“. . . Her name is and always Palestine . . .” (Bisan Abu Khaled)

Selected News of the Day

France, Germany, Italy, Spain, UK concerned over Israel’s possible annexation of occupied lands

September 13, 2019
In a joint statement today, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom said they were deeply concerned about Israel’s announcement of possible annexation of areas in the West Bank, particularly the Jordan Valley and the northern portion of the Dead Sea.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “This would, if implemented, constitute a serious breach of international law. France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the United Kingdom will continue to call on all parties to refrain from contravention of international law,” the statement said.  More . . . .

Pakistan rejects Israel’s plan to annex parts of West Bank

September 13, 2019
Pakistan has rejected Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s announcement that he will immediately annex the Jordan Valley region in the occupied West Bank if he was re-elected next week.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “We reject any such move, which would be illegal and a dangerous escalation,” Pakistani Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Faisal was quoted as saying by Anadolu Agency.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ “While reaffirming our solidarity with the Palestinians, Pakistan reiterates its support for a viable, independent and contiguous State of Palestine, on the basis of internationally agreed parameters, the pre-1967 borders with Al-Quds Al-Sharif as its capital,” he added.  More . . . .

Netanyahu, Putin to Meet as Russia Condemns Annexation Pledge (VIDEO)

Palestine Chronicle
September 12, 2019
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the Russian coastal city of Sochi for talks on Thursday after Moscow condemned the Israeli leader’s pledge to annex parts of the occupied West Bank.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Russia’s foreign ministry warned on Wednesday it was concerned over the Israeli leader’s plan, saying its implementation could lead to a “sharp escalation of tensions in the region [and] undermine hopes for the establishment of long-awaited peace between Israel and its Arab neighbors”. More . . . .

Palestinians in Jordan Valley: ‘Our lands are already annexed’

Arwa Ibrahim
September 12, 2019
In between sprawling arid lands of the Jordan Valley, which stretches north of the Dead Sea and west of the occupied West Bank’s borders with Jordan, lies the small Palestinian village of Ras Ain al-Auja.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ If Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu goes through with his plan, announced on Tuesday, to annex the Jordan Valley and areas north of the Dead Sea, the village of about 350 residents and its fertile farmlands would become part of Israel.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ Observers have dismissed Netanyahu’s plan as a campaign stunt ahead of next week’s general election. But the residents of Ras Ain al-Auja say Netanyahu’s words are threatening as his plan would formalise Israeli control over the area.  More . . . .


Palestinian Refugee Students Must Not be Incidental to Humanitarian Endeavors

Palestine Chronicle
Ramona Wadi is a staff writer for Middle East Monitor
September 11, 2019
Despite financial setbacks caused by political agendas and misconduct allegations, the UN Relief and Works Agency (UNRWA) ensured that its schools opened on time for the new academic year. Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl described education as central to UNRWA’s mandate, yet the agency is not past attaching importance to symbolism and, despite its work, normalize the violence inherent in Israel’s settler-colonial project.
˙ ˙ ˙ ˙ The opening of the new school year in Silwan, for example, publicized due to renovation works carried out during the summer recess, was lauded by Krähenbühl. “This return to school is also a symbol of preserving normalcy and a safe learning environment,” he remarked.  More . . . .

Poem of the Day


Something that will startle Lenin ―
oh, love, confront your destiny ― don’t kill yourself.
Time will not slow down for lovers to tarry
after the first kiss
and the last time they met.

Passing minutes would slit the throats of the women
had they not already drowned themselves in nostalgia.

Shall no one bear witness or know
that the maps of our planet have lied
about the face of our star
which always used to show her name.

Her name is and always Palestine
My song. . . .
my homeland . . . .
my face full of sorrow.
― Translated by Magi Gibson

From A BIRD IS NOT A STONE: AN ANTHOLOGY OF CONTEMPORARY PALESTINIAN POETRY. Ed. by Henry Bell and Sarah Irving. (Glasgow: Freight Books, 2014) –available from Barnes & Noble.
About the book, with short discussion of Bisan Abu Khaled

“. . every window and door: a color…resisting the conquerors . . ” (Majid Abu Ghoush)

Jerusalem Post: The Gush Etzion Charade. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

The Israeli Supreme Court issued a ruling on the ownership of the Jewish National Fund (JNF) of more than 500 dunums of Palestinian land in the Gush Etzion settlement area, south of Bethlehem, Israel Hayom newspaper reported.    ___The newspaper said the judges of the Israeli Supreme Court rejected this week an appeal filed by Palestinians against a previous decision by the Central Court in Jerusalem stating that the ownership of the land by the JNF.    ___The new ruling enables settlers to start work on confiscated land and build hundreds of settlement units there.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Netanyahu: “No Settlement Will be Evacuated” in His Time
. . . . Related  Catholic Lands to be Seized in Jordan Valley  
. . . . Related  Israeli bulldozers demolish house in Jerusalem  |
Saudi Arabia announced, on Wednesday, it will contribute $50 million to the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA).    ___During a press conference, Abdullah bin Abdulaziz al-Rabiah, the Supervisor General of King Salman Humanitarian Aid and Relief Centre (KSrelief), told the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, about the contribution.     __UNRWA has faced a financial crisis this past year after the United States announced in mid-January the reduction of financial support . . .   More. . .
. . . . Related  Trump: ‘US troops will remain in Middle East for Israel’
. . . . Related  South African academic conference cancels participation of Israelis
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) on Wednesday besieged Minya Secondary School, east of Bethlehem, in an attempt to break into the school and arrest a student.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli undercover units nab youth after beating him and his father
. . . . Related  Israeli forces detain 20 Palestinians, including minor

By  Ali Adam
“We thought our love was hopeless, but we continued nonetheless,” Fadi al-Ghazali told Al-Monitor, standing in his heavily damaged apartment in the Sheikh Radwan district of Gaza City. As he and his mother went about clearing the rubble in their apartment from the Nov. 12 Israeli airstrike, on the wall hung a wedding gown, an object that has dominated social media as the symbol of the touching love story of Fadi and Yara, a young woman from Syria.    [. . . .] In late September, the Egyptian Embassy finally contacted Yara to tell her that she had been granted permission to enter Gaza through the Rafah crossing. After three years of trying, Yara finally arrived in Gaza, on Nov. 8. As Fadi describes it, they can’t remember what their first conversations were about, because when they first met in person, they both “blacked out” from extreme joy and excitement.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . .


I plant my poetry
in the streets,
in every quarter
and every alley,
a poem…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my fingers
in the streets,
in every hole,
in every flower pot:
a finger…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my blood
in the streets,
on every sidewalk,
on every roadsign:
a drop of blood…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my dreams
in the streets,
in the heads of passers-by:
an infant dream…resisting the conquerors!
I plant the names of my loved ones
in the streets,
on every tree, on every wall:
the name of a martyr resisting the conquerors!
I plant the colors of the flag
in the streets,
on every house,
and every window and door:
a color…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my children’s luggage
in the streets
at every roadblock,
at every checkpoint:
a suitcase…resisting the conquerors!
I plant my hands
in the streets,
on every corner:
a firm hand resisting the conquerors!

From: University of Massachusetts Dartmouth, Middle East Affairs
Special Programs, 
Commemorating the Intifada’s Tenth Year, April 10, 1998
Prof. Naseer Aruri

“. . . people to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West . . .” (Lahab Assef Al-Jundi)

IMG_3011 - Copy - Copy - Copy
Shops along main street of Shufat Refugee Camp, Jerusalem (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

Israeli-Palestinian peace plan being prepared by US President Donald Trump is “a waste of time,” extremist Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked said on Wednesday.    ___Speaking before hundreds of ambassadors and attaches at the Jerusalem Post Diplomats’ Conference in Jerusalem, Shaked added that the differences between Israelis and Palestinians are too great.    ___”I want peace like everyone else,” she said, “but I do not believe an agreement can be reached. I would tell Trump: ‘Do not waste your time.'”   ___Shaked also spoke about the demand made by her party, the Jewish Home, to appoint party leader Naftali Bennett as defence minister – an ultimatum that threatened the stability of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israel  refuses  to  sign  international  migration  pact (“Israel has to follow a special migration policy specified by its circumstances as a small state which aims to maintain its Jewish nationality.”)
. . . . Related  Ashrawi  of  PLO  urges  Slovenia  to  recognize  state  of  Palestine
Israeli bulldozers demolished dozens of Palestinian-owned shops in the Shufat refugee camp, in occupied East Jerusalem, on Wednesday.   ___Israeli forces along with the Israeli Civil Administration staff stormed the Shufat refugee camp earlier and delivered demolition notices to more than 20 Palestinian shops, with only 12 hours to evacuate the premises before the demolitions commence.    ___Thaer Fasfous, spokesperson of the Fatah movement in Jerusalem, said that hundreds of Israeli forces and Israeli Civil Administration staff members were deployed across the area, while bulldozers began to demolish the shops.    More . . .
. . . . Related  Israeli  Soldiers  Abduct  Two  Palestinians  In  HEBRON
. . . . Related  Army  Abducts  A  Legislator  In  RAMALLAH
. . . . Related  Israeli  Soldiers  Demolish  A  Residential  Shed,  Retaining  Walls,  Near  NABLUS
. . . . Related  Soldiers  Detonate  Doors  Of  Homes  And  Stores,  Before  Invading  Them,  Near  TULKAREM

IMG_3041 - Copy - Copy
Home demolition by Israelis in Shufat Refugee Camp (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

|    KRAHENBUHL  APPLAUDS  INTERNATIONAL  EFFORT  FOR  KEEPING  UNRWA  AFLOAT    Addressing the delegates at the Advisory Commission of host governments and leading donors of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East (UNRWA), the Commissioner-General of UNRWA, Pierre Krahenbuhl, applauded the resolve and creativity with which the agency and the international community addressed its “greatest financial predicament ever.”    ___Krahenbuhl thanked the many partners who “rose to the occasion” to help, collectively, to reduce the staggering shortfall of $446 million at the start of this year and said, “Today, I am very pleased to announce that, overall since January, donors contributed or pledged an additional $425 million, bringing our shortfall down to $21 million.”     More . . .
. . . . Related  Erekat: ‘Israel should be condemned at UN, not Hamas’

By Ray Hanania
One of Israel’s most powerful weapons against the voices of Palestinian rights has been the exploitation of Jewish history — the Holocaust included — to justify its own atrocities against non-Jews. The Holocaust is undeniably one of the worst human tragedies in human history, an evil horror in which Nazis sought to cleanse the world of Jews and their religion.    ___The hatred that fuelled Nazi atrocities before and during World War Two were undoubtedly driven by anti-Semitism. Since then, though, anti-Semitism has been weaponised by Israel, not just to confront the Holocaust deniers, the neo-Nazis and the hate filled anti-Semites, but also to undermine the righteous movement of justice to restore the inalienable rights of Christians and Muslims in Palestine.    ___Any criticism of Israel is now being denounced as “anti-Semitism”.    More . . .

POEM  FOR  THE  DAY. . . . 


what is the first thing that comes to mind
when you hear of refugees?
what terror trove them out of their homes?
are they getting help?
what is being done for their safe return?

are Palestinians any different from any other refugees?
is it not their simple right
to return to the land they were driven from?

why are they being asked to settle
for money?
who designated the Palestinians as the chosen people
to carry the cross for a guilt-ridden West?
why do politicians tell them
too much time has passed
when their grievance
is with people who went back after 2000 years?

between continued warfare and annihilation
coexistence beckons
as the only

time for peace

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.

IMG_3043 - Copy - Copy
Shufat neighbors explaining home demolition to members of Sabeel, Jerusalem, delegation (Photo: Harold Knight, Nov. 5, 2015)

“. . . Fear encloses the sweet basil and the alley’s mint . . .” (Ibrahim Nasrallah)

❶ EU provides €317,000 to support West Bank farmers
. . . . . ❶― (ᴀ) UNRWA chief says US aid cut “most severe crisis in agency’s history”
. . . . . ❶― (ᴃ)  Dear Mr Trump, we’re facing a humanitarian disaster

  • Background: “The Palestinian Refugee Camps: The Promise of ‘Ruin’ and ‘Loss’.” Rethinking History

❷ Arab FMs meet again over US Jerusalem decision
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) AL-Malki: Arab response to US Jerusalem decision decides peace future
❸ Seven more healthcare centres in Gaza shut down
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Israeli airstrikes target sites in northern Gaza
❹ POETRY by Ibrahim Nasrallah
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA 
Feb. 2, 2018 ― The European Union announced on Friday its contribution of about €317,000 to the Palestinian Authority to support Palestinian farmers and agro-businesses in the West Bank.
___A statement by the EU representative office in Jerusalem said the eligible beneficiaries are farmers and agro-businesses in the West Bank directly affected by the Israeli occupation, and particularly farmers in Area B and C.    MORE . . . 
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 2, 2018 ― Commissioner-General of the United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees (UNRWA) Pierre Krähenbühl said on Thursday that the recent US aid cut represents the most severe crisis in the agency’s history.
___Krähenbühl’s comments came during his speech at the meeting of Arab Foreign ministers in Cairo to discuss the Arab action in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___The UN official said the agency is facing an unprecedented financial crisis because of the US decision to reduce its contribution to UNRWA, adding that he has been travelling around the world to call for mobilization to help UNRWA overcome this crisis.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❶―  (ᴃ)    DEAR  MR  TRUMP,  WE’RE  FACING  A  HUMANITARIAN  DISASTER
Al Jazeera English
by Mays Abu Ghosh
Feb. 1,  2018 ― Dear President Trump, Every evening, my grandmother sits us down and tells us stories about a piece of heaven on earth, a place called “Imwas”. She describes every little detail about this place – the water spring, the lavish trees and the flowers that bloom throughout the year. She tells us about the beautiful old stone houses, the fig trees and the cactus plants.
___Imwas is a village situated southeast of the town of Ramleh, where my grandfather owned a plot of land. After my grandfather passed, my father inherited the land. One day, my nine siblings and I will inherit this land from our father. We’ll build our home there, and we’ll harvest the crops of our field.     ___But for now, we live in a small apartment in the Qalandia refugee camp . . .    MORE . . .

Abreek-Zubiedat, Fatina.
, vol. 19, no. 1, Mar. 2015, pp. 72-94
[. . . .] According to the political theorist Hannah Arendt, a ‘refugee’ is a ‘stateless’ or ‘non-citizen’ person who threatens the nation-state system. Consequently, countries have acknowledged the need for a solution to the refugee problem, whose status is considered temporary, with two possible options: return to the homeland or country of origin, or naturalization in the host country. Historically, both solutions have failed. Arendt views the refugee camp as a ‘final solution’ involving the incarceration of refugees after denying their citizenship. Only then do they become homo sacer in the sense implied by ancient Roman law: destined to die, with their life defined as ‘bare.’
[. . . .]  Exclusion and the definition of modes of belonging and non-belonging and marking populations as ‘outside’ are sovereign acts that cannot be thought of independently of the actor which performed them. These acts are . . .  ‘nothingness acts’ which gain an inherent nihilistic relationship: ‘It is in one guise, a promise of creative destruction. In another, it can work to the opposite end; turn to sheer destruction, annihilating the very context of creativity’. . .  Nihilistic actions not only delineated the creation and development of the camps, but are themselves processes that led to paradoxical situations, veritably positioning the camps on the borderline between the ‘private’ and the ‘public’ spheres.
[. . . .] The refugees’ adherence to the idea of return was very strong. Their various architectural activities which left their mark on the region undermined the abnormal basis of the camp and created an opening for discussing refugee–camp relations, while emphasizing the idea that any attempt to dismantle a camp would only prove successful if citizenship were achieved. Through the many architectural practices discussed above, the refugees succeeded in rewriting the binary layout articulated in the language of planning, which defined a ‘private’ versus ‘public’ sphere. They knew how to dismantle this language through practices designed to negotiate the complexities of discourses about this same sphere, revealing contrasts, struggles, and conflicts reflected in the camp’s appearance, and the impossibility of a single, exclusive discourse with which to describe the harsh duality of camp existence.     SOURCE . . .   ..

The Palestinian Information Center    
Feb. 2, 2018 ― The Arab League, chaired by Djibouti foreign minister, Mahmoud Ali Yusuf, on Thursday held an emergency meeting in Cairo to discuss the US decision to recognize Occupied Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___The meeting, which was attended by Arab foreign ministers or their representatives, was a follow-up to the previous sessions in December and January on Washington’s capital announcement as well as its declared intent to relocate its embassy to Jerusalem.
___The attendees discussed the repercussions of US president Donald Trump’s decision on Jerusalem and the implementation of the Arab League’s ministerial resolution on September 9, 2017, which stipulated that the Arab League should convene another meeting within a month to evaluate the situation and agree on future measures . . .   MORE . . .
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Feb. 1, 2018 – Minister of Foreign and Expatriates Affairs Riyad al-Malki affirmed on Thursday that the shape of the Arab countries’ response to the US decision on Jerusalem will determine the future of peace and stability, based on an end of the Israeli occupation of the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967.
___Al-Malki’s comments came during his speech at the meeting of Arab foreign ministers in Cairo during which they discussed the Arab action in response to the US decision to recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
___“The shape and level of the Arab [countries’] response will determine the future of peace and stability, based on an end of Israeli colonization of all the Palestinian territories occupied in 1967. . . .   MORE . . .
Days of Palestine
Huge amounts of fuel needed to operate electricity generators to compensate lack of electricity caused by Israeli siege.
Feb. 01 2018 ― Gaza is heading to real disaster as seven more healthcare centres in Gaza Strip closed their doors on Thursday due to tightening 11-year-old Israeli siege.     ___According to the Palestinian ministry of health in the Gaza Strip, fuel ran out in seven more healthcare centres in different areas across Gaza.
___“This problem, which is a result of the Israeli sieged, happened due to the lack of fuel needed to operate electricity generators,” a statement by the ministry said.   MORE . . .
.  .  .  .  .  ❸  ―  (ᴀ)  ISRAELI  AIRSTRIKES  TARGET  SITES  IN  NORTHERN  GAZA      Ma’an News Agency
Feb. 2, 2018     Israeli forces carried out airstrikes targeting several sites in the northern Gaza Strip on Friday before dawn.
___Locals told Ma’an that the strikes hit targets near the al-Nada Towers in northeastern Beit Lahiya. No injuries were reported.     ___The Israeli army had reported earlier that rockets coming from the Gaza Strip had landed in an Israeli town outside around Gaza.   MORE . . .

Silence becomes solid in bones,
in a bird’s song,
in he meaning of a word,
spreading over all of the greenery
and swallowing up the town squares,
creeping like a desert snake
and dwindling the horses’ neighing.
Blossoming in my woman’s embrace,
in the song’s pale light
and in the flowers on the balconies.
I gather myself to lift dry clouds from my body
and prayers from my soul.
I see God’s sun, my face, and my hand: three doves.
The time that’s passed is more than age can carry
and my undulations are in restraints.
The spikes of my soul do not reach the horse’s back,
an angle overlaps another angle . . . within an angle,
this body of mine.
Poets surround me like the fruit of regret.
My mother says: White is laughter’s waterfall.
So we laugh till our blood explodes.
Fear encloses the sweet basil and the alley’s mint.
My love’s tough on my forehead is like a runaway train.
The wind on my shoulders is like a dead horse,
the Sea far away.
Time is a coffin, while nakedness is the daily news.
For thirty three years
I have been digging tunnels
so I might emerge from this cold womb. . .

From Nasrallah, Ibrahim. RAIN  INSIDE:  SELECTED  POEMS. Trans. Omnia Amin and Rick London. Willimantic, CT: Curbstone Press, 2009. Available from Barnes and Noble.
Interview with Ibrahim Nasrallah.

“. . . my dreams took the night train and I did not know how to say goodbye . . .” (Mourid Barghouti)

❶ Geneva Human Rights Centre calls on international community to halt violations in Palestine
. . . . . ❶ ― (ᴀ) FM calls on ICC prosecutor to prevent crimes against Palestinian people

  • Background: Statement of the UNRWA Commissioner-General;  PRESS STATEMENT, UNRWA

❷ US backtracks on pledge of $45 million food aid to UNRWA
. . . . . ❷ ― (ᴀ) Belgium pledges $23m to UNRWA after US aid cut
❸ Abbas’ security coordination challenge
. . . . . ❸ ― (ᴀ) Al-Quds Int’l: Switching off light at Aqsa Mosque serious violation
❹ POETRY by Mourid Barghouti
` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` ` `
Palestine News and Information Agency – WAFA
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The Executive Director of the Geneva Centre for Human Rights Advancement and Global Dialogue Idriss Jazairy appealed to the international community, and in particular the Arab and Muslim community, “to join forces and act in concert in order to halt the violations of Palestinians human rights.”
___Ambassador Jazairy said during a speech at the two-day Al-Azhar conference in Cairo on the situation in Jerusalem, that the international community has a “moral duty” to protect and to uphold the human rights of the Palestinian people in the wake of the decision of the US to recognize Jerusalem as the capital of Israel.
___”Al Quds is a textbook case of multi-faceted and cross-cutting violations of human rights,” said Jazairy.   MORE . . .        RELATED . . . 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)
Jan. 18, 2018 ― The Palestinian Minister of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates [Riyad al-Malki] called on the Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court, Ms. Fatou Bensouda, to exercise her statutory authority, without delay, to prevent the continuation and perpetuation of crimes against the Palestinian people. On the three-year anniversary of the opening of the preliminary examination in the situation in Palestine, the Minister dispatched a letter to Ms. Bensouda pointing her attention to the recent escalation of violence by Israeli occupation forces in their implementation of unlawful colonial policies and practices in the past month, including the unlawful killing of 16 Palestinians and the injury of approximately 3000 and detention of 720, including 184 children.   MORE . . .  


Pierre Krähenbühl, Commissioner General
January 17, 2018 ― Not for the first time in its proud history, UNRWA faces a formidable challenge in upholding its mandate – an expression of the will of the international community – and preserving key services like education and health care for Palestine Refugees.
___Today, the US government has announced a contribution of $60 M, in support of our efforts to keep our schools open, health clinics running, and emergency food and cash distribution systems functioning for some of the world’s most vulnerable refugees. While important, this funding is dramatically below past levels. The total US contribution in 2017 was above $350 M.
___Since UNRWA began its operations in May 1950, every US administration – from President Truman onwards – has stood with and provided strong, generous and committed support to our Agency. The US has consistently been UNRWA’s largest single donor, something we sincerely thank the American people for, and countless American decision-makers – presidents, members of Congress, diplomats and civil servants, who embodied the commitment of assisting a vulnerable people through UNRWA.
___Funding UNRWA or any humanitarian agency is the discretion of any sovereign member state of the United Nations. At the same time, given the long, trusted, and historic relationship between the United States and UNRWA, this reduced contribution threatens one of the most successful and innovative human development endeavors in the Middle-East.   COMPLETE STATEMENT: Gaza.Scoop.ps – Real Time News From Gaza.

US  BACKTRACKS  ON  PLEDGE  OF  $45  MILLION  FOOD  AID  TO  UNRWA          The Palestinian Information Center
Jan. 19, 2018 ― The US State Department on Thursday announced that Washington will not provide $45 million in food aid which it pledged last month for Palestinian refugees.
[. . . .] Spokeswoman for the US State Department, Heather Nauert, said in statements, “At this time we will not be providing that, but this does not mean that it will not be provided in the future.”
___Nauert claimed that the withholding of the funds was not intended to punish Palestinians who strongly criticized the US president Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital last month.
___”Other countries are required to do more,” she said, adding that the US does not have to be the chief donor to every organization around the world.  MORE . . . 
.  .  .  .  . ❷ ―  (ᴀ)  BELGIUM  PLEDGES  $23M  TO  UNRWA  AFTER  US  AID  CUT
Al Jazeera English
Jan. 18, 2018 ― Belgium has pledged to donate 19m euro ($23m) to UNRWA, the UN’s aid organisation for Palestinian refugees, after the US government announced it would slash its funding to the agency by half.
___Deputy Prime Minister Alexander De Croo said in a statement on Wednesday that Brussels would allocate the funds over three years.
___The first annual payment is being disbursed immediately “considering the financial difficulties that UNRWA currently faces”, the statement said.      MORE . . .  
Al-Monitor (Palestine Pulse)
By Daoud Kuttab
Jan.18, 2018 ― In a fiery two-hour speech at the start of the Palestinian Central Council (PCC) meeting Jan. 14, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas did not once raise the issue of ending security coordination with Israel. Abbas did, however, mention, several times, the futility of continuing with the Oslo process . . . Despite this omission, however, the PCC resolved the matter in the final statement.
___This was not the first time the Palestinians have resolved to end the security arrangement, a step often demanded by Hamas and other opposition groups. In March 2015 . . .
[. . . .] An online survey by the leading Palestinian newspaper Al-Quds on the eve of the PCC session, revealed that an overwhelming 94% of Palestinians want the PCC to withdraw recognition of Israel and end security coordination . . .   Palestinian leaders are concerned that fully implementing the recommendation would mean the end of the Palestinian government . . .
[. . . .] Israel is unlikely to sit idly by if the recommendation were implemented. Its tolerance for the existence of the Palestinian government, with its security apparatus, is contingent on the Palestinians adhering to the minimum level of security coordination.   MORE . . . 
Al Hourriah Magazine (Freedom)     Jan. 18, 2018 ― Al-Quds International Institution (QII) condemned on Wednesday Israeli attempts to cut power feeding the Dome of the Rock at Jerusalem’s al-Aqsa Mosque, the third holiest site in Islam.
___“Switching off the light of the Dome of the Rock is an aggression against Muslims and their holy sites,” a statement by QII read.
___QII warned of Israeli attempts to control and obstruct reconstruction and maintenance works at al-Aqsa Mosque.
___QII’s director Yassin Hamoud said the fact that the Israeli authorities obstructed the entry of materials needed to fix power cuts at al-Aqsa is “a translation of Trump’s biased move into action.”   MORE . . . 

I look at myself:
I have no problem.
I look all right
and, to some girls,
my grey hair might even be attractive;
my eyeglasses are well made,
my body temperature is precisely thirty seven,
my shirt is ironed and my shoes do not hurt.
I have no problem.
My hands are not cuffed,
my tongue has not been silenced yet,
I have not, so far, been sentenced
and I have not been fired from my work;
I am allowed to visit my relatives in jail,
I’m allowed to visit some of their graves in some countries.

I have no problem.
I am not shocked that my friend
has grown a horn on his head.
I like his cleverness in hiding the obvious tail
under his clothes, I like his calm paws.
He might kill me, but I shall forgive him
for he is my friend;
he can hurt me every now and then.

I have no problem.
The smile of the TV anchor
does not make me ill any more
and I’ve got used to the Khaki stopping my colours
night and day.
That is why
I keep my identification papers on me, even at
the swimming pool.
I have no problem.
Yesterday, my dreams took the night train
and I did not know how to say goodbye to them.
I heard the train had crashed
in a barren valley
(only the driver survived).
I thanked God, and took it easy
for I have small nightmares
that I hope will develop into great dreams.

I have no problem.
I look at myself, from the day I was born till now.
In my despair I remember
that there is life after death;
there is life after death
and I have no problem.
But I ask:
Oh my God,
is there life before death?
――Translated by Radwa Ashour
From poem hunter.com
Interview with Mourid Barghouti