“. . . Both his knife and the storm Are his destiny . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

yatta
Israeli forces tighten closure on the town of Yatta. (Photo: Ma’an News Agency, June 15, 2016)

❶ Israeli army commander testifies soldier had no justification for shooting al-Sharif
❷ PCHR Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the oPt (09 – 15 June 2016)
❸ Opinion/Analysis:  IS  TEL  AVIV  ATTACK  REVIVAL  OF  THE  JERUSALEM  INTIFADA?

POETRY by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
❶ ISRAELI  ARMY  COMMANDER  TESTIFIES  SOLDIER  HAD  NO  JUSTIFICATION  FOR  SHOOTING  AL-SHARIF
Ma’an News Agency
June 16, 2016
An Israeli army commander [Maj. Tom Neeman] testified in court Thursday that Elor Azaria, the Israeli soldier who shot dead Abdel Fattah al-Sharif while he was lying wounded on the ground after an alleged attempted stabbing in Hebron, saying there was no “operational justification” for Azaria’s actions, according to Israeli news media [. . . .]  __”I approached him and asked, ‘Why did you do it?’,” Neeman continued, “He answered me, ‘This terrorist was alive, and he needs to die.'” Neeman added: “I was angry at him for doing this. Essentially a shooting had been conducted at the scene that I was in charge of, without my permission.”     MORE . . .  

[Note: the two articles quoted today are not specifically about extra-judicial killings by individual IDF soldiers in the moment of a perceived attack by Palestinians. They, however, provide background for the general attitude of the IDF toward the killing of “terrorists.”]  

The IDF suggested . . . that the setting of the conflict between Israel and the different Palestinian organizations be referred to as a “state of armed conflict short of war”—a state that on the one hand is more than a police action that necessitates a law enforcement paradigm, and less than a “total war” that would not have been acceptable on the international community [. . . .]
___Jean-Philippe Kot attests that Palestinian civilians were deliberately put at risk due to a flawed interpretation of civilian immunity. Kot attests that in practice, the Israeli soldiers’ right to life unjustifiably superseded the rights of its enemy population. (Jean-Philippe Kot, “Israeli Civilians versus Palestinian Combatants?” Leiden Journal of International Law.)
___Philosophy professor Asa Kasher, who . . .  specializes in moral doctrines that shape parameters of military actions, says that the principle of distinction is a most important moral principle. Yet . . . a soldier’s life should not be put in unreasonable risk in favor of enemy citizens. The value of an enemy civilian life does not outweigh the value of the soldier’s life. In Kasher’s contentious view, the State’s primary responsibility is to protect the lives of its citizens and its “responsibility for one’s own citizens takes precedence over the other responsibility to the non-dangerous neighbors.”

  • Falk, Ophir. “Permissibility Of Targeted Killing.” Studies In Conflict & Terrorism 37.4 (2014): 295-321.     SOURCE.  
al-sharif
Still from video footage was expected to be shown to the Israeli military court at the trial of Elor Azaria. (Photo from Ma’an News Agency, June 16, 2016)

❷ PCHR  REPORT  ON  ISRAELI  HUMAN  RIGHTS  VIOLATIONS  IN  THE  OPT  (09 – 15  JUNE  2016)
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
June 16, 2016
Israeli violations of international law and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territories continued during the reporting period (09 – 15 June 2016).
___Shootings: Israeli forces have continued to commit crimes, inflicting civilian casualties [. . . .]
___Incursions: During the reporting period, Israeli forces conducted at least 89 military incursions into Palestinian communities in the West Bank and 6 ones in occupied East Jerusalem and its suburbs [. . . .]
___ Collective Punishment Policy:  On Thursday, 09 June 2016, Israeli bulldozers closed the northern main entrance to Yatta, south of Hebron, in addition to the bypass roads leading to the city and its villages. Israeli forces imposed this cordon after declaring the city as a closed military zone [. . . .]      MORE . . .   

. . . this is precisely the argument that the Rapporteur and others make . . .  Article 51(3) of the First Additional Protocol to the Geneva Convention, [ ] provides that ‘[c]ivilians shall enjoy the protection afforded by this section, unless and for such time as they take a direct part in hostilities.’ [Rapporteur] reads this to mean except when actually firing on enemy soldiers, ‘… and as soon as they cease to do so, they regain protection …. They maintain their civilian status …. They cannot be hunted down and summarily executed’.
___Amnesty International similarly holds that “Armed Palestinians who directly participate in hostilities—for example by shooting at Israeli soldiers or civilians—lose their protected status for the duration of the attack …. [But t]hey are civilians …. Because they are not combatants, the fact that they participated in armed attack at an earlier point cannot justify targeting them for death later on.”
[. . . .]  Michael Schmitt offers a more plausible perspective on the same passage:
“. . . assume that the group has committed terrorism against the state and is expected to do so again in the future. In this scenario … the various terrorist acts may be regarded as part of a continuous operation. This characterization is analogous to the battle/war distinction. Once war has commenced, the initiation of each battle is not evaluated separately. . . .”
___On this more plausible reading, terrorists are assumed to be engaged in ongoing struggle and therefore remain legitimate targets.

  • Plaw, Avery. “Terminating Terror The Legality, Ethics And Effectiveness Of Targeting Terrorists.” Theoria: A Journal Of Social & Political Theory 54.114 (2007): 1-27.    SOURCE.

❸ Opinion/Analysis: IS  TEL  AVIV  ATTACK  REVIVAL  OF  THE  JERUSALEM  INTIFADA?
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
Adnan Abu Amer
June 15, 2016
The pace of the attacks against Israelis during the Jerusalem intifada, which broke out in October 2015, has been increasing at times and decreasing at others. Up until early March, 620 attacks had been carried out in the West Bank, Gaza Strip and Jerusalem, resulting in the death of 33 Israelis and 209 Palestinians.
___The Tel Aviv attack June 8 was the most ruthless Palestinian armed attack against Israelis, targeting a shopping mall in Tel Aviv, a short walk from the headquarters of the Israeli Ministry of Defense. Cousins Mohammad and Khaled Mahamra from the town of Yatta in Hebron governorate were able to pass through the security measures and the Israeli military checkpoints, and started shooting at people killing four Israelis and wounding six others.
___On june 9, the Israeli government promptly decided to impose a series of collective punishments on the Palestinian residents of Yatta        MORE . . .  

“FOUR WHISPERS,” BY FOUZI EL-ASMAR

I.
Since our life is barren
like desert sands
As are our minds
We sow our hopes
in plains of deadly gold
and set up our own temptations
to lure us like a mirage
at dawn

II.
When a man is reduced to a butchered lamb
And his will to a helpless, flapping sail
Lost in the ocean
Both his knife and the storm
Are his destiny.

III.
We are consumed in guarding
Against the bit of the adder,
Meanwhile neglecting
The labour of the ant on our land.

IV.
Oh, brothers
The thorn bears no fruit
Its stem throbs with a deadly poison.
It shall be uprooted.

About Fouzi El-Asmar  
From El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS.  Washington, D.C.: Three Continents Press, 1979.    Available from Amazon.

“. . . But my will remains uncowed . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

November 2013 – King’s College London and Southampton University opt not to award G4S major security contracts following vigorous student campaigns. (Photo: BDS Campaign)
November 2013 – King’s College London and Southampton University opt not to award G4S major security contracts following vigorous student campaigns. (Photo: BDS Campaign)

❶ Israeli forces order closure of Palestinian news outlet in Ramallah
. . . . . ❶―(ᴀ) PA: Right to resist occupation guaranteed under international law
❷ Video: “Let him die” say Israelis as Palestinian boy lays bleeding
❸ PCHR Weekly Report: 6 Palestinian Civilians Killed, 8 Wounded by Israeli Forces This Week
❹ Analysis: Why do we only listen to violence?
❺ Opinion/Analysis: WHY  THE  DIVESTMENT  OF  G4S  FROM  ISRAEL  IS  A  BIG  DEAL
Background: British giant G4S to end Israeli business after BDS pressure
❻ Poetry by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
ISRAELI  FORCES  ORDER  CLOSURE  OF  PALESTINIAN  NEWS  OUTLET  IN  RAMALLAH
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
11 Mar. 2016
Israeli forces during predawn raids on Friday ordered the closure of Falastin al-Yawm (Palestine Today TV) and TransMedia Production Company in the occupied West Bank hub of Ramallah.
___Locals told Ma’an that forces stormed the media outlets’ headquarters in al-Bireh and detained two journalists, confiscated property, and delivered military orders for the offices to be shut down.      MORE . . .   

. . . . . ❶―(ᴀ) PA:  RIGHT  TO  RESIST  OCCUPATION  GUARANTEED  UNDER  INTERNATIONAL  LAW
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
11 Mar. 2016
The Palestinian Ministry of Information said on Thursday that Palestinian resistance against the Israeli occupation is a “legitimate right” guaranteed under international law, stressing that Palestinians will continue with popular resistance.      MORE . . .

VIDEO:  “LET  HIM  DIE”  SAY  ISRAELIS  AS  PALESTINIAN  BOY  LAYS  BLEEDING
ELECTRONIC INTIFADA
Maureen Clare Murphy
10 Mar. 2016
(Warning: this article includes video showing very graphic violence.)
Graphic video shows a gravely injured Palestinian lying on the floor of a liquor store, apparently struggling to breathe, as Israelis curse him and call for him to die on Tuesday.
___“Die, you fucker, die, you son of a whore,” a man not seen in the video says in Hebrew. The wounded Palestinian is also called homophobic epithets.    MORE . . . 

Israeli Settler Stabs A Palestinian Near Salfit, Monday October 26, 2015. Reporting Israel labels as “incitement.” (Photo: Palestine Today― Falastin al-Yawm)
Israeli Settler Stabs A Palestinian Near Salfit, Monday October 26, 2015. Reporting Israel labels as “incitement.” (Photo: Palestine Today― Falastin al-Yawm)

PCHR  WEEKLY  REPORT:  6  PALESTINIAN  CIVILIANS  KILLED,  8  WOUNDED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  THIS  WEEK
IMEMC NEWS
11 Mar. 2016
In its Weekly Report on Israeli Human Rights Violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories for the week of 03– 09 March 2016, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) found that Israeli forces continued systematic crimes in the occupied Palestinian territories. 6 Palestinian civilians, including a child and 2 women, were killed in the West Bank and occupied Jerusalem. 8 Palestinian civilians, including 5 children, were wounded in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.      MORE . . . 

ANALYSIS:  WHY  DO  WE  [Israelis] ONLY  LISTEN  TO  VIOLENCE?
+972 MAGAZINE
Noam Sheizaf
11 Mar. 2016
One axiom of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is that Palestinian violence pushes the Jewish public rightward. Due to violence, common wisdom goes, the willingness of Israeli Jews to make concessions or compromise decreases, and Palestinian independence or equality becomes more of a pipe dream. . . . Reality, however, is much more complex, and sometimes the exact opposite. As Israelis and Palestinians seem headed into another prolonged and bloody escalation, it’s important to face the facts.     MORE . . . 

OPINION/ANALYSIS:  WHY  THE  DIVESTMENT  OF  G4S  FROM  ISRAEL  IS  A  BIG  DEAL
MIDDLE EAST MONITOR (MEMO)
Sabrien Amrov
11 Mar. 2016
The G4S security company has announced plans to leave the Israeli market. This is a big deal. In 2002, the Israel Defence Forces (IDF) incorporated the activities of the largest multinational private security company to date, G4S, in the management of the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza. Since then, G4S has held 90 per cent of the shares in its Israeli subsidiary. The company is the second largest actor in the management of the occupation after the IDF and the biggest private security employer both in Israel and around the world (G4S website).     MORE . . .   
BACKGROUND . . .
BRITISH  GIANT  G4S  TO  END  ISRAELI  BUSINESS  AFTER  BDS  PRESSURE 

 “TO  THE  BELOVED  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  FOUZI EL-ASMAR
Night in my cell
is life still in bud.
Beloved, you are like the breaking of light,
Like truth
Like a song dissolved into longing
Tearing apart the draped evening
Wrecking the flow of moans.

Beloved,
The joy of daylight
embraces the darkness
in my cell;
persistent silence here
will turn back the blade
of the swindler, the torturer
the thief of my childhood dreams
in the day’s heat.

Beloved, in your name
dusk has touched my forehead
grey dreams flooded my head
But my will remains uncowed
for since I came to manhood
with my eyelashes
I have borne your ancient love
You remain my lighthouse
and only refuge.

Beloved,
we are here to nurse at life
Your full breast
stretches are lightening
of hope and will
It shall flower a new prophecy
in our souls
It shall loosen the chains
and hurl light over our love.

Beloved,
The prison is a brief cloud
The bitter winds
of a cold journey
which we must accomplish.

Our road is wrapped in sighs, tears, and thorns
In all that dark claws can weave
but our love shall triumph
At the end of the road.

There
We shall meet with the sun
Its rays shall enter every house
Fill every crack
Flooding mountains, hills, and plains.

As I sit in a corner of my dim cell
lacing the seeds of the little light
stretching them to these lines for you
I am struck with the joy of a child:
Beloved,
With all that tears this life apart
They forget they cannot put
my mind in jail.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1979.
Available at Amazon. 
About Fouzi El-Asmar.

 

“. . . The joy of daylight embraces the darkness . . .” (Fouzi El-Asmar)

Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians. Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).
Perhaps the Palestinian proverb “Olive oil is the mainstay of the house” reflects the role that olive oil plays in the lives of the Palestinians.
Photo by Rami Rishmawi (Centre for Cultural Heritage Preservation Archives).

❶ Israeli soldiers kill Palestinian teen in Tulkarem clashes
❷ Red Crescent declares ‘state of emergency’ after attacks on staff
❸ Soldiers Kidnap Nine Palestinians, Many Residents Injured
❹ Al-Shajara al-Mubaraka (“The blessed tree”
❺ Opinion/Analysis: Why Israel wants a religious war over Al-Aqsa
❻ Poetry by Fouzi El-Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
ISRAELI  SOLDIERS  KILL  PALESTINIAN  TEEN  IN  TULKAREM  CLASHES
Oct. 5, 2015
TULKAREM (Ma’an) — Israeli forces shot dead a Palestinian teenager during clashes in the northern West Bank village of Bala, east of Tulkarem, overnight Sunday, medics said.
____Red Crescent officials told Ma’an that 18-year-old Huthayfa Othman Suleiman was shot in the chest during clashes and died in the operating room.
____Three other young men were shot with live fire during the clashes and taken to Thabit Thabit hospital to be treated for their injuries.
[. . . . .]
“What happened in Tulkarem is clear evidence that the Netanyahu government is trying to escalate the situation in the West Bank to torture angry Palestinian citizens who protest what is going on in the Al-Aqsa Mosque, as well as settler attacks against Palestinian towns,” a senior Fatah official in Tulkarem, Muayyad Shaaban, told Ma’an.
More . . .
Related . . . VIDEO:  AL-MAYADEEN  JOURNALIST  INJURED  BY  ISRAELI  FORCES  IN  JERUSALEM
Related . . . RED  CRESCENT:  96  PALESTINIANS  WOUNDED  BY  LIVE,  RUBBER  BULLETS
MA’AN NEWS AGENCY
RED  CRESCENT  DECLARES  ‘STATE  OF  EMERGENCY’  AFTER  ATTACKS  ON  STAFF
Oct. 4, 2015
BETHLEHEM (Ma’an) — The Palestine Red Crescent Society on Sunday declared a state of emergency across the occupied Palestinian territory following an upsurge in violence by Israeli soldiers and settlers, including 14 attacks on the society’s ambulances in just three days.
____The society said in a statement that it was declaring a level 3 state of emergency and putting all its staff, teams and volunteers on standby.
____The society decried Israeli violations of international humanitarian law, saying that in a 72-hour period, it had faced 14 attacks against its staff and vehicles “in a serious escalation of violations against PRCS, its teams and the humanitarian services they render.”
More . . .
INTERNATIONAL MIDDLE EAST MEDIA CENTER (IMEMC)
SOLDIERS  KIDNAP  NINE  PALESTINIANS,  MANY  RESIDENTS  INJURED
Oct. 05, 2015
Israeli soldiers invaded, earlier Monday, several Palestinian communities in the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, violently searched homes and property, and kidnapped nine Palestinians. The army attacked and injured a woman in her home, while many residents suffered the effects of tear gas inhalation.
____The Palestinian News & Info Agency (WAFA) has reported that the soldiers invaded the home of Badea’ Shafiq Snober, 47, in Yitma village, south of the northern West Bank city of Nablus, and kidnapped him, after violently searching his property, causing damage.
____The soldiers also attacked Badea’ wife, Eman ‘Othman, 45, as she tried to stop them from ransacking her home and kidnapping her husband, causing various cuts and bruises.
____Dozens of army vehicles also invaded the towns of Huwwara, Beit Forik, Osarin and Qabalan, searched and ransacked several homes, and withdrew without conducting any arrests.
More . . .
Related . . . PCHR:  “ISRAELI  FORCES  ESCALATE  THEIR  ARBITRARY  MEASURES  IN  THE  WEST  BANK”
Related . . . SEVERAL  PALESTINIANS  INJURED  IN  JENIN,  ONE  KIDNAPPED  IN  BETHLEHEM
THIS WEEK IN PALESTINE
AL-SHAJARA  AL-MUBARAKA  (“THE  BLESSED  TREE”)
Nada Atrash and Sami Backleh
The Olive Tree is a synonym for Palestine, and Palestine is a synonym for the Olive Tree. They exist together. They have formed a confluence for eternity, and they still maintain the passion between them. Never a morning or an evening passes, unless the Olive Tree, or ‘the Tree of Light’ as it is called by the Palestinians, is a part of it in one way or another.”
[. . . . . ]
____ Although universally regarded as the symbol of peace, the olive tree has become a symbol of steadfastness in Palestine. Since the Nakba in 1967, Israel has uprooted more than 1.5 million olive trees. Moreover, farmers are forbidden to pick olives from their trees that are located near the Wall or close to the settlements.
More . . .
❺ Opinion/Analysis
AL JAZEERA
ANALYSIS:  WHY  ISRAEL  WANTS  A  RELIGIOUS  WAR  OVER  AL-AQSA
The struggle over Al-Aqsa Mosque is a colonial and not a religious one, Palestinian experts say.
Sep. 21, 2015
Much of the media coverage of recent raids and protests by Israeli police and settlers at Al-Aqsa Mosque have focused on the “exclusive Muslim control” over the compound in Israeli-occupied Jerusalem, and Palestinian fears of the demand by Jewish settlers to “divide it”. Lost in the religious warfare narrative is the colonial impulse governing both Israeli actions and Palestinian reactions. Where does the struggle for Al-Aqsa fit within the wider Israeli-Palestinian conflict?
____Four leading Palestinian figures give their take on the latest round of Israeli violence at Al-Aqsa.
More . . .

“TO  THE  BELOVED  MOTHERLAND,”  BY  FOUZI EL-ASMAR
Night in my cell
is life still in bud.
Beloved, you are like the breaking of light,
Like truth
Like a song dissolved into longing
Tearing apart the draped evening
Wrecking the flow of moans.

Beloved,
The joy of daylight
embraces the darkness
in my cell;
persistent silence here
will turn back the blade
of the swindler, the torturer
the thief of my childhood dreams
in the day’s heat.

Beloved, in your name
dusk has touched my forehead
grey dreams flooded my head
But my will remains uncowed
for since I came to manhood
with my eyelashes
I have borne your ancient love
You remain my lighthouse
and only refuge.

Beloved,
we are here to nurse at life
Your full breast
stretches are lightening
of hope and will
It shall flower a new prophecy
in our souls
It shall loosen the chains
and hurl light over our love.

Beloved,
The prison is a brief cloud
The bitter winds
of a cold journey
which we must accomplish.

Our road is wrapped in sighs, tears, and thorns
In all that dark claws can weave
but our love shall triumph
At the end of the road.

There
We shall meet with the sun
Its rays shall enter every house
Fill every crack
Flooding mountains, hills, and plains.

As I sit in a corner of my dim cell
lacing the seeds of the little light
stretching them to these lines for you
I am struck with the joy of a child:
Beloved,
With all that tears this life apart
They forget they cannot put
my mind in jail.

El-Asmar, Fouzi. THE  WIND-DRIVEN  REED  AND  OTHER  POEMS. Washington, DC: Three Continents Press, 1979.
Available at Amazon. 
About Fouzi El-Asmar.

Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)
Israeli soldiers as they appear confronting unarmed Palestinian civilians throughout the Occupied Territories and East Jerusalem. (Agence France‑Presse/Photo)