“. . . who has always striven, sir, for freedom . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

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In the desert east of Jerusalem: Rev. Naim Ateek of Sabeel (center) leader with Fall Witness Visitors, 2015 (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 10, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|    JAPAN  FUNDS  NEW  CLASSROOMS,  SOLAR  ENERGY  SYSTEM  PROJECTS  IN  RAMALLAH
The Japanese Ambassador for the Palestinian Affairs and Representative of Japan to Palestine, Takeshi Okubo, signed grant contracts for three Grassroots Human Security Projects (GGP) with representatives of Nilin town, al-Tira village, and Franciscan Sisters’ School for a total amount of $234,526, at the Representative Office of Japan, in the central occupied West Bank city of Ramallah, on Monday.    ___The Nilin Municipality in the Ramallah district, will use a fund of $85,215 for constructing three new classrooms and a toilet unit in Nilin’s Girl School to provide 100 students from 6th grade to 12th grade with new class rooms and appropriate and healthy educational environment.    ___Meanwhile, the al-Tira village council will use a fund of $88,936 for reconstructing new four classrooms. . . .   More . . .
. . . . Related  INVESTMENT  IN  EDUCATION  –  INVESTMENT  IN  THE  FUTURE
. . . . Related  VIDEO:  AREA  C  “EUROPEAN  UNION  AND  THE  PALESTINIANS”
|    ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIANS  NEAR  IBRAHIMI  MOSQUE
On Wednesday, a group of Israeli settlers gathers outside the Ibrahimi Mosque and assaulted Palestinian citizens, in protest against the Adan (Muslim call for prayers) via loudspeakers used in the mosque.    ___Palestinian citizen, Yacoub Abu Jihad, said that the settlers beat him and held him for several hours. One of them threatened to kill him sooner or later and held him in a nearby shop for several hours before he was released.    More . . .
. . . . Related  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ATTACK  PALESTINIAN  OLIVE-PICKERS  IN  HEBRON
. . . . Related  SCORES  OF  SETTLERS  DEFILE  AQSA  MOSQUE
. . . . Background  TRANSFORMING  “TRESTIA”  MILITARY  CAMP  INTO  A  NEW [settler] OUTPOST/TUBAS
|   IOF  DETAINS  6  PALESTINIANS  FROM  WB
The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) detained on Wednesday at daybreak six Palestinian people during multiple raids across the occupied West Bank towns and cities.    ___Israeli Walla news site claimed that the detainees are wanted by the IOF on suspicion of involvement in security activities, indicating that they were transferred to police interrogation centers.    More . . .
. . . . Related  IOF  DEPORTS  4  JERUSALEMITES  FROM  SOUR  BAHER,  JABAL  AL-MOKABER

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|    THE  ISRAELI  GOVERNMENT  IS  EXPLOITING  THE  PITTSBURGH  MURDERS  TO  TRY  TO  DEMONIZE  PALESTINE  SOLIDARITY
Yesterday during an interview on MSNBC, Ron Dermer, the Israeli Ambassador to the United States, placed the blame for the attack on both white supremacists and the “radical left,” which is clearly code for BDS activists.    ___Dermer said: “One of the big forces in college campuses today is anti-Semitism. And those anti-Semites are usually not neo-Nazis, on college campuses. They’re coming from the radical left. We have to stand against anti-Semitism whether it comes from the right or whether it comes from the left.”    ___This is a disgusting lie. But it is part and parcel with the recent push by the Israeli government and its supporters in the West to redefine the meaning of antisemitism to include criticism of Israel.    More . . .
|    ASHRAWI  AFFIRMS  NEED  FOR  URGENT  THIRD-PARTY  INTERVENTION  IN  LIGHT  OF  RECENT  US  STANCES
PLO Executive Committee Member Hanan Ashrawi stated that, ‘since the current American administration does not have a real vision for a just and genuine peace and with Israel willfully working to destroy the foundations for a two-state solution, it is imperative that there is an urgent intervention of a third-party like Europe, in particular France.’    ___This came during a meeting with Deputy Diplomatic Counselor at the French Presidency Aurélien Lechevallier at the PLO headquarters in Ramallah, where both parties  discussed the latest political and regional developments and the current crisis as a result of Israel’s serious escalations and egregious violations of international law.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
|
    SABEEL  ECUMENICAL  LIBERATION  THEOLOGY  CENTER,  JERUSALEM 
Mission: To strive towards theological liberation through instilling the Christian faith in the daily lives of those who suffer under occupation, violence, injustice, and discrimination.    Wave of Prayer, November 1, 2018;    . . . . Fall Witness Visit, 2018

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“BECAUSE  I  AM  AN  ARAB,”  BY  FOUZI  EL-ASMAR
I sit in preventive detention.
The reason, see, is that I am an Arab.
An Arab who has refused to sell his soul
who has always striven, sir, for freedom.
An Arab who has protested at the suffering
of his people
Who has carried with him the hope
of a just peace
Who has spoken out against death
at every corner
Who has called for and has lived
a life of brotherhood.
That is why I sit in preventive detention
Because I carried on the struggle
And because I am an Arab.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.
Available from Lynne Rienner Publishers

“. . . there’s still some hope, behind that nearby dune . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

2015: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala celebrated Palm Sunday with palms and flowers before joining the local Catholic Church for a procession through Beit Jala. (Photos: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Website)
2015: The Evangelical Lutheran Church of the Reformation in Beit Jala celebrated Palm Sunday with palms and flowers before joining the local Catholic Church for a procession through Beit Jala. (Photos: Lutheran Church of the Redeemer Website)

❶ Unidentified assailants set fire to home of 2015 Duma arson witness
❷ 850 Gaza Christians receive permits to celebrate Easter in Jerusalem
❸ Shanti: Gaza suffers from a serious water crisis
❹ Japan Deplores Israel’s Decision to Expropriate Thousands of Dumuns in Jericho
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ECONOMIC POLICIES ENTRENCH ISRAELI OCCUPATION
❻ Poetry by Samih Al-Qasim
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
UNIDENTIFIED  ASSAILANTS  SET  FIRE  TO  HOME  OF  2015  DUMA  ARSON  WITNESS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
20 Mar. 2016
Unidentified assailants on Saturday night set fire to a house in the village of Duma in the occupied West Bank, targeting the only witness of an arson attack that killed a Palestinian family last year.
___.  . .  unidentified attackers threw Molotov cocktails at the house of Ibrahim Dawabsha at 2 a.m. and broke a window while he and his family were sleeping. . . .  Dawabsha was the only witness of the deadly arson attack carried out by extremist Israeli settlers on the home of Saad and Riham Dawabsha in the northern West Bank village on July 30 last year.      MORE . . .

850  GAZA  CHRISTIANS  RECEIVE  PERMITS  TO  CELEBRATE  EASTER  IN  JERUSALEM
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
19 Mar. 2016
Hundreds of Christian Palestinians from the Gaza Strip will travel to celebrate Easter in Bethlehem and occupied East Jerusalem after the Israeli authorities agreed to grant them permits, a Palestinian Authority official said Saturday.
___Muhammad al-Maqadma, a public information officer for the Palestinian Ministry of Civil Affairs, told Ma’an that Israel had granted around 850 permits to Gaza Christians of different ages to travel to the occupied West Bank and East Jerusalem.       MORE . . .
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SHANTI:  GAZA  SUFFERS  FROM  A  SERIOUS  WATER CRISIS
THE PALESTINIAN INFORMATION CENTER
20 Mar. 2016
The water authority in Gaza has warned that the besieged enclave suffers from a severe water shortage in its coastal aquifer, which is the primary source for getting water.
___This came during “an interview with an official,” which was organized on Sunday by the government’s information office in Gaza City in the presence of a reporter from the Palestinian Information Center (PIC). Head of the water authority Yaser al-Shanti described the water situation in Gaza as very dangerous.      MORE . . . 

JAPAN  DEPLORES  ISRAEL’S  DECISION  TO  EXPROPRIATE  THOUSANDS  OF  DUMUNS  IN  JERICHO
PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
20 Mar. 2016
The Government of Japan Sunday deplored the Israeli government’s decision to expropriate nearly 2,342 dunums near the West Bank district of Jericho, under the pretext of being classified as ‘state land’.
___“The announcement by the Government of Israel clearly contradicts the ongoing efforts by the international community toward a two-state solution,” said the statement . . . .      MORE . . .

OPINION/ANALYSIS:   ECONOMIC  POLICIES  ENTRENCH  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION
ALTERNATIVE INFORMATION CENTER (AIC)
Nassar Ibrahim
20 Mar. 2016
The Palestinian economy has not been independent in centuries. Like the economies of other Arab countries, the Palestinian economy was subject to foreign control and looting for four centuries under Ottoman rule. Next, British colonial rule lorded over Palestine, until the Nakba uprooted Palestinians from their land in 1948. Following Israel’s occupation of Palestine, Israeli colonial powers took control of the Palestinian economy. All of this made the already weak Palestinian economy an easy target for manipulation and destruction. Israeli management of the Palestinian economy has created deep structural disparities in Palestinian society.       MORE . . .

“OASIS,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM

Behind this dune we have an oasis. Leave me alone.
Leave me to rinse myself off in a bit
of its mirage. I’m tired of running after myself
to catch myself before I die.
Take―old friends and my companions―my body,
the shadow of its body’s shadow,
and hold it for a while, so I can reach my time in time.
Behind this dune we have an oasis.
Sustain your longing with dates and water,
without despair.
Listen with me to the songs of the girls
beneath the palms, but do not follow
the voice of my silence.
We have, friends, the right to die as we desire.
But there’s still some hope, behind that nearby dune.
And we have the right to make the stranger
a stranger’s friend, and we have an oasis―
and a bit of rest in the house
of the loved one who left us.
He will come from behind this dune.

From Al-Qasim, Samih. SADDER  THAN  WATER.  NEW  AND  SELECTED  POEMS.  Trans. Nazih Kasis and Adina Hoffman. Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2008. Available from Amazon
Samih al-Qasim Obituary,
August 20, 2014
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