“. . . being caught―between the ugliest and the finest . . .” (Samih al-Qasim)

IMG_3198 - Copy
(Illegal Israeli Gush Etzion Settlement above
Tent of Nations near Nahalin Village, Bethlehem Governate.
Photo: Harold Knight, November 6, 2015.)

SELECTED   NEWS   OF   THE   DAY. . . .  

ARAB  JOINT  LIST  DEMANDS  EU  TO  CONDEMN  ISRAEL  FOR  ‘NATIONALITY  LAW’     
Arab members of the Israeli Knesset, of the Joint Arab List, demanded that the European Union should condemn Israel as a result of approving the controversial “Nationality Law.”   ___A number of Arab MK’s will be leaving to Brussels . . .   ___MK Jamal Zahalka, leader of the Balad political party, said “We are going to Brussels to ask Europe remain faithful to its principles regarding the rights of minorities and human rights . . . They have declared war on us and on our rights through the Nationality Law. We have the right to defend ourselves by using the international community as well.”   More . . .

PALESTINIAN  FOREIGN  MINISTRY  CALLS  FOR  COOPERATION  TO  DOCUMENT  SETTLER  VIOLATIONS
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry called for holding a meeting soon with all official and non-official institutions to protect the rights of Palestinian citizens against Israeli settler violations.    ___It aims to speed up the registration and documentation of each violation to file a lawsuit against Israel as an occupying power . . .   ___“It is no longer sufficient to issue statements condemning these violations because they are not deterring the occupation authorities from stopping their repressive and arbitrary measures,” the ministry said in a statement.    More . . .
Related . . . Extremist  Settlers  Assaulted  Four  Palestinians  In  Nablus    

IOF  KIDNAPS  10  PALESTINIANS  IN  WEST  BANK  CAMPAIGNS
Israeli occupation forces (IOF) at dawn Monday arrested 10 Palestinian citizens in raid campaigns launched in the West Bank and Jerusalem.   ___Israeli occupation army said in a statement Monday morning that six of the detained Palestinians are involved in popular resistance attacks against Israeli targets.   ___The statement noted that the IOF soldiers were able to seize a weapon in a Palestinian house in Tulkarem and confiscate thousands of shekels in Qalqilya that are used to fund resistance operations.   More . . .
Related . . . 6 Gaza  Fishermen  Arrested  By  Israeli  Navy  At  Nightfall
Related . . . IOFF  Kidnapped  Two  Youths  From  Badou  Village,  Occupied  Jerusalem
Related . . . Injuries  And  Arrests,  And  Demolishing  A  Commercial  Establishment  In  Silwan

COMMENTARY    AND    OPINION. . . .

‘IF  UNRWA  LEAVES,  WE  WON’T  SURVIVE’  —  REFUGEES  BRACE  FOR  HARD  TIMES  AS  US  ENDS  AID   
Yumna Patel 
On Saturday morning [Sept. 1], millions of Palestinian refugees woke up to the news that UNRWA . . .   was one step closer to the brink of collapse.      . . . 5 million Palestinian refugees — the descendants of those who were forcibly expelled from their homes when Israel was created in 1948 — [. . . .] Nagham Al-Jaf, 43, originally from Iraqi Kurdistan, has lived in Aida camp for the better part of 25 years. Her husband is the child of refugees from the Jerusalem-area village of Deir Aban.    [. . . .] “If UNRWA leaves its hands from the camp, and from the schools, we won’t be able to survive, not at all,” al-Jaf said.   More . . .

TOP  ACADEMICS  AND  SCIENTISTS  OPPOSE  CONFERENCE  IN  ISRAELI  SETTLEMENT
[. . . .] In an open letter published in the Guardian this weekend, 15 of the world’s top academics and science professionals wrote that holding a three-day science convention [at Ariel University] in West Bank would be an outright violation of international law.    ___”We are writing to express our view that Ariel University in the occupied West Bank is the wrong venue for a conference on cosmology and particle physics . . . .    Human Rights Watch has noted that Ariel’s ‘development is inseparable from a history of continuous dispossession of Palestinians from their land and restrictions on their freedom of movement.’”   More . . .

AMERICAN  MUSICIAN  SHLOHMO  CANCELS  ISRAEL  CONCERT   
American electronic musician Shlohmo took it to social media to announce that he will not be going to Israel to participate in the Meteor Festival, citing Israel’s human rights atrocities as a reason.     [. . . .] “Sorry to the fans I’m letting down and to the festival staff but supporting the oppressed thru my absence is more important to me especially after the government’s recent human rights atrocities,” he wrote.   ___“I had said no to playing there for years and the only reason I could find to say yes was if I were to donate my fee to Gaza relief. But after much dialogue I found it to be a more important statement to say no all together . . . .    More . . .

NOTICES  FROM  ORGANIZATIONS. . . .

AMERICAN  NEAR  EAST  REFUGEE  AID  (ANERA)
2018 50th Anniversary Dinner: Where Hope Finds A Way
Come take a journey through five decades of ANERA’s work in Palestine and Lebanon. Together, we’ll also lay the foundation for delivering future impactful programs and building better lives so hope finds its way.   More . . .

“THE  UGLIEST  OF  WORDS,”  BY  SAMIH  AL-QASIM
What should I do with the narcissus?
The apricot?
The crowns of rugged trees?
What should I do with the finest
of my wildflowers? What?
What should I do with the strongest, fiercest,
and cruelest wild flowers and thorns?
What should I do with the strongest
of English words?
Foreigner?
The fiercest of French traits:
Etrangé?*
The cruelest of German blows:
Ausländer?*
The ugliest of Hebrew terms:
Oivim.*
The most horrible sound in Arabic:
Kuffar.*
What should I do with my pain
over my ignorance of Sanskrit
and Esperanza?
My fondness for wildflowers
runs deep.
What should I do
with the fence of fire
and with my being caught―
between the ugliest and the finest?
What should I do?
What?
What should I do?
–Trans. by Nazih Kassis

 *Etrangé: Stranger
*Ausländer: 
Outlander/Foreigner
*Oivim: 
Enemies
*Kuffar: 
Infidels

From Al-Qasim, Samih. Sadder than Water: New & Selected Poems. Nazih Kassis, Trans. (Jerusalem: Ibis Editions, 2006.) 

 

“. . . debris clattered down the outside stairway and fell towards the marble pavement. . . .” (Yousef Al-Mahmoud)

❶ Israel halts construction of school in Bethlehem, despite residents receiving permit
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Settler Caravans Erected Near Bethlehem

  • “The Future of Israel and Palestine: Expanding the Debate.” Middle East Policy.

❷ Israeli forces blow up home of slain Palestinian in Ramallah-area village
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces demolish homes in Bedouin villages in southern Israel
❸ Hebron: Israeli Occupation Forces Confiscate 47 Dunums of Land
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Hebron: ‘We’re living in the heart of a prison’
❹ POETRY by Yousef Al-Mahmoud
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAEL  HALTS  CONSTRUCTION  OF  SCHOOL  IN  BETHLEHEM,  DESPITE  RESIDENTS  RECEIVING  PERMIT
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 18, 2017.   Israeli authorities forcibly halted the construction of a school in Jubbet Al-Dhib village in the eastern part of Bethlehem in the southern occupied West Bank on Thursday, despite Palestinians receiving an Israeli-issued building permit for the project.
___A representative of a popular resistance committee in Bethlehem Hadan Brejiyeh told Ma’an that Israeli forces, escorted by employees of the Israeli civil administration had “raided the village,” and shut down the construction at the school.
___Israeli forces had put a stop to the construction, which consisted of eight mobile structures, and confiscated vehicles belonging to an Italian NGO. The residents said they had received a difficult-to-obtain Israeli-issued building permit for the project.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) SETTLER CARAVANS ERECTED NEAR BETHLEHEM
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC 
August 17, 2017.   Israeli settlers, on Wednesday, installed caravans near the village of Nahalin, to the west of Bethlehem, according to local sources.
___Sobhi Zeidan, head of Nahalin village council, told WAFA that settlers from the nearby illegal settlement of Beitar Elit installed 10 caravans near the fence separating the settlement from Nahalin.   MORE . . .

Walt, Stephen M., et al.
“THE  FUTURE  OF  ISRAEL  AND  PALESTINE:  EXPANDING  THE  DEBATE.”
Middle East Policy,
vol. 20, no. 2, Summer2013, pp. 1-24.
[. . . .] The second scene is in a small village that I visited near the Hebron Hills in Area C in the West Bank. There are Palestinian herdsmen there who have a couple of small houses and sheds for livestock. The day I visited this hamlet — Sadat a Thaale, I think it was called — the Israelis had come in a few days before and, using a bulldozer, had destroyed the cistern. It is an ancient practice, throughout the Middle East and many parts of the world, of storing water in cisterns — in this case a limestone cistern carved out of the hill. The Israelis had destroyed it. The source of water was destroyed and five sheep were killed. This kind of wanton destruction is happening on a regular basis in the West Bank, with the aim of pushing people off the land, off Area C and into cities, where they can be gathered together. Israel has always wanted as much land as possible with as few Palestinians on it. That has been part of the program from the start.
[. . . .] Because Israel has so permeated the West Bank and East Jerusalem and has encircled East Jerusalem, I believe the two-state solution is over. It’s not going to happen. There are 600,000-650,000 Israelis east of the Green Line. They’re not going to move. So this historic conflict, which has been called two irreconcilable claims to the same land, is over. One side has won. That has always been the case; one side was winning. We’re now at a point where one side controls all the land with the exception of Area A, in which the Palestinian Authority is exercising some type of authority.    FULL ARTICLE . . .

❷ ISRAELI  FORCES  BLOW  UP  HOME  OF  SLAIN  PALESTINIAN  IN  RAMALLAH-AREA  VILLAGE     
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2017.   In a raid Thursday morning on the Ramallah-area village of Deir Abu Mashaal in the central occupied West Bank, Israeli forces blew up the home of slain Palestinian Adel Hassan Ahmad Ankoush, who was killed by Israeli forces in June along with two other Palestinians after the three carried out a deadly shooting and stabbing attack in occupied East Jerusalem that left an Israeli border police officer dead.
___Locals told Ma’an that the Israeli army raided Ankoush’s family home and set up explosives around the house, as other forces surrounded Deir Abu Mashaal and deployed across all entrances to the village, while drones hovered overhead.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) ISRAELI  FORCES  DEMOLISH  HOMES  IN  BEDOUIN  VILLAGES  IN  SOUTHERN  ISRAEL 
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 17, 2017.   Israeli authorities demolished three Palestinian homes on Thursday morning in several Bedouin villages in the Negev of southern Israel for allegedly being built without Israeli-issued building permits, locals told Ma’an.
___According to locals, Israeli authorities demolished a house belonging to Salman Abu Sabileh in the Umm Qabu village, while two other homes were demolished in the al-Atrash and al-Sayyid villages.
___Meanwhile, locals in the Umm al-Hiran village in the Negev told Ma’an that clashes had erupted between Palestinian residents and Israeli police forces after they raided the village to carry out demolitions. However, there were no reports of demolitions being carried out.   MORE . . .
❸ HEBRON:  ISRAELI  OCCUPATION  FORCES  CONFISCATE  47  DUNUMS  OF  LAND
PalestineChronicle
Aug. 17, 2017.  Israeli authorities confiscated at least 47 dunams (12 acres) of lands in al-Thahiryeh village, south of Hebron city, in the southern occupied West Bank for alleged military purposes, locals told Ma’an on Wednesday.
___Al-Thahiryeh mayor Ratib al-Sabber told Ma’an that locals were surprised last Sunday when an Israeli confiscation order was put up on the entrance of the Mitar checkpoint in the southern part of al-Thahiryeh, close to the lands that were confiscated. The order stated that the land would be used for Israeli army purposes.   MORE . . .
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) HEBRON:  ‘WE’RE  LIVING  IN  THE  HEART  OF  A  PRISON’   
Al Jazeera English 
August  16, 2017.   (Amid heightened restrictions and harassment, Palestinians struggle to keep their homes in Hebron’s historic Old City.)     
For weeks, members of the Abu Rajab family have been confined to their home in the heart of Hebron’s historic Old City.
___They cannot leave for fear that settlers will occupy the house. When absolutely necessary, one family member takes a short trip to buy food or other necessities, before hurrying back inside.     “We’re always careful about going out and coming back in, and we make sure not to leave the house alone,” Hazem Abu Rajab, 28, told Al Jazeera as he sat outside on their porch.
___On July 25, a group of 15 settler families broke into apartments belonging to the Abu Rajabs’ ancestral family home and moved in. The same evening, the settlers physically attacked members of the Abu Rajab family while attempting to invade their primary residence. Yet when Israeli authorities arrived on the scene, they attempted to arrest the Abu Rajabs, they said.
___For six days, the Abu Rajab family could not leave their home at all, due to a military order that forbade anyone from exiting or entering, Abu Rajab said. The Palestinian Civil Administration tried to deliver food on the fourth day but was turned away.   MORE . . .

“ABOVE  THE  CARNATIONS,”  BY  YOUSEF  AL-MAHMOUD
Her house is above the carnations
on the path to the wind-swept hills. . .
At evening we sought refuge there
watching out for the guns and the aeroplanes.

The crack of bullets followed our coffee
and smashed into our conversation.
The crack of bullets and the bark of artillery
came near to the flowers inside the windows
came near to the warmth and the water jug
debris clattered down the outside stairway
and fell towards the marble pavement.

Her house is above the carnations
there we were in it
we had sought refuge there
and so we moved to where the Jewish soldiers could no longer see us.

Translated by DM Black
Yousef Al-Mahmoud is a prominent broadcaster and poet, and former head of the Ministry of Culture in his native Jenin.
From A  BIRD  IS  NOT  A  STONE:  AN  ANTHOLOGY  OF  CONTEMPORARY  PALESTINIAN  POETRY.   (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Amazon.com.