“. . . I am the son of the land and for that I find goodness . . .” (Fouzi El Asmar)

Image showing proposed Israeli corruption of Ibrahim Mosque in Hebron (Photo: Palestine News Network, Aug. 19, 2016)

❶ Islamic Christian Committee: Israel Planning Jerusalem Entrance Project to Obliterate Muslim Christian Spirit

  • Background:  Journal Of Islamic Studies

❷ Urgent Intervention Needed to Prevent Permanent Damage to the Ibrahimi Mosque in Hebron’s Old City
❸ Lieberman to Launch Online Channel Directed at Palestinians
❹ POETRY by Fouzi El Asmar
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 19, 2016
The Islamic Christian Committee to Defend Jerusalem and Holy Sites warned, on Thursday, against an Israeli project called the “New Face of Modern Jerusalem,” which targets the main western entrance of the city.
___The committee said, in a press release, that the plan aims to give Jerusalem a Jewish character, obliterate its Arab Muslim and Christian identity, deface its history and create a new face that doesn’t relate to the original Arab Jerusalem.
___Secretary General of the Committee Hanna Isaa said, according to WAFA correspondence, that the plan is proposed on around 720,000 meter square of land and would cost 1.4 billion shekels ($370 million USD).      MORE . . .

  • Rosmer, Tilde. “Resisting ‘Israelization’: The Islamic Movement In Israel And The Realization Of Islamization, Palestinization And Arabization.” Journal Of Islamic Studies 23.3 (2012): 325-358.  SOURCE. . .  

[. . . .]  Islamic Movement activists continuously structure their activism with the intention of preserving and reinforcing the Palestinian and Muslim identity of Muslim Palestinian citizens of Israel, despite their presence in what is now a Jewish state. Interviewees were aware of the balancing act this predicament necessitates and were willing to discuss it openly.
[. . . .] The process of Israelization can be viewed from two perspectives. Measures taken by the state towards its Palestinian citizens intended to weaken their Palestinian identity and strengthen their identity as acquiescent, Hebrew-speaking ‘Israeli Arabs’, enforced through controlling their education and economic and political opportunities. Israelization is also an effect of the expected influences on Palestinian citizens’ identity, culture and lifestyle derived from living and working in Israel and the resulting exposure to, and to a degree participation in, Hebrew and Israeli media and mainstream culture.
[. . . .] In common with other Islamic movements in the region, the Islamic Movement in Israel shares the approach of Islamization from below through its network of local institutions and mosques and through the emphasis it places on da’wa. The main difference between this Movement and other regional movements is due to its political context in Israel. This context has produced the paradoxical predicament wherein Palestinian citizens are able to establish and run their Islamic Movement openly and lawfully, including enjoying representation in the Knesset, as long as their activism is not perceived to threaten the Zionist identity or national goals of the state. However, members and supporters of the Islamic Movement are discriminated against as non-Jewish citizens of the Jewish state and particularly as members of an indigenous national group with which Israel remains in conflict.
[. . . .] . . . the interrelated processes of Islamization, Palestinization and Arabization are responses to the processes of Israelization, which refers to the adjustments of identity and life-style and to limitations in political and social activism in accordance with their minority status.
[. . . .] . . .  the activism of the Islamic Movement in Israel focuses on creating local institutions that provide services the State does not provide for this constituency and promoting its Muslim, Palestinian and Arab identity. Both the goals articulated by the Islamic Movement in Israel’s leaders and its activism portray a pragmatic appreciation of the limitations of their context while simultaneously struggling to cater to the social, spiritual and communal needs of the Palestinian citizens of the Jewish State.

Palestine News Network – PNN
Aug. 19,2016
For more than one month the Israeli Government and Occupation Authorities have planned and have worked on installing a new permanent checkpoint structure and other permanent buildings on the historic grounds of the Ibrahimi Mosque in the Old City. Their plans (as seen below) reveal vast damage will be done to the historic grounds of this cultural heritage site. The Israeli plans include remove stones from the Mosque’s site which is more than 2000 years old. These plans will permanently damage the historical Ibrahimi mosque and the aesthetic fabric of the area.    MORE . . .  

Palestine Chronicle
Aug 18 2016
Israeli Defense Minister, Avigdor Lieberman, announced during a meeting with military reporters at the headquarters of the Israeli Defense Ministry in Tel Aviv yesterday, a plan to launch a 10-million shekel online channel directed at Palestinians in the West Bank.
___Lieberman said the plan would include “treating Palestinians who are ready to co-exist with Israeli settlers in the West Bank well, and imposing restrictions on those who do not.”    More . . .  

You may take my hands
and lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me.

You bereaved me
from the light
and I marched
You robbed me
of the bread
and I ate.
You plundered the land
from me
and I ploughed.

I am the son of the land
and for that
I find goodness in this earth
anywhere I happen to be:
The ants of this land
feed me
The branches of this land
foster me
The eagles of this land
will shield my open revolt

You may take my hands
And lock them in your chains
You may also blindfold me
But here I will stand tall
And here I shall remain
until the very end. (April, 1970) 

From: El Azmar, Fouzi. POEMS  FROM  AN  ISRAELI  PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.
Available from Amazon
About Fouzi El Asmar 

“. . . I had no address. I am a man in transit . . .” (Rashid Hussein)

Palestinian women walk past a mosque and water tower damaged by Israeli air strikes and shelling in KHUZAA near ABU RIDA GATE in the southern Gaza Strip. Aug. 3, 2014. (Photo: The Irish Times)

❶ Israel surveys vast tract of land southeast of J’lem to declare it state land

  • Background: “Settlements and Ethnic Cleansing In the Jordan Valley.”

❷ Israeli forces level lands in southern Gaza Strip

  • Background: “Perils of Parity: Palestine’s Permanent Transition.”

❸ Palestinian human rights groups ‘gravely concerned’ over ongoing death threats to staff
❹ POETRY by Rashid Hussein
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
The Palestinian Information Center
Aug. 15, 2016
The Israeli occupation authority (IOA) has embarked recently on conducting a land survey between the settlement of Efrat (southeast Jerusalem) and the area to its east with the intention of annexing it and declaring it state land, according to a report published by Haaretz newspaper on Sunday.
___Efrat is in the Gush Etzion settlement bloc in the southern West Bank, and the area to its east is called Givat Eitam.    MORE . . .  

  • Tofakji, Khalil. “Settlements And Ethnic Cleansing In The Jordan Valley.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 81-87.

[. . . .] The Israeli government utilized two main methods in order to construct and expand its settlements in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).The first method involved setting legal and bureaucratic procedures enabling the government to confiscate lands. By using the following justifications: seizure for military purposes, declaration of state lands, seizure of absentee property, confiscation for public needs, and initial registration, Israel has managed to take over about 50% of the lands in the West Bank, barring the local Palestinian public from using them. The second method is by evicting Palestinians from these lands, with the declared objective of controlling maximum land with a minimum number of Palestinian Arabs. The Israeli daily Haaretz on 21 May 2014 revealed in a report the methods the IDF uses to remove the Palestinians from Area C, and quoted Israeli army officer col. Einav Shalev as saying the Israeli army practices daily confinement, harassment and attacks on Palestinians through the sabotage of their crops and lands, as well as preventing them from obtaining building licenses, water and electricity. These “tools” are used to place pressure on and eventually force the Palestinian inhabitants of these areas to leave their houses and lands. Shalev added that the army also increased its military training in the Jordan Valley in an attempt to force the Palestinians to leave the land.
___These methods are viewed by Palestinians as systematic ethnic cleansing policy and have also been also implemented in the Jordan Valley.
[. . . .] With security considerations no longer being the primary motivation, the continued expansion into and occupation of the West Bank is a strategic move for Israel serving its economic interests. Through the restrictions on movement of people and goods, Israel is able to control the Palestinian economy and constrain growth to limited designated areas, or via immigration into neighboring countries. These methods, combined with the Bahrain Canal Project linking the Dead Sea to the Red Sea, which would primarily benefit the Israelis, the continued demolition of Palestinian homes, and the eviction of Bedouins, aim at attaining the undeclared goal of the ethnic cleansing of Palestinians from the OPT.    SOURCE.

Illustrative photo of the West Bank settlement of Efrat, December 17, 2014 (Photo: Times of Israel/Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 15, 2016
Israeli military vehicles staged a limited incursion across the borderline of the besieged Gaza Strip to level land on Monday morning, locals said.
___Locals told Ma’an that six Israeli military vehicles crossed the Abu Rida gate at the border east of the town of Khuzaa in the southern Gaza Strip and leveled Palestinian land in the area.
___Israeli military incursions inside the besieged Gaza Strip and near the “buffer zone” which lies on both land and sea sides of Gaza, have long been a near-daily occurrence.    MORE . . .  

  • Miller, Zinaida. “Perils of Parity: Palestine’s Permanent Transition.” Cornell International Law Journal 47.2 (2014): 331-415.

[. . . . ]  Rather than understanding the situation in terms of occupation—a framework that seeks to protect a vulnerable people from a militarily strong sovereign—the Oslo regime suggests two warring parties. In the process, Israeli, international, and even Palestinian discourse has gradually reduced or eliminated the use of the term ‘occupation’ while focusing on the achievement of ‘peace.’
___The Oslo regime has also affected Palestinian resistance. While the PLO in the past sought to end the occupation, current iterations have focused on the achievement of statehood. In the process, the goal of equality . . .  may at times be undermined by a process predicated on parity . . . . Relations of parity resulted in part from the Palestinian belief that mutual recognition or formal status would alter the terms of the conflict; in the end, however, the conception— and perception—of equivalence largely overtook the reality of asymmetry, making it harder rather than easier to address the structural inequality between the players. The focus of the international community (and the PLO) on establishing a state has oriented the Palestinian national movement away from earlier approaches rooted in rhetoric of emancipation and liberation.   [. . . . ]    No longer simply occupier and occupied, Israel and the Palestinian Authority have been transformed into putative equals engaged in perpetual negotiation [. . . .]
___These changes came about in no small part because of the unexpectedly enduring presence of international actors. The Accords reassigned responsibility for the Palestinian population to the newly created Palestinian Authority while leaving control over territory largely in the hands of the Israeli government. With the nascent Authority severely lacking capacity, the arrangement was tenable only because of international support in the form of money and expertise [. . . . ]
___Over the course of the following two decades, international actors and organizations provided aid . . .  facilitated peacebuilding, development, and post-conflict reconstruction, and supported negotiations between the parties. International actors, however, brought more than money or institutional blueprints: their ideas about how to make peace and reconstruct territories after conflict reshaped the form and conceptualization of governance and peace in the Occupied Territories.  FULL ARTICLE.

Aug. 15, 2016
The Palestinian Human Rights Organizations Council (PHROC) said in a press release on Sunday that they were “gravely concerned” over an ongoing smear campaign and mounting threats by Israeli authorities and associated groups directed at employees of PHROC member organizations. ___The statement came after reports emerged that human rights lawyer Nada Kiswanson, who represents Palestinian NGO Al-Haq before the International Criminal Court (ICC) in the Hague, had been receiving death threats since February, Dutch newspaper NRC reported on Wednesday. ___The report revealed the threats referred specifically to Kiswanson’s work with the ICC, rousing suspicions that Israeli security services may have been involved in the attack, according to the newspaper.    MORE . . .          RELATED . . .

Hairs as short as my life is
And a mouth as sensuous as my dreams
And fire is her voice
And so is the music
Yet she wants me to rest
On an easy chair
And keep my thoughts clean.

Oh my dear hunter!
What you ask is much more
Than all that I can give . . .
For the angels are dead,
And I am not with them.

A wine was her perfume
Generous was her bed
But her hopes were stronger,
And the strongest of all:
She wanted my address.
She asked: “Where lives the ‘Prince’?”
Then, I stood silenced
For I had no address.
I am a man in transit,
Twenty years in transit
A man who was even deprived
The right of having an address.

Rashid Hussein  
See also  
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.


“. . . dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Hundreds commemorate Jewish holy day at Aqsa, 9 evacuated for violating regulations

  • Background: A Roman Catholic Perspective

❷ Palestinians perform Friday prayers at ICRC headquarters, demand release of hunger strikers

  • Background: A Muslim Perspective

❸ Israeli Soldiers Occupy A Palestinian Home In Bethlehem

  • About the Kairos Palestine Document

❹ Poetry by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 14, 2016
Hundreds of Jewish worshippers gathered inside the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City on Sunday morning to commemorate the Jewish fasting holy day of Tisha Bav, which commemorates the destruction of Judaism’s First and Second Temple in Jerusalem, amid heightened security measures throughout the city and the occupied West Bank.
___Public information officer of the department of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf) — the religious trust responsible for managing the compound — told Ma’an that more than 180 extremist Israeli settlers “stormed the compound” in groups throughout the morning.
___Witnesses added that they saw some performing Jewish rituals inside the compound, in violation of long-standing agreements regarding non-Muslim worship at the site.   MORE . . .

  • Patriarch Michel Sabbah. “Religion And The Palestinian-Israeli Conflict.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 7-11.     SOURCE 

The conflict between Israel and Palestine is military and political. It is not a religious conflict between Palestinian Muslims or Christians and Judaism. It is a conflict between two peoples, the Jewish people and the Palestinian people. The conflict is a dispute over the land and the question: Is there a place for both peoples, and in what way? The Palestinian position was expressed in 1988, when the Palestine Liberation Organization recognized the state of Israel on 78% of the British Mandate land. After that, the Palestinians claimed, and are still claiming, the right to have an independent Palestinian state on the remaining 22% of the land. Israel, for its part, is still not clear about the question: is there a place for the two peoples, and in what way? In recent months, there were negative declarations from Israeli political leaders affirming that there will be no Palestine and there will be no peace.
___The conflict is political and military. But it also has a religious dimension. Religion inspires many in the conflict. Many Israelis, to support their right, advocate the Bible, the word of God, the promise of the land by God to the Jewish people. And some Muslim Palestinians also give a religious dimension to the land, and consider it entirely Muslim land. For many, on both sides, the conflict has become a fight for God and religion. Some Christians, too, the world’s Evangelicals and pro-Zionists, add their religious input and pro-Jewish advocacy to the fight. On both sides of the conflict, religion is advocated to support its own position. Some Christian Palestinians, in the Kairos document, and many other world churches with them, advocate religion to call for justice and reconciliation based on repentance and forgiveness.

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 13, 2016
Dozens of Palestinians performed Friday prayers in front of the International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) building in the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem, in solidarity with the current wave of hunger striking prisoners.
___Upon the request of the Palestinian Prisoner’s Society (PPS) and the Families of Jerusalem Detainees Committee, the Muslim worshipers gathered outside the building in order to draw attention to what Sheikh Muhammad Hussein, a local religious leader, said was the “Israeli authorities’ escalation of procedures against Jerusalemite prisoners.”    MORE . . .      BACKGROUND, ICRC   

  • Abu-Amr, Ziad.  “The Significance of Jerusalem: A Muslim Perspective.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 2.2 (1995): 7-11.    FULL ARTICLE

There is perhaps no other city in the world that has drawn the continued attention of the world community as much as the city of Jerusalem, especially among the adherents of the three monotheistic religions: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. The city’s religious centrality has generated its historical and political importance, as well as its symbolic impact, but its religious position has also been at the root of a considerable controversy
[. . . .]
While the Muslims, for example, especially Palestinian and Arab Islamists, recognize the religious significance of Jerusalem to Christians and Jews, they stress the Muslim character of the city and Muslim entitlement to it, and their attachment to Jerusalem constitutes part of their doctrinal views of the city
[. . . .]
Historically speaking, Jerusalem has generally been the site for Muslim pilgrimage, prayer, study or residence. Al Aqsa Mosque was a particular seat of learning. Muslim scholars came to Jerusalem from distant lands. “Just as it is true to say that the first textbook in Islam was the Koran, so it is true to say that the first school was the mosque.

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 14, 2016
Israeli soldiers invaded, on Saturday evening, Harmala town, east of Bethlehem city in the occupied West Bank, and occupied a Palestinian home after kicking the family out.
___Resident Mohammad Sbeih told the Maan News Agency said that soldiers invaded his two-story home, and confiscated its keys before kicking him and his nine family members, including several children, out.
___He added that the soldiers told the family to “find another place to live, as long as Palestinian youths continue to hurl stones at the army vehicles.” MORE . . .

  • Kassis, Rifat Odeh. “‘A Moment Of Truth’: The Kairos Palestine Document.” Ecumenical Review 63.1 (2011): 120-122.     SOURCE  

On 11 December 2009, a group of Palestinian Christians representing a variety of churches and church-related organizations issued a call for an end to occupation of Palestine by Israel. The call, in a document, ‘‘A Moment of Truth: A word of faith, hope, and love from the heart of Palestinian suffering’’, raises questions to the international community, political leaders in the region, and churches worldwide about their contribution to the Palestinian people’s pursuit of freedom. In the document, also referred to as, ‘‘The Kairos Palestine Document’’, Palestinian Christians declare that the military occupation of their land is a sin against God and humanity, and that any theology that legitimizes the occupation is far from Christian teachings because true Christian theology is a theology of love and solidarity with the oppressed, a call to justice and equality among peoples. The Palestinian call echoes a similar summons issued by South African churches in the mid-1980s at the height of repression under the apartheid regime. That call served to galvanize churches and the wider public in a concerted effort that eventually brought the end of apartheid. The Ecumenical Chronicle includes an introduction to the document by Rifat Odeh Kassis, the coordinator of Kairos Palestine, and texts by Imam A. Rashied Omar and John de Gruchy, both of whom come from South Africa. The full text of the document is available.

Israeli police accompany Jews past the Dome of the Rock mosque during a visit to the Al-Aqsa mosque compound in the Old City of Jerusalem on April 25, 2016 during the Jewish Pesach (Passover) holiday. (Photo: Ahmad Gharabli / AFP)


But those husbandmen said among themselves, This is the heir; come let us kill him, and the inheritance shall be ours. And they took him, and killed him, and cast him out of the vineyard.   St. Mark’s Gospel XII: 7-8

O Lord, O glory of the universe,
crucified this year on your birthday,
are the joys of Jerusalem
silenced on your birthday?
O Lord, all the bells
for two millenia have not been silenced
on your birthday
except for this year:
the domes of the bells are in mourning,
black wrapped in black.

Jerusalem along the Via Dolorosa,
whipped under the cross of ordeal,
bleeding at the hands of the executioner,
and the world is a sealed heart
in the face of affliction.
In this hard indifferent world, O Lord,
the sun’s eye is smothered: the world went astray
and was lost.
In the ordeal it did not even raise a candle.
It did not even shed a tear
to wash away the sorrows in Jerusalem.

The husbandmen killed the heir, O Lord,
and raped the vineyard.
The sinners of the world fledged the bird of evil
dashing off to defile the purity of Jerusalem,
damned and infernal, hated even by Satan.

O Lord, O glory of Jerusalem,
from the well of sorrows, from the abyss,
from the depth of the night,
from the heart of plight,
the wails of Jerusalem are raised up to you.
In your mercy, take away from me, O Lord, this cup!
――Translated by Ferial Ghazoul

From: Smith, Michael. Ed. “Contemporary Palestinian Poetry.” Free  Verse. English.chass.ncsu.edu. 2008. Web.
About Fadwa Tuqan

“. . . the PROHIBITION of settlements . . . categorical, unconditional . . .” (Theodor Meron, Legal Counsel of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, 1967)

nof zion
An Overview of Nof Zion Neighborhood (Photo: ARIJ, in POICA.com)

❶ Israel to build synagogue and plunge pool on Palestinian lands

  • Background from Global Business & Development Law Journal (University of the Pacific)

❷ Israel admits to confiscating privately owned Palestinian lands ‘by mistake’
Opinion/Analysis:  Interview with Khalida Jarrar, Prominent Palestinian Activist and Parliamentary Member, After her Release from Prison
❹ POETRY by Zuhair Abu Shaib
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Alray-Palestinian Media Agency
Aug. 10, 2016
The so-called Committee for planning and construction in the municipality of Jerusalem is scheduled to discuss, on Wednesday, a plan to confiscate lands from the Mount Scopus Jerusalemite neighborhood, for the construction of synagogues and a plunge pool.
___The synagogues and plunger pool are planned to be constructed in the settlement neighborhood of “Nof Zion”. The area of land that will be forfeited is 1.2 dunums, while 90 families live in the neighborhood surrounded by the Mount Scopus neighborhood.  MORE . . .         HISTORY OF  Nof Zion Settlement

From Global Business & Development Law Journal (University of the Pacific)
Watts, Bianca. “Better Than A Thousand Hollow Words Is One Word That Brings Peace: Enforcing Article 49(6) Of The Fourth Geneva Convention Against Israeli Settlements In The Occupied Palestinian Territory.” Global Business & Development Law Journal 24.1 (2011): 443-472.
[See footnotes below poetry

Israel first inquired about the legality of settling in the OPT, specifically the West Bank and the Golan Heights, in the fall of 1967. 28  On September 18, 1967, Israeli Foreign Ministry Officials received a top-secret memo that settlement in the West Bank and Golan Heights would violate Article 49(6). 29  Israeli officials were advised that the prohibition of settlements under Article 49(6) was categorical, unconditional, and aimed at preventing colonization of a conquered territory by the conquering state. 30  This memo confirmed that Israeli officials knew that building settlements in the OPT violated international law prior to beginning settlement construction. 31  Yet, despite the memo’s unequivocal warning that settlements violated the Geneva IV, Israel forged ahead with plans that resulted in the settlement enterprise we see today.
___A key substantive principle of the international law of belligerent occupation, which finds influence in the Geneva IV, is that belligerent occupation is temporary. 32  This principle is based on the fact that prolonged occupations negatively impact the occupied community. 33  The risks of stagnation, impoverishment, and the “backwardness” of the occupied community all follow prolonged occupations. 34  Scholars argue that “the longer an occupation continues, the more difficult it is to ensure effective compliance with the Geneva IV.” 35
[. . . . ]
Security Council Resolution 465 also confirmed the applicability of the Geneva IV to the OPT. 41  In this resolution, the Council stated that all measures taken by Israel since 1967 to change the physical and demographic composition of the OPT had no legal validity. 42  It further noted that Israel’s policy of settling its population and new immigrants in the OPT constituted a “flagrant violation” of the Geneva IV, 43  and asked that no state provide any assistance to Israel in connection with the settlements in the OPT. 44  ___This resolution is particularly significant because it marks the first Security Council resolution where the United States joined in criticizing Israel. 45  But just two days later, the United States declared that it had intended to abstain, and that its vote in favor of Resolution 465 was the result of a miscommunication.  46  The United States has assisted, and continues to assist, Israel in connection with the settlements by providing economic and military aid. 47     

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 10, 201
The state of Israel admitted to the Israeli Supreme Court that they had expropriated privately held Palestinian land for the construction of the Ofra settlement in the north of the occupied West Bank district of Ramallah, according to Israeli media.
___Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported on Wednesday that the state admitted that it had “mistakenly expropriated” 45 dunums (11 acres) of land privately owned by Palestinians, and claimed the expropriated land would be returned to their Palestinian owners.
___Last year, the court ordered the demolition of nine already populated Jewish homes in the Ofer settlement on the grounds that the lands were privately held by Palestinians.  MORE . . .        BACKROUND FROM B’TSELEM

Houses are seen in the West Bank Jewish settlement of Ofra, north of Ramallah
Houses in the settlement of Ofra, with the village of ‘Ein Yabrud, Ramallah district, in the background, July 18, 2013. (Photo: REUTERS/Baz Ratner)

Jadaliyya (Arab Studies Institute)
Noura Erakat
Aug. 8, 2016
Khalida Jarrar is a longtime Palestinian activist, feminist, and leading member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). She served as the Director of the Addameer Prisoner Support and Human Rights Association between 1993 and 2005 and has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC) since 2006 . . .
___In 2014, the Israeli military ordered that Jarrar move from her home in Ramallah to Jericho. . . . The deportation order is on its face, violative of [the Oslo Accords]. In response, Jarrar staged a month long sit-in in front of the PLC offices in Ramallah and . . . successfully overturned the military order.
___On 2 April 2015, Israeli military forces arrested Jarrar in a pre-dawn raid where they forcibly removed her from her home. . . . She accepted a plea bargain whereby she would serve a fifteen-month sentence and pay a 10,000 NIS fine (~2,600 USD) for being a member of the PFLP and incitement.        MORE . . .  

what is its name?
what is the name of the soil
that falls from my withered body?
what is its name as it drifts and gathers
under my clothes
while, slowly, I build wall after wall?

I picture a sky full of clouds
I see it as I wish it to be

when night falls, I gulp my fill of springs
in darkness I lift my latch
to wise men

I ask my guests
who imprisoned the soul in rock?
who left prophets spread-eagled on doorsteps?

who risks everything to capture the earth?
a man who does not know his own shadow

what can I call this rug of soil?
is it my country or the source of my exile?
is it my miracle or my cross?

what is its name?
――Translated by Tom Pow

Zuhair Abu Shaib was born in Deir al-Ghusun, a town near the city of Tulkarm in the northern West Bank. and studied at Yarmouk University. He was a teacher and journalist in Yemen, and a book designer. He was also editor of the journal Awraq.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.

Footnotes for Watts article

  2. 29.Theodor Meron, Legal Council of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, advised the Prime Minister’s PoliticalSecretary that “civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.” Id. at 99-100.
  1. Id.
  2. Id.
  3. Imseis, supra note 5, at 91.
  4. Id.
  5. Special Rapporteur of the Comm’n on Human Rights, Rep. on the Situation of Human Rights in thePalestinian Territories Occupied by Israel Since 1967, Comm’n on Human Rights, ¶¶ 3, 11, 18, U.N. Doc.41. S.C. Res. 465, ¶ 5, U.N. Doc. S/RES/465 (Mar. 1, 1980). The Security Council is the organ responsible for maintaining international peace and security. It determines the existence of threats to international peace and security, and recommends what action should be taken in response to those threats. One of its key powers is that it can take military action against an aggressor state should it determine that that state proposes a threat to international peace and security. See generally U.N. Charter chs. V, VII (for a detailed discussion of the functions and powers of the Security Council).
  1. S.C. Res. 465, ¶ 5, U.N. Doc. S/RES/465 (Mar. 1, 1980).
  2. Id.
  3. Id.
  1. Id. at 112.
  2. See U.S. Census Bureau, The 2010 Statistical Abstract 29 tbl.1263 (2010), available  http://www.census.gov/compendia/statab/2010/tables/10s1263.pdf (outlining statistical information of foreign economic and military aid received from the United States).

“. . . to demolish a man’s house is to tear his heart into little pieces . . . an extremely inhuman act . . .” (Irus Braverman)

Demolitions in Umm al-Kheir on Aug. 8, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

❶ Israel poised to raze Bedouin village so Jews can take land

Background from Law & Social Inquiry

. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Israeli forces demolishes Palestinian structures across West Bank, assault locals
. . . ❶ ― (ᴃ) Israeli occupation demolishes restaurant, pottery workshop in Nablus, residencies in Hebron
. . . ❶ ― (ᴄ) Israeli forces demolish water pipelines under construction in northern West Bank
❷ Council: Palestinians in need of 30,000 housing units in Jerusalem
❸ POETRY by Yousef El Qedra
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
The Electronic Intifada
Charlotte Silver
Aug. 8 2016
Israeli bulldozers are poised to raze the Bedouin village Umm al-Hiran in the Naqab (Negev) region in the south of the country.
___On 31 July, bulldozers began ploughing a trench around the village, encircling those homes Israel intends to demolish to make way for a Jewish community.
___The village lost its 13-year legal battle in May 2015, when a three-judge panel on Israel’s high court ruled that the government was authorized to demolish the village and displace its residents  [. . . .]
___Like about 40 other Bedouin villages home to 70,000 people in the Naqab, Umm al-Hiran is not recognized by Israeli authorities, leaving its 1,000 residents, who are Israeli citizens, without basic services or rights.     MORE . . .         RELATED. . .

From: Braverman, Irus. “Powers Of Illegality: House Demolitions And Resistance In East Jerusalem.” Law & Social Inquiry 32.2 (2007): 333-372

. . . . while Foucault’s analysis [of the spectacle of a public execution in DISCIPLINE AND PUNISH, 1979] depicts brutality as inflicted upon the human body, in the demolition instance this brutality is imposed upon the nonhuman body of the house. Significant as it may seem, this distinction between human and nonhuman bodies is rendered irrelevant by most of the Palestinian informants. The Palestinian community planner, for example, claimed that “a person whose house has been demolished, I don’t see any difference between him and a person whose only child is killed,” and a Palestinian defense lawyer told me: “to demolish a man’s house is to tear his heart into little pieces . . . the demolition is an . . . extremely inhuman act.”
___Clearly, most Palestinian informants not only themselves relate to their house as interchangeable with their body but also believe that Israel relates to it in a similar way. Accordingly, this is how a Palestinian Jerusalemite that has worked as a planner in the Jerusalem municipality for over thirty years described the situation: “they twist our hand behind our back until they hear a cry of pain: [then] the municipal officials smile with pleasure, and twist our hand even tighter in order to produce a louder cry. They take pleasure in the Palestinian pain more than in anything else.”
___But while the identification of the Palestinian body with the body of her house may establish one cause for its demolition, another explanation is also possible. Such an alternative explanation is provided by a Jewish Israeli defense lawyer who has been representing Palestinians from East Jerusalem for over twenty years. The lawyer suggests that the official Israeli discourse regards the Palestinians as “airplanes that are not even detected by the Israeli radar,” namely as invisible to Israeli administrators. Rather than choosing between these two seemingly conflicting interpretations, it is important to see their simultaneous existence: while the first interpretation embodies the Palestinian in this space by rendering her body opaque, the second interpretation disembodies her, making for a transparent Palestinian body.
___Instead of undermining each other, the bifurcated dialectic between these two bodily interpretations provides for their reciprocal reinforcement.

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 9, 2016
Israeli authorities carried out multiple demolitions across the occupied West Bank on Tuesday morning, including residential structures funded by the European Union, in the midst of an unprecedented campaign targeting Palestinian homes, business, and agricultural structures under the pretext of lacking building permits which are nearly impossible to obtain.
___The demolitions — which included two business in Sabastiya, five homes in Umm al-Kheir, and two homes in al-Jiftlik — were immediately denounced by Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah in a statement released on Tuesday.
___“Israel is relentlessly destroying Palestinians’ homes and livelihoods in order to make way for more illegal settlements,” Hamdallah said.     MORE . . .

demolitions 2
Demolitions in Umm al-Kheir on Aug. 8, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

Alray Palestine Media Agency
Aug. 9, 2016
The Israeli occupation forces demolished on Tuesday a restaurant and a pottery workshop in the village of Sebastia, north of Nablus, as well as residential structures in the village of Um al-Kheir near Hebron, local sources reported.
___Mayor of Sebastia municipality said that Israeli forces broke into the village and demolished a restaurant and a pottery workshop, both owned by two local Palestinian villagers, under the pretext of construction without permission.     MORE . . .
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 8, 2016
Israeli forces reportedly destroyed large portions of a water pipeline under construction in the northern occupied West Bank district of Tubas on Monday.
___Arif Daraghmah, the head of the village council in the Jordan Valley and neighboring Bedouin communities, told Ma’an that Israeli forces accompanied by military vehicles and two bulldozers began the demolition process early on Monday morning on the pipeline, which he said targeted a pipeline funded by NGO Action Against Hunger that had been under construction for the past four months in order to provide water to residents of the area.
___Daraghmah added that the Israeli forces completely destroyed the four-kilometer water pipeline between the town of Tubas and the village of Yarza, and also destroyed and seized large parts of the nine-kilometer pipeline connecting Yarza to the village of al-Malih.
___He said Israeli forces were carrying out these demolitions in order to pressure Palestinian residents into leaving the area.     MORE . . .

demolitions 3
Demolitions in Umm al-Kheir on Aug. 8, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

Aug. 8, 2016
Jerusalem will be in need of 30,000 housing units, the Palestinian Housing Council said Monday.
___The council’s technical director in the occupied West Bank, Zuheir Ali, said, at a workshop held in al-Bireh under the title “Housing in Occupied Jerusalem: Facts and Challenges,” that the Palestinians have been facing difficulties in constructing new homes on at least 13% of east Jerusalem lands.
___Ali added that Israeli restrictive measures resulted in a sharp housing crisis and that Occupied Jerusalem is in need of 30,000 housing units, to the tune of around three billion dollars, until 2020.     MORE . . .  


I saw clouds running away from the hurt.
I have no language.
Its weight is lighter than a feather.
The quill does not write.
The ink of the spirit burns on the shore of meaning.
The clouds are tears, filled with escape and lacking definition.
A cloud realizes the beauty she forms—
beauty which contains all good things,
for whom trees, gardens, and tired young women wait.

I have no home.
I have a night overripe with sweats caused by numbness all over.
Time has grown up on its own without me.
In my dream, I asked him what he looks like.
My small defeats answered me.
So I asked him again, What did he mean?
Then I found myself suspended in nothingness,
Stretched like a string that doesn’t belong to an instrument.
The wind played me. So did irresistible gravity.
I was a run of lost notes that have a sad, strong desire to live.
―Translated by Yasmin Snounu and Edward Morin

Yousef El Qedra is a young poet and playwright living in Gaza. He has his BA degree in Arabic Literature from Azhar University, Gaza. Since 2006 he has worked as a project coordinator of theater and youth groups for the Cultural Free Thought Association in Gaza City. He has written several books and plays and published four volumes of poetry, translated into French and Spanish.
Horse Press, 2012. Available from Amazon. demolitions 4

Demolitions in Umm al-Kheir on Aug. 8, 2016 (Photo: Ma’an News Agency)

“. . . windows of the sky closed, And the city held its breath . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

Sanaa balboul
Sanaa Balboul stands with her daughter Nuran in front of a banner dedicated to her slain husband and hunger-striking sons on Aug. 2, 2016 (MaanImages/Jaclynn Ashly)

❶ Israeli forces have cracked down on 21 Al-Aqsa employees in past 10 days, Waqf says
. . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) Jordan: Israeli practices against Al-Aqsa fuel global extremism

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ Israeli court confirms administrative detention of hunger-striking Balboul brothers
❸ Soldiers Prevent Twelve Bethlehem Families From Visiting With Their Detainees Sons

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❹ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 8, 2016
Israeli forces have detained, summoned and banned 21 Palestinian employees of the Islamic Endowment (Waqf), which manages the Al-Aqsa Mosque compound in occupied East Jerusalem’s Old City, in the past 10 days, a Waqf spokesperson said on Monday.
___Firas al-Dibs, the head of Waqf public relations, said that Israel had banned 10 Waqf employees from the Al-Aqsa compound for periods of time ranging from five days to six months.
___Al-Dibs himself was briefly detained before being banned from accessing the religious site for six months.       MORE . . .    
The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
August 8, 2016
Israel’s continued aggression against Al-Aqsa Mosque will “inflame and stimulate the environment that increases the behaviour of extremism and hatred all over the world”, the Committee of Palestine in the Jordanian government warned yesterday.
___In a statement, the committee said: “Jordan has a firm position in support of Jerusalem and the holy sites therein. It calls on Israel to respect all agreements, international conventions and various bilateral and multilateral treaties regarding the situation within the city of Jerusalem.”      MORE . . .         RELATED . . .

From:  Abu Sway, Mustafa. “Al-Aqsa Mosque: Do Not Intrude!” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 20/21.4/1 (2015): 108-113.

. . .  Meddling in the affairs of Al-Aqsa Mosque could destabilize the region and beyond. Any forced entry . . . is tantamount to a clear violation of the sanctity of the mosque. Not only do the Israeli occupation authorities prevent freedom of movement and freedom of worship, they interfere . . .  restricting the-meaning of Al-Aqsa Mosque to the southernmost building, Qibli Mosque, rather than all 144 dunums or 36 acres. The Israeli occupation authorities consider the open yards within Al-Aqsa Mosque as belonging to public parks. . . .
___In doing so, the Israeli occupation authorities justify their own role in permitting and protecting extremist Israelis’ and others’ entry into Al-Aqsa Mosque compound against the will of the Waqf administration. . . . These forced entries . . . lead to Israeli occupation security forces attacking and arresting protesters and restricting their entry into the mosque. . . The security situation deteriorated with many unfortunate incidents that were linked to Israeli policies at Al-Aqsa Mosque. The climax was the occupation authorities’ decision to totally close Al-Aqsa Mosque to Muslims at the end of October 2014, for the first time since 1967. Even Israeli commentators said that these policies could lead to a religious war.  [. . . .]
___For the last 1,400 years, Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem was under Islamic sovereignty except during the Crusades and Israeli occupation . . .  ongoing since 1967.  Israel continues to disregard United Nations resolutions according to which it should have ended its occupation . . .. . . .  Various measures make freedom of movement and worship a thing of the distant past. It is the extreme Israeli occupation policies and practices in and around Al-Aqsa Mosque, in addition to a long list of violations of international law (land confiscation, building colonies, house demolitions as collective punishment, revocation of residency, etc.), that undermine prospects for peace.     FULL ARTICLE

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 7, 2016
An Israeli military court at the Ofer detention center near Ramallah in the central occupied West Bank on Sunday decided to confirm the administrative detention sentence of Muhammad and Mahmoud Balboul, two brothers from Bethlehem who have been on hunger strike since the beginning of July.
___According to a statement from the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs, the court rejected an appeal by the committee’s lawyers to reduce the sentence.
___Muhammad, a dentist, was sentenced to six months of administrative detention, while Mahmoud, a Master’s student at al-Quds University, was sentenced to five months.
___Mahmoud Balboul has been on hunger-strike since July 5, and Muhammad since July 7.    MORE . . .  

aqa detentions
Israeli police arrested both of the director of the rehabilitation committee, Bassam al Hallaq and other five employees, August 7, 2016 (Photo: Alray-Palestinian MediaAgency)

International Middle East Media Center – IMEMC
August 8, 2016
The Palestinian Detainees’ Committee has reported, Monday, that Israeli soldiers prevented twelve Palestinian families, from the West Bank district of Bethlehem, from heading to prisons to visit with their detained family members, and tore their permits.
___The Committee stated that the soldiers stopped the families at military roadblocks, and tore their permits, before forcing them back.
___The Committee added that such violations have been seriously escalating and that a number of families filed complaints with the Israeli Prison Authority, especially since they already obtained permits from Israel.      MORE . . .   

From:  Sela, Ronit. “Freedom of Movement V. Restrictions on Movement under the Two Legal Systems.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 31-38.

Freedom of movement is one area — though certainly not the only one — in which the dual legal system has a decisive influence on the daily life of residents of the West Bank and on their basic human rights. Restriction ot movement infringes not only upon the right to freedom of movement but rather violates a range of rights. For Palestinians, those restrictions impact where a person can live, whether family members will be able to come and visit, how fast one can reach a hospital, which opportunities for studies and employment are available, and much more. In the West Bank, freedom of movement is a function of nationality. The movement of Israelis is permitted in the vast majority of the region, e primary restriction imposed on Israeli citizens is that they are forbidden from entering the large Palestinian cities of Area A, which amounts to 18% of the West Bank. While settlers’ freedom of movement is not completely unencumbered, they do enjoy freedom of movement in all significant domains of their daily life, moving freely within and between the settlements as well as into Israel proper, and using the main thoroughfares available.
___The situation of the Palestinians is completely different. For them, numerous restrictions limit their movement to, from and even within a given district of the West Bank. The many prohibitions imposed by the army throughout the West Bank are enforced through physical barriers, such as the Separation Wall, concrete roadblocks and inspection checkpoints. The rigid restrictions on travel between the West Bank and Gaza Strip and into  erusalem have bred a dependency on the army for receiving limited and conditional entrance permits.    FULL ARTICLE.

` ` ` ` `

(The day of Zionist Occupation, June 27, 1967)

The day we saw death and betrayal,
The tide ebbed.
The windows of the sky closed,
And the city held its breath.
The day the waves were vanquished, the day
The ugliness of the abyss revealed its true face,
Hope turned to ashes,
And gaging on disaster,
My sad city choked.

Gone were the children and the songs,
There was no shadow, no echo.
Sorrow crawled naked in my city,
With bloodied footsteps,
Silence reigned in the city,
Silence like crouching mountains,
Mysterious like the night, tragic silence,
Weighed down with death and defeat.
Alas! My sad and silent city.
Can it be true that in the season of harvest,
Grain and fruit have turned to ashes?
Alas! That this should be the fruit of all the journeying!
―Translated by A.M. Elmesseri

From BEFORE THERE IS NOWHERE TO STAND: PALESTINE ISREL POETS RESPOND TO THE STRUGGLE. Ed. By Joan Dobbie and Grace Beeler. Sandpoint ID: Lost Horse Press, 2012. Available from B&N.
Obituary for Fadwa Tuqan, 2003.

“. . . the political apparatus often actively amplifies the sense of perceived threat posed by the Palestinians . . .” (Shuki J. Cohen)

Jordanian visitors wait outside Israel’s Hasharon prison where they came to visit relatives jailed in the Jewish state, on November 25, 2008 in Hadarim, north of Tel Aviv (Photo: Getty Images)

❶ Netanyahu distorts a Palestinian’s helpless reaction to occupying soldiers to dehumanize Palestinian parents

Background from International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies

❷ 41 Palestinian women, including 12 minors, currently held in Israel’s HaSharon prison
❸ Hundreds of Israeli settlers raid Nablus-area village
❹ Poetry by Lahab Assef Al-Jundi
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Philip Weiss
August 4, 2016
Two days ago, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu posted outraged commentary on a video of an encounter last Friday between a Palestinian father and son and Israeli occupying forces in Nil’in, Palestine.
___The video showed Ayoub Sroor daring Israeli soldiers to shoot his three-year-old child, Mohammad.
___Netanyahu said:  “I’ve just watched a video that shook me to the core of my being. In just a few seconds, it shows why our conflict persists… What did this child do to deserve this? The answer is nothing. He’s innocent . . .”
___PLO General Secretary Saeb Erekat issued a statement that Ayoub Sroor had suffered numerous “physical and psychological attacks” from occupying Israeli soldiers, which led him to seek psychiatric treatment given to torture victims. Here is a portion of Erekat’s response:      MORE . . .

Cohen, Shuki J. “Breakable And Unbreakable Silences: Implicit Dehumanization And Anti-Arab Prejudice In Israeli Soldiers’ Narratives Concerning Palestinian Women.” International Journal Of Applied Psychoanalytic Studies 12.3 (2015): 245-277.

The dehumanization of Palestinians . . .  is a complex defense, whose borderline-level of functioning may be a result of the multiplicity and intensity of the conflict between the motives that it aims to reconcile: The need to identify with one’s comrades, the need to service and obey the state, the need to contain and handle denigrated and potentially dangerous inhabitants who are devoid of legal status or recourse, and the need to maintain a sense of self as a moral and humane individual . . . to name but a few components of this individual – and arguably societal – conflict.
___Such complex conflicts are not unusual in clinical settings, and common psychoanalytic praxis usually advocates for an empathic acknowledgment of the defenses that the patient mounts in an effort to mitigate them. . .  However, in the case of political conflict, gauging the “adaptability” of a defense is complicated by the moral relativism that nationalistic sentiments (and agenda) command.
[. . . .]
As with most defenses, the testimonies [of “Breaking the Silence” members] suggest that the use of dehumanization increases with perceived anxiety. Here, too, the question where on the neurotic borderline-psychotic spectrum of reality perception does the anxiety actually reside and who is the arbiter of the reality when it comes to gauging said anxiety is an added layer of complexity. This is particularly true when – as is often the case in the trauma-ridden discourse in Israel – the political apparatus often actively amplifies the sense of perceived threat posed by the Palestinians. Once again, whether this induction of anxiety is motivated by an anti-Arab prejudice or by a survivalist sense that inducing (hyper)vigilance in the troops will protect them is anybody’s guess.  SOURCE.

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 5, 2016
Several dozen Palestinian women, including 12 minors, are currently being held in Israel’s HaSharon prison, according to a statement released Thursday by the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affairs.
___The committee said in the statement that 41 Palestinian women and girls are being held in the prison, with some suffering from deteriorating health conditions, adding that Israel’s treatment of women prisoners is against international law, and requires “international institutions to end their silence” and to stop Israel’s “perpetual crimes.”
___The committee also called upon all Palestinians to unite behind the prisoners’ cause, highlighting the recent escalation of raids and assaults by Israel Prison Service (IPS) officials in recent weeks in response to a mass hunger strike under way inside Israel’s prisons in protest of the arbitrary detention of Palestinians without charge or trial. More than 300 Palestinian prisoners have joined the strikes.   MORE . . . 

Ma’an News Agency
Aug. 5, 2016
Some 400 Israeli settlers entered the village of Awarta in the northern occupied West Bank district of Nablus in the early morning on Friday and performed religious rituals in the area, according to Israeli sources.
___Israel’s Channel 7 reported that the Israeli settlers raided the village as they were escorted by Israeli forces, prompting clashes to erupt between Palestinian youths, Israeli settlers, and soldiers.
___Israeli forces reportedly detained seven Palestinians from the village for allegedly throwing rocks at the settlers.    MORE . . .      

Israeli Settlers Invade Qasra Village Near Nablus, February 21, 2013 (Photo: occupiedpalestine)


Survivors of The Holocaust please
Talk to me. Help me understand―
So you sanction what’s being done
In your names?

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

Bomb 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.


“. . . It is my right to behold the sun . . .” (Fouzi el-Asmar)

bilal❶ 10 Palestinian prisoners join mass hunger strike in solidarity with Bilal Kayid
❷ The terror of the children
❸ POETRY by Fouzi el-Asmar

Background from New Zealand International Review

Background from Public Health Ethics

` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 31, 2016
Ten new Palestinian prisoners on Sunday joined a mass open hunger strike in solidarity with prisoner Bilal Kayid, according to Issa Qaraqe, head of the Palestinian Committee of Prisoners’ Affair, a day after reports emerged that Kayid’s health had deteriorated sharply after almost 50 days without food.
___Qaraqe told the Palestinian Wafa News Agency that ten prisoners from Israel’s Ramon prison joined the open strike, including Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) leader Ahmad Saadat, who was reportedly moved to solitary confinement after joining the strike, according to the Palestinian Prisoners’ Society.
___Kayid, a member of the PFLP, Palestine’s most popular left-wing political faction, has been on hunger strike for 47 days in protest of being placed in administrative detention — Israel’s controversial policy of internment without charge or trial under undisclosed evidence — on the day he was scheduled to be released after completing a 14-and-a-half-year prison sentence.      MORE . . .    

Military Court Watch (monitoring the treatment of children in detention)
Reprinted from El Pais (English)
Mario Vargas Llosa
July 25, 2016
[. . . .] The operations designed to induce panic are generally carried out at night by masked soldiers who first throw grenades into homes accompanied by shouting, with the aim of frightening families – above all, the children. These raids come out of the blue and are carefully orchestrated. The teenager or child who has been betrayed by an informer is blindfolded and handcuffed. The young suspects are then taken away in a truck, usually on the floor of the truck with the soldiers’ feet on top of them and the odd kick to keep them scared.
___In the interrogation room, they are left tied up on the floor for five to 10 hours. This helps to lower their morale and frighten them further. The subsequent interrogation follows a pattern; they are advised to admit to throwing stones, which will get them no more than two or three months behind bars. Otherwise, they will have to wait seven or eight months for their case to go to trial, which could means a worse sentence.       MORE . . .    

From New Zealand International Review
On 17 April 2012, Palestine Prisoners Day, more than 1000 Palestinian prisoners began an open-ended hunger strike to protest against unjust arrest procedures, arbitrary detention and bad prison conditions. Reported Richard Falk, ‘I am appalled by the continuing human rights violations in Israeli prisons and I urge the Government of Israel to respect its international human rights obligations towards all Palestinian prisoners.’
[. . . .]
___Since the 1967 war, an estimated 40 per cent of the Palestinian male population in the occupied territory has been in detention in Israeli jails. Israel makes widespread use of arbitrary detention; no charges, no trials. Some prisoners are held this way for years, just by renewing the arbitrary detention.
___Twenty-seven Palestinian parliamentarians and two ministers are being held. Human rights activists, taking part in nonviolent protests against the wall as it is expanded, are targeted.
___Political prisoners are held in Israel jails, against the Geneva Convention. Dostoevsky said you should judge a country by examining its prisons.  Griffiths, Lois, and Martin Griffiths. “The Palestine Story: To Exist Is To Resist.” New Zealand International Review 37.5 (2012): 4-9.   SOURCE 

From Public Health Ethics
The present article focuses on the case of the 2012 hunger-strike of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails. We analyze the ethical dilemma involved in the way the Israeli medical community reacted to these hunger-strikes and the question of force feeding within the context of the fundamental dual-loyalty structure inherent in the Israeli Prison Services—system. We argue that the liberal perspective that focuses the discussion on the dilemma between the principle of individual autonomy and the sanctity of life tends to be oblivious to the asymmetrical relation of power that characterizes the prison system and to the socio-political context in which hunger-strikes take place. Emphasizing hunger-strikes as political acts implies that health practitioners’ conducts cannot be analyzed only through the prism of clinical medical ethics. It requires a public health ethics’ approach, an approach that understands health in the context of the complex relationship between society, state, organizations, communities and individuals. The authors are both academics and volunteers in Physicians for Human Rights—Israel thus our analysis is based both on sociological and public health ethics principles and on the continuous work and advocacy for the right to health of prisoners. Filc, Dani, et al. “Palestinian Prisoners’ Hunger-Strikes In Israeli Prisons: Beyond The Dual-Loyalty Dilemma In Medical Practice And Patient Care.” Public Health Ethics 7.3 (2014): 229-238.     SOURCE 

“THE WAY,” by Fouzi El-Asmar

I shall not despair;
Whether my way leads to a jail,
under the sun
or in exile
I shall not despair.

It is my right to behold the sun
To demolish the tent and banishment
To eat the fruit of the olive
To water the vineyards
with music
To sing of Love
in Jaffa, in Haifa
To sow the fertile land
with new seeds
It is my right.

Let my way be
The reaching of one hand to another
That a tower of dreams be built.

This is my way
And if the last price to pay
is my sight
my life
I shall
but will not give up
my way.

El Asmar, Fouzi. POEMS FROM AN ISRAELI PRISON. Intro. By Israel Shahak. New York: KNOW Books, 1973.  Available from Amazon.
About Fouzi El Asmar.

“. . . my child You are the victim, drowning in lies . . .” (Fadwa Tuqan)

15 year old
A 15-year-old Palestinian boy sustained a broken hand and heavy bruising after being assaulted and detained by undercover Israeli police officers. (Photo: Ma’an News, July 30, 2016)

❶ 15-year-old Palestine abused, medically neglected during detention by Israeli police

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture

❷ B’Tselem: Israel’s use of administrative detention on Palestinian minors steadily increasing
― ❷ (ᴀ) Palestine Youth Orchestra’s triumphant UK debut
❸ Second debate in UK parliament on children in military custody in 2016
❹ POETRY by Fadwa Tuqan
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 30, 2016
A 15-year-old Palestinian boy sustained a broken hand and heavy bruising after being assaulted and detained by undercover Israeli police officers in the Issawiya neighborhood of occupied East Jerusalem.
__Fadi Rafat al-Issawi was detained last Sunday when two Israeli undercover police officers in civilian clothing stopped to ask him and his friend Mustafa Abu al-Hummus for directions, before the officers assaulted the two minors and detained them for allegedly throwing rocks, according to a member of the village’s monitoring committee Muhammad Abu al-Hummus.
___Abu al-Hummus told Ma’an that during a court hearing held for the two minors, Israeli authorities said three cars raided the village and detained the two “in order to limit rock throwing incidents.”      MORE . . .   

From Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture
The Youth Law, enacted in 2008, seeks to guarantee that a child who is suspected or accused of committing a crime is treated in accordance with his or her rights as reflected in the Convention on the Rights of the Child. (Israel ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child on 3 October 1991 and in 2008). The Youth law was amended to reflect provisions consistent with the spirit of the Convention. More specifically, the law establishes special safeguards for minors during the entire legal process, from arrest to detention and interrogation, to ensure that their welfare is protected, and that they are rehabilitated — the underlying objective of the law.
___Despite the existence of these safeguards, it has been well documented that the Israeli police regularly violate the Youth Law in East Jerusalem, improperly employ exceptions, and thereby deny Palestinian minors their rights under the law. . . the law requires the police to issue a summons for interrogation and outlines that detaining the minor must be a measure of last resort. . . . Palestinian children in East Jerusalem are routinely arrested during violent nighttime raids and subjected to interrogation without the issuance of a summons, often without the presence of a parent or attorney.
___Recent amendments to the Penal Code and the Youth Law reveal that they are intended to discriminatorily apply to and punish Palestinian minors of East Jerusalem.
___In 2014, the Israeli . . .  instructed the State Prosecutor’s office to amend the State Prosecutor’s Guidelines of December 2009 relating to the enforcement policy for stone throwing. The committee responsible for the decision found that the Guidelines did not “provide an optimal response for the prevailing security reality in East Jerusalem.” A review of the amendments reveals that Decision 1776 is blatantly aimed at increasing the punishment for stone throwing to include actual imprisonment.
[. . . .] goal of Amendment 119 was to create a separate offense for stone throwing, as offenders were previously accused under the offense of “willfully endangering human life on a transportation . . . Military Order 1651 prescribes that a Palestinian minor convicted of stone throwing with the intent to harm can be imprisoned for up to 20 years.
___Discussions surrounding the law in the [Knesset] confirm that these amendments were proposed to specifically target and punish the Palestinian youth of East Jerusalem for resisting the occupation.

  • Baker, Aseil Abu. “Laws Targeting East Jerusalem: Discriminatory Intent And Application.” Palestine-Israel Journal Of Politics, Economics & Culture 21.3 (2016): 55-64.     FULL ARTICLE. 

AseilAbu Baker is a Palestinian lawyer based in Ramallah, and is licensed to practice law in the United States. Ms. Abu-Baker currently focuses on international law issues, and previously litigated business and contract issues before state and federal courts in the United States.

Ma’an News Agency
July 28, 2016
Israeli human rights group B’Tselem released a report Thursday evening revealing that Israeli authorities have steadily increased their use of administrative detention — Israel’s policy of internment without charge or trial — on Palestinian minors since October.
___The group stated in the report that the controversial policy that allows for the detention of Palestinians without charge or trial based on undisclosed evidence had not been used by Israeli authorities on Palestinian minors since December 2011.
___However, the group found that Israeli authorities had begun to use the policy again on Palestinian minors as of October, when a wave of violence first erupted across the occupied Palestinian territory and Israel.     MORE . . .
RELATED . . .   Defense for Children International Palestine (DCIP)
The Electronic Intifada Glasgow
Sarah Irving
July 29, 2016
True to form, the rain is hammering down on Glasgow. In the foyer of the Royal Concert Hall young men in sharp black, wearing scarves bearing the unmistakable checkered print of the Palestinian kuffiyeh, are prowling around moodily. One detects pre-performance nerves.
___This is the second night of the Palestine Youth Orchestra’s six-night debut tour of Britain.
[. . . .] If there were indeed pre-show nerves, they weren’t necessary: the Palestine Youth Orchestra received a full standing ovation. Not even greats like the St. Petersburg Philharmonic get that when performing in Scotland.      MORE . . .

Seven-year-old violently detained in Hebron September 8, 2014 (Photo: International Solidarity Movement)

The Middle East Monitor – MEMO
July 24, 2016
On the last day before the summer recess, the House of Lords debated “the conditions in which Palestinian children are living and the impact on their health and wellbeing” including their treatment while held in military detention. This is the second time this year that the UK parliament has considered the treatment of Palestinian children . . . .
___The most recent debate was sponsored by Lord Norman Warner who visited the West Bank in April as part of a cross-party parliamentary delegation organised by CAABU and MAP. As part of the visit, the delegation went to Ofer military court near Jerusalem.  MORE . . .

EYTAN  IN  THE  STEEL  TRAP,  by  Fadwa  Tuqan

Under the tree, branching out, spreading and growing … growing
In savage rhythms,
Under the “star”, as it builds before his very eyes
Walls of bloody dreams,
Forming a trap, held tightly together with the thread of steel,
Trapping him within, denying him movement
Eytan, the child, the human being, opens his eyes
And asks,
Why the trap and the walls?
Why the time with amputated legs, clad in khaki and death,
Enveloped in smoke rising from flames and from sorrows?

If only the “star” could tell the truth,
If only it could.
But alas!
Alas, the “star”!

Eytan, my child
You are the victim, drowning in lies,
And like Eytan, the harbor is sunk in a sea of lies,
Drowned by the bloated dream
With the head of a dragon
And a thousand arms.
Alas, alas!
If only you could remain the child, the human being!
But I shudder, and live in dread .
That you may grow up inside the trap,
In this time of amputated legs, clad in khaki,
In cruel death, in smoke and sorrow.

From Abdel-Malek, Kamal. The Rhetoric of Violence: Arab-Jewish Encounters in Contemporary Palestinian Literature and Film. MacMillan, 2005. Web.

“. . . Whenever a child goes silent . . .” (Maya Abu Al-Hayyat)

Bypass road in the greater Bethlehem area; a clear physical manifestation of a spatial segregative system existing within the West Bank. (Photo: probablenotes, April 22, 2012)

❶ B’Tselem: Israel demolished more Palestinian homes in past 6 months than in all of 2015

  • Background from Postcolonial Studies

❷ A new Israeli bypass road cater to the benefit of El Matan outpost

  • Background from Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture

❺ POETRY by Maya Abu Al-Hayyat
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Ma’an News Agency
July 27, 2016
Israeli authorities have demolished more Palestinian homes in the West Bank in the first six months of 2016 as they did in all of 2015, Israeli human rights group B’Tselem revealed in a report released on Wednesday, in a worrying confirmation of Israel’s ongoing crackdown on Palestinian communities in Area C of the West Bank.
___The report, which was also presented by the Arab Joint List during a Knesset conference on Israel’s home demolition policy the same day, said that 168 homes were destroyed during the first half of 2016 for lacking hard to obtain Israeli-issued building permits, leaving 740 Palestinians homeless.
___B’Tselem’s report did not include punitive demolitions enacted on the home of suspected Palestinian attackers and their families.       MORE . . .

From Postcolonial Studies
With the wall, this policy [Apartheid] became obvious and clear. Before there were laws, how they dealt with you differently, even in your daily life. But when they started building the wall and these checkpoints, the analogy became more obvious. . .  [the Wall] is here. You can see it on a map, you see it on the ground, and you see the checkpoints. So now, talking about apartheid became much more open, especially to the international community after 2002. It has become totally accepted to the world . . . . everybody is talking about apartheid because this is something that is so clear. What they are doing here and inside Israel, destroying Palestinian homes through thousands of house demolitions, more than 76,000 people have had their homes threatened in Jerusalem—all of this fits into this analogy [of Apartheid].

  • Lee, Christopher J. “Beyond Analogy: Bare Life In The West Bank.” Postcolonial Studies 16.4 (2013): 374-387.  SOURCE.

POICA – Monitoring Israeli Colonization Activities in the Palestinian Territories
July 28, 2016
Since 1967, the successive Israeli Governments have actively supported Israeli settlers to build settlements and outposts in the occupied Palestinian territory . . .  it has been a form of expanding Israel’s control of land and natural resources with the purpose of creating irreversible facts on the ground that will become hard to change in the future.
___El Matan, a tiny but strategic Israeli outpost in the heart of Wadi Qana area, in Salfit Governorate. It is one example of the Israeli encroachment on Palestinian land. In June 2002, a group of religious Israeli settlers from the nearby settlements of the so-called Shomron local council occupied a hilltop south of Ma’ale Shomron . . .
___Recently, Israeli Authorities commenced the construction of a new bypass road that connects the outpost (El Matan) with the nearby Ma’ale Shomron settlement. Extensive construction is underway in the outpost and is being implemented based on a previously approved master plan (TPS) No. 116/5.  MORE . . .    

From Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture
Behind the policy of denying the Palestinians permits to build or to expand their homes is an even greater motivation; to protect the interests and stability of the Jewish state.’ ___While this approach has existed since the establishment of the state of Israel, a policy decision related to Jerusalem was officially made in 1973 by a ministerial committee known as the Gafni Commission. At the core of the policy was the concern that the Jewish character of Jerusalem would be jeopardized if the Palestinian population kept increasing at its current rate. In 1977, the Planning Policy Division prepared a paper stating: “One of the cornerstones of Jerusalem’s planning process is […] the preservation of the demographic balance between the ethnic groups [in accordance with] the resolution of the Government of Israel.” Therefore, as a result of this growing “threat,” Israel has used a number of methods to keep the demographic balance between the Jewish and the Palestinian populations at a fixed ratio of 70% Jews to 30% Palestinians.'”

  • Dimova, Nicoletta. “When Ideology Leads to Destruction: Home Demolitions in East Jerusalem.” Palestine-Israel Journal of Politics, Economics & Culture Sept. 2008: 92+.  SOURCE.
A section of the Wall is seen close to a Jewish settlement near Jerusalem. (Photo: REUTERS)

Annie Robbins
July 27, 2016
Never let a serious crisis go to waste. This is the first thought that crossed my mind when I read Israel National News headline: ‘We’re taking advantage of the US elections to build’ . . . .
___Israel will use every opportunity to expand the breadth of their illegal colonies on Palestinian land, and the US election season is no exception. Jerusalem Online picked up the story too reporting “Jerusalem construction accelerated due to US elections“. The articles claim officials from the Jerusalem Municipality told Channel 2 News that plans to build 57 new housing units over the green line in the occupied East Jerusalem colony of Ramot had been fast-tracked because of U.S. election season and “the accelerated process is not a coincidence.”     MORE . . .

Whenever I see an image of a child’s hands
sticking out of the rubble of a collapsed building
I check the hands of my three children
I count the fingers of their hands, the toes on their feet,
I check the numbers of teeth in their mouths, every
last hair in each finely-marked wee eyebrow.

Whenever a child goes silent in Al Yarmouk Camp
I turn up the volume on the TV, the songs on the radio,
I pinch my three children
to make them cry and squirm with life.

Whenever my sore heart gets hungry at Qalandia checkpoint
I comfort-eat, I
emotionally over-eat, craving excessive salt
as if I could then somehow say: enough, block out
the salt spark of the tears everyone around me is crying.
―Translated by Liz Lochhead

Maya Abu Al-Hayyat is a prize-winning author of novels, poetry, and short stories. Born in Lebanon, she has a degree in Civil Engineering from Al-Najah University in Nablus, the largest Palestinian university, and lives in Ramallah.
From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available From Amazon.com.
Maya Abu Al-Hayyat reading one of her poems
About Qalandia checkpoint