“. . . imagine eleven thousand people in one square kilometer . . .” (Rabbi Rachel Barenblat)

IMG_0618 - Copy
Bethlehem by night (Photo: Harold Knight, November 5, 2015)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
PALESTINIANS  CHEER  AS  TOURISTS  THRONG  BETHLEHEM
Bethlehem, the birthplace of Jesus Christ, is experiencing a record flow of tourists. Israel says October figures were record-breaking.    ___The holy city is located in the occupied West Bank and the ongoing political tensions between Israelis and Palestinians have a direct effect on the tourism industry.   More . . .
. . . . Related  Where to Go? A House Worth Seeing
. . . . Related  A Day in Nablus
. . . . Related  How the tourism industry underpins illegal Israeli settlements
|  UNGA  ADOPTS  FIVE  RESOLUTIONS  IN  FAVOR  OF  PALESTINE
The United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) voted in favor of five resolutions regarding Palestine and a sixth resolution on the Golan Heights, on Friday evening.    __One of the most important resolutions adopted called upon member states not to recognize any measures taken by Israel in Jerusalem and to maintain the current status-quo in the holy city.    __Palestine’s Permanent Observer to the UN, Riyad Mansour, said that “by voting in favor of the five resolutions, the international community affirms its support of our national cause, despite the efforts made by the US administration in international forums to resist this.”    More . . .
. . . . Related  PM Hamdallah: The UN Should Recognize Palestine as A Full- Member State and Endorse President Abbas Peace Initiative
. . . . Related  Palestine  thwarts  efforts  by  US  to  question  its  membership  in  OPCW
. . . . Related  Hamas  politicos  make  rounds  internationally  to  gain  backing
|  ISRAEL  KILLS  345  PALESTINIANS  SINCE  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  ANNOUNCEMENT
The Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have killed 345 Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories since US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s undivided capital in October 2017, the Jerusalem Centre for Studies of Palestinian and Israeli Affairs revealed.    ___The body said 71 children and nine women were among the Palestinians killed, seven died in detention, 43 were killed in airstrikes and one – engineer Fadi Al-Batsh- was assassinated by the Israeli Mossad in Malaysia.    More . . .
. . . .  Related  28  Palestinians  injured  in  Gaza  border  protest

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
| THIS  IS  HOW  TO  FIGHT  ISRAEL’S  JEWISH  NATION-STATE  LAW
By Said Zeedani
The Jewish Nation-State Law, a new law with the force of a constitutional amendment, enshrined Israel as the exclusive nation-state of the Jewish people, demoted the official status of the Arabic language, and gave the right of self-determination in Israel to Jews alone. Palestinian political leaders, Israeli opposition politicians, and dovish Jewish-American groups all lambasted the passage of the law earlier this year, with some saying the law amounted to apartheid and promoting Jewish supremacy.    [. . . .] a serious struggle . . . will need to take place both locally and internationally; it should be waged by civil society, in the legal system, and legislatively. There are many Israeli Jews, as well as many proponents of democracy and human rights worldwide, who are potential partners in such a struggle.    ___But the struggle must also acknowledge that Israel’s regime of racial superiority and discrimination, created in and sustained since 1948, will not end with the abolishment of the Jewish Nation-State Law.   More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“FIRST  VISIT  TO  THE  CAMP  D’HAISHA,  BETHLEHEM,”
BY  RABBI  RACHEL  BARENBLAT

There are no canvas tents.
The buildings don’t look
so bad, standard issue
developing-world
cement block structures

until I try to imagine
eleven thousand people
in one square kilometer
,
one in every minyan
an angry alumnus

of the Israeli jails.
What do I know
about settlers or rock-throwers,
one state, two state
impossibilities?

But our grandparents
didn’t escape the ghettos
of Europe’s worst era
only to create new ones
for somebody else.

When we depart
I’m saddened, troubled
but perfectly able
to order a cold beer
and make conversation.

The sorrow and the fury
dormant overnight
explode the next day.
Even Shabbat can’t soothe
my lacerated heart.

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012.  Available from B&N.
Rachel Barenblat was ordained a rabbi in January 2011 through the Alliance for Jewish Renewal. She holds an MFA from the Bennington Writing Seminars and is the author of 4 chapbooks of poetry. Her poems have appeared in a variety of journals including The Texas Observer. She lives in western Massachusetts.

“. . . what else can the light of heaven be . . .” (Reja-e Busailah)

Lydda_mosque_ii

Lydda (birthplace of Reja-e Busailah) mosque
after Operation Danny, July 1948
(Photo: Palmach archive Yiftach 3rd Battalion vol. 2 album).

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .
|   EGYPTIAN  SECURITY  DELEGATION  ARRIVES  IN  GAZA  STRIP  TO  ESTABLISH  THE  TRUCE
The Israeli Public Radio said, on Wednesday, that an Egyptian security delegation will arrive in the Gaza Strip on Thursday for talks aimed at stabilizing the ceasefire and discussing ways to improve the living conditions in the Gaza Strip.    ___The radio added that the delegation would be headed by the official of the Palestinian file in the intelligence service, Ahmed Abdelkhaliq, and expected that some Hamas leaders would go to Egypt in the next few days.    ___Egyptian mediation between the Palestinian Resistance and the Israeli occupation succeeded in reestablishing the cease-fire in Gaza after an unprecedented round of escalation that began on Sunday and lasted about 48 hours.     More . . .
|   ISRAELI  FORCES  OPEN  FIRE  AT  PALESTINIAN  FARMERS
Israeli forces opened fire, on Friday, at Palestinian farmers working in their lands, east of the al-Qarrara town in the southern besieged Gaza Strip.    ___Locals told Ma’an that Israeli forces stationed at the Kissufim military site opened fire at Palestinian farmers for unknown reasons.    ___The farmers left their lands in fear for their lives. . .   More . . .
. . . . Related  SUFFOCATION  CASES  AMONG  PROTESTERS  NEAR  RAMALLAH  [RAS  KARKAR  VILLAGE]
. . . . Related  GAZA  FISHERMAN  SHOT,  KILLED  BY  ISRAELI  NAVY
|
  UN  SPECIAL  RAPPORTEURS  GIVE  ISRAEL  60  DAYS  TO  RESPOND  TO  ‘DEEP  CONCERNS’  REGARDING  JEWISH  NATION-STATE  LAW
Following a special request for action issued by  ADALAH – THE  LEGAL  CENTER  FOR  ARAB  MINORITY  RIGHTS  IN  ISRAEL, four United Nations special rapporteurs have given Israel a 60-day deadline to respond to their grave concerns regarding the Jewish Nation-State Law, adopted by the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, on July 19.    ___The 60-day period began on November 2 when [the four UN officials] sent a communiqué to Israeli authorities expressing deep concerns regarding the impact of the new law.    ___In their letter, special rapporteurs expressed “deep concern” that Israeli Basic Law appears “to be discriminatory in nature and in practice against non-Jewish citizens” . . .   More . . .
. . . . Related  KUWAIT  TRANSFERS  $42  MILLION  TO  UNRWA
. . . . Related  WORLD  BANK  WILL  CONTINUE  TO  PROVIDE  BUDGET  SUPPORT  TO  PA
. . . . Related  DIRECTOR  OF  GENEVA  CENTER  CALLS  FOR  ENDORSEMENT  OF  2018  WORLD  CONFERENCE  DECLARATION
. . . . Related  CZECH  REPUBLIC  TO  CONTRIBUTE  OVER  €200,000  TO  UNRWA

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .
|   SUSTAINING  CYCLES  OF  ISRAELI  AGGRESSION  IN  GAZA 
Ramona Wadi
It is time, once again, for the hyphenated “Israel-Gaza” paradigm – an invention that suits mainstream narratives. As the media mulls the possibilities of another Israeli military aggression against Palestinians in Gaza . . .   since “Operation Protective Edge”, Israel regularly hinted at another, definite round of violence to eliminate Hamas . . .  inflicting a high percentage of collateral damage.    ___As speculation mounts amid reports of airstrikes and rocket fire; the latter enhanced through numbers that purposely render Israeli violence a purported retaliation, Israel is assured of an audience that is ready to absorb whatever trajectory it decides upon . . .    [. . . .] Yet, in terms of media depiction, there is already a premeditated slant . . .  Rocket fire is the subject of statistics while airstrikes imparted as an acceptable method of containment. The concept of involvement and, as a result, violence, is shifted upon Hamas, as opposed to the Israeli incursion in Gaza which the resistance had every right to disrupt.    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .
|   AWARDS  SEASON  LAUNCHED  AT  MEMO’S  PALESTINIAN  LITERARY  EVENT
A packed audience hall gathered in London this evening [November 15, 2018] to listen to some of the  PALESTINE  BOOK  AWARD’S  shortlisted authors discuss their works ahead of the winners’ announcement tomorrow evening.    ___Tonight three of the shortlisted authors: Tareq Baconi, author of “Hamas Contained: The Rise and Pacification of Palestinian Resistance”; Maha Nassar, author of “Brothers Apart: Palestinian Citizens of Israel and the Arab World”; and  REJA-E  BUSAILAH,  author of “In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood.    ___The evening was chaired by Victoria Brittain and Ibrahim Darwish, two trustees of the Palestine Book Awards. Brittain opened the evening by reflecting on how the Awards are now in their seventh year, adding that when the event started back in 2011 she could not have expected the level of support there has been from publishers, authors and the general public.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 

“IN  THE  SHADOW  OF  THE  HOLY  HEIGHTS”  BY  REJA-E  BUSAILAH 

  •                 for Haniya Suleiman Zarawneh, killed by the Israelis
    at the age of 25, near Jerusalem, January 4, 1988

The sun came out that day from the depth of winter
like the rare orphan of good luck —
what else can the light of heaven be
on a day rising from the dead of winter?

And she had risen before the sun that day
and like her mother and grandmother before her
she washed by hand and wrung by hand
the linen for spouse and child,

and like mother and grandmother
she walked up the wooden ladder
with the pail onto the roof
into the shadow of the Holy Heights —
so clear was the sky
it almost recalled the sight and the scent of the sea down west.

Faithfully she hung her labors on the rope
article by article
that the good sun might dry them for her,
she clasped each with a wooden pin
as safeguard against the prankish wind —

it was no senseless nature that did it when she was done
just about to come down for other chores,
it was no fiendish Nazi,
it was one of the 
Chosen
selected her heart for his anointed lead
so that limp went the spring in the covenant
which joined soul and limb —

and the good sun shines
and the sheets and the skirts and the nightgowns
and the small socks
and the outfit for the wooden doll
they toss in the wind
and smell like linen hand-washed and sun-dried
they swing lighthearted on the rope
waiting for mother to collect them

Reja-e Busailah has been blind since infancy. At age 7, he and his family were forced marched by Zionist forces from their home in Lydda into exile. He was educated in Cairo and earned a PhD in English from New York University. He is the author of a collection of poetry, “We Are Human,” (1985). He taught at Indiana University for 30 years and is now retired. He recently published his memoir “In the Land of My Birth: A Palestinian Boyhood.”

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.

“. . . his wounds Proclaim his testament of love and suffering . . .” (Samih Al-Qasim)

Mitzpe_KramimOn Tuesday, 3 July 2018, the State . . .  informed the court that
it agreed that the land [Mitzpe Kramim] , which is privately
owned by Palestinians, would be transferred to the settlers
who invaded it.  (Photo: Peace Now, July 7, 2018)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . .Israel

MOH:  93  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  DURING  GAZA  PROTEST 
Almost 100 Palestinians suffered injuries at the northern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip, on Monday, as protesters participated in the naval march setting off from the Gaza seaport against the nearly 12-year Israeli siege.    ___The Palestinian Ministry of Health in Gaza confirmed that 93 Palestinians were injured, including 37 injured by Israeli live ammunition.    ___Israeli forces opened fire directly targeting medical crews and ambulances that attempted to reach the area to provide aid to those injured.    More . . .
. . . Related  In video – Israeli forces assault, injure Jerusalemite youths
. . . Related  Israeli forces injure Palestinians in Hebron clashes
. . . Related  Israeli forces attack West Bank protests against Israel’s Nation-State Law, injuries reported
. . . Related  ADALAH:  ‘ISRAELI  SNIPERS  CONTINUE  TO  TARGET  UNARMED  PALESTINIANS’
IOF  KIDNAPS  21  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK  CAMPAIGNS
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Tuesday arrested 21 Palestinians during large-scale campaigns in the West Bank.   ___The Israeli occupation army said in a statement that 21 “wanted” Palestinians were arrested on Tuesday for being involved in popular resistance activities against Israeli targets.   ___The IOF at daybreak carried out raid and search campaigns against Palestinian houses in Tulkarem, Occupied Jerusalem, al-Khalil, and Jenin.   More . . .

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

IT  IS  NOT  UP  TO  THE  UN  TO  DETERMINE  PALESTINIAN  RESISTANCE  AND  NARRATIVES       
The Great Return March protests in the Gaza Strip have provided the foundations for Palestinians from which they can articulate their demands, away from the political bickering, opportunism and exploitation which has rendered the people dependent solely on their own determination to survive.    [. . . .] Two recent statements by UN officials testify to the international community’s refusal to recognise the latter.       ___The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs in the occupied Palestinian territory (OCHA) has diluted the ongoing Palestinian protests to a reflection over “increasing frustration over worsening conditions of daily life . . .      ___To mark the International Day of Non-Violence, UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres called for the implementation of Gandhi’s non-violent approach. “At the United Nations,” he explained, “a world free of violence – and the resolution of differences through non-violent means – is at the core of our work.”    ___Both UN statements are replete with omissions.   More . . .
. . . Related  Israel’s Stranglehold on Area C: Development as Resistance
REPORT:  WIDE  COOPERATION  BETWEEN  ISRAELI  JUDICIAL  SYSTEM  AND  BANKS  IN  FAVOR  OF  SETTLEMENTS 
The National Bureau for Defending the Land and Resisting Settlement said that the Israeli army [is] involved in the crime of forging the Palestinian documents which prove their ownership of the land, but also confiscate and allocate those lands for settlement purposes. The Jerusalem District Court issued a ruling last month alleging that the Mitzpeh Kramim outpost northeast of Ramallah in the occupied West Bank was built on settler land.    ___The occupation authorities claimed before the court at the time that they had handed over the land to the “Settlement Brigade” by mistake. . .  The court decided at the time not to continue construction work in the settlement outpost, but the Supreme Court’s decision did not prevent the “the Brigade” from continuing settlement activities, and providing banks with documentation to enable settlers to obtain housing loans.   More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .

“THE  MAN  WHO  VISITED  DEATH,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
Leave the martyr shrouded in his garments,
Lay him at the foot of the mountain: for it knows his sorrow.
Do not bury him, while his wounds
Proclaim his testament of love and suffering.
Do you hear?

Let him take leave of his friends,
A bleeding eagle among the rocks.
Lay him in the sun; his face caressed
By the winds, redolent with the fragrance of the land of his youth.

Do not close his eyes; a final
Red glimmer still shines in them.
His call reverberates in the golden valleys:
“You who fear death, I fear it not;
Take me to my home
To rest my cheek upon its threshold,
To kiss the doorknob,
Take me to my vineyard, I would die, with the pangs of my love in my heart,
If my eyes do not feast once more on the sight of its soil. 

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.