding villages–were gathered in the southern Ajami neighborhood while their houses in other parts of the city, or the surrounding villages, were occupied or destroyed. In June 1948 Israeli Prime Minister David Ben-Gurion wrote in his diary: “Jaffa will be a Jewish city. War is war.” Less than a year later he reported to the Israeli parliament that 45,000 new Jewish immigrants had been settled in the city’s “abandoned” homes.
[. . . .]
___A look at the Judaization of Jaffa’s Old City illustrates something of what Israeli policymakers have in mind for the Ajami neighborhood. The heart of the Old City today has been totally renovated, with Palestinian residents long gone. Spotless pedestrian walkways weave between buildings that once served as Palestinian homes, shops and factories and now have been transformed into expensive restaurants, galleries and gift shops for foreign and Israeli tourists. The simple fact that the asking price is beyond the range of the average Jaffa Palestinian would prevent them from even attempting to move into the area.

  • Humphries, Isabelle. “The Nakba Continues: The Ethnic Cleansing Of Jaffa’s Ajami Neighborhood.” Washington Report on Middle East Affairs 27.5 (2008): 14-15.
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Evidence of Israeli “transfer” of land, Hebron. (Photo: Harold Knight, November 18, 2015)

❹ Opinion/Analysis:  IT  JUST  AIN’T  CRICKET:  HOW  ISRAEL  ‘TRANSFERS’  LAND  FROM  PALESTINIANS  TO  SETTLERS
The Palestinian Information Center
Kamel Hawwash
May 22, 2016
The cricket season is in full swing in England and this was possibly playing on my mind when I read this headline in Haaretz: “Israel seized Palestinian family’s East Jerusalem land behind its back, gave it to settler NGO.”
___My immediate reaction was this is simply not cricket, a British term used to describe an act that is unfair, not honest, or immoral. . . .  Israel expropriated the land from the Abu Ta’ah family in East Jerusalem without a tender and against the rules, then handed it over to Amana, an organisation that works to establish settlements and outposts for Jews.
MORE . . .  

“POEM TO JERUSALEM,” Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)

For the sake of a city that’s imprisoned,
for its Dome and Aqsa Mosque,
for the annihilated sanctuary
where Muhammad’s feet once stood,
for all this city has endured,
and for all it has preserved,
for Mary and Jesus,
for all the beings she has known,
for my city’s sake,
raped and abused,
on its wounded brow
God’s words are effaced.

I call on all our dead
and all our living
with verses from the Bible
if only they could hear
with verses from the Quran
in the name of God
calling the young among them and the very old
calling them from my depths
to every brave fighter
I tell them the struggle is for Jerusalem
I call on them to resolve and have faith
tell them how Jerusalem’s sanctity is wounded
I call upon them all to help Jerusalem
She cannot wait any longer,
she overflows with grief.

From the Atlantic to the Arabian Gulf
I call upon you in the name of God
with the purity of anger I beseech you
for the city with the humiliated eyes
I call you in your name,
I call my Arab people.
―translated by Sharif Elmusa and Naomi Shihab Nye

Harun Hashim Rasheed (b. 1927)
Born in Gaza, poet Harun Hashim Rasheed witnessed, as a child, British soldiers demolishing his and his neighbors’ home in reprisal against Palestinian rebels, an incident which left a deep mark on him as a poet. After obtaining a Higher Teacher Training Diploma from Gaza College, he worked as a teacher until 1954. He then became director of the Sawt Al-Arab broadcasting station in Gaza. After the fall of Gaza to the Israelis in 1967, he was harassed by the Israeli occupation forces and was eventually compelled to leave. He has had a long and illustrious career as a Palestinian poet and literary figure in exile.

From: ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

 

“. . . Prison did not turn him into a desert . . .” (Ahmad Dahbur, 1982)

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Israel’s War of Construction. Illegal (by international law) Jewish settlement surrounding the TENT OF NATIONS – White building, center of photo. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 6, 2015)

❶ Soldiers Kidnap Eight Palestinians in the West Bank
❷ PCHR Weekly Report: 9 Palestinians Killed, 112 Wounded By Israeli Soldiers & Settlers this Week
❸ Statistics – Palestinian ‘security’ prisoners [children] in Israeli detention
❹ Analysis: ISRAEL’S  WAR  OF  CONSTRUCTION
❺ Opinion/Analysis: THE  GHETTTOIZATION  OF  ISRAEL’S  ‘MIXED  CITIES’
❻ Poetry by Ahmad Dahbur
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  EIGHT  PALESTINIANS  IN  THE  WEST  BANK
Dec. 06, 2015
Israeli soldiers kidnapped, on Sunday at dawn and on Saturday evening, eight Palestinians in Jenin, Bethlehem and Hebron, in the occupied West Bank.
___On Sunday at dawn, dozens of soldiers invaded Kafr Dan village, west of the northern West Bank city of Jenin, searched several homes and kidnapped two Palestinians identified as Maher Tahseen ‘Aabed, 39, and Mohammad Mustafa ‘Aabed, 29.
___The army invaded their homes after smashing the front doors, and ransacked the properties causing excessive damage.
More . . .
Related . . . ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  12  PALESTINIANS  ACROSS  THE  WEST BANK
IMEMC-INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
PCHR  WEEKLY  REPORT:  9  PALESTINIANS  KILLED,  112  WOUNDED  BY  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  &  SETTLERS  THIS  WEEK
Dec. 06, 2015
In its Weekly Report On Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 26 Nov. – 02 Dec. 2015, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. 9 Palestinian civilians, including 2 children and a young woman, were killed in the West Bank. One of them was killed by Israeli settlers.
More . . .
MILITARY COURT WATCH (MONITORING THE TREATMENT OF CHILDREN IN DETENTION)
STATISTICS –  PALESTINIAN  ‘SECURITY’  PRISONERS  IN  ISRAELI  DETENTION
[. . . . ]
The above figures relate only to individuals classified by the IPS as “security prisoners”. An additional number of Palestinians from the West Bank, East Jerusalem and Gaza are held in IPS detention as “criminal prisoners”. Criminal offences include entering Israel without a permit, frequently in the search for work. The approximate number of Palestinians held as “criminal prisoners” amounts to an additional 40 percent (adults) and 15 percent (children) on top of the numbers held as “security prisoners”.
More . . .
Related . . . (IN  PICTURES)  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  ARRESTS  400  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN

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The ghettoization of the “Mixed City.” Apartheid Wall surrounding Shufat Refugee Camp in Jerusalem. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

Analysis
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
ISRAEL’S  WAR  OF  CONSTRUCTION
By: Ariel Sophia Bardi
November 2015
The documentary-propaganda film Homecoming was released just one year after the events of the Nakba, during which anywhere from 400 to 600 Palestinian villages were destroyed by Israeli forces. “On the home front, it’s a war of construction. A quiet war,” intones the 1949 film, made by the United Israel Appeal to drum up foreign financial contributions to the fledgling state.
[. . . . ]
After the violent demolitions of 1947–1948, a quieter war took place across the country, with a rush of new developments literally cementing the transformation of Palestine into the new Jewish state. Israel’s so-called “war of construction” came with better amenities –
[. . . . ]
Much like Israel’s earliest compounds, today’s settlements in the West Bank continue to lay siege on Palestinian lands, maintaining a state of persistent conflict. Built atop the peaks of the hilly terrain, these surveillance fortresses visually dominate the valleys. They mime the practices of early Zionist expansion, making today’s settlers heirs to the state’s early builders.
More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+972 MAGAZINE
THE  GHETTTOIZATION  OF  ISRAEL’S ‘ MIXED  CITIES’
Daniel Monterescu
Dec. 5, 2015
In the aftermath of Jaffa’s conquest in 1948, Moshe Erem, director-general of Israel’s Ministry of Minority Affairs and Tel-Aviv City Council member, wrote to minister of minority affairs Bechor Shalom-Shitrit:

. . . . a barbed wire that will separate the Arab neighborhood and the Jewish housing projects. This arrangement will immediately give ‘Ajami the form of a ghetto, closed and segregated. It is hard to come to terms with such a notion, which invokes associations of horror.’ (IDF Archives, August 11, 1948, 1860/1950-1)

[. . . . ]
The term “mixed towns” [‘arim me’oravot in Hebrew and mudum mukhtalata in Arabic] can be deceiving. From its early days, the State of Israel labored over the separation of the Jewish and Arab populations, seeking to group the latter in confined urban spaces.
More . . . 

“THE  PRISON,”  BY  AHMAD  DAHBUR  (Ahmed  Dahbour)
(To Abu Faris. . . who has been there)

Prison teaches that the heart is a desert,
That light is a desert.
It curses the fire and the land of the commandos.
Prison teaches that water is a chameleon,
That the landscape is a snake,
That echo is treacherous, and the wind an enemy.
Prison teaches that the guide’s sight grows dim,
And that the homeland departs.
Prison is a black kingdom in the sand;
Prison is a sword guarding the eyelids;
Prison . . . not the homeland!
So how, my beloved homeland, will the beloved ones survive?

Here we are, no complaints and no regrets,
We never say: an aimless wandering!
Blood gushes forth from the depths of our love.
Prison assaults but does not hit the mark;
Our wounds hit back,
Reaching out like water . . . like the wilderness,
Promising the light with a new light.
From deep within us, signaling twice!
Our cub child,
And the fire of salvation.
We see it, yes we do.
We are not dreaming,
We almost step into his joyous landscape
We almost do.
This is the moment of travail in our difficult labor,
We hug the newborn―
He who springs from our very ecstasy,
Whose kicks we feel in our guts,
Who teaches the hungry what he knows
And declares in words well understood:
Revolution, revolution . . . till life.

The inmate has not lost his features in the sand,
Prison did not turn him into a desert.
From his hunger, water and vegetation sprang.
When silence wounds him,
He can break it with a sigh,
But he endures.
His testimony:
Near death, there were exhaustion and fatigue,
His executioner pressing him to promise
A word . . . a groan, or to divulge his secret,
But all in vain.
His countenance was radiating in the sand
Like an oasis,
For prison had not turned him into a desert.

About Ahmad Dahbur. And here.
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. 

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The open-air prison of Palestine. Apartheid Wall along highway between Bethlehem and Beit Jala. (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 8, 2015)

 

“. . . Jaffa, who broke the days on these sands, is motionless. . .” (Rashid Hussein)

The Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran
The Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran

From MONDOWEISS
ONE LAST APPEAL BEFORE A BEDOUIN VILLAGE IN THE NEGEV IS DEMOLISHED AND A JEWISH TOWN IS BUILT IN ITS PLACE
Allison Deger
June 1, 2015
The Bedouin village of Umm el-Hieran in Israel’s southern Negev desert is running out of time and appeals before it will be razed to the ground and an exclusively Jewish town will be built in its place. After a decade of legal battles—a matrix of court cases over lands, houses, and demolition orders—the Bedouins now have one final petition at their disposal, a re-trial. If they lose this hearing their township will be demolished and the saga will end with a modern Jewish bedroom community owned by a private Israeli developer that does not sell homes to Arabs. . .
____. . . In the lead up to the final ruling expected in the next few months the 25 Jewish-Israeli families who want to move into Umm el-Hieran are already living in mobile houses in a nearby nature reserve. They relocated there in 2009. Set behind a barbed-wire fence and a gate, they are ready to motor their caravans downhill to the Bedouin town as soon as the bulldozers remove the last shanty structure. Their hope is to construct 2,500 units serving more than 10,000 Israelis.
(More. . .)

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
GERMAN FOREIGN MINISTER CALLS FOR LIFTING OF GAZA BLOCKADE DURING VISIT
June 1, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an)
The German foreign minister on Monday called on Israel to lift the blockade of Gaza in return for Palestinian security reassurances during a visit to the beleaguered coastal enclave.
____Frank-Walter Steinmeier, heading a delegation of 60 German officials, arrived in the region on Saturday to hold talks with top Palestinian and Israeli officials.
____During Monday’s visit to Gaza he said the enclave was a “powder keg” at risk of exploding, and called for efforts to quicken reconstruction.
____”I came out of all my discussions yesterday in Jerusalem and in Ramallah with the hope that all parties are mindful that here we are sitting on a powder keg here and that we must ensure that the fuse does not catch light,” Steinmeier said at a press conference in Gaza City’s fishing port. . .
(More. . .)

From MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
LAWYER: PALESTINIAN CHILDREN FACING TORTURE IN ISRAELI JAILS
May 31, 2015
Palestinian children are being beaten and tortured in a “heinous” way by Israeli soldiers during interrogation, a Palestinian Authority lawyer has said.
____Hiba Masalha, a lawyer for the PA committee of prisoners’ affairs, said in a statement on Sunday that teenage detainees are being “terrified, threatened and blackmailed” in contravention of international law and conventions advocating children’s rights.
____Masalha said that she had visited Section 3 of Megeddo prison, where 68 Palestinian teens are currently being held. Most of the detainees she met had been arrested from an orphanage in the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem. . .
(More. . .)

Dangerous children
Dangerous children

From THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
Special report
ACHIEVEMENTS OF THE PALESTINE CAPITAL MARKET AUTHORITY
Abeer Odeh
June 2015
The Palestine Capital Market Authority (PCMA) is a quasi-governmental agency . . . established in 2004 as the regulator of the Palestinian non-banking financial sector. The PCMA is governed by a board of directors . . . and its mission is to regulate, supervise, and oversee the securities, insurance, financial leasing, and mortgage finance sectors in Palestine . . . the PCMA is responsible for developing and maintaining sound capital markets in Palestine. . . .
____During recent years, Palestine has successfully positioned itself as an emerging nation on the international stage by joining several international organizations where it can demonstrate its capabilities. After the state of Palestine was granted observer status by the United Nations General Assembly . . . February 2014, the PCMA was admitted as the 124th ordinary member of the International Organization of Securities (IOSCO). . . .
(More. . .)

From JONATHAN COOK: THE BLOG FROM NAZARETH
BEN GURION ’48 LETTER BARRED RETURN TO HAIFA
Jonathan Cook
May 27, 2015
Over many decades, Israel’s self-serving deceptions about the Nakba in 1948 have been exposed for the lies Palestinians already knew them to be.
____It was long accepted in the west that, as Israel claimed, Palestinians left their homes because they had been ordered to do so by neighbouring Arab leaders. . .
____. . . For decades Israel’s supporters have been arguing that Haifa, one of Palestine’s most important cities, was not ethnically cleansed of its population. The tens of thousands of Palestinians who fled under Israeli attack in April 1948 were later urged to return, according to Israel’s supporters, but they chose not to . . . But now a letter signed by David Ben Gurion, Israel’s first prime minister and the engineer of its ethnic cleansing policy in 1948, shows that, far from Haifa’s doors being thrown open, Ben Gurion ordered that the refugees be barred from returning. . .
(More. . .)

“Jaffa,” by Rashid Hussein
An opiate cloud hangs over Jaffa,
And the lean roads are pregnant with flies and boredom.
In the streets of heaven, the moon’s funeral.
Jaffa is then without a moon;
Jaffa is then blood on a stone.

Jaffa, who suckled me the milk of orange,
Thirsts! She, whose waves watered the rain.
Jaffa, who broke the days on these sands,
Is motionless, her back broken.
Jaffa, who once was a garden, its trees, men,
Is now an opium den dulling our senses.

I was in Jaffa, removing the rats from her forehead,
Raising the rubble, uncovering corpses without knees,
Burying the stars in the sands and fences.
I took the bullets from her bones and sipped anger.

And, when feeling tired, I got myself a dry bush,
Smoked it and rested.

From A Lover from Palestine and Other Poems: An Anthology of Palestinian Poetry. Ed. By Abdul Wahab Al-Messiri. Washington, D.C.: Free Palestine Press, 1970.

Rashid Hussein was born in Nazareth in the Galilee in 1936. After college he was a school teacher, but was dismissed for his political views. He edited Al-Fajr, an Arabic journal that was banned in 1962. He later wrote on Arab affairs for Uri Aveneri’s paper Ha-olam Hazeh.
____He published two volumes of poetry in 1957 and 1959. He was one of the organizers of Al-Ard, the revolutionary Palestinian movement whose goal was equality for all citizens of Israel that started in 1958 and was banned in 1964. He was imprisoned by Israel several times. He finally chose self-exile after the 1967 War. He emigrated to New York where he lived and wrote until his death in 1977.

One of the many homes of Palestinian families taken over by Jewish fighters in 1948 and still occupied by Israeli citizens, the Palestinian owners having no Right of Return.
One of the many homes of Palestinian families in Jaffa taken over by Jewish fighters in 1948 and still occupied by Israeli citizens, the Palestinian owners having no Right of Return. The same situation exists in Haifa.