“. . . Sabra – sings her lost half, between the sea and the last war. . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

Selected News of the Day

OIC: Israeli Government Fully Responsible for Consequences of Colonial Policies

IMEMC-International Middle East Media Center
September 16, 2019
The Council of Foreign Ministers of the Member States of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held fully responsible the Israeli government for the consequences of its colonial policies in the occupied territory of the State of Palestine . . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ This came during the 16th extraordinary meeting of the OIC council of foreign ministers held at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah, at the request of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, on the “Israeli Prime Minister’s stated intention to annex territories in the Occupied West Bank.” ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The council proclaimed absolute rejection and vehemently condemned the Israeli Prime Minister’s stated intention to “apply Israeli sovereignty on all of the Jordan Valley, northern Dead Sea and settlements in the occupied West Bank”, describing it as a dangerous escalation, a further serious encroachment on the historical and legal rights of the Palestinian people, a flagrant breach of the UN Charter, the principles of international law and the relevant UN resolutions . . .   More . . . .

Palestinian FM discusses Israeli plans on Jordan Valley with Jordanian, Turkish counterparts

September 16, 2019
Palestinian Foreign Minister Riyad Malki met in Jeddah with his Jordanian and Turkish counterparts and discussed coordinating efforts to confront the declaration by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on annexing the occupied Jordan Valley and Israeli violations in Jerusalem and its Islamic holy places.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙Malki told Jordanian Foreign Minister Ayman Safadi that annexing the Jordan Valley will destroy any chance of having a just and comprehensive peace in the region and will be a threat to world peace and security. Safadi stressed Jordan’s strong position against Netanyahu’s plans, which it considers a blatant violation of international law and undermines the right of peoples in this region to live in peace.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙The Malki-Safadi meeting took place on the side of a meeting for foreign ministers of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation’s (OIC) member states, who also strongly condemned Israeli plans to annex any part of the occupied Palestinian territory.  More . . . .

Blackout expected in parts of West Bank as Israel’s electricity company starts power cut

September 16, 2019
Several hours of blackout are expected to disrupt life in parts of the West Bank next Monday and Tuesday as the Israeli Electricity Company (IEC) intends to cut power supply to the Palestinian-owned Jerusalem District Electricity Company (JDECO), today said JDECO chairman of board and CEO Hisham Omari.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ He said his company has received the third warning from the IEC informing it that it will start rationing or cutting electricity supply to some of the company’s concession areas . . . .
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Omari considered the IEC decision, supported by the Israeli government, as “collective punishment against the Palestinian people,” warning that if IEC goes on with its threat, it will have serious repercussions, particularly on hospitals, education, water supply, communications and many other vital areas.  More . . . .

Remembering the Sabra and Shatila massacre (Sep 16, 1982 – Sep 18, 1982)

For the Palestinians, the tragedy of Sabra and Shatila remains as a powerful reminder of their apparently endless cycle of displacement.
The Middle East Monitor
September 16, 2019
Thirty-seven years ago this week, one of the bloodiest chapters in Palestinian history unfolded in a refugee camp in Lebanon. Surrounded by Israeli forces from all sides, thousands of refugees, bereft of leadership and protection from the international community, were slaughtered during a two day killing spree in the Shatila refugee camp and the adjacent Sabra neighbourhood of Beirut by the Christian Phalangist militia, Israel’s paramilitary ally in Lebanon.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Israeli forces, who had invaded Lebanon three months earlier, advanced into Beirut and surrounded the Palestinian refugee camp of Shatila. A tenuous ceasefire agreement had already been brokered by the US. . .  UN Security Council Resolution 520 dated 17 September was passed unanimously and condemned “the recent Israeli incursions into Beirut in violation of the cease-fire agreements and of Security Council resolutions.” Israel ignored this resolution too.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Virtually sealed off from the outside world by Israeli tanks, hundreds of Phalangist fighters — a Christian militia group inspired by European fascists — were instructed by Israeli forces to clear out PLO members from the area. What unfolded over the following day and half horrified the world.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ In the 38 hours that the Israelis allowed the Phalange militia to enter the refugee camp unhindered, the Palestinians bunkered in their makeshift shelters suffered unspeakable horrors. Israel’s proxy militiamen raped, tortured, mutilated and killed more than 3,000 Palestinian and Lebanese residents of Sabra and Shatila.  More . . . .

Poem of the Day

Sabra – a sleeping girl
The men left
War slept for two short nights,
Beirut obeyed and became the capital…
A long night
Observing the dreams in Sabra,
Sabra is sleeping.
Sabra – the remains of a dead body
She bid farewell to her horsemen and time
And surrendered to sleep out of tiredness.. and the Arabs who threw her behind them.
Sabra – and what the soldiers Departing from Galilee forgot
She doesn’t buy and sell anything but her silence
To buy flowers to put on her braided hair.
Sabra – sings her lost half, between the sea and the last war:
Why do you go?
And leave your wives in the middle of a hard night?
Why do you go?
And hang your night
Over the camp and the national anthem?
Sabra – covering her naked breasts with a farewell song
Counts her palms and gets it wrong
While she can’t find the arm:
How many times will you travel?
And for how long?
And for what dream?
If you return one day
for which exile shall you return,
which exile brought you back?
Sabra – tearing open her chest:
How many times
does the flower bloom?
How many times
will the revolution travel?
Sabra – afraid of the night. Puts it on her knees
covers it with her eyes’ mascara. Cries to distract it:
They left without saying
anything about their return
Withered and tended
from the rose’s flame!
Returned without returning
to the beginning of their journey
Age is like children
running away from a kiss.
No, I do not have an exile
To say: I have a home
God, oh time ..!
Sabra – sleeps. And the fascist’s knife wakes up
Sabra calls who she calls
All of this night is for me, and night is salt
the fascist cuts her breasts – the night reduced –
he then dances around his knife and licks it.
Singing an ode to a victory of the cedars,
And erases
Quietly .. Her flesh from her bones
and spreads her organs over the table
and the fascist continues dancing and laughs for the tilted eyes
and goes crazy for joy, Sabra is no longer a body:
He rides her as his instincts suggest, and his will manifests.
And steals a ring from her flesh and blood and goes back to his mirror
And be – Sea
And be – Land
And be – Clouds
And be – Blood
And be – Night
And be – Killing
And be – Saturday
and she be – Sabra.
Sabra – the intersection of two streets on a body
Sabra, the descent of a Spirit down a Stone
And Sabra – is no one
Sabra – is the identity of our time, forever.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Translated by Saad El Kurdi

Posted on the Blog Kadaitcha September 19, 2012 By Jinjirrie
You can listen to Mahmoud Darwish read this poem on tumbler.com.

“. . . And your children will play again . . .” (Nizar Qabbani)

0 R
Children of Rawdat El-Zuhur School (Photo: Global Ministries of the United Church of Christ, Nov. 2014)

Four Palestinians were shot and killed by Israeli forces during weekly protests across the eastern borders of the besieged Gaza Strip since Friday afternoon.    [. . . .] The ministry pointed out that two journalists and four paramedic were among those injured.    ___At least 47 others were injured with live bullets and rubber-coated steel bullets, while dozens suffered tear-gas inhalation as Israeli forces suppressed the 39th Friday of the return marches.    More . . .
~~ Photojournalist  among  4  injured  in  Kafr  Qaddum  weekly  march    More . . .
~~ Factions  call  protest  at  Australia’s  representative  office  in  Ramallah  against  Jerusalem  decision   More . . .
The United Nations General Assembly adopted, by an overwhelming majority, a resolution that affirms the right of the Palestinian people to sovereignty over their natural resources.    ___The resolution was adopted by a recorded vote of 159 in favour to 7 against (Canada, Israel, Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia, Nauru, United States), with 13 abstentions.    ___The resolution stresses permanent sovereignty of the Palestinian people in the occupied Palestinian territory, including East Jerusalem, and of the Arab population in occupied Syrian Golan over their natural resources.    More . . .
The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) has announced its intention to establish a fund to support the Palestinian refugees.    ___According to a press release issued by the organization, a committee of experts from the OIC member states held a meeting on Wednesday to discuss the draft statute of the waqf fund for support of the Palestinian Refugees at the OIC headquarters in Jeddah.    ___OIC secretary-general Yousef al-Othaimeen stated that the meeting came in light of the worsening financial crisis of UNRWA and its impact on the humanitarian, social, and economic situation of the Palestinian refugees, especially after the US suspended its contributions.    More . . .      
~~ Health  ministry,  with  support  from  WHO,  UNICEF,  succeeds  in  bringing  in  children  vaccines  More . . .
~~ EU  increases  financial  support  for  UNRWA      More . . .
~~ Distribution  of  Palestinian  refugees  registered  by  UNRWA     More . . .


By Ramona Wadi
The 2019 humanitarian plan for Palestinians in the occupied territories will allocate $350 million for aid intervention, according to Ramallah’s Minister of Social Development Ibrahim Al-Shaer and UN envoy Jamie McGoldrick. The people of Palestine remain divested of their legitimate human and civil rights in order to retain the imposed status of near-total aid dependency.    ___Despite decades of humanitarian aid sent their way since 1948, the Palestinians have still not recovered from the immediate deprivation of basic necessities created by the Nakba. This paradox could have been resolved if their rights had been fulfilled with equal enthusiasm.     [. . . .] Human rights, it seems, are official opportunities for personal advancement at the UN. Is that not a means of the politicization of humanitarian aid? According to Ma’an news agency, Al-Shaer “reaffirmed the danger of politicizing humanitarian aid because that would undermine and threaten human rights.”   More . . .

Rawdat El-Zuhur
is a Palestinian non governmental non-profit women’s organization in East Jerusalem. It supervises  Rawdat  El-Zuhur  elementary  coeducational  school  and  kindergarten  which serves mainly the lower income community.   December Newsletter. . .           Donate . . .


Oh Jerusalem, the luminous city of prophets
The shortest path between earth and sky

Oh Jerusalem, the citadel of laws
A beautiful child with fingers charred
and downcast eyes
You are the shady oasis passed by the Prophet
Your streets are melancholy
Your minarets are mourning
You, the young maiden dressed in black
Who rings the bells in the Nativity
On Saturday morning?
Who brings toys for the children
On Christmas eve?
The city of sorrow
A huge tear trembling on your eyelid
Who will halt the aggression
On you, the pearl of religions?
Who will wash your bloody walls?
Who will safeguard the Bible?
Who will rescue the Quran?
Who will save Christ?
Who will save man?
Oh Jerusalem my town
Oh Jerusalem my love
Tomorrow the lemon trees will blossom
And the olive trees will rejoice
Your eyes will dance
The migrant pigeons will return
To your sacred roofs
And your children will play again
And fathers and sons will meet
On your rosy hills
My city, city of peace and olives.
—Translated by Sharif Elmusa and 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.

“. . . 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
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
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 . . .
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.
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 . . .

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 . . .
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 . . .
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 . . .

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 friends: The Nile will not pour into the Volga . . .” (Mahmoud Darwish)

❶ Istanbul summit rejects US decision over Jerusalem, considers it null
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Abbas: Palestinians will no longer accept US role in peace process

  • Background: “Israel and the Arab Gulf States: From Tacit Cooperation to Reconciliation?” Israel Affairs.

❷ Journalist, human rights activist injured as Palestinians continue anti-Trump protests
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Child critically injured by soldiers remains in a coma, says group
❸ WHO Report: 45% of Gaza patients did not receive travel permits from Israel
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Israeli authorities demolish house in 1948 occupied Palestine
❹ Opinion/Analysis: What next after Bin Salman has ordered Abbas to surrender to Israel?
❺ POETRY by Mahmoud Darwish
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 13, 2017 ― The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) Wednesday rejected and condemned the illegal and irresponsible unilateral decision made by the President of the United States of America Donald Trump to recognize Jerusalem as the capital Israel and move his country’s embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
___In the final communiqué issued by the Extraordinary Islamic Summit Conference, world leaders considered the US decision null and void and considered it an attack on the historical, legal, natural and national rights of the Palestinian people, as well as a deliberate undermining of all peace efforts, a prelude to extremism and terrorism, and a threat to international peace and security.
___They reaffirmed the centrality of the Cause of Palestine and Al-Quds Ash-Sharif to the Muslim nation and renewed principled support for the Palestinian people in their pursuit to attain their inalienable national rights, including their right to self-determination and the establishment of their independent and sovereign Palestinian State on the borders of 4 June 1967, with Jerusalem as its capital. (The official text of the final announcement follows).    MORE . . .
Palestine News Network – PNN    
Dec. 13, 2017 ― The Palestinian president on Wednesday said that the Palestinians will no longer accept any role for the United States in the Middle East peace process following President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___Abbas, speaking at the The Istanbul gathering of heads of state and top officials from the 57-member Organization of Islamic Cooperation, had called Trump’s decision “a war crime” that threatened world peace, calling on the United Nations to take charge of the peace process and create a new mechanism, arguing that Washington is no longer “fit” for the task.
___The Palestinians are committed to a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, Abbas said, but after Trump’s seismic shift on Jerusalem, Washington is not accepted as a fair negotiator, the AP reported.   MORE . . .

(Note: this article is two years old and, of course, is not exactly germane to recent developments. However, it is a detailed background history of the relationship among Israel, the Gulf States, and the United States that is useful today.)

Guzansky, Yoel.
ISRAEL AFFAIRS, vol. 21, no. 1, Jan. 2015, pp. 131-147.  [. . . .] Some senior officials even dared to hint publicly that such cooperation could in fact take place and that both countries’ interests have become surprisingly overlapping. In a speech focusing on the Iranian nuclear issue at the opening session of the Israeli parliament in October 2013, Prime Minister Netanyahu said: “For the first time since the establishment of the State of Israel, a growing understanding is taking root in the Arab world, and it is not always said softly. This understanding, that Israel is not the enemy of Arabs and that we have a united front on many issues, might advance new possibilities in our region.”
___No Gulf official publicly admitted to having such a united front with the Jewish state, but a Saudi prince and an influential businessman, Alwaleed bin Talal, admitted in an interview with the Wall Street Journal that, ‘For the first time, Saudi Arabian and Israeli interests are almost parallel’. Another report on an Iranian news agency claimed that the Saudi intelligence chief Bandar bin Sultan met with high-ranking Israeli officials in Geneva to discuss ways to promote mutual interests such as ‘containing Iran, and side-lining the Muslim Brotherhood’.
[. . . .] The basic approach of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, the United Arab Emirates and Oman towards Israel is in constant need of balancing between the concern for their status and position in the Arab world, their hostile public opinions towards Israel and fundamental religious establishments and their strategic needs; and more recently between the need to show support to the Palestinians but to maintain tacit relationship with Israel vis-a`-vis their main rival, Iran.
[. . . .] However, the region’s evolving geopolitical landscape and Washington’s Middle East policy can provide a strategic opportunity to Israeli–GCC relations. Multiple factors like the tense relations with new regimes, skepticism from old ones, increased multilateral action, little effort put thus far into the peace process, withdrawal from Iraq and, soon, Afghanistan, the increasing likelihood of US independence from Middle Eastern oil, and public statements regarding a shift toward Asia suggest that America’s influence and interest in the region is diminishing. To some, it is evident that the Middle East is no longer at the top of US priority list. Iran’s continuous progress toward a nuclear weapon, the erosion of US influence in Iraq, the difficulty in influencing events in Syria, the Arab monarchies’ doubts concerning the reliability of the US, questions regarding the future of US relations with Egypt, and even the cooling of relations with Israel have indicated to some that the US is increasingly hard pressed to advance its policy in the region. To others, these are signs of a superpower in retreat.  [. . . .] SOURCE . . .    ..

Ma’an News Agency
Dec. 13, 2017 ― Clashes between Palestinians and Israeli forces were renewed on Wednesday in several districts across the occupied West Bank as Palestinians continued to protest in rejection of the US President’s decision to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___Clashes erupted between Palestinian youth and Israeli soldiers in several areas across the Hebron district in the southern West Bank.
___In Hebron city, Halhul, and Dura, clashes broke out after Israeli forces suppressed marches in the area.
[. . . .] Locals told Ma’an that Israeli soldiers targeted journalists with stun grenades, injuring photojournalist Abd al-Hafith al-Hashlamon in the foot. His injury was reported as moderate.   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Dec. 13, 2017 ― Hamid Masri, 14, who was shot and critically injured by Israeli soldiers on Tuesday after they suspected him of trying to attack them is in a coma at an Israeli hospital, the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society said on Wednesday.
___Soldiers opened fire at Masri near the West Bank city of Salfit and seriously wounded him.    MORE . . . 
Palestine News Network – PNN 
Dec. 13, 2017 ― The most recent report by the World Health Organizations (WHO) states that more than 45% of patients unsuccessful in obtaining security permits from Israeli authorities: Of 2,017 patient applications for a permit to exit Gaza through Erez checkpoint for hospital appointments in October 2017, 55% were approved; 2% were denied including three children and two elderly patients; and 43% were pending and lost their hospital appointments including 164 children and 82 elderly.   MORE . . .
The Palestinian Information Center
Dec. 13, 2017 ― Israeli bulldozers on Wednesday demolished a Palestinian house in Zemer town in the northern 1948 occupied Palestine.
___Palestinian sources reported that the Israeli bulldozers, accompanied by a military force, broke into Zemer town and demolished a house under construction on a privately owned Palestinian land without prior notice for allegedly lacking the necessary legal licenses.
___Tension prevailed following the demolition operation as Zemer residents rallied to express their rejection of the Israeli practices aimed at uprooting them from their lands.   MORE . . .  
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
Dec. 13, 2017 ― Saudi Arabia and Israel represent a twin threat to the Arab world. Both states have long received the military and political backing of the world’s sole remaining superpower, the United States of America; the regimes of both states abuse human rights, have committed war crimes and discriminate against their own citizens. Both, however, are considered by American elites to be useful for the project of retaining US hegemony in the Middle East, albeit in different ways.
___Support for Israel is also considered to be a religious duty by the powerful sector of US politicians and voters hailing from the fundamentalist evangelical right. This tendency considers Christian Zionism to be a top priority – if not the number one priority – in US foreign policy.
___US support for the Saudi dictatorship is less religious in nature; it’s more about ensuring access for US companies to the region’s vast oil wealth.   MORE . . .

Do not tell me:
I wish to be a baker in Algeria
In order to sing with the revolutionaries
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a shepherd in the Yemen
To sing for the uprising of the age
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a waiter in Havana
To sing for the victory of the poor
Do not tell me:
I wish to be a stone carrier in Aswan
To sing for the rocks
My friends:
The Nile will not pour into the Volga
The Congo and Jordan Rivers
Will not serve the Euphrates
Each river has its own
Our land is not barren
Each land has its own rebirth
Each dawn has a date with revolution.

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 Amazon.
About Mahmoud Darwish.