“. . . dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

PRAYERS ICRC
Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Hundreds commemorate Jewish holy day at Aqsa, 9 evacuated for violating regulations

  • Background: A Roman Catholic Perspective

❷ Palestinians perform Friday prayers at ICRC headquarters, demand release of hunger strikers

  • Background: A Muslim Perspective

❸ Israeli Soldiers Occupy A Palestinian Home In Bethlehem

  • About the Kairos Palestine Document

❹ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ HUNDREDS  COMMEMORATE  JEWISH  HOLY  DAY  AT  AQSA,  9  EVACUATED  FOR  VIOLATING  REGULATIONS
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 14, 2016
Hundreds of Jewish worshippers gathered inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning to commemorate the Jewish fasting holy day of Tisha Bav, which commemorates the destruction of Judaism’s First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, amid heightened security measures throughout the city and the occupied West Bank.
___Public information officer of the department of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) — the religious trust responsible for managing the compound — told Ma’an that more than 180 extremist Israeli settlers “stormed the compound” in groups throughout the morning.
___Witnesses added that they saw some performing Jewish rituals inside the compound, in violation of long-standing agreements regarding non-Muslim worship at the site.   MORE . . .

  • Patriarch Michel Sabbah. “Religion And The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 7-11.     SOURCE 

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is military and political. It is not a religious conflict between Palestinian Muslims or Christians and Judaism. It is a conflict between two peoples, the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. The conflict is a dispute over the land and the question: Is there a place for both peoples, and in what way? The Palestinian position was expressed in 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the state of Israel on 78% of the British Mandate land. After that, the Palestinians claimed, and are still claiming, the right to have an independent Palestinian state on the remaining 22% of the land. Israel, for its part, is still not clear about the question: is there a place for the two peoples, and in what way? In recent months, there were negative declarations from Israeli political leaders affirming that there will be no Palestine and there will be no peace.
___The conflict is political and military. But it also has a religious dimension. Religion inspires many in the conflict. Many Israelis, to support their right, advocate the Bible, the word of God, the promise of the land by God to the Jewish people. And some Muslim Palestinians also give a religious dimension to the land, and consider it entirely Muslim land. For many, on both sides, the conflict has become a fight for God and religion. Some Christians, too, the world’s Evangelicals and pro-Zionists, add their religious input and pro-Jewish advocacy to the fight. On both sides of the conflict, religion is advocated to support its own position. Some Christian Palestinians, in the Kairos document, and many other world churches with them, advocate religion to call for justice and reconciliation based on repentance and forgiveness.

❷ PALESTINIANS  PERFORM  FRIDAY  PRAYERS  AT  ICRC  HEADQUARTERS,  DEMAND  RELEASE  OF  HUNGER  STRIKERS
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 13, 2016
Dozens of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, in solidarity with the current wave of hunger striking prisoners.
___Upon the request of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Families of Jerusalem Detainees Committee, the Muslim worshipers gathered outside the building in order to draw attention to what Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, a local religious leader, said was the “Israeli authorities’ escalation of procedures against Jerusalemite prisoners.”    MORE . . .      BACKGROUND, ICRC   

  • Abu-Amr, Ziad.  “The Significance of Jerusalem: A Muslim Perspective.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 2.2 (1995): 7-11.    FULL ARTICLE

There is perhaps no other city in the world that has drawn the continued attention of the world community as much as the city of Jerusalem, especially among the adherents of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city’s religious centrality has generated its historical and political importance, as well as its symbolic impact, but its religious position has also been at the root of a considerable controversy
[. . . .]
While the Muslims, for example, especially Palestinian and Arab Islamists, recognize the religious significance of Jerusalem to Christians and Jews, they stress the Muslim character of the city and Muslim entitlement to it, and their attachment to Jerusalem constitutes part of their doctrinal views of the city
[. . . .]
Historically speaking, Jerusalem has generally been the site for Muslim pilgrimage, prayer, study or residence. Al Aqsa Mosque was a particular seat of learning. Muslim scholars came to Jerusalem from distant lands. “Just as it is true to say that the first textbook in Islam was the Koran, so it is true to say that the first school was the mosque.

❸ ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  OCCUPY  A  PALESTINIAN  HOME  IN  BETHLEHEM
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 14, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, Harmala town, east of Bethlehem city in the occupied West Bank, and occupied a Palestinian home after kicking the family out.
___Resident Mohammad Sbeih told the Maan News Agency said that soldiers invaded his two-story home, and confiscated its keys before kicking him and his nine family members, including several children, out.
___He added that the soldiers told the family to “find another place to live, as long as Palestinian youths continue to hurl stones at the army vehicles.” MORE . . .

  • Kassis, Rifat Odeh. “‘A Moment Of Truth’: The Kairos Palestine Document.” Ecumenical Review 63.1 (2011): 120-122.     SOURCE  

On 11 December 2009, a group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations issued a call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, in a document, ‘‘A Moment of Truth: A word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering’’, raises questions to the international community, political leaders in the region, and churches worldwide about their contribution to the Palestinian people’s pursuit of freedom. In the document, also referred to as, ‘‘The Kairos Palestine Document’’, Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of their land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples. The Palestinian call echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of repression under the apartheid regime. That call served to galvanize churches and the wider public in a concerted effort that eventually brought the end of apartheid. The Ecumenical Chronicle includes an introduction to the document by Rifat Odeh Kassis, the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and texts by Imam A. Rashied Omar and John de Gruchy, both of whom come from South Africa. The full text of the document is available.

extremists
Israeli police accompany Jews past the Dome of the Rock mosque during a visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 25, 2016 during the Jewish Pesach (Passover) holiday. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)

“TO  CHRIST  THE  LORD  ON  HIS  BIRTHDAY,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN

But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.   St. Mark’s Gospel XII: 7-8

O Lord, O glory of the universe,
crucified this year on your birthday,
are the joys of Jerusalem
silenced on your birthday?
O Lord, all the bells
for two millenia have not been silenced
on your birthday
except for this year:
the domes of the bells are in mourning,
black wrapped in black.

Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa,
whipped under the cross of ordeal,
bleeding at the hands of the executioner,
and the world is a sealed heart
in the face of affliction.
In this hard indifferent world, O Lord,
the sun’s eye is smothered: the world went astray
and was lost.
In the ordeal it did not even raise a candle.
It did not even shed a tear
to wash away the sorrows in Jerusalem.

The husbandmen killed the heir, O Lord,
and raped the vineyard.
The sinners of the world fledged the bird of evil
dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem,
damned and infernal, hated even by Satan.

O Lord, O glory of Jerusalem,
from the well of sorrows, from the abyss,
from the depth of the night,
from the heart of plight,
the wails of Jerusalem are raised up to you.
In your mercy, take away from me, O Lord, this cup!
――Translated by Ferial Ghazoul

From: Smith, Michael. Ed. “Contemporary Palestinian Poetry.” Free  Verse. English.chass.ncsu.edu. 2008. Web.
About Fadwa Tuqan

“. . . 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 . . .
1-18-procession

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
1-17-procession-and-church

“. . . and the two banks reiterate: MY LIBERTY . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

wedding
Palestinian demonstrators hold a mock wedding during a nonviolent demonstration in the West Bank village Al-Ma’asara. (Photo: Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

❶ Update: Israeli Forces Detain 44 Palestinians; Summon 15 Others from West Bank
❷ Israel Preventing Gaza Woman from Attending Her Own Wedding
❸ Israel orders demolition in Jordan Valley village
❹ Analysis: America’s Papers Brush Aside Israeli Brutality
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Outlawing the Islamic Movement is a gift to Palestinian citizens
Related: Kairos Palestine: “the religious status quo should be respected”
❻ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
PALESTINE NEWS & INFORMATION AGENCY – WAFA
UPDATE:  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  44  PALESTINIANS;  SUMMON  15  OTHERS  FROM  WEST  BANK
Nov. 19, 2015
NABLUS (WAFA) ― Israeli forces detained overnight and Wednesday evening 44 Palestinians and summoned 15 others from West Bank districts, said the Palestine Prisoners’ Club (PPC) and security sources.
___Israeli forces detained 10 Palestinians from Nablus district, 10 others from Jerusalem district, eight others from Ramallah district, seven others from Bethlehem district, five others from Hebron district, three from Tulkarem district and another from Qalqilya district.
___Israeli intelligence officers summoned nine Palestinians from Nablus district and six others from Bethlehem district. . . .
More . . .
+972 MAGAZINE
ISRAEL  PREVENTING  GAZA  WOMAN  FROM  ATTENDING  HER  OWN  WEDDING
Edo Konrad
Nov. 19, 2015
The Israeli army is denying a 23-year-old Palestinian woman from traveling through Israel to reach her own wedding ceremony in Jordan.
According to Israeli human rights group Gisha, the petitioner has been engaged to her fiancé — a Palestinian from Gaza with Spanish citizenship — for the past year and a half. Their wedding date has been delayed twice already due to fact that Israel will not let her leave the Gaza Strip, the second time after the couple had already sent out the invitations.
___The woman, as well as her future in-laws, have attempted to coordinate leaving from Gaza through Rafah Crossing to Egypt, but the crossing has been mostly closed for the past year and a half
More . . .
Related . . . FOR  THE  IDF,  MARRIAGE  ISN’T  A  ‘HUMANITARIAN  NEED’
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL  ORDERS  DEMOLITION  IN  JORDAN  VALLEY  VILLAGE
Nov. 19, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — Israeli authorities on Tuesday issued evacuation orders for makeshift housing structures and tents at the site of a previous housing demolition in the Jordan Valley, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem said in a statement.
___In August, Israeli forces demolished 17 structures in Fasayil village, leaving 48 people homeless, including 31 minors, B’Tselem documented.
___Following the initial demolition, nearly all the families stayed in the area, setting up tents and other makeshift housing structures, with the assistance of humanitarian organizations.
More . . .

jordan valley
Israeli military forces have demolished 27 houses in the Jordan Valley in the occupied West Bank over the last two weeks. Israel’s destruction of Palestinian property in the occupied Jordan Valley has particularly impacted women residents. (Photo: Anne Paq ActiveStills) https://electronicintifada.net/content/now-its-all-gone-women-cope-siege-jordan-valley/10105

THE ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
AMERICA’S  PAPERS  BRUSH  ASIDE  ISRAELI  BRUTALITY
Greg Shupak
Nov. 16, 2015
[. . . . . ]
Severely flawed editorials on the current uprising throughout Palestine have appeared in The Boston Globe, the Los Angeles Times, The New York Times and The Washington Post.
___One shortcoming is that they foreground Israeli concerns and sideline those of Palestinians.
___For example, the Globe is worried that “the growing sense of hopelessness among Palestinian youth will continue to threaten Israel’s future.” The paper evidently does not regard the “hopelessness among Palestinian youth,” or the causes of that, as urgent problems in their own right.
More . . .
Opinion/Analysis
+ 972 MAGAZINE
OUTLAWING  THE ISLAMIC  MOVEMENT  IS  A  GIFT  TO  PALESTINIAN  CITIZENS
Outlawing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement is yet another McCarthyist step by the Israeli state. But if anyone thinks this will bring an end to the movement, they are dead wrong.
Rami Younis
Nov. 17, 2015
Say what you will about the Jewish state, just don’t say that the only democracy on the planet never stops challenging us. On Monday night, Defense Minister Ya’alon signed an order outlawing the northern branch of the Islamic Movement. Following the decision, the police raided the offices of 17 non-profit organizations connected to the group, confiscated documents and equipment, froze bank accounts, and announced that it would interrogate its leaders, among them Sheikh Raed Salah.
More . . .
Related . . . KAIROS  PALESTINE:  “THE  RELIGIOUS  STATUS  QUO  SHOULD  BE  RESPECTED”
Oct. 4, 2015
Yusuf  Daher  of  Kairos  Palestine speaks about Israel’s recent attacks on the Al Aqsa Mosque and the need to respect the status quo both there and in Jerusalem.

“MY  LIBERTY,”  BY  FADWA  TUQAN
My liberty―my liberty―my liberty,
a sound I repeat
with angry lips
under the exchange of fire
and flames
I run after it
despite my chains
and follow its tracks
despite the night
and struggle ardently
for my liberty
My liberty
My liberty

And the Holy River
and Bridge repeat:
my liberty
and the two banks reiterate:
my liberty
and the raging wind and thunder,
tornadoes and rain
echo the sound:
my liberty

I shall carve its name
while I resist
on the land
by the walls
and the doors
in the Temple of the Virgin
in the altar
and the fields,
on every hill
and every valley
and every curve
and road
in prison
in the torture rooms
and on the gallows
Despite the chains
and the house demolition.
I shall carve its name
until I see it again
extending to my Homeland
and flourish
and flourish
until every inch of the land is covered
until every door is opened
by red liberty.
And the night vanishes
and the day breaks
My liberty―my liberty―my liberty

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 Abe Books.
Fadwa Tuqan 

islamic lovement
Raed Salah, leader of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, during a large protest and a general strike, in solidarity with Palestinians in Jerusalem, West Bank and Gaza, in the northern town of Sakhnin, on October 13, 2015. Palestinians call for a Day of Rage following restrictions on Al Aqsa and recent violent attacks of both Israelis and Palestinians. (photo: Yotam Ronen/Activestills.org)

 

“. . . Each river has its own springs, Its own course and its own life. . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Palestinian water resources
Palestinian water resources

from PALESTINE INFORMATION CENTER
On the occasion of World Water Day
SETTLERS CONSUME SEVEN TIMES MORE WATER THAN NATIVE PALESTINIANS IN WB

RAMALLAH, (PIC)– A Palestinian statistical report clearly showed unfair distribution of shares of aquifers in the West Bank in comparison between the Israeli settlers and the Palestinian natives.

The report, issued by the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS) on March 22, which marks the World Water Day, showed that the Israeli daily share per capita of water consumption reached seven times higher than the Palestinians.

Palestinian water resources are fully controlled by Israel, according to the provisions enshrined in the Oslo Accords. According to some estimates, Israel is using more than 85 percent of the water in the West Bank, covering around a quarter of its own needs.
(More. . . .)

Swimming pool at the illegal Israeli settlement at Ariel
Swimming pool at the illegal Israeli settlement at Ariel

from INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER
SETTLERS ATTACK PALESTINIAN CHILDREN IN SOUTH HEBRON HILLS, INJURE 6-YEAR-OLD GIRL
by IMEMC News & Agencies
March 23, 2015

Masked Israeli settlers from the illegal settlement of Ma’on, south of Hebron, threw stones at Palestinian children and injured a six-year-old child, Saturday.

The child sustained a head injury and was taken to the nearest hospital for medical treatment, according to witnesses.

An Israeli army spokeswoman did not have any immediate information, but told Ma’an News Agency that she was looking into the incident.

The Hebron Defense Committee has reported that two masks settlers threw stones, on Saturday afternoon, at two children from Khirbet a-Tawil, southeast of Yatta town.

The Committee added that a child, identified as Sojoud ‘Awad, 6 years of age, was struck in the head, and one of her legs.

Settlers routinely carry out acts of violence against Palestinians in the occupied West Bank but are rarely held accountable, as Israeli authorities are often complicit in the attacks on Palestinians, their property and their lands, according to Israeli human rights organization B’tselem.
(More. . . .)

from THE PALESTINE CHRONICLE
WEST PUNISHED PALESTINE WHEN IT VOTED FREELY; ENDORSES ISRAEL’S VOTE FOR OCCUPATION
By Ghada Ageel
March 23, 2015

The 2006 elections were an amazing demonstration of Palestinian democracy in its multi-coloured beauty. The people under occupation expressed their determination to resist Israel’s attempt to force them to surrender through its colonisation efforts, expansionist strategies and racism. And the people have kept their word. Even where there is occupation with its control over their lands, lives and destinies, there is still no surrender.

The elections were significant in that they owed nothing to American pressure and to the selective effort by the USA to promote only those democracies that fit its own agenda. Ironically, the elections were also a dramatic surprise for the EU. They had spent millions of dollars on the illusive peace project and had threatened to cut off the aid to Palestinians if the outcome was not in line with that project. Instead, the elections were a stunning testimony to the fact that Palestinian civil society is more vibrant than ever and can be mobilised into an organised political force. It also proved that Palestinian politics has its own effective dynamic that has little to do with pressure, bribery and blackmail from the outside but much to do with the political, social and economic demands of ordinary people in their atrocious situation. Although Palestinians had become poorer, more vulnerable, less secure and more targeted through the “peace process,” they rejected all pressure and reaffirmed their demand for freedom.

In response, they have been made to suffer the drastic consequences that followed.
(More. . . .)

from MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAEL ‘BOYCOTTS’ UN RIGHTS COUNCIL SESSION ON GAZA WAR
March 22, 2015

GENEVA (AFP) — Israel’s representative was conspicuously missing when the UN Human Rights Council started a special session Monday on the situation in the Palestinian territories and the 2014 Gaza conflict.

“I note the representative of Israel is not present,” said council president Joachim Ruecher.

Israel provided no immediate explanation for their absence at the session dedicated overwhelmingly to discussion of its policies and alleged abuses, but a source close to the council said it clearly amounted to a boycott.

“We won’t comment on that,” a spokeswoman with the Israeli mission in Geneva told AFP.

The United States was also absent from Monday’s discussions.
(More. . . .)

from THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
A KAIROS PERSPECTIVE OF TOURISM AND PILGRIMAGE: COME AND SEE
By Rifat Odeh Kassis
March 2015

When we created the Kairos Document (launched in December 2009), we at Kairos Palestine tried to reflect on what tourism and pilgrimage really mean to us. In our advocacy, we try to see and respond to both our reality and our rights. We address churches, tourists, and pilgrims of all faiths and ethnicities in hopes they will see the injustice happening in Palestine and walk and work in solidarity with us along the path to justice. Kairos Palestine believes in facilitating the “sight” of the many people who visit our land, whether they are tourists or pilgrims.

To be a tourist is to play an unusual role.

You arrive in a place you’ve never seen before and stay for some time. You explore. Perhaps you read a book that tells you where to go, or recruit a guide to take you there. You take pictures, you look and look, and what you see will be the only material you can use to make sense of where you are. Perhaps you realize that the information offered to you is, in itself, a purposeful narrative that will demand your acceptance and affirmation, often at the exclusion of other narratives.

Because of this, tourism is a heavily political business anywhere you go, whether or not the politics are advertised.
(More. . . .)

Throughout his career, Rifat Odeh Kassis has been advocating for the effective application of international human rights and humanitarian law in Palestine through various professional and voluntary positions. He was the driving force and one of the co-authors of Kairos Palestine document and has been the general coordinator of the Kairos Palestine Movement since its inception. He has published two books: Palestine, A Bleeding Wound in the World’s Conscience and Kairos for Palestine.

“CONCERNING HOPES,” BY MAHMOUD DARWISH

Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a baker in Algeria
To sing with a fighter.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a shepherd in Yemen
To sing for resurrection.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a waiter in Havana
To sing the victories of the oppressed.
Don’t tell me:
I wish I were a young porter in Aswan
To sing for the rocks.
The Nile will never flow into the Volga,
Nor will the Congo or the Jordan flow into the Euphrates.
Each river has its own springs,
Its own course and its own life.
Our land, my friend, is no barren land.
Each land gives birth in due time,
And each fighter will see the dawn.