“. . . a land that can fit, with wilderness to spare, in the Panhandle of Texas . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

❶ Abu Rudeineh responding to US ambassador: Occupation is reason for violence
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Amid rising tensions, US troops in Israel for missile defense drill
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) 44 Settlers, 33 US soldiers storm al-Aqsa Mosque plaza

  • Background: “The Gold Standard: U.S.–Israel Military Relations.” American Foreign Policy Interests.

❷ Israeli forces shower Palestinian school with tear gas, sending several students to hospital
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces detain father of slain Palestinian teen from Halhul, clash with locals
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Teen critically injured in clashes with Israeli soldiers north of Jerusalem
❸ PCHR: IOF continue systematic crimes in the oPT
❹ POETRY by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ABU  RUDEINEH  RESPONDING  TO  US  AMBASSADOR:  OCCUPATION  IS  REASON  FOR  VIOLENCE
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 8, 2018 ― Responding to statements by the US ambassador to Israel David Friedman criticizing the Palestinian Authority, presidential spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeineh said on Wednesday that the Israeli occupation and the settlement policy are the main reason for violence in the region.
___Friedman, a staunch supporter of Israeli settlements and settlers who regularly donates money and support for the illegal Jewish settlement in the occupied territories, which are in violation of international law, lashed out at what he said in a tweet as “Palestinian leader” not speaking out against the killing of  settlers in the West Bank.
___“The statements by the US ambassador lead us to wonder about the ambassador’s relationship with the occupation: Does he represent the US or Israel?” wondered Abu Rudeineh.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  AMID  RISING  TENSIONS,  US  TROOPS  IN  ISRAEL  FOR  MISSILE  DEFENSE  DRILL
The Jerusalem Post
Feb. 4, 2018 ― With tensions high on both the northern and southern fronts, US troops are in Israel and have deployed anti-missile defense systems across the country ahead of the biennial Juniper Cobra military exercise.
___The large-scale, five-day drill will simulate a massive missile attack on Israel from both fronts and will be led by the Israel Air Force, the IDF confirmed to The Jerusalem Post on Sunday.    MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴃ)    44  SETTLERS,  33  US  SOLDIERS  STORM  AL-AQSA  MOSQUE  PLAZA
The Palestinian Information Center
Feb. 8, 2018 ―  Some 44 Jewish settlers escorted by 33 American soldiers on Thursday broke into al-Aqsa Mosque’s plazas amid protection by Israeli police.
___Islamic Endowment Department in Jerusalem, said the American soldiers stormed the holy site in civilian uniform with the company of an Israeli officer.  MORE . . .

Holt, Blaine D.
“THE  GOLD  STANDARD:  U.S.–ISRAEL  MILITARY  RELATIONS.”
AMERICAN FOREIGN POLICY INTERESTS, vol. 36, no. 2, Mar/Apr2014, pp. 111-118. ‘‘The Gold Standard’’ may well be one of the most cliche´d and overused phrases used to communicate any field’s leading program or effort. However, in considering the military-to-military relationship between the United States and Israel, this trite descriptor may be more than appropriate. . . .
[. . . .] At present, the bilateral relationship in the military sphere is the envy of strategists and planners around the world. Joint and combined exercises, staff colleges and fellowships, interoperability training, and joint research and development are some of the jewels in the crown that suits both countries well. . . .   Today’s relationship boasts robust intelligence cooperation in addition to all the measures that yield two very capable, ready forces that have confidence in their ability to meet the bilateral challenges posed by leaders in Washington and Tel Aviv. And, while U.S.–Israeli bonds at the political level have ebbed and flowed, military-to-military relations have grown steadily, while remaining pragmatic and professional, over the last 50 years.
[. . . .] Irrespective of the level at which U.S. foreign aid settles as the political leadership in both countries engage in dialogue and debate domestically, the relationship between militaries forged over five decades is valuable. A way to safely shepherd this evolving and dynamic military alliance through any political, economic, or diplomatic climate is to deepen the roots of the existing programs while looking at innovative options to form new initiatives. In other words, rather than looking for ways to sustain the status quo, the timing is optimal to move the relationship to the next level . . . version 2.0.     SOURCE . . .  

ISRAELI  FORCES  SHOWER  PALESTINIAN  SCHOOL  WITH  TEAR  GAS,  SENDING  SEVERAL  STUDENTS  TO  HOSPITAL 
Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 8, 2018 ― Dozens of Palestinian school students in the southern occupied West Bank city of Hebron were exposed to high levels of tear gas on Thursday morning as Israeli forces showered their school with tear gas canisters.
___Several students were transferred to the Muhammad Ali al-Muhtaseb Hospital for treatment.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  FORCES  DETAIN  FATHER  OF  SLAIN  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  FROM  HALHUL,  CLASH  WITH  LOCALS
Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 8, 2018 ― Clashes erupted in the Hebron-area town of Halhul in the southern occupied West Bank district of Hebron on Wednesday during an Israeli raid into the town, just shortly after an Israeli security guard had shot and killed Halhul resident Hamzeh Youssif Zamaareh, 19.
[. . . .] After the alleged attack, Israeli forces raided Zamaareh’s family house and detained his father, Youssif.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷―  (ᴃ)  TEEN  CRITICALLY  INJURED  IN  CLASHES  WITH  ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  NORTH  OF  JERUSALEM
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 8, 2018 ― Israeli soldiers Wednesday critically injured a 16-year-old Palestinian in Kafr ‘Aqab, north of Jerusalem, said medical sources.
___The Palestinian Red Crescent told WAFA the teen, who remains unidentified until the moment, was hit in the face, chest, and thigh areas during clashes that erupted with Israeli soldiers.     MORE . . .  
❸  PCHR:  IOF  CONTINUE  SYSTEMATIC  CRIMES  IN  THE  OPT
Palestine News Network – PNN
Feb. 7, 2018 ― The Gaza based Palestinian Center for Human Rights in its weekly report during the reporting period of (01 – 07 Feb. 2018) has recorded ongoing systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories, which include:

  • Israeli forces continued to use excessive force in the oPt
  • Two Palestinian civilians were killed in peaceful protests that did not pose any threat to the Israeli soldiers’ life.
  • Israeli forces killed Ahmed Jarar in a crime of extra-judicial execution.
  • [. . . .] Israeli forces conducted 74 incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 7 into Jerusalem.    MORE . . . 

“HOLY  LANDERS,”  BY  LAHAB  ASSEF  AL-JUNDI
Listen!
You are fighting over a land that can fit,
with wilderness to spare,
in the Panhandle of Texas.

You are building walls to segregate,
splitting wholes till little is left,
killing and dying for pieces of sky
in the same window.

The olive trees are dying
of embarrassment.
They have enough fruits
and pits for all of you.
All they want is for you to stop
uprooting them.
Sending your children to die
in their names.

Listen!
Your land is no holier than my backyard.
None of you is any more chosen
than the homeless veteran panhandling
with a God Bless cardboard sign
at the light of Mecca
and San Pedro.
Draw a borderline around the place.
Call it home for all the living,
all the dead
all the tired exiles with its dust
gummed on their tongues.

There are no heroes left.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi was born, and grew up, in Damascus, Syria. He attended The University of Texas in Austin, where he graduated with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Not long after graduation, he discovered his passion for writing. He published his first poetry collection, “A Long Way”, in 1985. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications,

“. . . A thousand eyes for an eye . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

vicmensa
“Vic Mensa has been nothing less than courageous speaking out and singing for the Freedom of Palestinians.” (Photo: Social Media, from Palestine Chronicle)

❶ Israel: Gaza economy on the verge of collapsing
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) On the border of Gaza Israel destroys the hopes of farmers
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Vic Mensa’s searing piece in ‘Time’ on Israeli oppression is prefaced by clunky disclaimer re anti-Semitism

  • Background: “Apartheid, Settler Colonialism and the Palestinian State 50 Years on.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture.

❷ Abu Rudeineh: Strength of Palestinian position foiled free normalization
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Abbas at Central Council calls for revision of agreements with Israel
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Lieberman attacks Abbas: He had “lost his senses”
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Decades of failed peace talks: How Israel negotiates with itself
❹ POETRY by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL:  GAZA  ECONOMY  ON  THE  VERGE  OF  COLLAPSING
Palestine News Network – PNN     
Jan. 15, 2018 ― The Israeli daily, Haaretz on Monday reported that Israeli  military officials said the Palestinian situation is deteriorating, and that the economy and infrastructure  in Gaza was “from zero to below zero.”
___Haaretz said Israeli politicians were acting as if military pressure can continue on Gaza, ignoring the worsening economic situation in the strip.
___“In the long term, continually deteriorating infrastructure brings the risk of an uncontrollable blow-up in the Strip,” the daily said.    MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  . ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  ON  THE  BORDER  OF  GAZA  ISRAEL  DESTROYS  THE  HOPES  OF  FARMERS
The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 15, 2018 ― Farmer Mohammad Rashad Abu Ezzar, 30 years old, checks up the land and plants of his family, estimated at 40 dunums, which was burned by the poisonous gas recently sprayed by Israeli planes .
___Abo Ezzar spoke to the PIC of the devastation of their crops, which is the only source of income for his family in light of the high rate of unemployment in the Gaza Strip.
[. . . .] He feels like shouting out loud: “World, what happened is a sin. These are God’s blessings for us to live and eat.” He appealed to the world to intervene in order to stop this crime against all agricultural lands.     MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴃ)  VIC  MENSA’S  SEARING  PIECE  IN  ‘TIME’  ON  ISRAELI  OPPRESSION  IS  PREFACED  BY  CLUNKY  DISCLAIMER  RE  ANTI-SEMITISM    ___Mondoweiss
By Philip Weiss
Jan. 14, 2018 ― Rapper Vic Mensa has published a wrenching piece in Time Magazine about “oppression and abuse” in Palestine. He saw elderly women being “punched in the face” by Israeli soldiers, saw hundreds of children being harassed and detained, and felt a solemn obligation to bear witness. But check out two of the opening sentences in the article:    “I am not anti-Semitic, and the views expressed in this essay are in no way an attack on people of the Jewish faith.”
[. . . .] Those words are an insult to the essay itself . . .  the article has nothing to do with Jewishness.   Vic Mensa went to Palestine last summer “with a group of African-American artists, scholars and activists organized by Dream Defenders.”   MORE . . . 

Salem, Walid.
“APARTHEID,  SETTLER  COLONIALISM  AND  THE  PALESTINIAN  STATE  50  YEARS  ON.”
PALESTINE-ISRAEL JOURNAL OF POLITICS, ECONOMICS & CULTURE, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 112-118.
After 50 years of the Israeli occupation . . .  the situation on the ground cannot be described as being any less than catastrophic for the Palestinians. This is a situation that can reasonably be described as a continuation of the 1948 Nakba.
___The aspects and ramifications of this ongoing Nakba can be seen everywhere: First, the Palestinians in East Jerusalem are losing their residency rights . . .  Second, the 2 million Palestinians in Gaza live under constant attacks, imprisoned in their tiny 360 km2 strip . . . Third, in the West Bank, Area C‘ Bedouins and farmers are subjected to ongoing processes of evacuation . . .    Fourth, the Palestinians in Hebron are subjected to daily settler attacks and the division of their city . . .   Fifth, the Palestinians in Area A and B”‘ are being subjected to Israeli Army “hot incursions” . . .  Sixth, and finally, the plight of the Palestinian refugees continues almost 70 years after 1948 and 50 years after the displacement of persons in 1967.
___In brief, an Israeli one-state solution in all the historical land of Palestine is in the making, while the Palestinians are facing a growing ignorance of their right to self-determination in an independent state on the 1967 borders. The PLO has accepted this compromise in 1988, a two-state solution to live side-by-side in peace and security with Israel. However, Israel is no longer interested in the two-state solution.  FULL ARTICLE . . .  

❷ ABU  RUDEINEH:  STRENGTH  OF  PALESTINIAN  POSITION  FOILED  FREE  NORMALIZATION   
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 15, 2018 ― Nabil Abu Rudeineh, spokesman for President Mahmoud Abbas, said on Monday that the strength of the Palestinian position towards Jerusalem has succeeded in foiling the biased US policy, exposed the conspiracy against Jerusalem, the core and title of the Palestinian cause, and foiled free normalization, which goes against the Arab Peace Initiative.
___“Everyone is now required to stand united in the face of the attack on the Palestinian cause, particularly Jerusalem with its Islamic and Christian holy places, which necessitated the convening of the Central Council to take decisions that live up to the seriousness of the period,” Abu Rudeineh.   MORE . . .      RELATED . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ABBAS  AT  CENTRAL  COUNCIL  CALLS  FOR  REVISION  OF  AGREEMENTS  WITH  ISRAEL
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 14, 2018 ― President Mahmoud Abbas called on the Central Council of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) meeting in Ramallah on Sunday for a revision of the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel.
___“I call on the Central Council to revise all the agreements signed between the PLO and Israel because Israel has brought these agreements to a dead end,” he said, adding that “we are going to take this decision even though we know in advance what it will bring to us.”     MORE . . .  
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  LIEBERMAN  ATTACKS  ABBAS:  HE  HAD  “LOST  HIS  SENSES” 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Jan. 15, 2018 ― The Israeli minister of army, Avigdor Lieberman in response to the Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’s speech said that he had “lost his senses”  for criticizing the US administration and its bias towards Israel.
___Lieberman told Israeli Army Radio that Abbas’ address conveyed his give up on the negotiations, failure of relations with the US, and having narrow political horizons.
___Criticism came not only from right wing Israeli leaders, but also from the Israeli opposition parties.    MORE . . .  
❸ Opinion/Analysis: DECADES  OF  FAILED  PEACE  TALKS:  HOW  ISRAEL  NEGOTIATES  WITH  ITSELF
+972 Magazine   
By Noam Sheizaf
June 28, 2017 ― Why have Israeli-Palestinian negotiations failed?  . . . .
[. . . .] What does this reality look like on the ground? The Jewish and Palestinian populations are mixed together throughout the territory. Jews and Arabs live alongside one another in the West Bank . . .  in each one of these areas, the State of Israel is sovereign. It controls every land and sea border, all of the airspace, the primary currency and the population registry . . .    Israel also exercises perhaps the most important ingredient of sovereignty — it enjoys a monopoly on the legitimate use of violence in the entire territory.
[. . . .] Let’s put it another way: ALTHOUGH  WE  LOVE  ARGUING  ONE  STATE  VS.  TWO  STATES,  IN  REALITY  WE  HAVE  BEEN  LIVING  IN  A  SINGLE  STATE  FOR  SOME  DECADES  NOW — one in which half the population (Jews) holds almost all of the political power and controls all the resources, while enjoying full rights throughout the entire land.   MORE . . .  

COLLATERAL  SAVAGE,”  BY  LAHAB  ASSEF  AL-JUNDI
Survivors of The Holocaust please
Talk to me. Help me understand―
Do you sanction what’s being done
In your names?

I thought your spirits
grew more gentle
having lived through the unspeakable.

Bombs are not less lethal or evil―
Stop being so deathly afraid of the other.

A thousand eyes for an eye?
Children of the Holocaust
please do not lash out
as if you lost your sight.

Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
Lahab Assef Al-Jundi was born of Palestinian refugee parents and grew up in Damascus, Syria. He graduated from the University of Texas in Austin with a degree in Electrical Engineering. Not long after graduation, he discovered his passion for writing. He published his first poetry collection, A Long Way, in 1985. His poetry has appeared in numerous literary publications, and many anthologies including Inclined to Speak, An Anthology of Contemporary Arab American Poetry, edited by Hayan Charara, and Between Heaven and Texas, edited by Naomi Shihab Nye.
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 Barnes & Noble.

“. . . with their dyed hair and Italian shoes, they play prophet on golf courses . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Abbas spokesman: We will not accept changes to 1967 East Jerusalem borders
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Ashrawi to foreign diplomats: The situation needs real action from int’l community

  • Background: “Narratives of Jerusalem and Its Sacred Compound.” Israel Studies.

❷ Israeli Forces Kill 4 in Palestine During Clashes
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli security forces raid East Jerusalem neighborhood, detain young Palestinians
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Night clashes erupt in Qalqilia town
❸ Rafah crossing [Gaza] with Egypt reopens for four days, students urged to travel to their colleges
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) UN says half a million Gaza Palestinians at risk of displacement due to flooding
❹ Opinion/Analysis: Israel Has No Right to Establish Its Capital in an Occupied City
❺ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ABBAS  SPOKESMAN:  WE  WILL  NOT  ACCEPT  CHANGES  TO  1967  EAST  JERUSALEM  BORDERS  
Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 16, 2017 – Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas’ spokesperson, Nabil Abu Rudeinah, released a statement [on Saturday] saying that Palestinians “will not accept any changes to the 1967 border of East Jerusalem,” as tensions surrounding the Israel-occupied Palestinian territory continue to rise in the aftermath of US President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___Abu Rudeinah’s speech . . . . was allegedly in response to statements attributed to a White House official saying that the US considers the Wailing or Western Wall – which Muslims refer to as Al-Buraq Wall — as part of Israel.
___“This American position proves once again that the current US administration is completely out of the peace process,” he said.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  ASHRAWI  TO  FOREIGN  DIPLOMATS:  THE  SITUATION  NEEDS  REAL  ACTION  FROM  INT’L  COMMUNITY 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 16, 2017 ― PLO Executive Committee member, Dr. Hanan Ashrawi told foreign diplomats that the current situation  in Palestine needs real action from the international community.
___Ashrawi said US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel unilaterally undermined peace opportunities and efforts . . . .
___“Trump’s announcement has led to a change in all conditions,” Ashrawi said, stressing that the United States is no longer suitable to be a mediator in the political process as the American decision led to the impossibility of returning to the bast stage she said.
___“US President Donald Trump move leads us to a new stage and Palestinians can not go back to past stages. Everything that is said about peace deals is now frozen, and all options is open after the American announcement.”   MORE . . .

Reiter, Yitzhak. “NARRATIVES  OF  JERUSALEM  AND  ITS  SACRED  COMPOUND.”
ISRAEL  STUDIES,
vol. 18, no. 2, Summer2013, pp. 115-132.
[. . . .] The Temple Mount/al-Aqsa compound. . . .  is a central symbol of national and religious identity for both sides, and therefore the element of greatest conflict. The battle over the myths and narratives surrounding this compound . . . serve as a vehicle to support the meta-narrative of both Israelis and Palestinians . . .  the right to the Holy Land, to Palestine/Eretz Israel. Within the struggle over public awareness of Jerusalem’s importance, one particular site is at the eye of the storm—the Temple Mount and its Western Wall—the Jewish Kotel—or, in Muslim terminology, the al-Aqsa compound (alternatively: al-Haram al-Sharif) including the al-Buraq Wall. From both the Jewish and the Muslim points of view, the Foundation Stone, the Rock adorned with the golden dome, is the “Rock of our existence”—a symbol of religious-national identity . . .
___The site’s status as a sacred space makes it the natural focal point of the power struggle, including claims to sovereignty, efforts to exclude the opposing group and to claim recognition and inclusion. This situation is all the more true when the site in question lies at the center of a national conflict between two peoples who also represent, to a great extent, two essentially different religions and cultures. “Al-Aqsa” for the Palestinian-Arab-Muslim side is not merely a mosque mentioned in the Qur’an within the context of the Prophet Muhammad’s miraculous Night Journey to al-Aqsa which, according to tradition, concluded with his ascension to heaven (and prayer with all of the prophets and the Jewish and Christian religious figures who preceded him); rather, it also constitutes a unique symbol of identity, one around which various political objectives may be formulated, plans of action drawn up and masses mobilized for their realization.
[. . . . ] The current Jewish and Muslim historical narratives of Jerusalem are mirror images of each other. In pre-modern time they were developed independently, reflecting the religious and collective identity and outlook of each of the two peoples. Since the nineteenth century they have crystallized to respond to national challenges. The historical debate was intensified after 1967, when the eastern part of Jerusalem, including the holy shrines, was conquered by Israel.   SOURCE . . . 

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  KILL  4  IN  PALESTINE  DURING  CLASHES 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 16, 2017 ― Israeli Occupation Forces Kill four Palestine During Clashes in the West Bank and Gaza strip in additions of hundreds wounded on Friday.
___According local reports the clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces left four dead and hundreds wounded Friday by live ammunition and rubber coated steel bullets.
___Thousands of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, the West Bank and East Jerusalem are continuing mobilizations against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___Six more have been killed during clashes this week, bringing the total death toll to 10.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  SECURITY  FORCES  RAID  EAST  JERUSALEM  NEIGHBORHOOD,  DETAIN  YOUNG  PALESTINIANS
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 16, 2017 ― Israeli security forces raided early Saturday the East Jerusalem neighborhood of Issawiyeh and detained at least seven of its young residents, according to Wadi Hilweh Information Center based in Silwan, another East Jerusalem neighborhood.
___It said, according to attorney Mohammad Mahmoud, that the seven Palestinians ranging in age between 17 and 21 years, were taken to the Russian compound interrogation center in West Jerusalem.     MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  NIGHT  CLASHES  ERUPT  IN  QALQILIA  TOWN
The Palestinian Information Center 
Dec. 16, 2017 ― Violent clashes broke out Friday evening in Azzun town, east of Qalqilia, when Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) stormed the town amid heavy firing of teargas bombs.
___Local sources told the PIC reporter that angry protesters attacked Israeli patrols with Molotov cocktails while storming the town.     Several youths suffered breathing problems after inhaling teargas fired by IOF.     MORE . . . 
❸ RAFAH  CROSSING  WITH  EGYPT  REOPENS  FOR  FOUR  DAYS,  STUDENTS  URGED  TO  TRAVEL  TO  THEIR  COLLEGES
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 16, 2017 ― Egypt reopened on Saturday its border crossing with the Gaza Strip at Rafah, in southern Gaza, as the Ministry of Education urged Gaza students enrolled in colleges abroad to take advantage of the opening and travel to their colleges.
___The Palestinian border authority said Rafah terminal will be open in both directions for four days, starting Saturday.
___Nathmi Muhanna, director of the border authority, said Egypt informed them that the crossing will be open for four days to allow humanitarian cases to leave Gaza or return to it.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  UN  SAYS  HALF  A  MILLION  GAZA  PALESTINIANS  AT  RISK  OF  DISPLACEMENT  DUE  TO  FLOODING
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 16, 2017 ― The United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) to the occupied Palestinian territories said on Friday that over 560,000 Palestinians in Gaza residing in areas prone to flooding are at risk of temporary displacement due to the precarious state of infrastructure.
___It said in its Monthly Humanitarian Bulletin for November that poor infrastructure and lack of funding put over 560,000 people at risk of flooding in the Gaza Strip.  MORE . . .
❹ OPINION/ANALYSIS:  ISRAEL  HAS  NO  RIGHT  TO  ESTABLISH  ITS  CAPITAL  IN  AN  OCCUPIED  CITY
Palestine Chronicle
Richard Falk
Dec. 13, 2017 ―
(Richard Falk  is Professor Emeritus of International Law at Princeton University. He was the United Nations Special Rapporteur on Palestinian human rights.)
Those who speak on behalf of Israel like to defend Donald Trump’s provocative decision of December 6th to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel with this contention: “Israel is the only state in the world that is not allowed to locate its capital in a national city of its choice.”
[. . . .] a more thoughtful formulation of the issue would be: “Israel is the only state in the world whose government dares to locate its capital in a city located beyond its sovereign borders and subject to superior competing claims.” Granted, Israel has declined to date to define its borders for purposes of international law, presumably to leave room for its own further territorial expansion [. . . .]   MORE . . . 

EXCERPT FROM “MIDNIGHT” [2005], BY MOURID BARGHOUTI
[. . . .] You, whose mother gave birth to you
in the homestead of the Orient,
surrounded by miracles and ballads
and hillsides wet with dew;
the sound of flutes,
the bustard’s feathers
and across a copper-colored sky
flashes the appetite of the hawk,
you’ll keep seeing in the sand
the footprints of bare-foot prophets
chasing the devils of metaphor
and you will see the devils of your own times
as, with their dyed hair and Italian shoes,
they play prophet
on golf courses, and in the corridors of banks
and on CDs.

You’ll hear promises tailored to be neglected,
like a wedding dress, the day after.

You’ll hear the discourse of your long-gone ancestors
pedants whose graves
have long since been engulfed by desert mounds,
announcing the weather forecast for tomorrow
and tomorrow and tomorrow and tomorrow [. . . .]

From: Barghouti, Mourid. MIDNIGHT  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Trans. Radwa Ashour. Todmorden, UK: Arc Publications, 2008. Available from Barnes and Noble.  A biographical essay about Mourid Barghouti.

 

“. . . in old age you have been crowned with humiliation . . .” (Tawfiq Sayigh)

❶ [Palestinian] Presidential spokesman: White House statements incorrect and rejected
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Rajoub: The President’s [ABBAS] speech at the Islamic Summit establishes for a national strategy

  • Background: “Israel or Occupation?.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli navy opens fire at Gaza fishermen
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli settlers break into Solomon’s Pools site in Bethlehem
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ)  Israel raids Birzeit University at dawn
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Did Trump’s Jerusalem decision revive support for Palestine?
❹ POETRY by Tawfiq Sayigh
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ PRESIDENTIAL  SPOKESMAN:  WHITE  HOUSE  STATEMENTS  INCORRECT  AND  REJECTED
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Presidential Spokesman Nabil Abu Rudeina Thursday said the Palestinian leadership rejects and deems incorrect the latest White House statement saying President Mahmoud Abbas’ rhetoric prevents peace.
___He said, “These statements are entirely wrong, since President Abbas always reiterates that he is committed to a just peace on the basis of international legitimacy, Security Council resolutions and world’s recognition of the State of Palestine as an observer in the United Nations General Assembly in 2012, based on the 1967 borders and East Jerusalem as its capital.”
___Abu Rudeina added that this was confirmed by the Arab peace initiative, and on these bases the Palestinian leadership has been involved in the Oslo accords based on the two-state solution, including resolutions 242 and 338. The previous US administrations have engaged in negotiations based on these rules.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  RAJOUB:  THE  PRESIDENT’S  [ABBAS]  SPEECH  AT  THE  ISLAMIC  SUMMIT  ESTABLISHES  FOR  A  NATIONAL  STRATEGY
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Fatah Central Committee’s secretary general Jibril Rajoub, described the speech by President Mahmoud Abbas at the Islamic summit as bold and establishes for a national strategy, pointing out that the president’s decision to form a committee to formulate a steadfast resistance strategy in Jerusalem aims at people, land, holy places, dignity of citizens and their ability to remain steadfast and resist.
___Rajoub stressed that all Palestinians must realize the strategy to build full national partnerships that keep Palestine on the agenda of the world, pointing out that the president’s speech at the summit of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation reflects the greatness of the Palestinian people and expresses their ambitions and aspirations.  MORE . . .

(NOTE: Apparently Mr. Bahour was mistaken.)

Bahour, Sam.
“ISRAEL  OR  OCCUPATION?.” 
PALESTINE-ISRAEL  JOURNAL  OF  POLITICS,  ECONOMICS  &  CULTURE, vol. 22, no. 2/3, July 2017, pp. 15-17.
[. . . .] Today’s Palestinian leadership is waging an uphill battle to achieve some form of appropriate reconciliation of the historical injustices done to Palestine and its people. Palestinians went to Madrid, Oslo and Camp David and put on the table the greatest concession ever voluntarily made by an indigenous people: to relinquish 78% of their ancestral homeland so the Jews of the world could fulfill their own dream of a homeland. In return . . . Palestinians received instead [ ] a package of Israeli aggression like never before: collective punishment, imprisonment, political assassinations, uprooting of trees, burning of schools, maiming of children, economic blockades, tanks, helicopter gunships, F-16s and much more. Today’s highly sophisticated military occupation . . .   suffocates and humiliates each and every Palestinian, day in and day out, in hopes that each individual and family will ultimately decide to leave voluntarily or turn to violence.
[. . . .]  It took the Palestinians, as victims of a prolonged 20th century colonization project, 45 years to absorb the fact that they had become objects in a history that was not theirs — and thus, to accept Israel’s political existence. If today or tomorrow all hope is lost, if Israel finally yields fully to its illegal settlers and Jewish extremists and remains bent on the obliteration of Palestinian national identity, no one ought to be surprised if it takes Palestinians perhaps 45 hours to reinstate a political platform anchored by their legitimate collective memory – call it “One State” or what you will. If 21st-century diplomacy and politics fail to serve justice and restore Palestinian dignity, however fractured by all that has occurred, the Palestinian collective memory can be expected to make its presence felt again, to provide at least the comfort of justice as a vision, as an oral tradition. Israel knows this, and none of its leaders dare to unilaterally rip up the Oslo peace agreements, not even hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu. THE  PUBLIC  AND  DIPLOMATIC  LEADERSHIP  IN  THE  UNITED  STATES  KNOWS  THIS  EVEN BETTER  AND  DOES  NOT  DARE  TO  DISREGARD  THESE  AGREEMENTS,  NO  MATTER  HOW SHATTERED  THE  STATUS  OF  THEIR  IMPLEMENTATION,  AND  NO  MATTER  HOW  UNSCHOOLED THE  CURRENT  U.S.  ADMINISTRATION  MAY  BE  ON  THE  ISSUES.      SOURCE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  NAVY  OPENS  FIRE  AT  GAZA  FISHERMEN 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli naval boats Friday opened fire at fishermen’s boats while sailing in the Gaza waters; offshore Beit Lahia town to the north of the Gaza Strip, said sources.
___Fishermen were forced to return back to shore for fear of being detained, injured, or killed. No injuries were reported among the fishermen.
___Israeli navy and troops routinely open fire on fishermen sailing within the six-nautical-miles zone and farmlands along the border, flagrantly violating the ceasefire deal that was reached in August 2014.
___The current six-nautical-mile fishing zone falls drastically short of the twenty nautical miles allocated to Palestinian fishermen in the 1993 Oslo Accords.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  SETTLERS  BREAK  INTO  SOLOMON’S  POOLS  SITE  IN  BETHLEHEM 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 15, 2017 ― Israeli settlers Friday broke into Solomon’s Pools archaeological site, south of Bethlehem, and performed religious rituals there, said security sources.
___At least 40 settlers broke into the site under tight protection by Israeli forces, and carried out talmudic rituals there.
___Earlier in February, Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah stressed in a cabinet meeting that was held at the site in defiance to repeated attempts by Israeli settlers to take over it that the pools, ancient water reservoirs located south of Bethlehem, are an Islamic waqf (trust) and considered as an archaeological reserve since 1929.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)    ISRAEL  RAIDS  BIRZEIT  UNIVERSITY  AT  DAWN  
Days of Palestine
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Israeli occupation forces raided on Thursday at dawn Birzeit University in occupied West Bank, ransacked campuses and student union offices.
___A statement released by the university said: “A large number of heavily armed Israeli forces stormed Birzeit’s campus at dawn, raiding the headquarters of the student council in Sheikh Rashid bin Said al-Maktoum Building, Kamal Nasir Hall and the Faculty of Science.”
___The statement added: “The Israeli occupation forces ransacked the campuses and the different offices they raided and damaged much of the furniture.”   MORE . . .
❸ Opinion/Analysis: DID  TRUMP’S  JERUSALEM  DECISION  REVIVE  SUPPORT  FOR  PALESTINE?
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse) 
Daoud Kuttab
Dec. 14, 2017 ― Without knowing or planning it, the decision by US President Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel has resulted in renewed interest in Palestine and brought back to the top of the agenda the question of Jerusalem.
___George Irani, a social science professor at the American University of Kuwait, told Al-Monitor that Trump’s decision helped bring the world to Palestine’s side. “With his foolish decision, Trump has rallied the global community with Palestinians.”
[. . . .] Botrus Mansour, a Palestinian lawyer and citizen of Israel, told Al-Monitor that through his declaration, Trump “did put the Palestinian issue in the news again”. . .  However, Mansour, who is the director of the Nazareth Baptist School, questioned whether Palestinians can use this to their advantage. “The question is whether Palestinians will be able to leverage this opportunity, which I doubt, in light of the current political balance of power in the region.”
___Dozens of protests took place in Jordan when Deputy Prime Minister Mamdouh al-Abadi said Dec. 7 that people should go out in the streets to demonstrate, and the Jordanian parliament took the unusual step of revisiting agreements with Israel that had been untouchable before.     [. . . .] The unexpected nature of this “gift” from Washington has been reflected in many ways. Local, regional and international demonstrations have taken place, and emergency meetings of the Arab League and the Organization of Islamic Cooperation have been held.  MORE . . .

“A  NATIONAL  HYMN,”  BY  TAWFIQ  SAYIGH
Is it true that you were young,
And that your wavy hips
Caused seduction among young men?
And that fashion magazines
Devoted their numbers to your dresses?
I do not believe.
Is it true that you turned your husband into a leader and he led
And built you hanging gardens,
O my country?

Is it true that he who sang you with burning love
Sang you with high esteem,
Is it true that you led the horses,
That your sons rode to them in distant pastures
And that they did not open their mouths to nibble
But opened them to emit a neigh like hymns of the minarets?
I do not believe
I do not believe, O my country.

Not because you have become old:
For there is dignity in gray hair
And wrinkles have an effect unequaled by soft skin.
Not because you have become secluded:
If only when limelights receded from you
You sponsored institutions,
Opened orphanages or collected donations.
No, my country:
For then I would have loved you
And sung for a beauty that gradually changes but does not die,
And I would have visited you
And would have done so in awe.

But in old age you have been crowned with humiliation
And you brushed off the memory of your husband and of youth
As if they were dust on your soiled body.
You have castrated your sons
And I saw them droop their heads for your memory;
You wallowed with this and that person of immoral character
(How would I believe what is said about your past
O my country
I who saw your house and its dim lights?)
If lovers turn away from you
You have been prostituting your daughters
O my country
O my country.

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.
About Tawfiq Sayigh

“. . . My country is a desire in chains . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Ministry of Information: The occupation’s crimes require urgent international intervention
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) The EU already recognises Israeli sovereignty over Jerusalem, just more quietly than Trump
❷ Coming period is very critical, says Abu Rudeineh
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Group: Occupation constantly violating Palestinian rights, including freedom of expression
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴃ) Army  shuts  down  main  road  to  the  north  of  Ramallah
❸ Opinion/Analysis: Trump’s decision a reflection of the UN earlier colonial impositions
❹ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ MINISTRY  OF  INFORMATION:  THE  OCCUPATION’S  CRIMES  REQUIRE  URGENT  INTERNATIONAL  INTERVENTION 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The Palestinian Ministry of Information in a statement said it considers the terrorism spree that the Israeli occupation army continues to commit against Palestinian people and journalists, a crime that requires urgent protection for the people, as it considers silence on such crimes suspicious.
____“The Ministry affirms that Israel and its gangs and settlers won’t stop their brutal crimes by their own, but rater require urgent international intervention to end the occupation and bring lead the criminals the International Criminal Court,” statement said.
___“The Ministry considers that the struggle of our people and their quest for freedom and self-determination is based on our natural right and cultural heritage and right to statehood with Jerusalem as our capital, noting that our people will not be intimidated by the injustice that the occupation has resorted to, and that our people will have East Jerusalem as our eternal capital, with its Islamic and Christian shrines, as we historically and righteously did in the past,” it added.  MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶  ―  (ᴀ)  THE  EU  ALREADY  RECOGNISES  ISRAELI  SOVEREIGNTY  OVER  JERUSALEM,  JUST  MORE  QUIETLY  THAN  TRUMP    
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Viewers watching the televised emergency session of the United Nations Security Council on Friday may be forgiven for thinking the Palestinian Authority’s (PA) representative to the UN was trying to bore the Israeli ambassador into submission with his speech.
[. . . .]  In it he listed decades worth of UN resolutions and declarations stating that East Jerusalem should be the capital of a future Palestinian state with the Israeli capital in West Jerusalem – the long promised two-state solution.
[. . . .] . . . the US government has always sided with Israel. This alignment has been particularly strong since the 1967 war when Israel attacked its neighbours and swallowed up the remaining 22 per cent of Palestinian land, leading to a new wave of refugees and the fifty-year military occupation (of the West Bank – including East Jerusalem – Gaza, and Syria’s Golan Heights) which endures till this day.
[. . . .] …the disquiet currently being expressed against Trump by those European leaders who are lamenting damage to the non-existent peace process is entirely hypocritical. And in fact, the new Trump policy in Jerusalem is only a more open form of the same malign policy the European Union has been carrying out in practice for many years.
___Despite repeated expressions of “concern” by the EU over Israeli settlement expansion in the West Bank, the EU in practice encourages the ongoing ethnic cleansing of the Palestinian people.
___It supports and even bankrolls Israel to the tune of millions of Euros with programmes like Horizon 2020, which funds Israeli high-tech research, giving EU tax-payers’ money over to the apartheid regime and the arms firms who “battle test” their weapons on Palestinian civilians.    MORE . . .
❷  COMING  PERIOD  IS  VERY  CRITICAL,  SAYS  ABU  RUDEINEH
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Dec. 11, 2017 ― The coming period is very critical and requires bold Palestinian and Arab decisions, Presidential spokesman, Nabil Abu Rudeineh, said on Monday, stressing once again Palestinian rejection and denunciation of the US decision recognizing Jerusalem as capital of Israel.
___“Our message to the entire world is that Jerusalem is a Palestinian city and the US decision is rejected and denounced,” he told WAFA. “What is required now are bold Palestinian and Arab decisions for the coming stage, which is very important and very critical. The Palestinians and Arabs should stand together.”
___He said President Mahmoud Abbas is going to meet on Monday with his Egyptian counterpart Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi in Cairo to discuss various issues, mainly those relating to the Palestinian cause and other common Arab concerns, as well as the agenda of the upcoming Islamic summit.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  GROUP:  OCCUPATION  CONSTANTLY  VIOLATING  PALESTINIAN  RIGHTS,  INCLUDING  FREEDOM  OF  EXPRESSION 
Palestine News Network – PNN
Dec. 11, 2017 ― Sunday (10-12-2017) marked the 69th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, through which the United Nations established the foundations of the protected rights of all people. However, the rights of the Palestinian people have been flagrantly violated since the beginning of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories 50 years ago and all international resolutions on Palestine have remained dead on paper and on top of all that the president of United States a few days ago recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel; in clear breach of several resolutions issued by the UN and the security council.
___The past few day’s four people were killed and hundreds of wounded Palestinians demonstrators who came out to protest against this decision, is only another chapter in the series of Israeli attacks on the Palestinian people.   MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  .  ❷  ―  (ᴃ)  ARMY  SHUTS  DOWN  MAIN  ROAD  TO  THE  NORTH  OF  RAMALLAH
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 11, 2017  – The Israeli army used cement blocks to cut off the main road connecting Ramallah to Jalazoun refugee camp and the northern West Bank, according to local sources.
___They said closure of the road forced Palestinian cars commuting on that road to search for alternative longer routes, causing traffic jams and long delays.     MORE . . . 
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  TRUMP’S  DECISION  A  REFLECTION  OF  THE  UN  EARLIER  COLONIAL  IMPOSITIONS  
The Palestinian Information Center 
Ramona Wadi
Dec. 11, 2017 ―   Since 1967, the UN regularly adopted resolutions concerning the status of Jerusalem, most of them dealing with withdrawing military forces, condemnation of land confiscation and settlement expansion, as well as requesting that Israel refrains from holding military activities in the city. A recurring warning was that no action should be taken to change the status of Jerusalem.
___US President Donald Trump exposed the fallacy behind international recommendations yesterday with his unilateral declaration of recognising Jerusalem as Israel’s capital city. Away from the outpouring of indignation from Palestinians who have resisted the Zionist colonial project, the opposition to Trump’s declaration has been mostly diluted by statements that simply acknowledge the action taken as reprehensible, instead of focusing upon responsibility, accountability and ramifications – all of which should lead directly to the UN.
___The hype generated by Trump on previous occasions, which illustrated his administration’s support for Israel, is becoming a convenient tool for Israel, the PA and the UN, due to such tactics generating a fragmented response and one that strengthens reliance upon symbolism. Trump’s statement goes against UN resolutions. However, it is a known fact that UN resolutions are a façade for the allowance of international law violations.    MORE . . .    ..

“SOFT  RAIN  IN  A  DISTANT  AUTUMN,”  BY  MAHMOUD  DARWISH
Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue
and the earth is a festival.
Don’t say that I am a cloud over the airport.
I want nothing
of my country that has fallen from the window of the train
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a strange autumn
and the windows are white, white
and the sun is an orange grove in setting,
and am I a stolen orange.
Why do you run from my flesh?
I want nothing
from the home of knives and birds
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a sad autumn
and the trysts are green, green
and the sun is clay.
Don’t say that we’ve seen you in the withering of jasmine,
saleswoman of death, and aspirin.
My face is a dusk,
my death is a fetus
and I want nothing
from the country which has forgotten the accent of its evacuees
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

Soft rain in a distant autumn
and the birds are blue, blue;
the earth is a festival;
the birds have flown into a time of no return.
Do you want to know my country
know what is between us?
My country is a desire in chains,
the kiss that I’ve sent in the mail
and I want nothing
from the country which has slain me
except my mother’s scarf
and reasons for a new death.

— From WHEN THE WORDS BURN: AN ANTHOLOGY OF MODERN ARABIC POETRY: 1945-1987. Translated and edited by John Mikhail Asfour. Dunvegan, Ontario, Canada. Cormorant Books, 1988. Available from Amazon

“. . . Teach us to exist in the age of lost things . . .” (Ali al-Khalili)

Bedouins build a makeshift house in al-Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert that has been razed dozens of times, north of the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, July 21, 2011. (photo by ENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)
Bedouins build a makeshift house in al-Araqib, a Bedouin village in the Negev Desert that has been razed dozens of times, north of the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, July 21, 2011. (photo by ENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

❶ Why Israel wants these Bedouins to pay for their village’s demolition
❷ Why Palestinians mark Prisoners’ Day
❸ Presidential Spokesperson: Israeli Government Plunges Whole Region into Violence, Chaos
❹ Netanyahu: Occupied Golan Heights to ‘forever remain in Israel’s hands’
. . . . . ❹― (ᴀ) Israeli cabinet meeting in Golan ‘irresponsible provocation’: Syria envoy
❺ Opinion/Analysis: ‘NY  TIMES’  PUBLISHES  OP-ED  WRITER’S  BLATANT  FALSEHOOD  ABOUT  PALESTINIANS  WITHOUT  BLINKING  AN  EYE
❻ POETRY by Ali al-Khalili
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ WHY  ISRAEL  WANTS  THESE  BEDOUINS  TO  PAY  FOR  THEIR  VILLAGE’S  DEMOLITION
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Ahmad Melhem
April 17, 2016
The Bedouin al-Araqib village (status unrecognized by Israel) in the Negev (Naqab) region is facing an ongoing demolition campaign that started on the morning of June 27, 2010, when the whole village was flattened to the ground. Since then, demolition work has been recurring each time the inhabitants set up new tents, with Israel claiming lack of permits. The latest incident took place April 5 and was the 96th to date. [. . . .]
___The Araqib case is merely another example of the unrecognized villages in the Negev region (75 villages). Israel is planning to relocate the people in order to establish Jewish communities. This is part of the Prawer Plan presented by Ehud Prawer, the former Israeli head of policy planning in the prime minister’s office, in 2011.      MORE . . .   
HISTORY . . .  

WHY  PALESTINIANS  MARK  PRISONERS’  DAY
+972 Blog
Noam Rotem
April 17, 2016
More than 7,000 Palestinians, including hundreds of minors, are currently in Israeli prisons. Honoring prisoners and ‘freedom fighters’ isn’t just a Palestinian tradition, however. Israelis do it, too.     MORE . . .

A picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows an Israeli soldier monitoring the Syrian village of Hader, on June 16, 2015 (Photo: Agence France Presse/Jalaa Marey, File)
A picture taken from the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights shows an Israeli soldier monitoring the Syrian village of Hader, on June 16, 2015 (Photo: Agence France Presse/Jalaa Marey, File)

[Please note the correlation among the following three news stories.]

PRESIDENTIAL  SPOKESPERSON:  ISRAELI  GOVERNMENT  PLUNGES  WHOLE  REGION  INTO  VIOLENCE,  CHAOS  
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
April 18, 2016
Presidential Spokesperson Nabil Abu Rudeineh Sunday stated that the Israeli government is plunging the whole region into endless violence and chaos.
___Speaking to Palestine TV from Moscow, Abu Rudenieh stated that uncommon and clear political positions would be taken within the next few days or weeks with regards to the Question of Palestine, which stands at a serious crossroads.      MORE . . .

❹ NETANYAHU:  OCCUPIED  GOLAN  HEIGHTS  TO  ‘FOREVER  REMAIN  IN  ISRAEL’S  HANDS’
Ma’an News Agency
April 17, 2016
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu declared that the Golan Heights would “forever remain in Israel’s hands,” during a CONTROVERSIAL CABINET MEETING HELD IN THE ANNEXED TERRITORY [emphasis added] on Sunday.
___Israel seized 1,200 square kilometers (460 square miles) of the Golan Heights from Syria in 1967 and later annexed it, in a move never recognized by the international community.
___Israel’s Channel 2 reported on Friday that Israeli officials had decided to hold a meeting in the area as a gesture of defiance, as world leaders work on drafting an agreement to end the five-year civil war in Syria which calls on Israel to hand back the annexed Golan to Syria.      MORE . . . 

. . . . . ❹― (ᴀ) ISRAELI CABINET MEETING IN GOLAN ‘IRRESPONSIBLE PROVOCATION’: SYRIA ENVOY
Middle East Eye
April 18, 2016
Syria’s envoy to the UN on Monday denounced an unprecedented Israeli cabinet meeting held in the Golan Heights on Sunday as “provocative”.      MORE . . .

Opinion/Analysis:  ‘NY  TIMES’  PUBLISHES  OP-ED  WRITER’S  BLATANT  FALSEHOOD  ABOUT  PALESTINIANS  WITHOUT  BLINKING  AN  EYE
Mondoweiss
David Samel
April 16, 2016
The recent wide-ranging debate on Zionism appearing in the New York Times was a welcome sign, no doubt.  While it’s long overdue, the movement to a more open . . .  discussion on whether the Jewish State is a good or bad thing is no longer taboo in mainstream media . . . .
___Oddly, though, a blatant falsehood appearing in one of the five op-eds shows how colossal ignorance has unfortunate staying power.      MORE . . . 

From  DIALECTICS  OF  THE  HOMELAND  (1976),  by  Ali  al-Khalili

Beyond the rainy cloud, the rose, the pagan dream
are remnants of the old pledge.
The lovers are no more the lovers
And the murderers are similarly transposed.
O homeland, drowning in mystic symbols and in blood,
Lost homeland!
Teach us to exist in the age of lost things
Teach us to unlock barred doors
To fertilize a barren land
Discover in you the cloud and the rose
Illuminate the tired masses.
Homeland of lost things,
Teach us to conceive trees and children,
When the promised sun and the promised wind
Are concealed or revealed
Teach us that the murderers are visible in you
And the murdered invisible.

Ali Al-Khalibi was born in Nablus in 1943. He graduated from Arab University of Beirut. He is novelist, short story writer, critic, poet, and literary historian. He died in 2011.
ANTHOLOGY  OF  MODERN  PALESTINIAN  LITERATURE.  Ed. Salma Khadra Jayyusi. New York: Columbia University Press, 1992. Available from Columbia University Press.
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