“. . . We raise in the sky a glorying arc . . .” (Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh)

Khirbet Tell an Himma, Mass home demolitions five days later. Sep. 27, 2016. (Photo: EAPPI/E. Mutschler)

❶ UN condemns demolition and seizure of donor-funded structures in Palestinian [Bedouin] communities

  • Background:  “Demolitions And Amendments: Coping With Cultural Recognition And Its Denial In Southern Israel.” Nomadic Peoples

❷ Israeli forces demolish 2 Palestinian-owned agricultural structures in Qalqilya
❸ Israel preparing to build thousands of housing units in settlements after Trump was elected
❹ POETRY by Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 11, 2016
The UN Coordinator for Humanitarian Aid and Development Activities, Robert Piper Thursday condemned Israeli activities in the occupied Palestinian territory that has obstructed the international agency from assisting Palestinian communities, calling the policies “illegal” with the intention of “creating an entirely new reality on the ground.”
___According to a statement, the Israeli Civil Administration and the Israeli army on Nov. 7 “seized nine donor-funded tents (two of which were not yet erected)” in the Palestinian Bedouin community of Khirbet Tell al-Himma . . . . The materials were provided to the community as humanitarian aid in response to earlier demolitions carried out by Israeli forces on Sept. 27, which left several Palestinian families without shelter.
___“Targeting the most vulnerable of the vulnerable and preventing them from receiving relief – especially as winter sets in – is unacceptable and runs counter to Israel’s obligations as an occupying power,” Piper said in the statement, adding that “sadly, we are seeing more and more of this.”     More . . .      

  • McKee, Emily. “Demolitions And Amendments: Coping With Cultural Recognition And Its Denial In Southern Israel.” Nomadic Peoples 19.1 (2015): 95-119.   Source.

[. . . .]   Bedouin Arabs are permitted within Israel and granted formal citizenship, but only in ways that perpetuate their outsider status. However, Bedouin Arabs, though legal citizens, generally cannot gain substantive citizenship through a multicultural recognition of difference. Because of Israel’s definition as a Jewish state and national anxieties over Jews’ cultural solidarity and their separation from Arabs, Bedouins cannot gain inclusion through assimilation, which would recognise threatening similarities. Instead, Bedouin Arabs must accommodate Zionist nation-building projects by relinquishing their lifestyles and ties to place in order to realise certain benefits of citizenship. Because this pressure to accommodate demands the relinquishing of agropastoral practices that so many Bedouin Arabs have asserted as central to their cultural identity, but also does not invite them to assimilate by adopting Jewish culture, I refer to it as de-cultural. It pushes Bedouin Arabs to act as if they were acultural, individual actors making the ‘rational’ choice to move to planned townships for better amenities. De-cultural accommodation points to a particular mechanism of exclusionary incorporation that centres on simultaneous anxieties about cultural differentiation and ‘rooted’ ties to land. It attempts to remove Bedouins as an obstacle to Jewish nation building.
[. . . .] Through direct and indirect pressure, Bedouin Arabs are pushed to abandon rural residences and denied access to large areas of land for farming or shepherding.
___The granting and regulation of sedentary land rights are key modes of governance, and governments throughout the Middle East have pressured formerly nomadic groups to settle and adopt new livelihoods. A key difference between the sedentarisation pressures facing Bedouins in Israel and those elsewhere in the Middle East is that in Israel this pressure to settle is tied directly to efforts to root Jewish Israeli identity in Eretz Yisrael, the land of Israel. Agricultural communities have been historically important for Zionism, particularly until the 1970s. In symbolic terms, Zionist proponents have drawn on pastoral images of farming to assert reforged connections between ancient Hebrew patriarchs and contemporary Israeli Jews. In material terms, international organisations, and later the Israeli state, founded and subsidised farming communities (e.g., kibbutzim and moshavim) to establish control over newly acquired lands, create a self-sufficient food supply and establish segregation between Jewish and Arab residents.    [. . . .] 

Ma’an News Agency    
Nov. 10, 2016
Israeli bulldozers early Thursday morning, escorted by Israeli forces, demolished two agricultural structures in the occupied West Bank district of Qalqilya under claims they were built without Israeli-issued building permits.
___According to local sources, the Israeli army raided the western district of Qalqilya and demolished a room belonging to Abdulbaset Khayzaran used for agricultural purposes. Israeli forces then headed to the al-Zara district in the south of the city and demolished a room and water tank owned by Hilme Aba also used for agricultural purposes.
___The mayor of Qalqilya, meanwhile, condemned the demolitions, calling the move a “savage act” that aims to expel Palestinians from the lands, and demanded that international authorities protect Palestinian farmers from Israeli aggressions. More . . . 

The Givat Hamatos settlement, Dec. 20, 2012 (Photo: AFP)

Palestine News Network – PNN
Nov. 11, 2016
Israeli Public radio reported Friday morning that the Israeli occupations municipality of Jerusalem is to announce plans to build thousands of settlement units in different parts of the city, which had been frozen because of the international criticism of settlement activity in the last three years.
___According to Israeli radio Meir Turgeman, head of the local committee for construction in Israeli municipality of Jerusalem announced that he intends to approve thousands of settlement housing units that have been freeze because of the international political pressures, especially those which the United States exercised by the current us secretary of state John Kerry.       More . . .     

On my way to them, I pass Him by,
(as, on his way, God passes me by)
for as we go our separate ways
we see no one but those on high.
The beds are allotted before the violet dawn.
The black and endless night is spent alone
and then the cataclysm comes
that will seed them from the borders of Palestine
the Great Thorn.
They are the only roses that grow.
From where they stalk the edge of paradise
the first paradise.
From where the children use thorns
to draw maps of this paradise.
From this spot.
We raise in the sky a glorying arc
the first milestone to Mecca
and we leave a kiss for those who left
with neither luggage nor papers for their passage.
This is the way the journey will always be.
They leave their bags for the postman to deliver
He takes them from the hands
of those who follow
And those who follow leave their packages
as the first ones do.
It’s hard for the post to make it to paradise.
There is no address
neither here nor there.
—translated by Rachel McCrum

Abdel Rahim al-Sheikh is from Jerusalem. He teaches philosophy, history, and creative writing at Bir Zeit University and the Qattan Center in Ramallah, and is the author of many literary and academic books.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.

“… They are . . . the twenty revolutions that will eternalize this cell…” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Israeli Checkpoint. (Photo: Native News, Tumblr, 21 May 2015)

❶ Massive Israeli Settlement Plan to be implemented
❷ Israel Issues Administrative Detention Orders against 34 Palestinians
.. ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli Navy Detains Three Fishermen off Gaza
.. ❷ ― (ᴃ) Israeli Forces Detain 16 Palestinians from West Bank
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 7, 2016
Israel is reportedly planning to build over 15,000 new settlement units on the site of an unused airport between the occupied West Bank and East al-Quds (Jerusalem).
___According to Press TV/Al Ray, the units are scheduled to be constructed on the site of Atarot airport, located in northern al-Quds [. . . .]
___A member of the Israeli Knesset, Nachman Shai, warned on Sunday that the expansion would draw a fresh wave of international condemnation.
___Israel’s planning committee chair Meir Turgeman, however, said he didn’t “see a problem, from a political standpoint.”       MORE…

Note: The article from which this paragraph comes is a detailed description of Israel as the last colonial power in the world by the author’s understanding of that idea.

In colonies of contested settlement in Africa and Asia, many settlers went to live in the colonized lands, but they remained a minority rejected by the natives.
___Metropoles [settlers] often assisted their settlers in various ways, particularly in colonies of contested settlement. The colonial state provided them with subsidies, loans, grants, housing, low taxes, transport, and land; it also employed them and developed their infrastructures. Settlers lived in relatively nice quarters, owned businesses, and held high paying jobs. Natives lived in wretched conditions and had few sociopolitical rights. The two societies were segregated and faced a dual system of law, one applying to settlers and the other to natives. Natives required permission from the state to engage in various daily affairs. The colonial state defended settlers, fought their wars against natives, and seized lands and resources from natives and transferred them to settlers. Having lost the main source of their livelihood, many natives had to work for the colonizers in menial and low paying jobs, and at times they were forced to do so. The land seizures were often effected behind a pseudolegal facade, declaring the state as the owner of unclaimed lands, but settlers also took the law into their own hands, seizing native lands and properties.  [. . . .]
___The Israeli case exhibits almost all of these features.

  • Reuveny, Rafael. “The Last Colonialist: Israel in the Occupied Territories Since 1967.” Independent Review 12.3 (2008): 325-374.   Full article.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli authorities have issued administrative detention orders to 34 Palestinian detainees, placing them in jail without a charge or trial, Wednesday reported the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society (PPS).
___11 of the detainees received administrative detention orders for the first time, while the remaining 23 others received renewed administrative orders, the organization added.
___Administrative detention is the imprisonment of Palestinians without charge or trial and on the basis of secret evidence for up to six-month periods, indefinitely renewable by Israeli military courts.      MORE… 

Through motions for equal citizenship and access to its associated rights Arab citizens are repeatedly asking for recognition from the state . . . thus posing an existential threat to the state . . .  the state of Israel establishes bureaucracies of admission and expulsion in an attempt to maintain its Judaized dominance and sovereign power, and in doing so, reinforces its borders upon and against the Palestinian community. Although there are significant differences between the political, military, and legal measures employed by Israel against Palestinians within its formally recognized borders and those in . . .  the West Bank and Gaza Strip, the fundamental sovereign performance remains similar . . . human rights organizations reported trends of arbitrary arrest and detention, as well as inhumane treatment of Arab citizens in custody, reflective of the exact measures faced by those in the OPT, thus highlighting the military, political, legal, and conceptual parallels between the Israel’s treatment of its Palestinian citizens and those formally under occupation in the Palestinian territories.
___Perhaps most reflective of the paradox lived by Palestinians with Israeli citizenship is Salter’s contention of a citizen that is “always already and never fully inscribed as part of the population.” As Israeli citizens they are uprooted as non-Jews, both in the conceptual and political sense, and simultaneously defined as a threatening other to the state.

  • MOLAVI, SHOURIDEH C. “Stateless Citizenship and the Palestinian-Arabs in Israel.” Refuge 26.2 (2009): 19-28.

Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli navy on Wednesday detained three Palestinian fishermen while they were sailing offshore Gaza, according to local sources.
___WAFA correspondent said that several Israeli naval boats attacked with gunfire a number of fishing boats while sailing offshore the coast of Gaza, before they detained three of them. They were taken to Ashdod seaport in southern Israel.      MORE… 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
June 8, 2016
Israeli forces Wednesday detained 16 Palestinians, including at least a minor, mostly during overnight raids into a number of West Bank districts, said Palestine Prisoner’s Society and security sources.
___Five Palestinians were detained from Ramallah and al-Bireh districts, three others from Jenin district, another from Qalqilia, two others from Jerusalem, two others from Bethlehem and three others from Hebron.      MORE . . .  

gaza fishermen
Israeli naval forces detain two Palestinian fishermen off the Gazan coast for allegedly heading beyond the designated nine-nautical-mile fishing zone. (Photo: Truth Human Rights Research Center NGO/ April 9, 2016)

Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Melhem
The Israeli army will make improvements at military checkpoints in the West Bank and Jerusalem, Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) Yoav Mordechai announced May 26. But not everyone sees that as good news.
___On his Facebook page, titled “The Coordinator,” Mordechai posted in Arabic, “It has been decided to renew and improve checkpoints in the West Bank, [to] increase the number of Palestinian workers allowed to pass through to their workplaces in Israel, improve waiting conditions and adopt advanced technology at all checkpoints” [. . . .]
___But what Israel calls improvements are viewed by Palestinians as an entrenchment of the occupation.
___Fatah official spokesman Osama al-Qawasmi told Al-Monitor, “The real improvements Israel could provide for us [would be] for [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu’s government to recognize Palestinian rights and remove every last soldier, camp and settlement from the West Bank.”       MORE . . .  


Beloved, you ask me
Of life in this prison, this cell
what of the chains
chafing my wrists
what of my food and drink
and the comrades of my cell?

Beloved, let me tell you:
Our clouds are indeed heavy
But our being here
is a smile of spring,
The shock of thunder
in autumn, after drought.
We are not defeated
Like our jailers.

Life in this prison, this cell
is a palm tree impregnated
at the dawn.
My chains are the round
echo of a muezzin,
Their clank is the ringing
of my people’s bells.

Beloved, you ask me
of the meaning of my food
Here beloved
we grow like the wild flowers.

And what of
my comrades
in this cell? You ask
They are the twenty candles
lighting the darkness of this cell
The twenty songs
shaking the walls of this cell
The twenty revolutions
that will eternalize this cell
And we, beloved
we shall not be stopped.  (June, 1970)

About Fouzi El Asmar.  
El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973. Available from Amazon.