“. . . She gazes at me like a little child. . .” (Muhammad al-Dhahir)

IMG_3697 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Neighborhood of Jericho (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 15, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .  
|  PRISONER’S  SOCIETY:  ISRAEL  DETAINED  OVER  900  PALESTINIAN  CHILDREN  SINCE  BEGINNING  OF  YEAR
Israel detained 908 Palestinian children under 18 years of age since the beginning of the year, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) said on Tuesday.    ___It said in a statement marking  UNIVERSAL CHILDREN’S DAY, which coincides on Tuesday, that out of the 908 detained since January 2018 until the end of October, 270 are still held in detention in various prisons in Israel.   More . . .
|  THE  RIGHT  TO  EDUCATION  CAMPAIGN  CONDEMNS  ARBITRARY  ARREST  OF  BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY’S  HEAD  OF  STUDENT  COUNCIL
The Right to Education Campaign expresses its grave concern over the Israeli Occupying forces’ arrest of the head of Birzeit University student council Yehya Rabie’ at dawn on November 19, 2018, from his house in Al- Mazra’a Al Gharbiya near Ramallah. Rabie’ is a third-year student in the Faculty of Business and Economics.    ___ Such outrageous acts are categorical violation of international laws and norms, which all forbid any violation against the basic right of people to the right of education.   More . . .
|  ISRAEL  RAZES  PALESTINIAN  LANDS,  UPROOTS  500  PALM  TREES  IN  JERICHO
Israeli bulldozers razed and leveled Palestinian-owned agricultural lands, and uprooted about 500 palm trees, on Tuesday, in Jericho City, near road 90, in the central occupied West Bank district of Jericho.    ___Ibrahim Ahmad, the tenant of the razed lands, said that Israeli forces along with several bulldozers stormed the area and razed agricultural lands that belong to the ISLAMIC  ENDOWMENT  (WAQF)  DEPARTMENT.    ___No reason was given for the razing and leveling of the lands.  More . . .
. . . . Related  Netanyahu: KHAN AL-AHMAR to Be Demolished Very Soon
. . . . Related  Israeli  bulldozers  raze  lands  in  GAZA
. . . . Related  Israeli  bulldozers  demolish  Palestinian  structures  in  EAST  JERUSALEM 

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|  WHY  IS  NETANYAHU  SO  DESPERATE  FOR  A  CEASEFIRE  WITH  HAMAS?
It was supposed to be a routine intelligence undercover operation whereby the Israeli agents would infiltrate into “enemy territory”, carry out the mission, and leave without being detected . . .  But the Israeli intelligence operation on November 11 in Gaza did not go according to plan. . .    [. . . .] Seven Palestinians were killed in the botched operation, including a prominent al-Qassam Brigades commander, Nour Baraka . . .    [. . . .] Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had little space for manoeuvre: he was forced to settle for a ceasefire with Gaza armed groups, which prompted Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman to resign and plunged his government into a major political crisis.    ___This time, provoking a new conflict in Gaza in order to take attention away from the domestic political mess he has made is not an option for Netanyahu. He is cornered by a resurgent Hamas and his own geopolitical game in the Middle East, so he needs to keep Gaza quiet.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“THE  LITTLE  GIRL,”  BY  MUHAMMAD  AL-DHAHIR

I tell her:

speak to me—she holds her breath
and draws a circle of suffering
a circle of soldiers
a circle of guns

She lets down her ropelike braids
I tell her:
Plough my body
travel in my palm
and give me a sign

She gazes at me like a little child
opens her album
pointing to the map of the big Arab homeland
writing in blood the names of the tribes

I tell her:
Draw a moon for proof
She slams her album shut
and enters me to sleep within my ribs
Out comes a troop of children,
a bouquet of wheatstalks,
And her voice, whispering:
—All others but you are enemies
and every god but you, an intruder.

–Translated by May Jayyusi and Naomi Shihab Nye
From ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN PALESTINIAN LITERATURE. Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.

 

 

Noontime call to prayer, Jericho, November 10, 2015.

“. . . watched him accept the silent homage of water . . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

❶ Arab League aims to nullify Trump’s Jerusalem move
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Egypt [news] hosts ‘told to convince viewers’ over Jerusalem
❷ Arrests, interrogation writs reported in dawn sweep by Israeli army
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Palestinian injured during clashes in Birzeit
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israel accused of using live ammunition against West Bank civilians

  • Background: “Jewish-Muslim Veneration at Pilgrimage Places in the Holy Land.” Religion & the Arts

Custos of the Holy Land marks baptism of Christ at Jordan River
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ARAB  LEAGUE  AIMS  TO  NULLIFY  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  MOVE   
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 7, 2018 ― Arab foreign ministers are calling for international recognition of a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, aiming to nullify a controversial US decision on the holy city’s status.
___Ayman Safadi, the Jordanian foreign minister, hosted a committee of officials from Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Palestine in Amman on Saturday to discuss the Arab League’s response to US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as the capital of Israel last month.
___The committee – created at an emergency meeting of the Arab League in Cairo on December 9, just days after Trump’s declaration – is hoping to reverse the decision and “to assert that it has no legal effect”, Safadi told reporters at the summit.     MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  EGYPT  [NEWS]  HOSTS  ‘TOLD  TO  CONVINCE  VIEWERS’  OVER  JERUSALEM
Al Jazeera English 
Jan. 7, 2018 ― A report by the New York Times has said that while Egypt’s government was publicly condemning a US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, a state intelligence officer was asking influential TV hosts in the country to persuade their viewers to accept it.
___The newspaper reported on Saturday that it had obtained audio recordings in which Ashraf al-Kholi, the intelligence officer, can be heard telling the hosts that Egypt, like its “Arab brothers, are denouncing this matter”, but that “after that, this thing will become a reality”.
___”Palestinians can’t resist and we don’t want to go to war,” added Kholi, according to the New York Times. “We have enough on our plate as you know.”    MORE . . . 
❷ ARRESTS,  INTERROGATION  WRITS  REPORTED  IN  DAWN  SWEEP  BY  ISRAELI  ARMY  
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at daybreak Sunday arrested a number of Palestinians and summoned others to questioning.
___Israeli army troops rolled into al-Arroub refugee camp, north of al-Khalil province, and kidnapped 22-year-old Palestinian youth Safi al-Titi from his family home.
___The occupation forces also ransacked the home of the slain Palestinian protester Khaled Jawabra, in al-Arroub camp, and seized cash from the home of prisoner Nidhal Shahada.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  PALESTINIAN  INJURED  DURING  CLASHES  IN  BIRZEIT      Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 7, 2018 ― Israeli soldiers on Sunday injured one Palestinian and caused many to suffer the effects of teargas inhalation, near the western entrance of Birzeit University, north of Ramallah, in central West Bank.
___Medical sources said the young man suffered a moderate injury, after the soldiers shot him with a rubber-coated steel bullet in his abdomen, while many others suffered the effects of teargas inhalation.
___The soldiers installed a military roadblock near the western entrance of the university, and attacked many Palestinians, who protested the invasion.    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷ ―  (ᴃ)  ISRAEL  ACCUSED  OF  USING  LIVE  AMMUNITION  AGAINST  WEST  BANK  CIVILIANS
Palestine News Network – PNN    Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights has accused the Israeli army of deliberately increasing the use of live ammunition against unarmed civilians through sniper attacks during peaceful demonstrations.
___“The number of casualties, including fatalities, proves that the Israeli forces are deliberately intending to have as many victims as possible from among Palestinian protesters,” the Centre said on Thursday.
___It cited the case of Musab Firas Al-Tamimi, aged just 17, from Deir Netham village north-west of Ramallah. The boy was shot by an Israeli soldier from a distance of 30 metres when he approached a military vehicle in an attempt to help a young man who was arrested earlier.     MORE . . .    ..

Berger, Pamela.
“JEWISH-MUSLIM  VENERATION  AT  PILGRIMAGE  PLACES  IN  THE  HOLY  LAND.”
RELIGION  &  THE  ARTS, vol. 15, no. 1/2, Mar. 2011, pp. 1-60.  

[. . . .] We do not know when the tradition of compiling un-illustrated accounts or “lists” of these holy sites began. Among Christians we have the fourth-century travel writings of an anonymous pilgrim from Bordeaux, France. . . Among Muslims, one of the earliest is surely Al-Muqaddasi (c. 945–1000), who provides a good deal of valuable information about the places he visits. Starting in the twelfth century, Jewish travelers from the Arab lands write about numerous sacred tombs in their ziyara, “visits, or travelogues” in Arabic. These Jews, writing and speaking Arabic, were familiar with the local Arab residents’ mentality, since they spoke the same language. Un-illustrated “ziyara” lists of holy places, drawn up by Arabic-speaking Jews, are known from the thirteenth century; texts of western Jewish travelers have come down to us from the first half of the twelfth century. . .  Muslim illustrated itineraries, which are not the subject of this essay, have survived from around the same time.
___It is a normal human need to hope that a holy figure or sage can help one in times of trouble. The material gathered in this essay demonstrates how Muslims and Jews shared that hope, and indeed how, until the middle of the twentieth century, Jews and Muslims shared a reverence for so many of the same Biblical and Quranic figures, and must have felt comfortable venerating those figures at the same holy sites. Since for the most part the Muslims living on the land were in charge of the sites, we will see that many Jewish travelers comment on how the Arabs guarding the holy places treated the Jewish pilgrims with respect, allowing them to pray there without harassment. . . .
  SOURCE . . .

❸  CUSTOS  OF  THE  HOLY  LAND  MARKS  BAPTISM  OF  CHRIST  AT  JORDAN  RIVER 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 7, 2018 ― The Custos of Holy Land  Francesco Patton of the Latin Church, Sunday led the procession that commemorated what the denomination refers to as the baptism of Jesus Christ at the Jordan River, on the Palestine-Jordan border.
___The procession was received by local government figures, including Governor of Jericho Mjaed al-Fetyani, Mayor of Jericho Salem Ghrouf, head of the Jericho intelligence department Belal Hloub, as well as representatives of police and security services and Muslim clerks.    MORE . . .    ..

“THE  SERMON  ON  THE  MOUNT,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH
I followed him,
married my frailty to his virtue, and
helped him reveal himself.

On the lisping hill, long waited for
by the dull arms of drowsy Kinnereth
(like a couple of tears the cheeks expect,
that cling to feeble eyes), I shared the meal
of the thick-necked multitude. Well-fed,
they hailed him Lord and rolled down after him.
Alone I lay upon the hill, watched him
accept the silent homage of water
amid the crow-like shrieks of his elect.
Alone I lay, waiting for his return.

I knew he would return.
Cold crumbs and fish (though by a mother’s hands
wrapped and with a mother’s blessings salted)
left me starved. Water-turned-to-wine
tasted water to my lips. The mud,
that cleared Bartimeus’ eyes of mud, made mine
unsatisfied with what they feasted on.
The call that once restored to life the lad
of Nain, left my mother in black. Upon
the fertile hill, and the candle-like
corn, by the lake, wherein the sleepless fish
make weary passes at the blushing corn
I starved.
I too was tempted, in no wilderness.

And he came.
Divinities of love spring out of sea.
He came and talked (some say he prayed, and some
he sang). Did others hear? I thought he talked
only to me. He called me not, and I
came forth. He broke no loaves, and touched no jars,
baskets were full again; the wedding guests,
unconscious, conscious sipped the better wine.

Tawfiq Sayigh 
From AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN ARABIC POETRY. Selected, Edited, and Translate by Mounah A. Khouri and Hamid Algar. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 1974.   Available from Amazon.

 

“. . . Alas! My sad and silent city . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

❶ Israeli municipality demolishes residential structure in al-Issawiya
❶ Israeli municipality demolishes building in Jerusalem despite pending permit application

  • Background: “Crows on the Cradles: Palestinian Mothers At a Frontline Vortex: Reflections on the Psychology of Occupation.” International Journal of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies.

❶ Two More EU-Funded Palestinian Schools under Threat of Destruction by Israeli Army
❶ 9 Palestinian homes demolished by IOF
❷ Elkin: Start planning for one million settlers in W. Bank & J’lem
❸ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  MUNICIPALITY  DEMOLISHES  RESIDENTIAL  STRUCTURE  IN  AL-ISSAWIYA 
Palestine News and Information Agency
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli municipality of Jerusalem on Wednesday demolished a residential structure in the neighborhood of al-Issawiya in occupied East Jerusalem, under the pretext of lacking an Israeli construction permit, according to local sources.
___The municipality demolished a residential structure, made of metals, that was installed by Omar Dari, a local citizen, who said he was forced to build without a permit in order to shelter his family, after he was unable to obtain a permit from the Israeli municipality.   MORE . . .
❶ ISRAELI  MUNICIPALITY  DEMOLISHES  BUILDING  IN  JERUSALEM  DESPITE  PENDING  PERMIT  APPLICATION
Palestine News and Information Agency
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli municipality of Jerusalem demolished on Wednesday morning a two-storey building under construction in the neighborhood of al-Issawiya, in occupied East Jerusalem, according to local sources.
___Locals told WAFA that staff from the Israeli municipality of Jerusalem accompanied by an Israeli police escort raided the neighborhood and demolished the building, under the pretext of lacking an Israeli permit of construction.
___Mohammad Abu Rayala, a local rights activist, said the owners of the building had earlier received a notification to stop the construction of the building. He said though the owners stopped the construction upon notification and started the process of obtaining a construction permit, they were astonished that the building was demolished without a warning.    MORE . . .   ..

Roth, Judy, and Salwa Duaibis.
“CROWS  ON  THE  CRADLES:  PALESTINIAN  MOTHERS  AT  A  FRONTLINE  VORTEX:  REFLECTIONS  ON  THE  PSYCHOLOGY  OF  OCCUPATION.”
International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.1 (2015): 5-20.
[. . . .] Last June marked 46 [49] years since the start of Israel’s military occupation of the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza Strip. International law is clear that territory can never be acquired as a result of aggression, even if exercised in self-defense. That is why military occupations are meant to be temporary and cannot be legally maintained indefinitely. On the conclusion of the 1967 war, the Israeli authorities imposed military law in the occupied Palestinian territory which still remains in force in the west bank to this day. During this time, East Jerusalem has been annexed, in violation of international law; more than half a million Israelis now live in illegal settlements in the West Bank and East Jerusalem; and at least 750,000 men, women and children have been prosecuted in military courts and imprisoned. In other words, one in four Palestinian men have been through the military system at one point in their lives. . . .
___Women living in the West Bank and East Jerusalem face many, differing challenges, which include home demolitions . . .   But the issue that stands out above all other issues is that of the settlements built in clear violation of international law on Palestinian land. These settlements are not only illegal, but they are also at the epicenter of a host of human rights violations that occur on a daily basis and affect 2.5 million Palestinians.
[. . . .] Nur is a mother of extraordinary light . . .  Her home, slated for demolition, sits on a small path that Israeli soldiers use to move from one side of the neighborhood to the next. The path is right outside her door. She uses the word “Ro`ub”, absolute terror, to describe her children’s experience of the soldiers. Nur, herself, is worried that her nine-year-old son will be arrested soon. She hears how he talks about the Israeli soldiers and settlers, the revenge that he is brewing in response to their provocations. While she is pretty certain that she will lose him, she retains some hope for a different outcome – although she is unable to create a realistic alternative. Perhaps, none exist.
[. . . .]  Our psychoanalytic understanding of how militarism is inculcated, how rage incubates, and how societies sanction violence and racism is critical to defining a nuanced and sober stance from which to approach this relentless conflict that reverberates both near and far. Finding this stance that humanizes all players – victims, oppressors, and bystanders – and that can then better inform modes of action, prioritizing the urgency of Palestinian suffering, while holding accountable all who are complicit, is now more crucial than ever.    Source . . .

❶ TWO  MORE  EU-FUNDED  PALESTINIAN  SCHOOLS  UNDER  THREAT  OF  DESTRUCTION  BY  ISRAELI  ARMY 
Palestine Chronicle
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Two new Palestinian schools in the occupied West Bank, funded by European governments, are under threat of destruction and seizure, according to the Norwegian Refugee Council (NRC). An Israeli court has already ordered students not to attend class in one of them, the NGO says.
___Built over the last year with European funding, the schools in Wadi as-Seeq and Al Muntar serve Palestinian Bedouin communities who have long suffered neglect and discrimination at the hands of the Israeli occupation authorities.
___Many of the families served by the schools have “already suffered destruction of their property over many years”, NRC states.    MORE . . .
❶  9  PALESTINIAN  HOMES  DEMOLISHED  BY  IOF   
The Palestinian Information Center
Nov. 15, 2017 ― The Israeli occupation forces (IOF) on Wednesday knocked down nine Palestinian homes in the West Bank governorate of Jericho.
The demolition was carried out under the pretext of unlicensed construction.  At the same time, the Israeli authorities seized a Palestinian agricultural vehicle in the northern Jordan Valley on claims that it was spotted inside a natural reserve.   MORE . . .   ..
❷ ELKIN:  START  PLANNING  FOR  ONE  MILLION  SETTLERS  IN  W.  BANK  &  J’LEM  
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Nov. 15, 2017 ― Israeli Jerusalem affairs minister Ze’ev Elkin has urged his government to start planning for one million settlers in Area C of the West Bank and Jerusalem.     ___“This will happen; it is only a question of when,” Elkin said, adding that it could be anywhere between the next 10 to 20 years, depending on the pace of construction.     ___According to the Israeli central bureau of statistics, 400,000 settlers lived in West Bank settlements in 2016.     ___Using a word of Arabic slang, Elkin dismissed the idea of a Palestinian state in the West Bank. “Halas (enough) with the story of two states. There is no other option but the state of Israel, certainly between the Jordan [River] to the sea there will be one state.”  MORE . . .

“MY SAD CITY,” BY FADWA TUQAN
(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)
The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gagging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Burdened,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri

From BEFORE  THERE  IS  NOWHERE  TO  STAND: PALESTINE ISRAEL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.
Obituary for Fadwa Tuqan, 2003.

“. . . a new archaeological monument, one which is situated within an archaeological park . . .” (Donald Whitcomb)

mosaic
HISHAM’S PALACE mosaics. Early Islamic archaeological site north of Jericho, AT KHIRBAT AL-MAFJAR.

❶ The anguish and anger on Gaza’s walls
. . . ― (a) Cultural initiatives in Gaza are short on cash
❷ Nablus high school awarded $1 million in Dubai
. . . ― (A) Gaza University to launch first film major in Palestine

Background: “Khirbet Al-Mafjar” [Hisham’s Palace] Near Eastern Archaeology

❸ Jericho: World’s Largest Floor Mosaic Opened for Public Display
. . . ― (a) Israeli Ministry of Antiquities demolishes two graves in Jerusalem
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
THE ANGUISH AND ANGER ON GAZA’S WALLS
The Electronic Intifada
Sarah Algherbawi
Oct. 18, 2016
Twenty meters high and 15 meters wide, the mural on a wall of a 12-floor building in Gaza City is unmissable.
___The artwork, “Besieged Childhood,” has garnered renown for its creators. It depicts a child wearing a keffiyeh scarf, a melancholy expression on her face, her hands wrapped around two bars, like those of a prison cell.
___Its location, on the Zafir 9 Tower in an upmarket area of Gaza City, is deliberate. During Israel’s 2014 assault, fighter jets destroyed one of Zafir 9’s sister towers, Zafir 4, in a bombing denounced as a war crime by Amnesty International.
__No one was killed, though more than a dozen were injured and the homes of more than 40 families were destroyed. More than 200 residents were left homeless in what Amnesty described as an operation with “no military justification.”          More . . .   
. . . ❶― (a) CULTURAL  INITIATIVES  IN  GAZA  ARE  SHORT  ON  CASH
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Oct. 23, 2016
The Palestinian Cultural Palace, a cultural center created by a youth group in the Gaza Strip, organized its first artistic and cultural activity funded by the Rachel Corrie Foundation and in cooperation with the local Women’s Programs Center on Aug. 22 in Al-Mishal Theater in Gaza City.
__ The center’s first artistic group, made up of children ages 12-16, organized a national folkloric play titled “Operetta: Time for Peace,” which targets all social categories of all ages.
___The Palestinian Cultural Palace has limited finances in light of the lack of government and international financing.     More . . .

❷ NABLUS  HIGH  SCHOOL  AWARDED  $1  MILLION  IN  DUBAI
Ma’an News Agency
Oct. 24, 2016
Palestinian high school Talai al-Amal (“Vanguards of Hope” in Arabic), located in the city of Nablus in the northern occupied West Bank, was awarded $1 million in Dubai on Monday for having the best reading initiatives in the Arab world.
___The announcement was made at the closing ceremony of the Arab Reading Challenge, launched in 2015 by United Arab Emirates Prime Minister and ruler of Dubai Sheikh Muhammad bin Rashid al-Maktoum. The ceremony took place at the Dubai Opera House, where al-Maktoum presented the awards.     More . . .     
. . . ❷― (A)  GAZA  UNIVERSITY  TO  LAUNCH  FIRST  FILM  MAJOR  IN  PALESTINE
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Oct. 23, 2016
Gaza is getting ready to launch its first film studies major in the Palestinian territories in January 2017. The university program will be implemented in universities, as hundreds of students wishing to major in cinematography and film studies are unable to travel abroad to pursue their studies given the closure of crossings in the Gaza Strip, namely the Rafah crossing.
___ Although launching the program could be a bumpy ride given the lack of the necessary equipment, such as school curricula and other work equipment, the program organizers, a group of people who hold university degrees from art faculties in Egypt, are seeking to bring in some material from abroad or tap into the available modest tools in Gaza after having obtained preliminary approval by the Ministry of Culture in early October.     More . . .   

[Note: The follwing article is an introduction to the important archeology of the site of which Hisham’s Palace is a part. It is somewhat technical, but accessible to the lay reader.]

Whitcomb, Donald, et al. “Khirbet Al-Mafjar.” Near Eastern Archaeology 79.2 (2016): 78-87.   Source.

The Umayyad palace at Khirbet al-Mafjar, also known as QASR HISHAM, has been known and appreciated as the most beautifully decorated o f the Umayyad qusur (socalled desert castles). Its fabulous mosaic carpets, human and animal figures, extensive stucco wall decorations, and frescoes have made this monumental complex, located just north of the city o f Jericho, an extraordinary archaeological site. Excavated by Dimitri Baramki for some 13 seasons, in the 1930s and 1940s, the site has been assumed to be completely revealed.
___A new research project for the past five years has proved this assessment completely unfounded. At the instigation of Dr. Hamdan Taha, director of the Palestinian Department of Antiquities, the Jericho Mafjar Project was conceived as a joint venture of the Palestinian antiquities department and the University of Chicago. This was a truly joint project, with equal Palestinian and foreign archaeologists and specialists working, living, and eventually writing reports together. The result is a new archaeological monument, one which is situated within an archaeological park; well-marked paths with bilingual signage guides the visitors after they have seen an introductory film and visited a modern museum, displaying both older and very recent discoveries from the excavations.

JERICHO:  WORLD’S  LARGEST  FLOOR  MOSAIC  OPENED  FOR  PUBLIC  DISPLAY
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Oct. 21, 2016
The Palestinian Ministry of Tourism and Antiquities has unveiled the world’s largest floor mosaic for public display, in the West Bank district of Jericho.
___The mosaic covers the floor of the reception hall and the large bath of Hisham’s Palace, an Islamic archaeological site in the north of Jericho, and has been described as one of the largest and most beautiful mosaic floors in the world.    More . . .  

. . . ❸― (A)
ISRAELI  MINISTRY  OF  ANTIQUITIES  DEMOLISHES  TWO GRAVES  IN  JERUSALEM
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Oct. 23, 2016
Employees of “Israeli nature authority” demolished on Sunday two graves in the cemetery near Bab Al-Rahma east of Al-Aqsa mosque entrance and detained the responsible of cemetery staff as he tried to confront the attacks.
___The staff of Israeli Antiquities accompanied by Israeli soldiers destroyed two graves and tombstones in the hill near the cemetery, where the land belongs to the family of al-Husseini, the director of Al-Aqsa mosque Omar Al-Kisswani explained.     More . . .
th

“. . . It doesn’t matter what you had planned . . .” (Lena Khalif Tuffaha)

holy-land-1-139-003
The Sea of Galilee, photo taken by Harold Knight in 2008. The beauty, like that of Palestine itself, is fragile and deceptively calm.

A (too) personal note from the blogger: 

As you can see from the dates on the news items, I meant this post for yesterday. However, I could not continue. The news is simply too horrendous day after day. If I am overwhelmed from this distance, it is impossible to imagine what the Palestinian people experience and feel every day, even though I have traveled to Palestine three times.
___Americans especially, and most citizens of Western nations, do not understand that this situation is not a matter of politics (no matter what Hillary and Donald say). It is not a matter of religion (no matter what Bibi says). And it most certainly is not a “conflict.” It is a simple matter of morality and of the so-called American dreams of freedom, equality, and self-determination.
___So I am back after three days of being distressed by the news. These postings simply have to be done, no matter who does or does not read them. This bungling record of events with supplementary scholarly and poetic works must be here in cyberspace.
___My friend Samia Khoury in Jerusalem brought me back by emailing me today’s poem for which I am grateful.

Harold Knight, Dallas, Texas, USA

❶ Killing Jordanian an act of terror by Israel, Jordan says
❷ Democratic front condemns adding Hammad to [United States] terrorist list
. . . ❷― (ᴀ) [United States] Florida mosque arsonist shared extreme pro-Israel propaganda
❸― (ᴀ) Army Kidnaps Four Palestinians In Hebron
. . . ❸― (ᴃ) Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Four Palestinians in Tulkarem And Nablus
. . . ❸― (ᴄ) Israeli Soldiers Kidnap Three Young Men In Jerusalem
. . . ❸― (ᴆ) Israeli Soldiers Kidnap A [13-year-old] Child In Jericho
❹ Poetry by Lena Khalif Tuffaha
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ KILLING  JORDANIAN  AN  ACT  OF  TERROR  BY  ISRAEL,  JORDAN  SAYS
Days of Palestine
Sep 18, 2016
Jordanian foreign ministry described on Saturday Israeli murder of Jordanian citizen in Jerusalem’s Old City on Friday “an act of terror,” a statement said.
___The Israeli occupation police murdered on Friday the Jordanian national Sayid Amro in at the Damascus Gate of Al-Aqsa Mosque, in Jerusalem’s Old City.
___Israeli media reported Israeli officials claiming that the Jordanian citizen had two knives and attempted to stab an Israeli policeman.
___However, the Jordanian foreign ministry did not believe the Israeli claims, stressing that the deceased citizen had no extremist views and he travelled to Palestine just to perform prayer at Al-Aqsa Mosque.      MORE . . .

❷ DEMOCRATIC  FRONT  CONDEMNS  ADDING  HAMMAD  TO  TERRORIST  LIST
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Sept. 18, 2016
The Democratic Front for the Liberation of Palestine condemned Sunday the US administration step of adding senior Hamas official, the former interior minister Fathi Hamad, to its “global terrorist” list.
___The Democratic front explained in a statement that US administration decision is a creator of terrorism in the region, denouncing its deafening silence towards Israeli violations of human rights.
___It called the free world to condemn such decisions and to stand by the just Palestinian rights. It stressed that Palestinian people will go on with their struggle against Israeli occupation and for regaining the right of return, self-determination and their independent state with Jerusalem as its capital.      MORE . . .   
. . . ❷― (ᴀ) [UNITED STATES]  FLORIDA  MOSQUE  ARSONIST  SHARED  EXTREME  PRO-ISRAEL  PROPAGANDA
The Electronic Intifada
Rania Khalek
Sept. 18,2016
[. . . .]
[American] Media outlets were quick to publicize Schreiber’s anti-Muslim postings, but few mentioned his promotion of pro-Israel propaganda or his admiration for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, two great champions of the anti-Muslim far right.        MORE . . .    

❸― (ᴀ) ARMY  KIDNAPS  FOUR  PALESTINIANS  IN  HEBRON
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sept. 19, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Monday at dawn, Beit Ummar and Ethna towns, in the southern West Bank district of Hebron, searched homes and kidnapped four Palestinians. One of the invaded homes belongs to the family of a teen who was killed by the army on November 27, 2015.     MORE . . .  
. . . ❸― (ᴃ) ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  FOUR  PALESTINIANS  IN  TULKAREM  AND  NABLUS
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sept. 19, 2016
Many Israeli military vehicles invaded, earlier Monday, Kufur Abboush village, south of the northern West Bank city of Tulkarem, in addition to Tal village and Balata refugee camp, in the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped four Palestinians.      MORE . . .
. . . ❸― (ᴄ) ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  THREE  YOUNG  MEN  IN  JERUSALEM
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sept. 19, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday evening, a number of neighborhoods, in the Old City other parts of occupied East Jerusalem, and kidnapped three young men. The soldiers also invaded a home in Bethlehem.       MORE . . .
. . . ❸― (ᴆ) ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  A  [13-YEAR-OLD] CHILD  IN  JERICHO
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
Sept. 19, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Sunday evening, the Aqabat Jaber refugee camp, southwest of Jericho city, in the occupied West Bank, kidnapped a child, and took him to a detention and interrogation center, near Jerusalem. The army also invaded Marda village, near Salfit.
___The WAFA Palestinian News Agency has reported that the soldiers kidnapped Mohammad Ahmad Maharma, 13, after stopping him at the southern entrance of Jericho.     MORE . . .

“FROM GAZA,”  BY  LENA  KHALIF  TUFFAHA

They call us now.
Before they drop the bombs.
The phone rings
and someone who knows my first name
calls and says in perfect Arabic
“This is David”.
And in my stupor of sonic booms and glass shattering symphonies
still smashing around in my head
I think “Do I know any Davids in Gaza?”
They call us now to say
Run.
You have 58 seconds from the end of this message.
Your house is next.
They think of it as some kind of
war time courtesy.
It doesn’t matter that
there is nowhere to run to.
It means nothing that the borders are closed
and your papers are worthless
and mark you only for a life sentence
in this prison by the sea
and the alleyways are narrow
and there are more human lives
packed one against the other
more than any other place on earth
Just run.
We aren’t trying to kill you.
It doesn’t matter that
you can’t call us back to tell us
the people we claim to want aren’t in your house
that there’s no one here
except you and your children
who were cheering for Argentina
sharing the last loaf of bread for this week
counting candles left in case the power goes out.
It doesn’t matter that you have children.
You live in the wrong place
and now is your chance to run
to nowhere.
It doesn’t matter
that 58 seconds isn’t long enough
to find your wedding album
or your son’s favorite blanket
or your daughter’s almost completed college application
or your shoes
or to gather everyone in the house.
It doesn’t matter what you had planned.
It doesn’t matter who you are
Prove you’re human.
Prove you stand on two legs.
Run.

Lena Khalaf Tuffaha  

 

 

“. . . A night without light where our voices are lost . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

A Palestinian man holds a placard in front of an Israeli soldier on December 27, 2014 on land near the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar, at the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, during a protest. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse /Hazem Bader)
A Palestinian man holds a placard in front of an Israeli soldier on December 27, 2014 on land near the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar, at the entrance of the illegal Israeli settlement of Efrat, during a protest. (Photo: Agence France‑Presse /Hazem Bader)

❶ Israeli troops raid West Bank village day after funeral of slain Palestinians
. . . . . ❶―(ᴀ) Israeli forces raze prisoner’s brother’s construction site in Jerusalem
❷ Israel Razes Waqf-Owned Land near Jericho
. . . . . ❷―(ᴀ) Explanatory note regarding the Islamic Waqf tradition
❸ Israel to confiscate 1,200 dunams of land in Nablus governorate
❹ US Congress blocks $159 million in aid to PA
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ISRAEL’S LEGAL WARFARE ON BDS FOSTERS REPRESSION AND MCCARTHYISM ACROSS THE WORLD
❻ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAELI  TROOPS  RAID  WEST  BANK  VILLAGE  DAY  AFTER  FUNERAL  OF  SLAIN  PALESTINIANS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
21 Mar. 2016
Israeli troops raided the village of Beit Fajjar east of Bethlehem early on Monday, storming several houses and detaining two Palestinians.
___The raid took place a day after the funerals of Ali Abd al-Rahman al-Kar Thawabta, 20, and Ali Jamal Muhammad Taqatqa, 19, who were killed by Israeli forces on Thursday . . .
___Local sources said that Israeli troops raided Thawabta’s house and detained his brother Muhammad, 24.      MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶―(ᴀ) ISRAELI  FORCES  RAZE  PRISONER’S  BROTHER’S  CONSTRUCTION  SITE  IN  JERUSALEM
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
21 Mar. 2016
Israeli forces demolished a building under construction in occupied East Jerusalem on Monday for not having a construction permit.
___Muna Jaabis told Ma’an that Israeli troops raided her house in the Jabal al-Mukkabir neighborhood of the Old City early Monday, and demolished the foundations of a building belonging to her brother Suhaib Jaabis.      MORE . . .

Israeli soldiers throw a flash grenade during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar, on October 31, 2015 (Agence France‑Presse Photo/Musa Al-Shaer)
Israeli soldiers throw a flash grenade during clashes with Palestinian demonstrators in the West Bank village of Beit Fajjar, on October 31, 2015 (Agence France‑Presse Photo/Musa Al-Shaer)

ISRAEL  RAZES  WAQF-OWNED  LAND  NEAR  JERICHO
PALESTINE NEWS AND INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
21 Mar. 2016
Israeli troops on Monday embarked on razing an Islamic Waqf-owned land near Jericho in the West Bank, according to local sources.
___Moayad al-Helou, director of Jericho Islamic Waqf Department, said Israeli army broke into al-Musaqara, an outskirt of Jericho, and embarked on razing some 650 dunums of land owned by the Islamic Waqf Department.      MORE . . . 
. . . . . ❷― (ᴀ) EXPLANATORY  NOTE  REGARDING  THE  ISLAMIC  WAQF  TRADITION
A Waqf, or mortmain property, is an inalienable religious endowment in Islamic law, typically donating a building or plot of land or even cash for Muslim religious or charitable purposes. The donated assets may be held by a charitable trust. (Wikipedia)
MORE . . . 
MORE . . . 

ISRAEL  TO  CONFISCATE  1,200  DUNAMS  OF  LAND  IN  NABLUS  GOVERNORATE
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
21 Mar. 2016
The Israeli civil administration on Monday has announced it would confiscate 1,200 dunams (296.5 acres) of land from Palestinian villages in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus, a Palestinian Authority official said.
___Ghassan Dhaglas, a PA official who monitors settlement activities in the northern West Bank, told Ma’an that Israeli authorities gave Palestinian residents of the villages of al-Lubban al-Sharqiya, al-Sawiya, and Qaryut an official notice to confiscate 1,200 dunams of land. MORE . . .

US  CONGRESS  BLOCKS  $159  MILLION  IN  AID  TO  PA
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
20 Mar. 2016
Members of the United States Congress are delaying a payment of $159 million in aid allocated for the Palestinian Authority in effort to pressure the PA to relaunch negotiations with Israel, the PLO ambassador to Washington said Saturday.
___Maen Erekat confirmed earlier reports that the US Congress was blocking the payment at the request of House Republican Kay Granger, the Chairwoman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on State-Foreign Operations, under the pretext that the PA supports “terrorism.”        MORE . . . 

❺ OPINION/ANALYSIS: ISRAEL’S   LEGAL   WARFARE   ON   BDS   FOSTERS   REPRESSION   AND   MCCARTHYISM   ACROSS   THE   WORLD
MONDOWEISS
Palestinian BDS National Committee
18 Mar. 2016
The global movement supporting the Palestinian people’s right to freedom, justice and equality has taken impressive steps into the political mainstream in recent years. Efforts by the Palestinian-led Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement . . . are more widely supported and impactful than ever before.
___Israel’s current government, its most racist ever, has dropped all pretences of “enlightenment” and “democracy”. This has helped to expose Israel’s regime of occupation, settler-colonialism and apartheid to world public opinion . . .      MORE . . . 

From the Diary of “―”

  1. (There in Israel, our prisoners
    whom we know nothing about.)

From the ravine pours silent angry darkness
and night spreads its large sails here
the light of the stars and the dawn
cannot sneak in
A night without light
where our voices are lost
and the echo dies
and time cannot move

Time has lost its shoes here
it stood still
turning around the axis of stillness and boredom
confusing days and seasons
Is it the season for planting?
Is it the season for harvest?
Is it―who can say?
No news and the jailer stands, his face a stone
his eye a stone
robbing from us the sun, robbing the moon

About Fadwa Tuqan   
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.
BDS FINAL LOGO_v5WEB_URL_side

 

“. . . But have you pondered the cause behind my tears . . .” (Ahmad Hussein)

Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip. (Agence France‑Presse /File Menahem Kahana)
Israeli soldiers on the Israeli side of the border with the Gaza Strip. (Agence France‑Presse /File Menahem Kahana)

❶ 2 killed, 19 injured as Israeli forces open fire at Gaza demo
❷ Israeli settlers assault PA minister of communications
❸ Two Palestinians Shot, While Dozens Suffocate during Jericho Clashes
❹ Analysis: The Dogs Not Barking: Netanyahu and Harper Muzzled
❺ Opinion/Analysis: The next Intifada should be a Palestinian revolution until the occupation ends
❻ Poetry by Ahmad Hussein
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
(Please read “Purpose” above. Thank you for clicking on “follow.”)

❶ MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
2  KILLED,  19  INJURED  AS  ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  AT  GAZA  DEMO
Oct. 9, 2015
GAZA CITY (Ma’an) — Two Palestinians were killed and 19 others injured as Israeli military forces opened fire at a demonstration by the border fence east of Gaza City, medics said.
____Medical sources told Ma’an that Ahmad al-Harbawi and Hussam Dawla were shot and killed during the clashes east of the al-Shujaiyeh neighborhood east of Gaza City.
____At least 19 Palestinians were injured.
More . . .
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  SETTLERS  ASSAULT  PA  MINISTER  OF  COMMUNICATIONS
Oct. 8, 2015
NABLUS (Ma’an) — Israeli settlers assaulted the Palestinian Authority Minister of Communications and Information Technology, Alam Moussa, in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus on Thursday, smashing his car windows during the attack, PA officials said.
____Palestinian officials condemned the attack, noting that the assault against the PA minister is evidence of settlers indiscriminately targeting Palestinians.
____Government officials called upon institutions of the international community, particularly the United Nations Security Council, to intervene in Israeli violations against Palestinians.
More . . .
PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
TWO  PALESTINIANS  SHOT,  WHILE  DOZENS  SUFFOCATE  DURING  JERICHO  CLASHES
Oct. 7, 2015
JERICHO – Two Palestinian youth were shot while dozens others suffocated on Wednesday during clashes with Israeli army forces at the southern entrance of Jericho.
____Israeli forces stationed at the military checkpoint at the southern entrance of Jericho opened fire on Palestinians who marched to express their solidarity with Al-Aqsa Mosque and denunciation of settlers’ attacks against Palestinians.
____Israeli soldiers fired rubber-coated steel bullets at demonstrators, hitting and injuring Rami Abu Qamar and Mohammad Barahma. Forces also fired tear gas canisters at demonstrators, causing dozens of them to suffocate from excessive tear gas inhalation.
More . . .

It may be entirely coincidental, but why are they so silent now? (Palestine Chronicle Photo)
It may be entirely coincidental, but why are they so silent now? (Palestine Chronicle Photo)

❹ Opinion/Analysis
PALESTINE CHRONICLE
THE  DOGS  NOT  BARKING:  NETANYAHU  AND  HARPER  MUZZLED
Jim Miles
Oct 8 2015
Most people know the now cliché passage from Sherlock Holmes:

Holmes: “To the curious incident of the dog in the night-time.”
Gregory: “The dog did nothing in the night-time.”
Holmes: “That was the curious incident.”

____Two days after Putin made his historic speech at the UN indicating that the new world order was not necessarily that of the U.S., Russia has vigorously entered into the war against the terrorists in Syria/Iraq. Caught off guard and unawares, the U.S. and its allies, notably the U.K., pounced on Russia’s actions.
____It would appear that Putin and his advisors have the upper hand. [. . . . .]
____The western mainstream media has made a significant outcry from this [. . . . .]
____ Where there has been a deafening silence is from two surprising sources, Canada and Israel.
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
THE MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEM)
THE  NEXT  INTIFADA  SHOULD  BE  A  PALESTINIAN  REVOLUTION  UNTIL  THE  OCCUPATION  ENDS
Samah Jabr
Oct. 8, 2015
President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech at the UN, which had been preceded by inflated propaganda claiming that it would be a “bombshell”, turned out to be no more than a litany of well-worn complaints and appeals to the international community. The speech certainly failed to raise any new challenges, offer new strategies or inspire hope among the Palestinians burning under Israeli occupation. . . .
____Palestinian youths had hoped that the announcement would mean that the PA would stop acting like Israel’s subcontractor in the effort to crush Palestinian resistance. They then stood up to fight the Israeli appropriation of the Noble Sanctuary of Al-Aqsa in Jerusalem, to resist the closing of the city to its own people and to oppose the relentless attacks by settlers on villagers in the West Bank. . . .
____ . . . they are blamed in accordance with the typical dynamics of abuse: “They brought all that suffering upon themselves and their families!” We have heard similar comments about women who have been raped: “She asked for it; she provoked it; she is the one to blame for it.” Israel has ordered the shooting of any Palestinian child who is seen throwing stones.
More . . .

“THE  WAILING  SONG,”  BY  AHMAD  HUSSEIN
I found you in grief
Which was ever present,
Whence the promises,
The clouds,
And the rain,
And whence the dust that turned into tears
In my eyes.
Say, where did you hide the trees?

I found you in grief,
And long was our meeting!
Thirty partings,
Thirty captivities
Thirty dishonors.
I found you between what I left behind me and what I must face.
Waiting is ahead of me,
Waiting is behind me.

Looking at you I became hooked, coiled
Around an almond twig like a woman’s hair.
Should you release me, I’ll still be part of you.
Praised be your face,
Your bosom,
Praised be your lap so warm!

You read me! How time rolled by,
I became the etching, you the stone;
And, as you know, I was the singer,
And I was . . .
But have you pondered the cause behind my tears
A long, long time ago?
Can words precede images?
Then, listen to me, hear me
A song, a bower, over the lands,
Whenever you recall the sound of my voice, it pours.
I am love, and you will never lose me
So long as the soil in you lives,
And Jericho is surrounded by trees.

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.
____Born in 1939 in Haifa, Ahmad Hussein received his education in the local Arab schools of Haifa, Umm al-Fahm, and Nazareth. He has published short stories and poems in the local daily al-Yawn, in the bi-weekly al-Ittihad, and in the periodicals al-Mujtama, al-Jahid, and al-Fajr. His first collection of poems, Zaman al-Khawf (Time of Fear) was published in 1977 after the tragic death of his celebrated  brother,  Rashid  Hussein.  His poetry often uses romantic love as imagery for love of Palestine.

"Settlers and Soldiers at Iraq Burin" originally posted to Flickr as Settlers and Soldiers attacking demonstrators in Iraq Burin, 2009. (International Solidarity Movement photo)
“Settlers and Soldiers at Iraq Burin” originally posted to Flickr as Settlers and Soldiers attacking demonstrators in Iraq Burin, 2009. (International Solidarity Movement photo)

“. . . to restore even a bit of our dignity. . . ” (Sakher al-Kafarneh in Gaza)

Jericho seen from Jebel Quruntul (Mount of the Quarantine or forty days.) Photo by Malak Hasan.
Jericho seen from Jebel Quruntul (Mount of the Quarantine or forty days.) Photo by Malak Hasan.


from
The Electronic Intifada
9,500 PALESTINIANS STILL LIVING IN GAZA UN SCHOOLS
Rami Almeghari, March 6, 2015

Sakher al-Kafarneh used to have 3,000 chickens, 35 sheep, 5 cows and a horse. That was before Israel attacked his farm in the summer of 2014.

“We have lost everything,” he said. “Only two cows are still alive.”

Ever since the attack al-Kafarneh and his family have been living in a school run by UNRWA, the UN agency for Palestine refugees. They make trips to their home in the Beit Hanoun area of Gaza so they can use the toilet. It remains intact, although their house was mostly destroyed.

Al-Kafarneh estimates that it would cost $50,000 to repair the damage inflicted on his home and farm. He desperately wants the house to be made habitable again “to restore even a bit of our dignity.” (More. . .)

from +972
THE ROAD TO PALESTINIAN STATEHOOD RUNS THROUGH GAZA
Salam Fayyad
Salam Fayyad is former Prime Minister of the Palestinian National Authority and was first Prime Minister of the State of Palestine.
March 5, 2015

Irrespective of who wins in Israel’s elections, Palestine will have to deal with the marginalization of its quest for statehood. That process must start by reintegrating Gaza into the Palestinian fold.

For Palestinians the quest for statehood begins with Gaza. But wait, is there still active regional or international interest in the cause of Palestinian statehood? I submit that whatever residual interest remains in the possibility of making yet another attempt at reviving the “peace process” finds expression these days largely in the phrase “let’s first see what March 17 brings,” a reference to the upcoming Israeli elections. (More. . .)

from This Week in Palestine

St. George Monastery
St. George Monastery

REAWAKENING IN WADI QELT
Malak Hasan
March, 2015 (Issue titled “Spiritual Tourism”)

I still remember the day when I sat at the edge of a rocky cliff in Wales overlooking one of the most beautiful beaches in the entire world, feeling envious that we do not have similar places in Palestine. . . . In January, the Birzeit-based Rozana Association invited me to hike in Wadi Qelt, a valley located between the holy city of Jerusalem and the oldest city in the world, Jericho. . . . I didn’t expect to have an adventure that would change my attitude towards the tourism potential of Palestine. I took the familiar road to Jericho, but this time turned off from the highway following the sign reading Wadi Qelt in Arabic, English, and Hebrew. We kept driving for another fifteen minutes . . . . The gate stood on its own like a portal that vowed to send us back into the past, to an era where miracles were a possibility. (More. . .)

Note:
A link to this blog film about St. George Monastery near Jericho, which Malak Hasan visited (be sure to read her comments about her time as a Muslim woman in a Hijab with the Christian monk). It is an excellent video showing the beauty of the land around Jericho.

from The Palestine Chronicle
NETANYAHU GOVT MORE FRIGHTENING THAN ALL ISRAEL ENEMIES, EX-MOSSAD CHIEF TELLS CROWDS
Monday, March 09, 2015

Israel is suffering the “worst crisis since its creation” under Netanyahu’s leadership, a former Mossad director told a crowd of up to 50,000 in Tel Aviv. The anti-government rally was orchestrated and funded from abroad, said the ruling Likud party.

Delivering his keynote speech, Meir Dagan, the former Mossad director spoke of the government’s lack of vision and inability to properly direct the country surrounded by enemies.

“I am frightened by our leadership. I am afraid because of the lack of vision and a loss of direction. I am frightened by the hesitation and the stagnation [of Israel’s government]. And I am frightened, above all else, from a crisis in leadership. It is the worst crisis that Israel has seen to this day”. . . (More. . .)

from History Commons
(a timeline of some of Netanyahu’s early rhetoric)
CONTEXT OF ‘OCTOBER 1995: RIGHT-WINGERS CALL FOR ISRAELI PRIME MINISTER RABIN’S DEATH, COMPARE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT TO NAZIS’

(The History Commons timelines are expandable to include more information from the time included. They are excellent sources for understanding background of any event in recent history.) (More. . .)

A POEM FOR GAZA. By Najwan Darwish
Translated from the Arabic by Kareem James Abu-Zeid.

Fado, I’ll sleep like people do
when shells are falling
and the sky is torn like living flesh
I’ll dream, then, like people do
when shells are falling:
I’ll dream of betrayals

I’ll wake at noon and ask the radio
the questions people ask of it:
Is the shelling over?
How many were killed?

But my tragedy, Fado,
is that there are two types of people:
those who cast their suffering and sins
into the streets so they can sleep
and those who collect the people’s suffering and sins
mold them into crosses, and parade them
through the streets of Babylon and Gaza and Beirut
all the while crying
Are there any more to come?
Are there any more to come?

Two years ago I walked through the streets
of Dahieh, in southern Beirut
and dragged a cross
as large as the wrecked buildings
But who today will lift a cross
from the back of a weary man in Jerusalem?

The earth is three nails
and mercy a hammer:
Strike, Lord
Strike with the planes

Are there any more to come?

July 11, 2014. Originally published in Split This Rock.
Najwan Darwish, one of the foremost Arabic-language poets of his generation, was born in Jerusalem in 1978. He has worked as the editor of two cultural magazines in Palestine and was a cultural critic for the prominent Lebanese newspaper Al-Akhbar from 2006 to 2012. Darwish has been an organizer and advisor for many public arts projects, among them the Palestine Festival of Literature. In 2009, he was on the Hay Festival Beirut’s list of the “best 39 Arab authors under the age of 39.” He currently resides in Jerusalem.