“How long had you been away from the place you loved best?” – Naomi Shihab Nye


Palestinian territories stable after Trump plan, but for how long?

Feb 20 2020
A relative calm has returned to the West Bank after a brief outbreak of violence between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers on the outskirts of cities and contact points after US President Trump announced his so-called deal of the century for Israeli-Palestinian peace on Jan. 28.
– – – – Confrontations on the West Bank in early February went beyond Palestinians throwing stones and Molotov cocktails at Israeli forces to include deadly clashes involving gunfire, a car-ramming attack and resisting the demolition of a home. In Gaza, Palestinians launched more than 20 rockets and hundreds of incendiary balloons toward Israeli communities. In response, the Israeli army decided on Feb. 6 to send reinforcements to the border with Gaza and to the West Bank.
– – – – In a speech at the UN Security Council on Feb. 11, PA President Mahmoud Abbas said, “We will not resort to violence and terrorism, no matter the aggression against us. We believe in peace and fighting violence. We are ready to cooperate with any country to combat terrorism, and we will fight with peaceful popular resistance.”    More . . . .

‘We gave up on historic Palestine in exchange for nothing’

Bassem Tamimi, who has led popular protests in Nabi Saleh for more than a
decade, says the two-state solution is ‘no longer an option.’
Feb 19 2020
“We need to wake up and change our strategy, to unite our struggle,” says Bassem Tamimi, a veteran Palestinian activist and father of Ahed Tamimi, as he sits in his Nabi Saleh home in the occupied West Bank. Tamimi, who was born in 1967 and has only ever known military occupation, was jailed during the First Intifada and has been among the leaders of the village’s popular protests over the past decade. Now, however, he has given up on the two-state solution. “It’s no longer an option,” he says.
– – – – The Tamimi family, and their village, made global headlines in late 2017 when Ahed slapped an Israeli soldier who had entered her family courtyard during a Friday demonstration. Earlier that day, a soldier had shot a 15-year-old relative in the head. A few days later, soldiers arrested Ahed, then 16, from her home in the middle of the night. Her mother, Nariman, was arrested shortly after her daughter for filming the slapping incident. Both spent eight months in prison.    More . . . .

  • Israeli court approves demolition of homes of five Palestinian detainees
    Feb 20 2020
    The Israeli Supreme Court today gave the go-ahead to demolish the Ramallah-area family homes of five Palestinian detainees allegedly involved in the killing of a settler in late August 2019.
    – – – – Israeli media reported that the Israeli court unanimously approved the demolition despite multiple petitions filed by the prisoners’ families against the demolition.
    – – – – The court explained its approval by the need to “establish credible deterrence against attacks.” Israel commenced in January the trial of the five prisoners, who were detained in December purportedly for being responsible for the killing of an Israeli settler. . . .  More . . . .
  • IOF shoot Palestinian youth east of Khuza’a town
    Feb 20 2020
    Israeli soldiers shot, on Wednesday afternoon, a young Palestinian man east of Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.
    – – – – Media sources said the soldiers shot the young man near the perimeter fence, inflicting moderate wounds before he was rushed to the European Hospital for treatment.
    – – – – The Israeli army claimed that sharpshooters of the Al-Quds Brigades, the armed wing of the Islamic Jihad fired rounds at military vehicles and soldiers across the fence and that the soldiers fired back.    More. . . .
  • Dozens of Palestinians choke by IOF tear gas during clashes in West Bank
    Feb 19 2020
    Dozens of Palestinian citizens on Tuesday choked on tear gas fired by Israeli occupation forces (IOF) during confrontations in Tulkarem and Ramallah in the West Bank.
    – – – – In Tulkarem, scores of Palestinians marched in protest at the US deal of the century, raised Palestine flags and burned car tires, local sources reported.
    – – – – The IOF attacked them with rubber-coated metal bullets and tear gas canisters. Dozens suffered breathing difficulties as a result of inhaling tear gas.    More . . . .


Searching for Lost Sons and Daughters: Statistics on Palestinians in the Diaspora
This Week In Palestine
Issue #262, Feb 2020
By: Ola Awad
Satistical data indicate that on the eve of the 1948 war, the population in Palestine had reached 2.1 million, 1.45 million of which were Palestinians. Varying estimates and divergent figures have been circulated by different sources regarding the number of Palestinian refugees displaced from their homes during this war. The Israeli occupation took over 774 Palestinian cities and villages, 531 of which were completely demolished, whereas the others were subjugated to the Israeli occupation and its regulations, eventually to be incorporated into the Israeli state. . . . The most modest estimates of Palestinian refugees counted around 736 thousand individuals, more than 50 percent of the Palestinian population. They were moved to refugee camps in the West Bank, Gaza Strip, and the neighboring countries Jordan, Syria, and Lebanon. . . .
. . . . At the beginning of the current century, PCBS took the initiative of listing Palestinians who live in the diaspora in order to build a database that may serve as the basis for efforts to bridge existing gaps between the Palestinian people in their homeland and in the diaspora in order to connect them. . . . This catalogue will be the tool by which data are collected and monitored, providing as well an agreed-upon list of indicators. The database will be updated whenever possible. Palestinian embassies and representative offices in places around the world where Palestinians live constitute the main source of data and serve as focal points and PCBS’ link to Palestinian diaspora communities.    More . . . .


“HELLO, PALESTINE” — Naomi Shihab Nye

Hello, Palestine
In the hours after you died,
all the pain went out of your face.
Whole governments relaxed in your jaw line.
How long had you been away
from the place you loved best?
Every minute was too much.
Each year’s bundle
of horror stories: more trees chopped,
homes demolished, people gone crazy.
You’d turn your face away from the screen.
At the end you spoke to your own blood
filtering through a machine:
We’ll get there again, friend.
When you died, your long frustration
zipped its case closed. Everyone in a body
is chosen for trouble and bliss.
At least nothing got amputated,
I said, and the nurses looked quizzical.
Well, if only you had seen his country.

From Transfer, by Naomi Shihab Nye, BOA editions, 2011.
Available from Barnes and Noble.

“. . . My endurance is as limitless as the horizon . . .” (Tawfiq Zayyad)

bethlehem_Copy_of_IMGL9302 - Copy
BETHLEHEM: Palestinian family takes photo in front of the Christmas tree. (Photo: Institute for Middle East Understanding, Dec. 20, 2018)

An Israeli warplane carried out an airstrike in the Gaza Strip following, causing horror among women and children, Palestinian security sources said.    ___In a statement, the Israeli military spokesman recognised the attack and claimed it targeted a Palestinian resistance post in the southern Gaza Strip.    ___Palestinian medical sources reported no injuries, but reiterated that airstrike caused repulsive horror among tens of children and women living in the vicinity of the targeted place.    More . . .
Pilgrims from around the world flocked to Bethlehem on Monday for what was believed to be the biblical West Bank city’s largest Christmas celebrations in years.    ___Hundreds of locals and foreign visitors milled in Manger Square as bagpipe-playing Palestinian Scouts paraded past a giant Christmas tree. Crowds flooded the Church of the Nativity, venerated as the traditional site of Jesus’s birth, and waited to descend into the ancient grotto.    ___Palestinian Tourism Minister Rula Maaya said all Bethlehem hotels were fully booked, and the city was preparing to host an “astounding” 10,000 tourists overnight.     More . . .
The gross domestic product increased by 2.3% in the West Bank and decreased by 7.9% in Gaza Strip  during the first three quarters of the year 2018 compared to the same quarters of the year 2017, according to the Palestinian Central Bureau of Statistics (PCBS).    ___PCBS said a sharp decrease in GDP at constant prices in the Gaza Strip during the first three quarters of the year 2018 led to slowing down in the growth of the Palestinian economy compared to the parallel quarters of the year 2017.     More . . .

Dr. Mohammad Makram Balawi
On 16 December 2018, an Israeli court . . .  sentenced Suzan Abu Ghannaam – the mother of 20-year-old Palestinian martyr Muhammad Abu Ghannaam – to eleven months in prison on account of “incitement” in a Facebook post. Her son had been killed while protesting against the restrictions imposed by the Israeli occupation authorities on Muslim worshippers . . . .   On the same day Yair Netanyahu, the son of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, claimed that Facebook had banned him from posting for 24 hours. In a series of tweets, Yair had called for the expulsion of Palestinians and Muslims from the region . . .   Unlike mother-of-four Suzan Abu Ghannam, Yair Netanyahu was not jailed for two months, summoned to court and sentenced to 11 months in prison. Instead, he brags about his actions . . .   More . . .

As 2018 comes to an end, we are sad to report that living conditions in Gaza continue to get worse, taking an unfathomable toll on the population.  Unemployment is over 55%, with youth unemployment at 75%, while most who do get paid receive only half their wages.  Many families live on $1 a day, at best. Over 95% of the water supply is now undrinkable due to the persistent lack of electricity limited to about 4 hours per day. The land, sea, and air blockade is now in its 12th year, sealing Gaza off from the rest of the world.    ___Children in Gaza are caged in a toxic slum from birth to death . . .    More . . .   DONATE . . .


I take my time!
I take my time!
I draw the first thread of light
From the deep darkness of night;
I tend the nursery of dreams
At the source of the torrent,
And dry the tears of loved ones
With a kerchief of jasmine.
I plant the most verdant oases
Amidst the scorched sands,
And shape a life for the outlaws
From fragrance, plenty, and justice.
If someday, on the road, my foot should stumble,
My roots will uphold and support me.

I take my time
For I am unlike the match
That flickers once, then dies.
I am more like the fire of the magi, burning bright
From my cradle to my grave.
And from my forebears to my offspring.
My endurance is as limitless as the horizon,
And the skill of the ant I’ve mastered.

I take my time,
For it is the function of history
To follow our dictates.
We have prepared for the downfall of the giants of the earth,
We will pay them back in kind;
We will give them enough rope, not that they may live longer,
But that they might have enough to hang themselves.

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.